Following Filly… AND her friend Thatch!

By Jennifer Broome, QK Owner

Filly “NOSE” how to help raise a well-mannered puppy!

In our last article about Filly, she was just enjoying learning her Foundation Obedience and Gun Dog Training with me.  We were working diligently on leash, off leash to e-collar, fetch work, and hunting upland birds.  Going at a slow, methodical, and appropriate pace for this sweet, sensitive girl, Filly had wonderful experiences with her training.  Filly enjoyed the work and learned with thoughtful, calm, patient, and fair repetition.

Filly got to enjoy upland hunts tagging along with my experienced dogs where she learned to explore cover, find hiding birds, track birds, and mark falling birds.  She loved this work!

She got to travel for Thanksgiving to New Hampshire with friends to vacation and hunt grouse.  She got to go to two Cabela’s Pro Staff appearances with me to demonstrate her obedience, greet people, and act as a wonderful ambassador for Field/Working Labrador Retrievers. She also got to visit the Jersey Shore over Christmas, run the beach, and generally soak up the puppy life.

In Late November we got two friends for Filly, a pair of lovely eight-week old English Cocker Spaniel puppies.  The plan was to sell one pup and raise the other for a client. We will be getting more of these adorable, well-bred field pups this spring or summer.  They will go to active, working field/hunting homes with Foundation training.

Double Trouble!

Filly, meet your new friend Thatch!

Filly has been a wonderful mentor, companion, and big sister to Thatch.  Poor Thatch is Filly’s personal squeeze toy… but she must love it because she keeps coming back for more.  During the first month with us, Thatch mostly got walks with Filly, crate training, and manners work.  She learned to travel to the kennel with me every day, meet new people, and enjoy long walks to tire her out.  They were having a blast together!

In early January, we headed south for my winter training in North Florida and Southeast Georgia.  Thatch rode wonderfully up front in her puppy crate, and Filly took it all in stride—sleeping most of the two-day trip in the truck cab.  My dogs all get a lot of exposure to truck rides safely in crates as puppies and learn to travel calmly/stress free, and are always eager for the next adventure.

Time in Florida is ALL ABOUT THE DOGS!  With my three GSPs, two Labs and Cocker pup, I have a full house of six dogs.  Every day I walk, run, ATV, or horseback exercise them.  Additionally the purpose of the trip is to enjoy the vast properties for amazing bird dog and retriever training.  And, of course, working with and around some of the finest amateur and professional dog trainers in the country!

On Thursday January 17, Filly had her first exposure to a retriever training group.  I was invited to train with an incredible group of people, and all in her first day Filly got her very first duck, her first bird boy station, and her first live flyer duck.  What an introduction!  My diligent work over the past 6 months with her obedience, manners, attention drills, field hunting, and fetch work laid an amazing foundation for success.  Filly worked intently to my Huntsmith-taught (thank you to my mentor Rick Smith!) Silent Command System with lovely heeling, steady sits, and light cues to communicate.  This softness, sense of light communication, as well as her previous repetition to thousands of drills to sit and come to heel allowed her mind to focus on the field and be a calm partner by my side. With bird boy help, she started with 50 yard duck retrieves. Soon we got her running out to bigger distances and completing the task of delivering to my hand.  She had to navigate a big swim for some water retrieves and she very cleverly cheated the shoreline at every attempt to get to the bird more quickly. We will be working on the de-cheating over the coming weeks as she progresses with more water work.

On Friday, February 1, Filly had her 11th day at retriever group. I am so proud of my little pup and it is a pleasure to work her.  She is now keen to find the gunners in the field, and her marking capacity to travel upwards of 200 yards to a thrown duck is becoming more solid. She is learning to run to the fall of the bird and hunt the area of the fall, and she impressively even tracked a missed flyer about 40 yards in the sky. She broke but ran right to its fall area while promptly and confidently returning the unharmed duck to heel.

Each day we diligently work our yard drills back at home in the horse arena. Filly is about 2 weeks into learning pile work, casting, whistle stops, side and front sends. Another few weeks and we will move on to pattern blinds. Each day she learns more and loves her work.

Thatch is also having a blast in Florida! She gets to spend time on the patience chain while the retrievers work, and I do mini-obedience sessions with her for leash heeling, sits, come to heel, and lie down.  She watches the retrievers work, hears the gun shots, and watches the birds. She even will pull a pheasant or duck off the drying rack, and proudly drag or carry them around even though they outweigh her. She is around other dogs, new people, places, smells and sounds. She gets daily truck rides in her crate, daily exercise runs, time afield chasing quail and lots of mini leash sessions.  She is now four months old, and each week I will ask for more obedience, control and patience.  She is coming along wonderfully with her Foundation training. This diligent work has ensured and created a confident, well mannered, healthy, capable, and willing pup that is eager to learn.

Stay tuned in April for our next update on Filly and Thatch!

If you need help raising your next puppy QK can help!  We offer two week puppy programs, private lessons, and even customized puppy rearing programs where Jennifer helps you to find, purchase, and raise a pup.  These pups have been there, done that, and have a Foundation of training for patience, manners, socialization, and obedience. This early schooling and accountability training provides a wonderful baseline for a strong work ethic, incredible structure, and willingness to learn and advance into a well-balanced dog.

Reach out to Jennifer for more information:

jbroome@qkdogs.com