here and back again with an update on my Schooling to
be a gun dog.
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.
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!!
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!!
so to MY School or ecole as we French know it!!
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
mind little Eenglish doggie, you tried but it was all
too much against the Gorgeous and French slightly bigger
than you doggie.
first lesson was Math’s?
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
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.
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!
the plot thickened with a retrieve amongst all this ‘quartering’
and guess what?
No don’t bother guessing as it’s too obvious?
was simply superb
Springer is probably still out there looking for his dummy
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……..
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
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
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)
God I can be so smug at times!!
after that moment of genius?? And I was told school would
be hard……..oh yea!!
dear……….it did get hard after that
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
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
here we go – Walk to heel. Done – Sit –
The Dearest One takes off my lead and slowly walks away
from me advising me to “Stay”!!
I stayed. Done
Then she threw the tennis ball and off I went to retrieve
same thing happened a second time and my retrieve was
of course perfect!! WRONG
this is getting tedious now.
what is it EXACTLY you want me to do? I’ve practiced
retrieve 80 million times and it’s perfect.
now have to learn to sit AND stay………and
wait…..and wait………and wait……and
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!!!
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.
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…..like
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.
that day, the other vultures who have enjoyed dining on
their friend and his rabbit decide that patience is better
served by being patient!!
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!!
so to the Sergeant Major??
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?
peeps, I will tell you!!
the FIRST scene – there are two!!
Scene One – Take One
throws the ball, I go and pick it up and then I get the
‘orrible little dog, bring that ball back to me
left, left right left……..come on Barbet, ball,
here, NOW” “too slow”
down on all fours and give me ten”
“Fetch the ball” “and……….go”
seen Spins retrieve better than that” “Call
yourself a retriever”? “You couldn’t
retrieve the skin off a rice pudding”
trust me Sarge, I could!!
Tour de France finishes quicker than you do retrieving
my most motivational favourite??
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
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
then what did I get??
on then mummies little liver pate, bring me the bally”
Claudy poos, come here to mommy with the nice bally”
my little fluffykins, what a good boy you are”
listen peeps, she either finds middle ground here or I’m
going to shoot her and face the court martial.
do not know which is worse the Sergeant Major or the patronising……….Homework
me thinks for that one
then there was this gem!!
Two – Take One
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
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??
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’
the left, quick March” (whistling at the same time)
“Stay” with whistles
was up down, back, forward, stayed, sat, up and around,
down, with ball, without ball until eventually my head
disappeared up my own derriere!!!
Colonel Displeased with my rather rounded positioning
released my head and marched over to the Sergeant Major
and clearly explained two things
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
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!!!!
the end of the lesson we all were taken to a stream for
a paddle – No just joking. Actually it was fun time.
others were let off their leads and of course ploughed
headlong into the abyss, or rather the stream. Except
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.
had nothing to do so what was the point??
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.
Sergeant Major melted, I was fabulous and we all went
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
the sixth form above us is a Chocolate Labrador and another
Springer!! (I’m saying nothing peeps)
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.
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.
got to go as WE have our homework to do……..