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me between the dog and the dummy. This was the first time retrieving and quartering was done together.

It was time to also teach steadiness to the gun. This did not just mean dropping to the sound of shot. It meant dropping to the sight of the gun being raised. This was taught in a similar way to teaching the hand signal to hup - i.e. giving a voice or whistle command as the gun was raised to the shoulder until the dogs hupped automatically to the gun being raised. Talbot suggested I always pointed the gun in the direction the dummy was thrown to teach the dogs to look in the direction the gun barrel was pointing for the retrieve, whether or not I actually fired a shot. Just before the young dog was to turn, I would throw a dummy. When the pup turned I would raise my gun, point it in the direction the dummy was going, simultaneously give either a voice or whistle hup command. Soon the puppies learned the sight of a raised gun, the sight of a dummy in the air, the sound of shot, voice or whistle command to hup all meant they were to stop and sit, whether they happened simultaneously or independently.
FTCH Stinger's Image of Saighton

Over the next few weeks, this routine of taking the puppies to the end of the lake, giving them a couple of water retrieves and then giving them a run through the field with some thrown dummies using the gun was repeated a number of times. Some dummies would be thrown into gorse or bramble to test how determined and courageous the puppies were becoming in their retrieving. This routine didnít last long as the pups would soon figure out the game, but it served to teach them what was required when we went after real game. At this stage I would try steadiness on game without any shooting - simply steadiness to flush only, before any game was shot. 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.

Stingerís Image was catching on particularly quickly and had become a very clever and determined retriever of dummies. One day, Talbot said he had heard that John Robertsí Mynachni farm was infested with rabbits. Talbot said we would take Stingerís Image to shoot some rabbits over him. Rabbits were an ideal introduction to game. Rabbits quickly gave young dogs the motivation to rip through the most intimidating cover of bramble and gorse. They were also a stern test for steadiness. A dog reliably steady to rabbits was not going to have any problems with steadiness to birds, as a rule. Mynachni farm was a spectacular setting and had ideal cover for working spaniels. It bordered the Irish Sea with rocky cliffs reaching into the water. There were banks scattered with clumps of gorse divided by narrow pastures. It was early

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