Keepa under cover
With trials on the horizon, Ellena Swift looks to build Keepa’s confidence going into cover for retrieves, while harnessing Briar’s puppy enthusiasm
The shooting season is now in full swing and we have started on the pheasants. The weather has turned colder — at last — and the dogs are settling into their working and trialling routine well. My two-yearold dog Keepa has been coming on well over the summer and I am now looking to run him in a trial at some point this season.
For this I need him to be ready and have plenty of picking-up experience. He has completed a few training days and three full days’ picking-up. There is nothing like the real thing to prepare a dog for their trialling career. I have a full team of experienced dogs, which means I can choose the retrieves I ask Keepa to complete and hence work him on the elements that he needs.
For example, on Thursday I sent him for a blind retrieve along a drilled field and into a thick hedge with a deep ditch. He ran to the area beautifully and then followed the fall of the field, instead of tackling the cover straight on. It became apparent that when he could mark a bird falling into cover, he was happy to hold a line, but on a blind he was often thrown going into cover. This clearly needs work before we even think about a trial entry.