So now the season is in full flow and the dogs are working to their absolute maximum. It is just amazing how much they can run on the moor. We have been counting grouse for a while, so I guess they are all pretty fit, but still. During the counting and the field sport season, they all travel on their dog beds in the back of my vehicle as most of the estates are fairly spread out. With a thick, insulating support, they can travel anywhere in super comfort and arrive fresh and ready to run.
We often start at 9.30 in the morning and I would normally bring two or three dogs with me. They then take turns and run one at a time while the others rest, but still walk. In fact, they may not be running, but they are just as alert when they walk to heel as they are keeping a keen eye on the dog that is out working. You can see the “heel-walkers” change completely when the running dog goes on point. They stretch their necks as much as they can and their steps become impatient and keen. They want to get to the point as quickly as possible to take part in the action. All this is mentally immensely exhausting and there is no doubt that they all need their luxury dog beds to sleep on during the drive home.
I work my German Wirehaired Pointers and they have a well earned reputation for stamina. OK, they suffer a bit from the heat on really hot days, so I always carry several litres of water if there is any risk that they can’t find water on the hill. On 12th August they worked on-off for 2 hours before lunch and three hours after lunch. Yesterday they had a very hard day with three hours before lunch and five hours after lunch in pretty tall heather. And then, when you want to take them all in and walk them all to heel on the last 2-300 meters, there is constantly one that sneaks off and “escapes” out hunting again. In fact I got really annoyed with them in the end because I was utterly exhausted myself and kept having to rein them in or actually go and deal with the points.
Then, in the evening after their big feed, they do flake out on their large dog beds, happy as can be. After a day like yesterday I am always a bit surprised to see them when I let them out in the morning as they bounce along with no stiffness at all. They are so super fit and well built to do what they are bred for.