April 12, 2010
Pritch Tangles with Mother Goose in Mid Retrieve
By David DiBenedetto
For the past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about a water retrieve that I wanted to test on Pritch. To do so, I needed to drive to upstate South Carolina where I have permission to run the dog on a farm that has numerous alligator-free ponds and, unfortunately, an ungodly amount of cow patties for Pritch to wallow in.
As you can see from the above photo, the retrieve would require that Pritch cross a tiny clump of land on her way to and from the mark. I was curious how she would handle the island, as well as a bird tossed from a boat with a shotgun blast added for realism.
My older brother would handle paddling/bird boy/gunning duties. I knew this was a tough test but had faith in my dog. I even placed a side bet on her performance with my brother, who likes to jokingly call Pritch a debutante.
When the shot went off and the bird hit the water I released Pritch and she flew from the bank to the pond with a boatload of passion. But when she reached the little island a goose reared its ugly head, literally.
Unbeknownst to all of us, a goose was sitting on a clutch of eggs a few feet from where Pritch made landfall and was none to happy to be interrupted by a small, wet brown dog. After a fair amount of honking and flapping she eventually flew off. (See left side of below photo.) Pritch, of course, was mesmerized and totally forgot about her mark. I lost the bet but got a great laugh out of it.
On the second attempt, I’m happy to report my dog nailed it. She crossed the island both ways and brought the bird to shore. Then we let the goose get back to her business and moved on to other parts of the pond. (For the record, now that we’ve conquered Goose Island I sure wouldn’t mind casting a rubber worm against its banks.)
Anybody else taking advantage of spring to get out and work their dogs?