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they were weaned. The puppies would run around my feet as I moved them from one pen to another or from their indoor kennel to their outdoor pen. So, informal training began early. As soon as puppies were physically capable of running around sufficiently to find game, I would take them to areas where they might find something. This was usually when they were 10 to 12 weeks old. Hunting and retrieving were kept totally separate until steadiness was taught. When going on these "hunting expeditions", I would usually take around half a dozen puppies, but sometimes up to 10 or 12 puppies if I had that many of a similar age. The puppies enjoyed going for these outings and the competitive puppies would start to compete to find game.
Hoping to go "fun hunting"

When I first arrived at Saightonís kennels, there was a litter of puppies that had been bred by Bill Llewellyn, owner of the Dinas Dewi dogs. The sire of the litter was Saightonís Sting, son of the famous Stinger. There were four dogs and a bitch in the litter. The puppies were about twelve weeks old when I arrived. Immediately, I began taking them on 20-40 min. jaunts along the estate lake. It was ideal for puppies that age. Wheat and barley stubble fields bordered the entire length of the lake. The shore of the lake had patches of marsh grass type cover. Some pheasants from the main woods would draw out across a narrow marsh and come onto the stubble. The odd hare and covey of native grey partridge could be relied on to be found somewhere along the way. The cover was not too taxing for the puppies and there was enough scent to keep their interest and enthusiasm. If I saw game run off, I would guide them to the scent. If one puppy found game, I encouraged the other puppies to hunt the area of the flush for scent. Soon the puppies were hunting for scent and not just hunting scent when they came across it. The beauty of letting such young puppies flush game was the game would soon be away and out of sight. As soon as the game flushed was out of sight, I would whistle the puppies back to me and encourage them to hunt around me where the scent was. I never tried to stop them from chasing, but the pups were not too independent and didnít usually go far.

Although I didnít stop them from chasing, the puppies were encouraged to hunt for game much more than to chase it. It was great fun to see the natural instincts develop in such a natural setting. The lake was also a haven for wildfowl and natural game eliminated the tedium of having to plant game. Certainly, in the early years at Presaddfed, the access to natural game for young puppies was exceptional.

One of my lasting memories of my time at Saightonís kennels occurred a few weeks after I arrived. I had soon gotten into the routine of taking the Dinas Dewi litter for hunting expeditions along the lake and stubble fields in the morning and late afternoon. I would let the puppies out of their pen, open the entrance gate to the kennels and run something less than 100 yards up the road. Immediately past Talbotís house was a gate to a pasture that led to marsh

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