Training a young hunting dog can be frustrating at times. Many an owner has experienced the ups and downs of the training process. Hilary Meyer, a South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks fisheries biologist, can attest to that.
It was 2016 and the second day of grouse season. Meyer stood, rifle in hand, and just stared at her English pointer. She was livid. Her pooch had just wreaked havoc with two groups of prairie chickens just 20 minutes into the hunt. “I was fuming,” she said. Her dog had just run right through the middle of two groups of birds without the slightest hesitation. “I swear he had the smuggest look you’ve ever seen on a dog.”
Meyer will tell you that lots of patience is needed when training pointers. But, disappointed she was—particularly after spending months during the spring and summer preparing for the season.
Still staring at her disruptive dog, Meyer made the decision to end the hunt right then and there. Maybe that will teach Mr. Smug a thing or two, she told herself. Apparently, Mr. Smug got the message.
The following weekend, Meyer returned to the fields, hopeful that she would get different results, even though her expectation level was low after Mr. Smug’s earlier debacle. “Forty-five minutes into the hunt,” the dog “went on point.” Being some 250 yards away, it took Meyer and her hunting partner a few minutes to reach the spot. Mr. Smug was still on point, totally motionless. Not a hair moving on his coat.
That was the day Mr. Smug obviously got his act together. And it was a reminder to Meyer that “patience really is a virtue.”