Yesterday day I received the expected registration and pedigree for the newest pup I call Pop. He received the first choice out of the three name choices we had requested. Officially, he’s Popinjay. Pop got a treat this past weekend none of his older associates had received in their puppyhood days, a brief wing and string stint. His older associates were all acquired later in the spring with robins, butterflies and bees all plentiful for their stalking, catwalking and pointing. Things worked out just right for him that found me down in a back corner of the basement next to the fishing rods. Knowing he was outside and a box of grouse wings were handy on the way back through, both a rod and wing went with me.
Pop was finishing up his first bout on the chain gang. His older associates were on it as well, solely for the purpose for Pop to attribute this bondage and ensuing struggle to them rather than I. The older dogs are on the chain first serving as a distraction while I hook him up, I walk off and the struggle ensues. He runs after to catch up but stopped cold, turns around to look back down his chain and sees Blaze watching the opening act of the production Pop’s Struggle. Pop sets his feet and tugs with his head trying back out. After a few minutes trying whatever his young mind can engineer he eventually gives up or takes a break, I’m not sure as I don’t give him the chance recommence. Coming back in the lull, I release him and am seen as a hero. We walk out around the barn into yard beyond, his legs and zeal afford us some separation before he turns to come back when something darts into the air and lands whatever the exact distance a seven foot rod and eight feet of line provides. He stops and tilts his head, his attention; “hooked”.
Up until this point I’d always been under the mindset that the wing and string game is a dog and pony trick, it may sell a few pups or impress some non-bird dog savvy friends but there’s no training value and it tends to develop future problems. That is still my mindset, but I now believe there may be a slight value in it, if kept brief and not overdone. It can offer a glimpse of what you might end up with, or leave you with the reminder of what you had but screwed up in training. I’ve only seen one guy do this, he has used it to determine which pup he kept. I must say this method is probably more helpful than flipping a coin or going by color markings. I’ve been pretty lucky with pups in the past. Tipper was one of two left in a litter of eight or nine, he’s had his setbacks with a nagging injury but he’s been worth that trouble. Blaze fell from the sky and I’m anticipating him to have a breakout season this year. Annie is definitely a bird dog, she’ll be a nice dog for someone whether that’s me or possibly someone else, we’ll get this sorted out this summer. I’m pretty happy with Pop, I’m looking forward to his development.