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Been a While…

Well now that spring is here, it is time to get Ranger ready for this fall.  For the past many months I have not had the time for much formal training.  We have been mainly walking the feilds letting him learn to search. Spent time gun conditioning.  He is now pretty good on a collar with basic commands, so I can control him in the feild.  His retreiving to hand is getting much better.

Yesterday was his 1st birthday and I’ll try to update more often.

Issue With Search Range

I am having an issue with Ranger’s training.  I am having a hard time getting him to range out away from me when searching.  He keeps wanting to go search behind me or near me.  I keep pushing him to head out ahead of me and he does for a short bit, but then he circles around and end up behind me again.  It is getting very frustrating.  I will be spending time over the Christmas breaking researching training options and working with him on this issue.

Winter Outing

We got up into the mountains this weekend to enjoy the fresh snow and some mountain air.  Ranger was in Heaven.

ranger_snow_woods1

ranger_snow_running

Introduction to Gunfire

This last week I have started to introduce Ranger to gunfire.  I picked up a cheap 22 caliber starter pistol and some low power blanks a while back, waiting for Ranger to get a bit older.  He is now almost 6 months old and it seems like he is ready.

What I have done is take Ranger up into the hills where he can get into some chukar and all sorts of other critters so he is excited and running all over.  When he gets 40 or 50 yards out, I will fire a single shot and watch for a reaction.  I limit myself to about 3 shots per outing.

His reaction is usually to stop, look around to see where the noise came from for about 5 seconds, then his nose is back to ground in search mode.  I am not seeing any negative raction that looks fearful or startled, so I think the introduction is going well.

More Training Toys

I won a $300 gift card to the vendor of my choice recently, so I took the opportunity to pick up a training collar for Ranger.  I decided to go with the Tri-Tronics Sport Combo G3.  It seemed to have a lot of good reviews, had a compact handset, and fit in the budget.  I need to get a bird launcher next.  Why do I not pick any cheap hobbies?

Featherd Rats

So if you have read other posts in my blog, you know that I acquired 5 pigeons and a coop to use in the training of my dog, Ranger.  I would go out each day to feed and water the birds and let them out to exercise.  One day, about a month ago, I found a dead bird in the bottom of the coop and disposed of it.  That night I fell ill with a fever.

For a full week I dealt with a 104 deg. fever until I was finally diagnosed with Psittacosis and asymptomatic pneumonia which I contracted from the birds.  During this week, all but one of my birds died, and I spent 10 days on doxycycline.

This last week, my dog came down with Psittacosis as well, which is very rare for a canine to get it, but within 48 hours of being on doxycycline, he was much better.  It was getting dicey there for a while while he was running a 105.4 deg. fever and we were not sure what was going on.  He is still not 100%, but he can at least go outside and wander around without assistance now and gets better each day.

Needless to say, our training has been set back a full month between the two of us being ill.  I need to decide how to handle the bird situation.  I hope to get Ranger back out in the field this weekend to review some basics assuming his energy and stamina levels are back to normal.  I am just glad to still have a dog at this point.

Three or four times a week I go to the pigeon coop and clean out the food and water.  Each time I take the birds and put them on the outside perch one at a time, to teach them to go through the trap door.  At first, I had to force them through.  Now a few of them go through on thier own, but I have a couple of hold-outs.  Another week and they should be going through as well.  They are about five weeks old now.