Pontus’ progress

Pontus is now 10 months old and although we do all the boring dummy retrieving, it never becomes quite as much as it ought to be because it is really very boring. Also, I have been taking advantage of the pre-nesting time to get him to go on snipe and woodcock and the odd pheasant. Like his mum, he is slow to point, but I have no worries about that because I know it will come.

Here is one of his first indications of pointing as he froze in the scent of a snipe:

Pontus on point in the white grass, scenting snipe.

Pontus on point in the white grass, scenting snipe.

We have now got in to grouse pair counting times and this is an important window not to miss as he is young and we only have a few weeks of it before we have to leave the hill for the birds to nest. I have taken advantage of having an older dog again and I allow Pontus to get up behind Gaia or Gollum on point. He is a bit of a barging-in-dog, he does not respect other dogs’ points, which is annoying, in fact on the continent it is seen as a fault when they don’t back other dogs’ points. Here is Gaia on point and although Pontus is not flushing, he is moving ahead of Gaia, so I use the handy, not-docked tail to hold him in place.

Gaia on point and Pontus learning. I have to hold him back by the Tigger tail.

Gaia on point and Pontus learning. I have to hold him back by the Tigger tail.

Gollum on point, Gaia backing and Pontus learning on the lead.

Gollum on point, Gaia backing and Pontus learning on the lead.

There is little doubt he enjoys the moor.

Pontus loving the run on the spring moor.

Pontus loving the run on the spring moor.

As he runs past me, he has time for a little glance. He is WITH me on the moor.

As he runs past me, he has time for a little glance. He is WITH me on the moor.

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Gollum Pointing and Flushing Woodcock

In February there were still loads of woodcock about and I took Gollum and Pontus, my two wirehaired pointers, out to find some. I made three little films of Gollum on point with the subsequent flush. Pontus, the apprentice, was on the lead behind Gollum to get the idea.

Here is another point and flush:

Lastly, I worked Gollum on the back wind and because I had a bell on him, I could hear that he had stopped. As I realised he was behind a bush, the bird would have to be sitting in the bush and I switched my iphone on hoping I would be proven right. As you play the film, try and go back to stop it just before the bird lifts as you can then see it sitting on the ground. At the end of the film you see Gollum rigid on point behind the bush.

It was really nice to get some easy shots of him with this fantastic bird.

Gaia was out with me today and never missed a snipe. Here she is on point, but over-shot where it was on her flush.

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Hunting and pointing, first steps

Pontus is now hunting,  but he is not sure why. His instincts and his breeding makes him search nicely, but he is clearly not sure what to look for. However, Watching him hunt is reassuring as I can see the beginnings of a nice pattern on the wind, obedience to the whistle and a really nice report with me. It is all natural for him, but roe deer foot scent is catching his imagination more than birds sitting in the grass.

Pontus is now allowed to hunt with me, but no shooting.

Pontus is now allowed to hunt with me, but no shooting.

At six months old he still looks dis-jointed, but happy.

At six months old he still looks dis-jointed, but happy.

He is using his nose to get the scent and clearly stops when there is something interesting. He does not point yet. His mother, Gaia, also took a while before she started to point.

He just catches the scent running along the pond.

He just catches the scent running along the pond.

The scent makes him want to investigate further.

The scent makes him want to investigate further.

And the nose goes in to the grass. There was nothing there...

And the nose goes in to the grass. There was nothing there…

As Pontus has no idea what he is looking for, I want him to understand that it is birds, not roe deer and I use an older dog for that. Here, after a little bit of hunting, Gollum is on point on a woodcock and I have led Pontus up beside him so he can get the scent and be “inspired” by Gollum’s point.  Funny how that paw goes up while he is still puzzling over what they are looking at.

Pontus lining up beside Gollum as he is on point. Paw up, but no idea.

Pontus lining up beside Gollum as he is on point. Paw up, but no idea.

Out training puppy with an older dog also gives the opportunity for some “sit-stay” training. It’s good to do all the exercises repeatedly in different places.

Pontus sitting, looking a bit forlorn in the middle of the woods.

Pontus sitting, looking a bit forlorn in the middle of the woods.

Great fun training a puppy.

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Small Retrieves at Five Months old.

Pontus is now five and a half months old and I have practiced the controlled retrieve, so he is solid in his delivery and completely certain of what to do with a dummy: deliver nicely in exchange of a treat.

We have moved outside now and Pontus loves to perform:

Pontus in full flow delivering a puppy dummy.

Pontus in full flow delivering a puppy dummy.

I sit him down and make him hold the dummy while I walk a short distance (20 metres) away. Once he has sat nicely I call him.

Waiting to be called, holding the dummy.

Waiting to be called, holding the dummy.

When called, Pontus sets off with the dummy.

When called, Pontus sets off with the dummy.

Softly holding the dummy while in full flow.

Softly holding the dummy while in full flow.

Looking up at my face as he approaches.

Looking up at my face as he approaches.

Sitting down, looking at me.

Sitting down, looking at me.

Holding the dummy, waiting for me to take it.

Holding the dummy, waiting for me to take it.

And finally the titbit as reward for delivering.

And finally the titbit as reward for delivering.

It is time to practice on cold game. All the training is about putting one building block on top of the previous, solid one. Here Pontus is holding a little cold partridge. It’s different to a dummy, but he is good at holding and gets used to it quickly.

Pontus sitting nicely holding a partridge.

Pontus sitting nicely holding a partridge.

I find it important to be able to clap him all over, also under his jaw, while he holds the bird. This is so that he doesn’t spit out too early just because my hand is near the bird. If a bird is still lively you can lose it if the dog spits out too early.

It's important to be able to clap him while he holds.

It’s important to be able to clap him while he holds.

It is also a good discipline to be able to walk the dog to heel while it is holding a bird.

Pontus walking to heel, holding the bird.

Pontus walking to heel, holding the bird.

Pontus sitting, holding and waiting with a partridge.

Pontus sitting, holding and waiting with a partridge.

Delivering partridge.

Delivering partridge.

Sitting down to present the bird for delivery.

Sitting down to present the bird for delivery.

That’s us for now. I also “hunt” him, but we have not yet had any real points. I am not seeking places with much game, it’s still too early.

Pontus has one more job: he still models our dog beds:

20th-nov-14

 

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Pontus and the Basics

Pontus is now 18 weeks old and he is getting the basics:

1) Sit to wait for his food

2) Wait to be let through a door, no barging

3) Stay in the back of the truck when it’s open without jumping out

4) When invited out, he sits first before being allowed to go

5) Walk to heel

6) Leave it  –  Take it

7) Sit, lie down

8) DOWN with head on the ground on command, not yet on whistle:

Head down on command. This means he would not be able to see tempting hares etc

Head down on command. This means he would not be able to see tempting hares etc

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So nice to have a puppy!

Pontus is mainly learning how to get on with the world. I simply don’t have time to train him as I work the others 3-4 days per week. And also need to look after the day job. However, he has seen most of the grouse moors we work on by now and is a good little fellow with humans and other dogs. He met his half brother a couple of weeks ago, which was nice as Truper is a kind a playful brother (same father). Here they are:

Pontus and Truper

Pontus and Truper

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Puppy Training starts at Eight Weeks

Now that I only have Pontus left, I can concentrate on the training. He is keen to learn and it is vital that we go everywhere to see the world. I had him in the pub, in the car, meeting other dogs and on the moor. Here is his first day in the heather:

Pontus smelling the heather on the moor.

Pontus smelling the heather on the moor.

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Eight weeks and off to new homes.

Having dreaded the departure for weeks, it is actually not too bad. I have managed not to cry so far. During the last week it has become clear to me that the pups need more than what I can give them and they need more space and more challenges. They are ready to go to their new homes and I am ready to concentrate more on Pontus.

Gaias female pups at eight weeks BLOG Continue reading

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Pups at Seven Weeks Old. Eating us out of the House.

I have it sorted: First thing in the morning I chuck chicken thighs in their whelping box to keep them in there and NOT on the wet and poohy newspaper in the pen. While they devour the chicken I can clean the pen and put down new, dry paper. They eat a phenomenal amount. I thought I would take a photo of the shopping trolley last time I went to the supermarket (and I go a few times a week!):

Shopping trolley for pups copy Continue reading

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They are just little wolves

The whole process of these pups follow a set path determined in the distant past amongst the wolf ancestors to the dogs. Gaia’s handling of the new pups, her gradual distancing from them, her weaning where she still gives them a small amount of milk, but increasingly regurgitate food for them instead and her disciplining of the little young dogs. I give them toys (empty milk cartons etc) and they love that, but the “killing practice” is the most important. They spend all wakening hours chasing and pushing one another over, shaking the skin, biting and pulling. It’s a training in agility for taking down pray as much as a social education where they learn to know each other’s limits. When you bite someone and he squeals, you went to far. That’s it. They spend most of the day in the outside pen:

Theia and Pontus in the garden.

Theia and Pontus in the garden.

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