by: Mike Stewart
This short clip of Diesel (FTCh Scott x Judy, DOB 3/31/16) owned by Chris Plummer, DE, trained and handled by Clint Swinney, demonstrates his enthusiasm for the hunt when he hits a canopy of ragweed cover, despite the light rain. The video offers several great points for young upland gundog development and possibilities for your summer tune-up activities. As you watch, please note:
- We cultivate ragweed at the Wildrose Oxford Training Grounds as well as other crops and grass fields. Many summer grasses produce nasty seeds that can litter a dog’s eyes and nose. Ragweed, though heavy in pollen, does not have large seeds. It effectively creates a canopy of tall cover which allows for fantastic hunting opportunities, more so than thatch-type grasses. Birds love it as well. Dogs, whether Pointers, Flushers, or Retrievers, really have to work close in lush, tall cover like ragweed.
- Diesel loses his mark due to the height of the cover requiring him to hunt in the proximity of the fall. He simply cannot see the target area after entry. He’s running blind relying on distance estimation and his nose.
- This cover is also excellent for marking by sound. Cover the dog’s eyes and toss in a feather-laced bumper. Developed properly, dogs can become pinpoint markers by sound.
- Interdependence—the relationship between Diesel and Clint demonstrates excellent teamwork. Diesel had to learn how to locate his handler for instruction on whistle stops. When he hears the whistle while hunting under the canopy, he must to move to see his handler. Notice his response to the whistle and cast.
- Obviously, his nose is getting a desirable workout in the lush cover. Green, pungent, high-nitrogen foliage can really mask scent making the pick more difficult to locate. Also ragweed is heavily pollinated making the task more difficult.
Our objective when developing a Gentleman’s Gundog is to match the client’s expectations for the perfect hunting companion to complement their family’s sporting lifestyle. We never forget the importance of the underling purpose of our Labradors… game recovery, to bring back a bird that otherwise may be lost – Masters of Scent.