Growing up in Wisconsin we did a lot of hunting. Some of the most enjoyable hunting we would do was bird hunting. When I look back at my childhood I can remember my dad and uncles always having some kind of bird dog around.
For us there where two man types of bird dogs. We had the retriever, and the pointer. The retrievers where the lab and retriever breeds. As far as the pointers went there where the setters, and the spaniels.
We were never very big on whether or not a dog had a pedigree or papers. We were more interested in how the dog would perform out in the field. With this in mind we would spend a lot of time with the dogs out in the field for training purposes.
We would go into my uncles empty silo at night and catch pigeons for training purposes. We would get the birds dizzy then let the dogs work to track, point, then flush on command. The nice part was the birds would fly away and come back to the silo again that night. Of course this was for the training of our pointers.
When it came to training for are water dogs or retrievers as I called them earlier. We would take a training dummy, a couple rubber bands, and an old duck wing we had in the freezer. Using the rubber bands we would attach the wing to the dummy and go out in the boat to a lake we knew and throw the dummy into the cat tails and send the dog after it.
We would also shoot clay pigeons in the back pasture of my Uncles. When we where doing this we would take the dogs out there with us a ways away from where the guns would be going off. There we would play with the dogs. After the first couple of shots the dogs didn’t even notice the loud bangs of the shotguns.
As the dogs got older they knew that when the guns came out it was there time to go to work. You could just feel the excitement radiating off the dogs as they anticipated either the training or the hunting trip.
Even though are bird dogs where working dogs they where also part of the family.