Hey, Wu Chang...

rhpierce

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Your post on Diesel brought a tear to my eye...I haven't had a Lab in a long time, and it took me back.

But, this past weekend I also got reminded of how much fun it is watching the switch "flip" in a young dog. Got invited to go with one of my best friend's son, the son's fiancée, and one of their friends...they asked the "old man" to come along. The young lady brought along her Lab, Kazi, and on the first two ducks, I thought, "oh...it's gonna be one of THOSE days".

The next couple of birds took some effort, but at some point, the switch just flipped. First highlight of the day...they knocked down a ringneck that sailed and landed out about 80 yards. She sent the dog, who went beyond the decoys, but took a bad line through them and wound up about 20 degrees off the line. She was getting ready to wade out and try and get him to go over, and I said, "just wait...he's downwind...give it a minute". He went a little further, and his nose swung right into the wind and he corrected, trying to figure it out. About that time, the cripple rolled over onto his back, and the wing raised up - the dog lifted his head out of the water, spotted the bird, and you could see him kick into another gear to swim for it. He did the "Lab chomp" when he got to it, swung around, and swam back to everyone in the blind cheering for him.

After that, the dog started watching every time we hit the calls, trying to lock in on where the birds were. And to his credit, he never broke.

The last retrieve of the day was a single gadwall drake that fell in the decoys. She sent Kazi, and when he got within about 10 feet, the gadwall dove. I started walking out, and we let him search, but the bird came up 10 yards beyond him and 90 degrees to where he was looking, swimming with the body almost under water and just the top of his head and bill out of the water. I got past the dog, kept going, the bird dove, and put a quick one into him when he came up and dove again. Kazi got on track, and I paralleled the duck but never had a shot due to the dog closing the gap. By that point, the gadwall could still dive, but not completely or for long, so I got a front row seat to Kazi making three head dunks/dives as he and the bird did circles in the open water, finally grabbing it and swimming all the way back. I snapped a quick picture as he went past on his way back to the blind.

Wound up with 18 for the day, which wasn't bad at all...and the most fun I've had on a duck hunt in Arkansas in a long time. I know he needs a lot of work, and I hope she follows through with it, but it was good watching him connect the dots and loving every minute.

Kazi.jpg
 

mpkowal

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I have had 2 at once for probably 30 years. I have been Blessed with female dogs that live a long life. Last year my girl Nikki the wonder dog had to be put down at 16.We were going to wait on getting a new pup when our good friends surprised us with a black female and she took the edge off in losing Nikki.We got no info about her history but it really didn't matter.Now she is 1 year old and is a pleasure hunting her.I have been blessed with great dogs,not champions but dogs you love to be around. Good luck with your dog ,it looks like a good start.
 

Ruination

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That's about all you can ask of a young dog, I'd say.
 

WuChang

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@rhpierce

Mr Rick

Thanks for story.
You are absolutely right about watching a young dog connecting the dots.

I have been blessed to see the new pup’s first retrieve.
I hope to be around for the day when he and I sit on the lower level of the Penthouse blind on a warm November afternoon and pretend that we can still get ducks in the decoys, knowing that the spirit is willing even if the aches of old age make it a bit more difficult.

Appreciate you and the other guys thoughts on Diesel.

Thank you my friend
 

hunting1

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how much fun it is watching the switch "flip" in a young dog.
Definitely a thrill. Some times to the point of amazement when your talking about a dog with very few retrieves.
A friend of mine picked up a new pup this spring and has been working with him through the summer with some basic stuff and some bumpers. A couple of weekends ago he and I were hunting a pond and he had his dog Walt with him. At that point the dog had probably had less than a dozen retrieves on ducks. We had had a small flock of gadballs come in before shooting time and actually landed in the middle of the pond and then swam towards the opposite shore. We kept an eye on them but figured that there wouldn't be anything to expect from them. We were wrong as the flock got up and busted towards us. I think my friend shot once and missed but I doubled. The 1st bird fell about 15 yd out. The 2nd bird had turned around and was flying away when I hit it and landed on the far side of the pond almost a 100 yd away. He sent the dog for the 1st bird which wasn't any issue. The other bird was out there quite a ways and a bit hard to see and at a 45゚ to the right. The wind was coming from the right. After about 5 minutes I asked my friend if he wanted me to get the boat and get the bird or if he thought he would send the dog. He told me he was just waiting for the bird to get straight out in front of us. It took about 10 minutes. At that point being so far away and because so much time had slid by I kind of wondered if the dog would connect the dots with the bird out there. But the bird got in front of us and he sent the dog. I watched in amazement as this dog made a straight line for that bird apparently because he saw it and made a great retrieve. Walt will receive some formal training coming up this Spring. But for that lack of experience I was pretty impressed. Last weekend we had a day that was a skunk for us Not wanting to dissapoint Walt we sent him on a few stick retrieves. He needs work for sure but has plenty of promise. Just happened to catch a bit of that on camera. This is the exact same spot he retrieved my bird from which was floating about 30 ft from the opposite bank.

 
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rhpierce

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Definitely a thrill. Some times to the point of amazement when your talking about a dog with very few retrieves.
A friend of mine picked up a new pup this spring and has been working with him through the summer with some basic stuff and some bumpers. A couple of weekends ago he and I were hunting a pond and he had his dog Walt with him. At that point the dog had probably had less than a dozen retrieves on ducks. We had had a small flock of gadballs come in before shooting time and actually landed in the middle of the pond and then swam towards the opposite shore. We kept an eye on them but figured that there wouldn't be anything to expect from them. We were wrong as the flock got up and busted towards us. I think my friend shot once and missed but I doubled. The 1st bird fell about 15 yd out. The 2nd bird had turned around and was flying away when I hit it and landed on the far side of the pond almost a 100 yd away. He sent the dog for the 1st bird which wasn't any issue. The other bird was out there quite a ways and a bit hard to see and at a 45゚ to the right. The wind was coming from the right. After about 5 minutes I asked my friend if he wanted me to get the boat and get the bird or if he thought he would send the dog. He told me he was just waiting for the bird to get straight out in front of us. It took about 10 minutes. At that point being so far away and because so much time had slid by I kind of wondered if the dog would connect the dots with the bird out there. But the bird got in front of us and he sent the dog. I watched in amazement as this dog made a straight line for that bird apparently because he saw it and made a great retrieve. Walt will receive some formal training coming up this Spring. But for that lack of experience I was pretty impressed. Last weekend we had a day that was a skunk for us Not wanting to dissapoint Walt we sent him on a few stick retrieves. He needs work for sure but has plenty of promise. Just happened to catch a bit of that on camera. This is the exact same spot he retrieved my bird from which was floating about 30 ft from the opposite bank.


Exactly right...

Good deal - good for Walt, you and the owner.

Ok, I gotta share this....one of the guys stoned a ringneck drake that fell right next to one of the decoys, at the edge of the spread. Total aside, the guy couldn't hit the gadwalls or shovelers literally hovering over the decoys, but a ringneck sizzling on by...one shot and splat. Anyway, the ringer was doing the "head bob", so we knew it wasn't going anywhere. She sent Kazi, he got out into the decoys and started going from one to the next, because he could smell it, but...no feathers. It was like, "nope...you're not a duck....nope, you either....nope....nope" until he got to the ringer and the realization hit him like "HOLY S**T! There's a duck RIGHT HERE GUYS!!!" He was so surprised for about a half a second, then it clicked again, he picked it up and pranced back to the blind.
 

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