WANTED: Training partner. Age, gender, shooting skills unimportant. Necessary attributes include patience, tolerance for dog slobber and pigeon poop. Must appreciate burrs in socks and rips in pant legs.
I’m tempted to run an ad like that. I suspect I’m not alone. Someone else, somewhere, is probably drafting a similar blog post right now. Maybe it’s you.
It’s not that friends and acquaintances don’t want to help. There’s a matter of schedules, a difference in priorities, possibly they favor a different dog breed. Or maybe they just haven’t been asked.
But seriously, what do you want in a training partner? And what can you bring to the party?
Patience and tolerance, of course. Everyone – and everyone’s dog – has a bad day. But what else would help you and your dog be all you both can be? Is it hard-won experience that can be called on when you haven’t got it? I’d imagine ideas would be welcome, from left field or the school of hard knocks. That’s where the quid becomes pro quo – I graduated with honors from that school.
I’d hope they have a dog, any breed, any skill level. I’m an equal opportunity training partner. Even retrievers are welcome. Someone who’s been there and done that would shorten the learning curve, especially when it comes to hunt tests, woodcock and field trials.
But a fresh perspective might be helpful, too. Wide-eyed innocence, honest questions that cause one to think differently, could be just what is needed on a given day.
If they brought their own pigeons they might be invited for a beer. If their dog will stand a bird indefinitely while me and mine maneuver clumsily into an honor merits a second bottle. Bird launchers, stakeout chain, blank ammo rattling around in their pickup ensure a barbecue invitation.
Flexible schedule, got it. Down-the-block availability, check. Stellar shooting skills, a bonus. The wisdom to know when to offer suggestions and when to shut the hell up merits a wee dram of very old single malt.
You know where to find me.