Running Through Bluestem

January 17th, 2009

Well the blast of colder weather is giving way to normal winter temps.  I love being outside and training with a little snowfall on the ground.  There was a couple hours of flurries, just enough to brighten the landscape.  It looked like a big snowstorm was coming, but after a while the snow dwindled to tiny flakes again.  The Little Bluestem around the field really brightens the view. 

Falling snow across field of Little Bluestem

The Bluestem also makes for great hiding places.  Yesterday I went out for some training with the yellow lab- it was a cold, breezy 11 degrees F, but he had a grand time, and I did too. He’s been cooped up inside (with the rest of us!) for too long,  and was getting antsy.   They’re such strong, muscular animals that they really need exercise, and he loves running in the field. 

Yellow Labrador Retriever training in winter field

 The orange colored “dummies” I throw for him are difficult to find sometimes, but he has an amazing ability to figure out where they are even if I don’t help direct him.  Sometimes I’ll have him sit at the edge of the field while I meander through it, dropping training dummies in various places so that he doesn’t see.  Then I’ll come back and send him off in one direction to look for them- he’ll start a search pattern like he’s running in the above picture, and use his nose to find them.  We are not at the point where he will follow my hand signals, but he will come back towards me with a certain whistle, and then head out again on command. Eventually he finds them all.  The big pup runs back with such enthusiasm! 

 2-year old Yellow Lab retrieving

Today is bright and sunny, and my younger brother is in town.  He came back from the middle east last month, and has taken time to see the family members- he looks really good! 

5 Responses to “Running Through Bluestem”

  1. I’ve never had a trained dog and don’t know all that goes into training them but I do know watching a well trained dog find things that I thought would be impossible, is perhaps one of the better things to watch in life.

  2. You mean you can train dogs?

  3. Ed- It is amazing to watch, isn’t it? I wish he was that well trained! Many of his gifts are innate rather than learned through training. And…

    Pablo- Well yes, and no. A well-bred Labrador makes anyone think they can be good at training dogs! I’ve studied and practiced and worked with him for hours… and he’s learned despite me. Sort of like fatherhood in many ways :) He can do amazing things and I’d like to think I share in his successes. But if I wanted him better trained, it would cost money- or skills – I simply don’t have.

  4. I have a friend with a lab named Zues. We would spend hours throwing a softball as far into the woods as we could and he would find it. One time I faked like I threw it and off he went. I then walked over to a nearby tree and put it in a crotch about five feet off the ground. I had forgotten about it when about an hour later he whined and I looked over to see him sitting below the tree looking at the ball. My retriever/lab mix would find things if he could spot them before five minutes were up. After that, he lost interest until I went and “fetched” it.

  5. That’s a funny story! Must be that amazing nose of theirs :)

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