Jessie, a Yellow Labrador Retriever - Part 2

[Jessie at 4 1/2Months]

In the first article, you saw pictures of Jessie at 3 months old and the story of her estimated potential as not only a good pet, but also as a top hunting dog! Every morning that we are at home, Jessie and I climb Knox Mountain just out our back door. We have a favorite gully part way up with a commanding view, ideal for throwing a cloth covered dummy bird for retrieving practice. Jessie abounds with enthusiasm over this game and never wants to quit! After a dozen or so retrieves, I place the dummy in a nearby tree and continue our walk up the hill but Jessie will soon find a stick for me to throw again. I am working with her on hand signals when she has not seen the dummy or stick fall and though far from perfect, she is getting the idea of direction change commands.

It did not take long to realize that Jessie is a natural water lover. We were fishing at a lake east of Kelowna in June and while chasing dragonflies near the shore, she dashed out into the water and began swimming strongly for a pup of 4 months, as if she had been in the water since day one! [Jessie, 6 Months at Canim Lake]. After that experience, we regularly go down to the dog park below our house on Okanagan Lake for water retrieving sessions. She has already developed into a powerful swimmer but has started an annoying habit of playing with the floater dummy before giving it to me. She would love to have me chase her to get the dummy but of course I refuse to do that and she eventually drops it nearby for me to throw out again. Even tidbits of food will not usually entice her to come immediately but hopefully, patience will prevail! [Don and Jessie (4 1/2 months) Fishing] As I do a lot of fishing, Jessie is a regular at the lake and stream as well, often finding the boat a little boring but she would never want to miss the outing.

On September 10, 1997, Jessie, now 7 months old, went on her first duck hunt at a nearby marsh. My friend, Tony Lillington, owns a beautiful old hand built duck punt that he uses on this marsh so water retrieving was not essential by the dog in order to put our ducks in the bag. [Jessie Retrieving at 7 months] It was a blue bird morning and not many birds were flying so I don't think Jessie really understood that when a shotgun went off, she was supposed to retrieve the bird. It would have also helped if we could hit the birds more often as well! Only one widgeon and a teal were bagged that morning and Tony retrieved them both with the punt. Later, we threw a bird out into the water and Jessie did make a fine retrieve so our hopes for her to develop into a good hunting dog are still alive and well.[Jessie's First Duck Retrieve] We are currently planning a bird hunting trip to southern Alberta in October but the results of Jessie's progress will have to wait until the next installment.

On the home front, Jessie still gets very excited when greeting people that she knows and we are working at trying to stop her from jumping up during the initial meeting. Just when we think that habit has been licked, up she jumps again, even though we have tried paw squeezing, voice commands and jerking on a leash! Again, surely patience will be our ally. But there are signs of maturing as we can now leave her in our family room unattended for a few hours to take in a movie or dinner without fear of massive destruction to our home! She has chewed papers and magazines but has never touched our chairs or sofas. Jessie now sleeps overnight without complaint in her crate with the door no longer closed, although we have moved the crate to the laundry room and we close that door for the night. More next time!

Do you want to see the previous article about Jessie?

Jessie Part 1

Your comments are welcome at or call Don Haaheim at 1-250-861-4192

Http:// -- Revised: September 24, 1997
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