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Fred Bradley and Freddie (I wonder if Freddie
thinks people are talking to him when they say
something like, "Hey, Fred, how’ve you been?"
to his trainer and handler; after all,
he does have his own fame!)

"hupped" him (sits the dog down) and told him "I lost". This is his command to put his head down and work the area - the dog now knows that there are no more live birds and will hunt dead (for the dead bird). He does this because he has built-up the trust and confidence with his partner to know if Fred says that a bird is there, it is there. Fred talks to the dogs when needed, while they are retrieving blinds, it keeps them level headed. He also uses a very quiet clicking sound when he runs his dogs. His quartering hand signals are kept closer in to his body and down lower to the ground, real smooth and subtle so as not to push the dog away. This results in questing for game in a quieter, more focused manner.

3rd Series: Seeing Double!

"Snap, Crackle"... the sounds good dogs make working cover. "SNAP, CRACKLE"... the sound of the dog working amidst stiff trees with willow bottoms. The cover is lighter than in the 1st and 2nd series on Friday, bright and sunny... and dry. Fred and Merlin were working in the rain, but still, all that Fred could hear was the rustle of the cover; the sounds a great dog makes when questing game. Merlin was on "auto pilot" covering his ground, questing game, working to Fred at that 110% plus, proving to be a "cut above average" spaniel. No whistle. It’s truly a beautiful experience to have a dog work so excellently for you!

Then, Fred was seeing double! Merlin encountered his first contact and flushed two pheasants. It gets better: both of the birds are shot. One bird was hit by the left gun, the other flew back, Merlin was able to make the double retrieve, he showed his determination by entering a swamp to retrieve for Fred. The hunting partners carried on. Staying consistant with quality work, Merlin made another real nice find, again proving to be steady to flush (this is when a trained dog sits down when the pheasant flushes and waits to be release by command, usually the dogs "call name") Merlin goes straight to the fall and retrieves politely "to hand" (comes back to the handler, "holds" the pheasant tenderly in his mouth, and releases to handler hand when asked).

"Fred believes a well behaved dog is a pleasure to hunt over and to live with."

Water Series: The dogs are "wet between their ears".

At the conclusion of the third series, a decision is made to hold the water series due to the weather and time of day. It is now 2 p.m. and is still raining heavily and it is hard for birds to fly when they are wet. Only thirteen spaniels are brought back to the water. Fred Bradley is back with both his entries: #58 Merlin and #42 Freddie.

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