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Posts Tagged ‘field cut for Irish Water Spaniel’

Clearly, the boy has talent. With a couple of months of weekly training with a pro, and a couple of weeks of daily training with Russ, Carlin has been able to mark the fall of birds and bumpers, go out, pick them up, bring them back, and deliver them to hand. Sometimes, he can even do short doubles — watching two bumpers go down, and then going out to get them one at a time. He’s picked up ducks, pigeons, chukars, quail, and pheasant. He’s even quartering a bit, trotting out in front of the handler, finding birds that have been planted in the field.

So he has some of the pieces that a gundog needs to know. Now it’s time for Carlin to put them all together in his head. So following in the footsteps of the other two dogs, Cooper and Tooey, Carlin is going off for several months to train with a pro. Starting today, Carlin will be living and working with Richard Matzke of Tuxedo Kennels.

Richard and Carlin with bird

Richard and Carlin with bird

Richard is best known for training pointers and spaniels. That will stand us in good stead because our first goal is to have a spaniel for upland hunting. Richard is a hunter himself, and a hunting guide, so he knows what an upland hunter needs in a working spaniel. Besides Carlin’s being a spaniel, though, we also want him to succeed in retriever hunt tests. Richard is also currently working with several other “exotic” retrievers, including a Standard Poodle and some Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers. And he’s worked with Labrador Retrievers, for whom the retriever hunt test game was invented. Fortunately, Richard is close enough to us, and available to clients on Saturdays, so I’ll be able to go up once a week and train with him, too.

Now to one of my favorite (and well-worn) peeves. Carlin is currently in a long show coat. I’d like to clip him down to a field cut, like I did with Tooey. But I have plans to show him in conformation from time to time, and although winning a conformation show while in a field clip happens once in awhile, generally, an IWS has to have long coat on the legs, ears, and topknot to win and get those points. Mostly the long coat is OK — with proper bathing, combing, brushing, and coat conditioning, an IWS can run around out in the field with a long coat. But it does help if the dog can see, and sometimes that long topknot can get in the way. Hence, the ninja spaniel hairdo:

Carlin with topknot tied up

Carlin with topknot tied up

He’s been gone only a few hours, and already I miss the boy, and I suspect he’ll miss us, too. But while we were out training today, he was the soul of happiness.

Carlin airborne

Carlin airborne

Now that we’re home, I can see that Cooper is thrilled to have that Twerp out of the way. Tooey looks worried. But not to worry girlie. All the dogs get sent off to camp or the spa from time to time, but none are given away.

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I was so enamored when I saw the pictures of Cooper’s sisters, Darcy and Tosca. I just loved the way that Louise and Pepi have trimmed their topknots and ears. So easy to maintain. So practical for a field dog.

Darcy, photo by Louise Bailey

Tosca, photo © Pepi Barrington

So, I wanted to try it on Cooper. Colleen once again agreed to help me out. Actually, she did most all of the work. And I think it turned out pretty darn good.

Cooper with new hairdo

When I got home from Colleen’s, I asked Russ what he thought of it. Diplomat that he is, Russ just said, “Well, you’re the one who grooms him.”

Okay, I get it. Not Russ’s favorite. And I have to admit it was a shock looking at him for the first several days. It’s really different from how he looked for his birthday photo. But it’s growing on me. It’s really growing on me.

And the real test will be next Sunday, when he’s out hunting for pheasant and chukar. I’m betting it will be much easier to get out all the debris and mats out of the new ‘do. I’ll let you know what I find out.

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