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and the lakeside.

One afternoon, Talbot said he would open the pasture gate for me in order to watch the puppies on their run. I ran the puppies up to the pasture gate. Two of the puppies headed straight across the field for the cover at the edge of the marsh and started hunting like mad. Very shortly, a couple of pheasants were in the air. After a quick chase the pups reappeared and Talbot said something like, "You have those two pups really hunting for birds." The pups were only about fourteen weeks old and they were hunting like demons. Both pups later became Field Trial Champions in the USA. They were called FTCH Squall of Saighton and FTCH Stingerís Image of Saighton. At fourteen weeks, they were hunting with the intensity and desire I was not used to seeing in a spaniel until closer to a year - or more - on planted game in the States. At this stage, there was no real control. I would only give commands that I was confident would be obeyed. If distractions would make it likely they would ignore a command, I wouldnít give the command for them to ignore. As long as the pups were not too independent on these outings and spent most of their time hunting with me, I didnít worry and found control came easily once individual work began.

Only once do I remember having to take a puppy out of the group at a very young age. He was from the same breeding as Scud, but from a later litter. I realised this particular pup had enough of fun hunting when he flushed a pheasant or hare, I donít remember which, and started chasing. He jumped through a gate, over a stonewall, and disappeared into the distance. Just as I was beginning to wonder if I was going to have to organise a search party to find this puppy, he reappeared in the distance. This was not a habit I wanted developed so even though he was only four or five months old, I stopped his access to game and began individual obedience training. Uninhibited hunting did not need any further development at that time with this particular puppy. Surprisingly enough, this dog was not particularly difficult to steady to flush when the time came. I expect this would not have been the case had birds been shot for him before he was steady. When individual work began, I would stay away from game for a while, to make sure there was a firmer understanding what commands meant and that they were to be obeyed whenever given.

"At a similar stage on planted game I would recommend steadying to flushed pigeons, firing the gun, but not shooting the pigeon, until steadiness to flush was well proven."

By the time the Dinas Dewi litter were nine or ten months old, they were well along in basic yard training and were individually quartering well. They were quite proficient at responding to voice, whistle, and hand command to hup. I could sit them by my side, throw a dummy and they would wait for their name before going for the retrieve.

It was the beginning of the hottest driest summer on record in the UK. One morning, Talbot asked me load up the Dinas Dewi litter in the car and to bring some dummies. We went to the opposite end of the estate lake about a mile from Talbotís house. I took each pup out individually. I gave them a couple of simple water retrieves and then took each one across the road to a rough field with American style cover plus a small bank of gorse (a very prickly evergreen wild growing bush). Each pup was quartered and while quartering, hupped, as a dummy was thrown with

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