I started the whole blog thing about 18 months ago and was fascinated by the opportunity to share my most trivial thoughts with a world-wide audience instantly. Much better than the old Xerox machine methods! The upgraded blog tools here are really super so your prospects of floods of boring old stuff from a curmudgeon on the Left Coast have improved greatly. To wit, yesterday Pride and I hit the bird fields again with the AyA XXV Churchill-style 12 ga. in tow. Chukar partridge were again the desired quarry. But that is somewhat irrelevant because the real topic here is "Will English Pointers retrieve?"
When we got Pride last year she was nearly three years old, had limited field trial work, lots of running, some birds, not much shooting or retrieving. She would retrieve, but it was sort of, well, you know, Huh, you want me to bring the fluffy, feathery, shot up thing back?? sort of stuff. The old adage plays well here--shoot a bunch of birds over your dog with no others around and let it figure the whole thing out.
Yesterday I shot indifferently--4 birds with 7 shots, all over points. These chukar are planted "hot" and they really move. A couple were planted in side hill spots where the 71 year old legs and balance system got tested pretty good, especially after the first bird went out behind me--it had crept through a thick tangle of brush and found the rear exit! Two shots, the bird came down, but pretty far out. Pride finally dug it out--it had run a little before giving up but she found it. Two other birds were downed well within range. The fourth, however, was a big male and I just plain missed the first shot; the second barrel hit him hard but he kept going up the face of the ridge finally going down about 100 yards out in pretty thick grass and sage. It took awhile, but she came running back with that bird.
Last season she would probably have given up on both of the tougher retrieves. Now, after shooting several dozen birds this season the habit is fixed. Point bird, watch it fall, bring it back. She's happy and so am I. All dogs want to please us, we just have to let them find out what we want. Patience, repetition and reward is the forumula I've found.