June 24, 2009
Who's Your Daddy?
By David DiBenedetto
By now readers of this blog know the challenges I face: I’m an amateur trainer based in suburbia with a full-time job. It’s probably not unlike the difficulties many of you confront. But lately I’ve noticed another hurdle Pritch and I need to clear on our way to reliable gun dog status—my wife. Now, don’t get me wrong. This is not a wife rant. My finest catch to this day is my wonderful bride, Jenny, but I’m starting to think Pritchard feels the same way.
Jenny (pictured above with Pritch) works from home. So she and Pritch spend most of the day together. Jenny is wonderful around animals (hell, she puts up with me), and she spends time during the day working on the basic commands with Pritch. And the truth is, Pritch heels better with Jenny than me. And Jenny has a much better read of the pup’s attitude. But it’s especially noticeable during training sessions when my wife comes to watch, and Pritch, on occasion, brings the dummies back to her instead of me. On the other hand, I cringe when I see Jenny playing an “unsanctioned” game of fetch with the pup.
Makes me think of a quote from James Lamb Free’s book: “If you’re going to train the youngster quickly and easily, you want to deliberately make a one-man dog of him…You want to be his one and only hero.”
So, here’s the question: Do you impair a gun dog’s potential if you’re not the only master? I could see some truth there, but the way I look at it I’ve got one option—get Jenny to join us in the dove fields and on duck hunts.
And in that case, it’s a win-win situation.