Sunday, December 12, 2010
Josey the Wonder Dog!
I have written about my Boykin Spaniel Josey before. I told you what a wonderful dog that she is for my kids and our family. She is a Daddy's girl and loyal follower. She is two years old, and although she is bred to be a hunting dog, I have never really taken her hunting. I do not claim to be a bird dog trainer and quite frankly I have never had much luck in teaching a dog to be a good hunting partner. I'm sure that is my fault and not the dog's.
Here lately I have been taking Josey squirrel hunting with me in a local pecan orchard. She knows what a gun is and knows that when I shoot, a critter comes falling from out of the trees. She will chase squirrels up trees from out of the bushes and find them when I shoot them down. Sometimes she will bring them to me, sometimes not. You can tell that she really enjoys the hunt because her little tail is wagging 100 miles per hour the whole time. I began to wonder if maybe, just maybe, Josey could be a good hunting partner despite her owners lack of training skills???
Josey has always been very smart and catches on to things fairly quickly. I have had no trouble training her to have good manners around other people and she will always stay pretty close to wherever I am. It was for this reason that I decided to let her tag along on a small Saturday morning dove hunt. I knew there would not be many people there, and worse case she would just sit with me and watch. As daylight approached and a few birds starting to make there way into the field, someone fired a shot. It was like you turned a light on in Josey's head. Her tail started wagging and she got excited as if to say "So this is what we are doing today?" I was very nervous as I pulled on my first bird. I wanted to make sure that I connected on my first shot so that Josey could see how the game was supposed to be played. I fired and down it went in a puff of wintery feathers. Josey didn't move. I tried to send her out to fetch, but she just looked at me like I was crazy. I could almost hear her say, "Dude, there was no squirrel!"
So I walked my dog out to help her retrieve my bird. As we got close I told Josey to fetch it up and she caught scent of the dove. She quickly pounced and started to chew the bird. By the time I got it from her, she was covered with feathers, but I praised her when I took it from her and made a big deal of the whole thing as we went back to the stand. At least now she knew what Daddy was after.
The next bird was shot down and we sort of went through the same thing. She did not go after the bird right away. I had to start towards the direction in which the bird landed and then she went out from there. She found the bird, but I had to go and get it from her. Again, I made a big deal about the half retrieve. The third bird is where we turned the corner. I shot the bird down, but I could tell it was just a wing shot. As the dove sort of fluttered on the ground, Josey took off. As she approached, the bird also took off and struggled to fly down the field with Josey on its tail. She chased it for about 75 yards before she quit and ran back to me. The bird fell and died in front of my friend on the next stand. He picked up the bird and sort of tossed it towards my stand in the row that I was sitting on so that I would be able to easily find it. Josey saw him make his little toss and bolted in that direction. She picked up the bird and to my surprise ran it all the way back to me. I was so proud I could have cried!
I killed six more birds that morning and Josey the Wonder dog picked up and retrieved all 6 of them. Not too bad for a spoiled little house dog with no proper training. It just goes to show what good instincts these little brown dogs have. She really is a good dog and I am glad to say that I finally have a bird dog just like I have always wanted!!