Lola Dioji Shines

The morning’s hunt had started slow, but now I had an Aleutian goose down and Lola was after it.  I decided to give it a finishing shot. The first attempt didn’t do the job so I fired again. The goose slowed and Lola had it in her grasp.

She hauled it ashore and I was impressed. But, my shots had stirred up more geese and they were headed in my direction. I decided to lay down and hope the snow geese would keep coming. There were lots of them, who knows how many, and they were low enough for a shot.

I rose to my knees and fired. Down went the first. I fired again and a second goose sailed down over the rise. My third shot was a miss. It’s not often I get a chance for a triple.

Lola was on the first goose and soon had it ashore and in my grasp. I enthusiatically greeted her to show my appreciation. Dropping the goose with the Aleutian, we headed over the sand hill towards the crippled snow. At about 150 yards I could see it standing and watching our approach.

A few yards later, Lola also spotted the goose. She was off like a white streak. As she approached the goose, it turned and began to run. The running led to a spreading of wings and just as Lola approached it was airborne.

Now losing ground, Lola continued in hot pursuit. The goose was now about six feet off the ground and crossing a wide ditch. It didn’t stop Lola  – she leaped it at full speed. The goose sailed down in the next corn stubble afte flying about 75 yards and Lola was all over it.

I could see her coming, goose in mouth. She ran to the ditch, took a few steps right, then a few steps left and then she climbed in and out running to me at full speed. What a thrill – and this was the dog that wouldn’t retrieve.

Before the hunt was over I’d knocked five geese down and Lola had responded with five solid retrieves  – two in water and three on dry ground. I think my dog is now a retriever.

One thought on “Lola Dioji Shines

  1. Congratulations, Rich. That’s awesome. What a fantastic day of hunting and dog work. Glad to see the new pup coming along.

    My 2 cents to you would be just to stay patient. Many Labs take a long time to develop, grow up and reach their full potential as hunting dogs. Can’t give up on ’em.

    My first hunting dog, a black Lab puppy, showed absolutely no interest whatsoever in retrieving. I was big-time worried. She wasn’t interested in tennis balls, socks, bumpers — or anything. Occasionally, she would make a half-hearted trot out to a bumper, sniff it for a second, then trot away disinterested. In the meantime, my buddies were showing off all the double-marks/retrieves their young pups were pulling off. I was worried — and jealous.

    At about six or seven months or so I brought her back to the breeder, at my wit’s end. The breeder wanted to see for himself so he took me and the dog out into the field to hunt up some planted chukars he put out for my pup. The dog not only found all those birds, but retrieved them perfectly with style to boot. “You’re not going to have any problems with this dog,” the breeder said confidently.

    It turned out that she was crazy for birds — but just not interested in retrieving a lot of the other non-bird stuff. That was the key to her training and keeping her interested. Unfamiliar birds — say a first dove hunt — also presented some retrieving issues, but once she became familiar with the birds, she retrieved those aggressively as well.

    Over time, her retrieving instinct continued to grow. As she got older, she looked forward to retrieving bumpers and training dummies. Water retrieves in the summer were more fun, so she would look forward to those as well.

    Today, that puppy is a 9-year-old dog that’s a retrieving machine with a great nose. She still prefers birds and doesn’t have an interest in endlessly retrieving bumpers or training dummies like some Labs. I chalk that up to heightened intelligence 🙂

    My point is that it would have been easy to give up on my dog in favor of one that demonstrated more natural retrieving instinct early in life. I would’ve missed out on the best hunting experiences in my life that we’ve since shared together.

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