It's been so long since I had only one dog I'd forgot how much work it could be. Having two dogs should be more work than only having one, except in the case of upland dogs. For the most part, they are pretty high maintenance. Especially when it comes to there energy level. In the past, my boys always entertained each other and burned a lot of their energy chasing each other around or other dog games. Jake and Riley played a lot of the dog games until Riley broke his leg. Riley was then sentenced to a ten by ten room and I was in charge of entertaining Jake. That wasn't too much of a problem because I love any excuse to be in the hills. But it became a problem when I was confined because of my knee replacement. Jake still needed that play time and was constantly reminding me of that. Either get outside with me or I'll see what kind of trouble I can get into. For me, that was a good thing. I had to get outside with him at first with crutches and later with a cane. Jake helped me in my rehabilitation. In my opinion, it's harder to have one dog than it is two or three.
The last day of hunting season was yesterday, but Jake doesn't understand that. He still thinks we need to get out and burn some calories. So at least three times a week I'll try and find some mountain to climb with him. We'll spend a lot of time scouting and training to be a little better. I have to admit that Jake has been a fantastic trainee and for the most part gets it done without any of my help.
Jake turned 1 year old Jan. 15th and he had a great first year, even though it was shortened by my knee replacement. Even during that time we got out on some short hunts. We took up quail hunting one day because the terrain was less steep. Jake did very well on quail at first, with several great points. But, it wasn't long before he decided they were more fun to chase out of the trees and brush than pointing. From that point on, we would only go to quail spots for one or two points and then vacate before he started chasing again. Jake didn't really care to have quail in his mouth and I had to encourage him to get the bird all the way to me.
But, on chukars and huns he had it figured out. Early in his hunting career, Jake would break early on his points, but soon figured out that if he held point and let me flush the birds, it usually meant a bird in the mouth. He had well over 100 points on chukar and huns this year and I'd have to say he held 90% of them for me to flush. Jake loves to retrieve and understands what dead bird means. Sometimes he's watching a bird fly off that I'm not shooting at and with my help will relentlessly search for a dead bird. Jake's retrieving needs a little polishing. Sometimes he likes to drop the bird five or six feet from me and other times wants to parade along the side of me with his trophy. If he never does any better than that I'll be satisfied but we'll work on it anyhow.
Like most hunting dogs, his point is sometimes flawless, with a perfectly straight back and tale and head high. But at times he'll get caught between strides and his point isn't perfect but I get the idea anyhow. I think he might rival Tucker, who had one of the most majestic points in a dog I've ever owned.
Jake is the most playful dog I have ever owned. I guess that is because he is a single dog and play is one way of spending some energy. He loves playing with the other dogs, but when it comes to hunting his play stops. He has one thought on his mind and that is finding birds. His normal range is about 250 yards but once this year was on point at 477 yards which for me is a little long, since most of the country we hunt is so steep. The most miles he covered in one day this year was 33, and it was in steep country, and was ready to go again on the next day.
Two days ago we had our last hunt of the season. It was my first full day hunt since my operation and Jake's first day out in fresh snow. He adapted well and although we didn't find a lot of birds he held his points great for this slow poke to get to him. I wasn't sure about this point until he hadn't moved for two or three minutes and than i decided I'd better get up there.