Text: Torsti Mäkinen, photo: Torsti Mäkinen & Maud Matsson
It has been almost a year since I wrote anything about our dogs. I guess the writing of my e-book "Blandfärs" exhausted me for quite a while. It contains most of the important things I like to share about dogs in general and particularly our own dogs. Whatever, life goes on despite of the book, now history, and since dogs are ever-changing creatures developing during their entire lifespan things have happened that can be worth to tell about.
Lärka was estimated to be slow developer and has shown that this estimation was true. The thing is that she now, soon 3 years old, in fact has developed forward, in about the same pace as the little bit similar Briz did. She can now handle demands a bit better and while still a wide ranger she in fact shows that she want to be in contact. She can easily be directed and also to some extent be controlled in hot situations but the best of that has to come yet, say within two more years.
You could say that she is a "rough shooters" dog now, she can do the most important things asked from a birddog: She finds game and can hold a point for whatever time you need to get up to her. She is not shy to flush them when asked, but what happens after the flush is not yet under reasonable control. She can also be directed to search an area in an efficient manner but her natural search is rather unmethodical. Both of these faults are a result of too little nerve stability combined with too much prey drive and hence she has not been trialed yet. Funny though, she is good at woodcock! Woodcock is considered to be a difficult game for a birddog but Lärkas cautious nature seems to help her here. It is a great pity we do not have very much of those birds!
Otherwise Lärka is very social and has at an old people's home been found to have the perfect temperament for something that we in Sweden call "service dog" or "therapy dog". Such dogs are increasingly being used in hospitals and other care institutions. Outside the hunting grounds she is also otherwise very obedient and easy to live with.
Rospiga, or "Piga" as we call her most often, on the other hand has developed as expected from an Ohlsmyrens kennel puppy. She goes from one lucidity to another without much hesitation. The most impressive thing with her hunting style is her natural search pattern that must be blue-printed somewhere in her genes and she efficiently covers ground without much thinking. She also seems to have a natural will to please and to keep contact so she is very easy to handle. In junior stake field trials on both bare mountain and lowland field she has been both very much admired and awarded and in that respect there is not much to complain about.
Anyway, I have a habit of finding faults in the best of dogs and from my very personal point of view Piga has a weak side that I could do without. She is very soft and lacks a bit in courage and competition drive. With our late Springer and Foxy and Pigas half-sister Sunnie I was able to wrestle and play so hard so blood was running and hair flew around from both me and the dogs! I still have scars in my arms and clothes torn to pieces as a memory from those dogs. We had a lot of fun, them and me. I miss those days and Lärka and Piga cannot fill the empty space they left. Well, you can't have it all and Piga is probably developing into the best gundog we have ever had and I have to be pleased with that. Instead I enjoy their social competence (a popular phrase these days :-) ) and have them with me in the car whenever possible since they can charm anyone we meet, including the occasional traffic police.
Cheers for now!