[This, from one of last year’s broadcasts, was driven home again to me in a recent conversation. Not too early to start re-learning these things.]
In someone else’s house, even Buddy’s on his best behavior. But when you hunt with someone else’s dog, everybody’s a critic … or worse. Be a good guest in the field, too.
Let the dog’s owner tell you what to do, whether it’s feeding, doctoring or field etiquette. Ask about shooting wild flushes, or birds over a broken point.
Keep criticism to yourself. If your dog were better, you’d be hunting with him. Same for commands and discipline, which usually fall on deaf furry ears coming from a stranger.
Help a dog retrieve to his owner by turning away if he comes toward you. It eliminates confusion.
You can always offer praise. A scratch behind the ear or a stroke on the back are always welcome after the job is done. Until then, keep your mouth shut and your hands in your pocket.
And finally, don’t forget the other obligation of a good guest. A bottle of something old from Scotland for your human host ensures a return invitation.