By:  April Mack
Prois Staffer and Oregon State Coordinator

New puppy! No, not a covid rebound, a new adventure after losing mine to an
aggressive cancer at the young at of 9. My best friend, my hunting partner, we could
read each other, hunted in sync, hiked in unison... he was my “boy”. I still get choked
at losing him, he was incredible.

It’s been over 10 years since I “trained” a bird dog... and if I’m honest with myself, I
didn’t really train him. Good breeding, good genetics, mostly natural instincts, he
trained me.

Fast forward to 2 years later. So much to do... so many things to train... where do I start...what can I teach... where will we go with this training... how far will I take her...
Pump the brakes, flip that around! How will she train me, what will she teach me, where will she take me on this training, where will she let me start, how far will she allow me to take her? She’s a soft pup, she is a kind soul, a gentle girl. Honestly, I was looking for a male, didn’t care much for females, always had males, “easier”. How I ended up with her is another story.

She has made me dig deep to find patients that I didn’t know I had, she is teaching me to slow down, to match her pace. Truthfully, to enjoy the process. I am learning to let go of my sometimes-unrealistic expectations. And most of all, to trust her! I am seeing how smart she is, so much more than me.

If I could offer advice, I would say learn your pup, get to know it, read it, what makes them tick, go at your pups’ pace, not your timeline. And most of all, enjoy the journey.

We have a long road ahead of us, so much to learn. For me to learn. My goal is to see how far in NAVHDA we will make it. Possibly only the NA test, could be the Utility test, her achievements will fall on me, how well I do to let her show me what she is capable of, letting her reach her full potential. Basically, not screwing her up!

I will add, I discovered a book on training, “Tips and Tales on Training Your Bird Dog” by George DeCosta Jr. I am thrilled at this discovery. I love George’s principle of training and his views and have learned so much from him. We have our first NAVHDA test (NA) in in April. I’m anxious, nervous and a little excited to see how we do. I just have to trust her, my Lacie girl.

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