The Vizsla Newzsletter (Aug / Sept 1998)
The Starting Point

By Roy Greffin
- Chapter 6-

Agasvari Royal Diamond
Agasvari Royal Diamond bred by K Eory, owned by T Elliot.
As a 10 month old puppy he is already a placegetter
(3rd out of 12) at the retrieving trial.

When the Grizzled One heard the words "There is a problem with Penny" from his wife, his heart sank. In spite of his age he sprinted to the deck where his wife was waiting with the phone. "Hi Ron, what is the problem with Penny?" The vet replied "Along with the pancreatic problem, she has a infection in her system. I started her on antibiotics this morning and we should start to see some improvement by tonight. I sent a blood sample to the lab this morning and should have a report back tomorrow but I think it will basically confirm what we already know about her. But, we want to touch all the bases in this situation. The nausea and retching episodes ended shortly after you brought her in this morning and she is getting nourishment and medication by IV. She seems fairly comfortable but not as bouncy as she usually is. We will watch her close and stay in touch with you." "Thanks Ron, you know what Penny means to us." "I know Roy, she is special here too."

The Grizzled One handed the phone back to his beloved and relayed to her what the vet had told him. She touched his arm and said to him "Honey, she will be back home with us before you know it and she will be able to go back to what she loves best, hunting". With the sense of ominousness at least partially lifted, the Grizzled One returned to making preparations for the Shorthair pup's training session.

Image: Tosca (Tosca of Szep-Allat)
and Ziggy (Tailor Made of Szep-Allat)
show that they jnwo what a fire is for.
Tosca & Ziggy Shortly before 4:00 Ed's car pulled into the Grizzled One's driveway. The older man went to greet him and told him to let Benji out and romp a bit . The pup was all over the Grizzled One who picked him up and cradled him and allowed the pup to yank his beard and give him puppy kisses. (The Grizzled One believes that like infants, puppies need affectionate, physical contacts) "Well you ready to go to work with your dog Ed?" Asked the Grizzled One. "What are we going to do today?" asked Ed. "We are going to repeat yesterday's session with some additional twists." replied the Grizzled One. He instructed the younger man to put the wide training collar on the puppy and then attach the check to it and take Benji for a short walk while he set up the training situation. Because the puppy had indicated high degree of birdiness and desire in the prior session, the Grizzled decided to use bird launchers today with Ed taking more of a handler role than he did yesterday when he simply held the checkcord while the puppy did gyrations with the flight of each pigeon. Because of the wind direction (Remember that wind direction. Always bring your dog downwind from the training bird) the Grizzled One was able to place the three launchers in a fairly straight line in a high weed strip. It was really a ideal puppy training situation. The pup could be moved from one bird to the next, in a line, and always be downwind. He called for Ed to bring Benji back. Explained to Ed how today's session would operate. "Today we are going to use radio controlled bird launchers instead of placing the birds on the ground under cover. The reason why we are doing that is your pup showed he had a good nose yesterday and reacted to bird scent so now we want to get those birds up into the air the instant he catches scent. That will not only teach him to trust his nose when he picks up bird scent it will also cause him to stop (a point is a delayed stalk on the part of the pointing dog) which becomes a point. We are giving his genetic program a little help. Yesterday we introduced him to birds ( in a highly controlled situation) and he showed us that he was birdy. Today we are going to reward his picking up scent with an immediate reward of a bird in the air."

Instructing Ed to keep the pup about 15 feet away from the weed strip containing the bird launchers the two men began walking, with the pup tugging at the end of the checkcord, parallel to the weed strip. As they approached the area where the first launcher was located the Grizzled One told Ed that the launcher was coming up and to keep a good hold on the check cord . As they approached the spot both men's gazes were riveted on the puppy who tugging along went right by the hidden bird launcher. Ed turned to the Grizzled One and with a crestfallen look asked "What happened? Is something wrong? He did not pick up that bird's scent!" "Just keep going Ed to where the next launcher is. We'll come back and work that bird going in the opposite direction. You have to realize that your pup is a pup and is just starting to built up the memory banks of experiences which will enable him to be a mature adult later on. Also scenting may not be what it seems it should be. The breeze coming at us face high may be altogether different down at ground level where your puppy is. Over the years I have seen many well trained and highly experienced bird dogs go right by game birds that were visible to the eye but whose scent was undetectable to the dog for a whole host of reasons". The Grizzled One informed Ed that they were coming up on the spot where the 2nd launcher was and almost in the same breath the happy tugging by the puppy halted and the puppy whirled to face the weed strip whereupon the Grizzled One thumbed the transmitter button on the launcher transmitter and a big homing pigeon shot up into the air 15 feet in front of the wide eyed puppy. "Tell him he is a good boy and move him on down the strip to the next launcher Ed" said the old hunter.

Image: Canadian Ch Comynara Napkeltei Itzhak Fdj CGC (Isaac)
owned by William Thompson in Canada

Isacc The puppy now instead of tugging his checkcord in a straight line was moving in a zigzag pattern looking for??? "Coming up to the next launcher Ed" said the Grizzled One. The instant they were abreast of the hidden launcher the puppy's nostrils flared and instantly the Grizzled One catapulted the bird into the air. This time the pup stood and watched the bird for a tiny bit before it went into gyrations in its desire to get that bird. "Ed, we are going to swing out a bit and come back at an angle towards that 3rd launcher. I don't want the pup to go back past the launchers that we have discharged. He will be picking up bird scent with no bird to go with it. That kind of experience will come later. What we are interested in is giving him as many positive experiences with birds as possible." As they angled towards the final launcher with the puppy doing a frantic zigzag in front of them the Grizzled One watched the pup intently. As they reached the area of the launcher, Ed diligently kept the pup a good 15 feet out from the strip. The Grizzled One not seeing the puppy display any signs of awareness of the bird's presence told Ed to let the pup move in 5 feet or so towards the weed strip. The pup immediately moved closer to the weed strip and at the instant its nose flared its face froze in a mask of intensity and its forward motion became frozen in time and space. It was pointing. This all took place within the wink of an eye before the Grizzled One could react to the pup's action with the release of the bird. The pup's intense gaze at the bird as it rose in flight did not abate. "Praise him and move him on" said the Grizzled One to Ed . "Your puppy is becoming a bird dog."

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