Bonjours peeps

Claude here and back again with an update on my Schooling to be a gun dog.

I went with Freya a week or two ago out in the Subaru to a far off distant place to learn more about water training. I was of course brilliant and the Italian was? Now how can I put this?

I took to the lake like a Duck to water……Grrrrrrrr…….that damned duck has really got to me and one day Claude is going to get to the duck.

Freya on the other hand took to the water like a wading bird…….oh Claude you are good at this, anyway, she walked in and out and swimming for her was off the menu for the day. Not to worry I thought to myself, I can show off and at the same time make her look good on land, which at the moment she is. And I’m not!!


But it was good fun out there and I really enjoyed myself – but more of all that lot in the Bankers notes. I shouldn’t advertise really but it does show off my finer points at playing Claude Cousteau!!

And so to MY School or ecole as we French know it!!

Because of the 3 -3 score against the Springer we both ended up in the novice class but as you might imagine me myself I got the class prefects badge and he got……….nothing

Never mind little Eenglish doggie, you tried but it was all too much against the Gorgeous and French slightly bigger than you doggie.

Our first lesson was Math’s?

When the teacher said we were to try quartering I looked all around to see if I was in the right class? Quartering……..that’s math’s and I’m supposed to be in the gun dog training class.

Claude went a little worried at this point and The Dearest One didn’t help either because she refused to move an inch. Only thing to do was watch the Springer and hope I could understand this quartering thing. The angles and degrees of turn and through this bush and round the tree, overall it all looked a little confusing to me. Obviously to the Springer who spends two thirds of its life confused, this was clearly natural behavior because whatever he was doing it looked good.

A bit later I had a go at the quartering and tried to look like the Springer!!!! Confused, disorientated and generally all over the place – in other words – Mad!

However, the plot thickened with a retrieve amongst all this ‘quartering’ and guess what?
No don’t bother guessing as it’s too obvious?

I was simply superb

The Springer is probably still out there looking for his dummy – l’idiot

All that running around, up and down and angles and degrees of covering the ground and for what? Monsieur Springer forgot to watch the throw of the dummy……..

I on the other hand didn’t do all that running around and up and down and looking like a half crazed mini beast, I just looked as if I was!! But I did see that dummy, and I got it back to The Dearest One several times – so that’s a definite France 1 – England 0

Touche Springer

And then we moved on to walking on the lead to heel and then a sit on command – not a “SIT” by The Dearest One screaming “SIT” but a single whistle blow…….not that she screams at me of course. If anything I scream at her because I’m the one who is supposed to be at school. But more on that later!!! Oh yes peeps………read on

Being French, Gorgeous and clearly hyper intelligent this walk, heel and sit thing represented about as much of a challenge as the Italians are good swimmers (chuckle chuckle)

Oh God I can be so smug at times!!

Then after that moment of genius?? And I was told school would be hard……..oh yea!!

Oh dear……….it did get hard after that

I’m going to have to do some homework on this next bit and get The Dearest One out with me to help. I will NOT be beaten. Now I’m French, Gorgeous and and and I’m developing an indomitable spirit. I think?? Must look that up and see what it means

This next lesson was about the walk to heel and sit thing…..with a twist?? Well OK then not so much a twist, more of a sit and stay and now I’m confusing myself

So here we go – Walk to heel. Done – Sit – Done.

Now The Dearest One takes off my lead and slowly walks away from me advising me to “Stay”!!

So I stayed. Done
Then she threw the tennis ball and off I went to retrieve it. WRONG

The same thing happened a second time and my retrieve was of course perfect!! WRONG

Oh this is getting tedious now.

So what is it EXACTLY you want me to do? I’ve practiced retrieve 80 million times and it’s perfect.

I now have to learn to sit AND stay………and wait…..and wait………and wait……and wait


Keep calm I’m getting there, just scene setting for you just like one of our arty French films!!!
But in this film something actually happens!!! Naughty, naughty Claude. Be nice to the French film industry, you might be starring in it one day!! Probably like the MGM lion at the start!!!

Where was I?

Oh yes…….I know. Now apparently I have to sit and stay, the confusing Claude one then throws the tennis ball and I’m NOT to go until the ball hits the ground.

Oh now I see. I see alright but the temptation to follow that balls flight and catch it sooner is all too much and now I’m going to have to have patience. Oh God… a vulture’s patience??
Vulture on the top of a telegraph pole overlooking a road, he’s waiting for a road kill from a car when one day he thinks to himself “Patience my ass, I’m going to kill something” and flies down to nail a rabbit to the road.

Later that day, the other vultures who have enjoyed dining on their friend and his rabbit decide that patience is better served by being patient!!

And so Claude will do some homework on this one as it’s obvious that out in the field on a real shoot I might be better off waiting for the bird to hit the ground rather than rushing in while all the guns are still firing. That Springer might be mad – but I’m not!!

And so to the Sergeant Major??

She really ought to join the Legion and I think I should call her Beau Geste!!!

Yes of course we’re talking about The Dearest One – and why is that I hear you ask?

Well peeps, I will tell you!!

Imagine the FIRST scene – there are two!!

Scene One – Take One

She throws the ball, I go and pick it up and then I get the recall………

“You ‘orrible little dog, bring that ball back to me immediately”


“Left, left, left right left……..come on Barbet, ball, here, NOW” “too slow”

“Get down on all fours and give me ten”

Or I got

“Atten….shun” “Fetch the ball” “and……….go”

“I’ve seen Spins retrieve better than that” “Call yourself a retriever”? “You couldn’t retrieve the skin off a rice pudding”

Oh trust me Sarge, I could!!

I also got

“The Tour de France finishes quicker than you do retrieving that ball”

But my most motivational favourite??

“If that was a duck it would have gone to the vets, been patched up and repatriated by the time you got to it and retrieved it”

And so it came to pass that she was taken on by the Colonel who instructed her to make retrieving more fun by putting ‘FUN’ into her voice

And then what did I get??

“Come on then mummies little liver pate, bring me the bally”


“Oh Claudy poos, come here to mommy with the nice bally”


“Ooooh, my little fluffykins, what a good boy you are”

Now listen peeps, she either finds middle ground here or I’m going to shoot her and face the court martial.

I do not know which is worse the Sergeant Major or the patronising……….Homework me thinks for that one

And then there was this gem!!

Scene Two – Take One

Imagine the scene

I’m strutting my stuff, fetch the ball, fetch the dummy and all is well but the lessons are about REMOVING The Dearest One’s voice and using command by whistle. You get the picture?

Now imagine the scene where its one whistle for ‘sit’ and two whistles for ‘come here’ following a pick up. You would think that was easy wouldn’t you and it is IF you take the whistle out of your mouth??

Oh yes peeps – Sergeant Major Silly kept the whistle in her mouth AND told me to sit!!!
So all I heard was either a whistle to sit half way back from a retrieve or I got two whistles and another double whistle as she tried to say ‘come here’

It was ridiculous


“By the left, quick March” (whistling at the same time)

“Sit” “Stay” with whistles

I was up down, back, forward, stayed, sat, up and around, down, with ball, without ball until eventually my head disappeared up my own derriere!!!

The Colonel Displeased with my rather rounded positioning released my head and marched over to the Sergeant Major and clearly explained two things

1. Take the whistle from the mouth after the command
2. And this one was a little tougher for her to do – don’t use your mouth to command

Simple really!!

Be clear and precise about the instruction. Imagine the confusion you’re creating in the dogs mind!!
And you know where my mind ended up peeps!!!!

At the end of the lesson we all were taken to a stream for a paddle – No just joking. Actually it was fun time.

The others were let off their leads and of course ploughed headlong into the abyss, or rather the stream. Except one?

Me, Claude

I just stood there and watched. Then sat down and watched amused at what on earth they were wasting all that energy for when there was nothing to get all that excited about.

They had nothing to do so what was the point??

The Dearest One rescued me and threw the tennis ball into the stream – I dived in and did the perfect retrieve. And again……now this is fun…and something to do at the same time.

The Sergeant Major melted, I was fabulous and we all went home happy!!

But we learn and move on….might be obvious of course to some and so obvious that at times you tend to take it for granted. The dog knows best?? He does, given the right tools for the job i.e. The Commands

In the sixth form above us is a Chocolate Labrador and another Springer!! (I’m saying nothing peeps)

Both are very well advanced and will graduate by the end of the year. For me I watched them for a while and it was interesting. Interesting because they not only look good, but they made it look so natural – which of course to us, it is.

And so there we have it for this session – I’ve learned to be patient, and The Dearest One has to make it fun and give out clear commands.


Well, got to go as WE have our homework to do……..

Aù revoir peeps

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