durangopipe wrote:Dang it . . .
I can't look at photos of setter puppies without
1) getting mushy (to then point of being choked up)
2) getting nostalgic
3) wanting another setter puppy!
Fortunately, my wife loves setters, too.
If you can stand it, here are few more photos of ours:
The very regal Freckles:
Freckles & Buddy, in the rig after a hunt:
Quinn on point:
Panda catching scent:
Panda at home:
If truth be told, Freckles was by far the best bird dog I've ever known. Incredible blood. Extraordinary nose. Amazing "bird sense". Buddy was good, incredibly loving and biddable and wonderfully eager if not as gifted as Freckles. Quinn and Panda are rescues who were advertised as great bird dogs needing a loving home (their owner had died). We love them to death, but "great" bird dogs exaggerates their hunting ability.
Puppy fever. I get it. I don't get baby fever anymore.
There's a lot to be said for natural talent and biddable behavior in the same dog at the same time, but natural talent without the biddable behavior can be troublesome. I'll take biddable over great natural talent without any day. A biddable dog can be a pleasant and moderately useful companion despite a lack of great natural talent. I had a very talented Black Lab once who didn't have a desire to please and was very driven. Yes, I could send him over the hill to retrieve but he was still a nightmare to live with. He only wanted to work for himself.
My current English Cocker has good talent and drive, he can't blind retrieve as easily, but he wants to please and will respond to my commands every time. It just takes a lot more whistle blowing and extra hand signals. He never needs an e collar either. He's "soft" and I like that. I prefer to use positive training methods. I never force fetched my dogs or seen the point in doing so with the spaniels or retrievers. But my Cocker really is a great spaniel. He works the cover within shotgun range very well with natural quartering. I use the whistle for long retrieves, rarely for the quartering and usually only for the first few minutes when his excitement levels are really high. A lot of spaniel hunters seem to be on the whistle constantly.