Tag Archives: aubrey
Bill, Aubrey has just blistering speed. The gunners missed the bird completely and it flew into the wood line 200 yards away. Aubrey just ran it down. The second bird she trapped on the ground, which is legal. She saves the gunners a lot of ammunition.
Well this is just too weird. I told Tanya this morning that I need to email Bill and let him know what Aubrey has been up to. About three weeks ago I joined an organization called Minnesota Hunting Spaniel Association. They are an AKC field trial and hunt test certified organization. As a matter of fact, they are hosting the 2011 National English Cocker Field Trials in Staples, Minnesota this October. Anyway, they are based around the Twin Cities, but let Wisconsin dog owners join the club also. Most of these folks are amateur dog trainers, but on a level way above average. The Vice President of the club’s dog placed second in the National Cocker Field Trials last year.
Yesterday we went to a training facility in Baldwin, Wisconsin (about an hour’s drive) to one of MHSA’s working days. What a nice group of people. Of course, we knew they would be because they are like us—dog people. There were Springer spaniels, Boykins, Cockers, Airedales and American Water Spaniels there, probably about thirty trainers and sixty or seventy dogs. Yesterday they used chuckers to train. I was a little nervous because Aubrey had never been in that kind of heavy grass cover or flushed a chucker before. She had also never had two gunners on either side of the course to shoot the birds for her. And of course, I don’t really know what I’m doing either. Some of the dogs were absolutely phenomenal and others were not so good. But just about all of them could flush and retrieve. Many of the dogs were steady to wing and shot. There was one bench bred American Cocker that wouldn’t flush the bird, she just stood right over it barking at it. Everyone had a good chuckle over that. Someone finally kicked it out for her, but then she wouldn’t retrieve it after it was shot. She just started barking at it again.
It was about three hours into this thing when it was Aubrey’s turn. I explained to the two gunners that neither of us had done this before and she was only fourteen months old. They just wanted to make sure that she had been shot over before. Well, there were about fifty people watching us at the time I cast her off, and I was just keeping my fingers crossed. I have been working with her every day since the snow left and she is now line steady, hups on command in the field and is starting to do blind retrieves. Anyway, I told her to “get out” and off she went like a pro. She ran left to the gunner, I gave her two pips and she turned and ran directly to the other gunner. We moved up the field about fifty yards, she got really birdy and flushed the first chucker hard. The bird flew straight away from us and the gunners dropped it so it landed about seventy yards out. Aubrey was hot on its heels and immediately scooped it up and retrieved it directly to my hand. It was just perfect. The next bird flew off to our left and that gunner crippled it on his second shot. The bird must have flown a hundred and twenty yards before it landed in thick brush. Again, she was in hot pursuit, but completely out of our sight. After she was gone for about two minutes I turned to one of the gunners and said, “She’s probably chewing on it down there.” Just as I said that, here comes old Aubrey with a mug full of chucker, hot footing it out of the brush about seventy-five yards away and making a bee line straight for me. It was just a classic. She brought it right to me, sat down, and I took the bird from her mouth. Not a mark on the bird either. The gunners and the five or six trainers who were following us in the gallery were just absolutely stunned. You should have seen the looks on their faces. One of the trainers asked me where I got the dog and when I told him Schaller Kennels he said, “Well, I’ve never heard of him, but he sure in the hell knows how to breed dogs.” When I said that yeah I thought Aubrey did all right one of the other trainers said “all right? It was really exciting when she tracked that runner and brought it back, she really did a great job in the field.” I was so proud of her. She is just a super smart, biddable, sweet dog. We are going to an event held by the club in Glencoe, Minnesota on June 26th. They call this a “Fun Trial” and it is a little more structured than a training day.
Well, I’ll quite bending your ear for now and will mail you and let you know how she does. Hopefully, Tanya will remember to take some pictures this time. It sounds like your retirement is going well. You’re busy enough to stay out of trouble, but not too busy. The trip to Hawaii sounds wonderful. We watch your web page a lot and love all the pictures of your new babies. Looks like you got some good owners in this last bunch. How much are your dogs going for now? O.K. so I’ll type more at your later. Aubrey is sleeping on my feet as I type this.
Aubrey’s first birthday is next week and I just wanted to check in with you and let you know what a wonderful dog Aubrey has become. When we brought her home at eight weeks she settled right in and got along just fine with my five year old Springer spaniel and my wife’s three cats. She was just about house broken when we got her and by twelve weeks she had almost no accidents in the house. I have owned five Springer spaniels before we bought Aubrey and she is by far the smartest of the lot. As a puppy Aubrey was ready for anything. She was not too overbearing and not too shy. I think this was probably because of the great job you guys did socializing her before she came to us.
Our veterinary doctor told us that she seldom sees dogs as good as Aubrey. She said that Aubrey was perfect and worth every cent we paid for her. She has had no health issues since we got her. Temperamentally she is mellow anytime she is in the house; well . . . except when she is terrorizing the cats, but that is just what puppies do.
As far as hunting goes she is an absolute natural. At twelve weeks she was retrieving a winged dummy to hand, quartering to two pips on the whistle and coming to me on four pips of the whistle. The first time I threw a toy for her in the house she brought it back to me and dropped it at my feet. I slowly broke her to sounds: clapping my hands while she ate, then moving to clapping wood blocks together and finally a blank gun outside as I threw her dummies. At sixteen weeks I was shooting both 20 and 12 gauges over her and she has shown no signs of gun shyness. At about this same time I introduced her to water. She took to it instantly and loves to retrieve and swim. If there is water around she’s in it.
Also at about 16 weeks I began taking her to a nationally known English Cocker trainer located in North Branch, Minnesota. Since I consider myself a novice at dog training I felt I needed help in introducing Aubrey to birds. Aubrey and I went to visit Tony at his training facility every Saturday morning for about seven weeks. There were many other dogs there at different stages of training. By our fourth visit, Aubrey was flushing, finding and retrieving pigeons to hand. On our next visit Tony told me that “Aubrey was going to be an all star.” Now I know that I might be a bit partial, but I have to be honest, of the six to ten odd dogs who were training at Tony’s place on the weekends, Aubrey was light years ahead of them all. Even dogs who were six months to a year older did not do as well as she did.
I hunted her in Northern Wisconsin for ruffed grouse last fall when she was seven or eight months old and she did great. She stayed close and quartered in front of me and retrieved everything I shot. The first time she ran up on a downed pheasant she paused because she had never seen one before, but by the third of fourth bird she was retrieving them readily.
Well I must say good bye for now. Aubrey is just a peach. She is a real cuddle bug, and best of all her goofy antics make my wife and I laugh out loud every single day. We definitely will be buying another pup from you. Thank you so much for bringing this wonderful dog into our lives.
This weekend was our first session with a professional dog trainer. Aubrey wasn’t very interested in fetching either a dead pigeon or a live pigeon on land. The trainer said that is very common, everything is still very new to her. After we walked through corn stubble tossing live and dead pigeons with no success we went down to a small pond on his property. Tony asked me if Aubrey could swim and I said that she had never been in water. Tony pitched a pigeon about 6 feet into the pond and that little shit barreled right into the water and brought it back to my feet. We didn’t throw them deep enough for her to have to swim for, but she fetched two more pigeons out of the water before we called it quits. She was just 15 weeks old! It was just about the cutest thing I have ever seen in my life. I took one dead pigeon and one live pigeon home with me on Saturday, and by Sunday I had Aubrey fetching the dead pigeon on land. We practiced that for three days and this morning we tried the live pigeon. She kind of mauled that and chased it around a bit and then brought it to me. I tossed it two more times and she returned it to my feet both times. The pigeon was looking a little worse for the wear when I put it back in the pen. I may have another dead pigeon to toss shortly. Aubrey goes for three good walks behind the house everyday. We always work on something. We have been working on going to her “place” this week and after three days (and many treats) she has figured it out. I have been shooting the blank pistol over her for about a week now and she is getting used to that. She harasses Meghan and mauls the cats on a regular basis, so all in all, her world is pretty good. I’ve kind of taken a shine to the kid!