Tomorrow the magic of joining the puppies with their new families begins!  This week has been chock full of adventures to ramp up their little hunting brains.

Monday we took a trip over to Willow Creek Recreation Area in Papillion.  I knew the terrain to be varied, with a pond and a tallgrass area, so I thought it would be a good spot for us.  Last year when I took the puppies to this location, it was completely empty.  This year there were many people there enjoying this little bit of the country in the suburbs, and who can resist puppies?

Everybody in Nebraska loves hunting puppies

Yet even with the constant attention, we still managed to get some work done: a little water and waterfowl exposure and some tallgrass practice.  Check out the video of what we did and saw on Monday at Willow Creek:


At this point, I emphasize that there is no pressure or scolding involved in any of these sessions, so that is why I call it conditioning instead of training.  Keep in mind in viewing the videos that this is the first time for the puppies to be exposed to any of these conditions or situations.  Hesitation and trepidation are completely normal responses and will naturally be overcome with continued proper exposure and training by the new owners.

Also with these videos, I use profuse amounts of verbal praise for the puppies, in a very baby-talk voice.  I found myself muting the sound in my final stages of post-production, so I apologize if you find the audio annoying (guess I need to start downloading some country music to dub over).

Tuesday morning had us on the “back hill” of my property in the new puppy training pen that I built out of plastic snowfence and metal fence posts.  We began our feather work by playing with a pheasant wing that I pulled out of our freezer and thawed out.  Here is the video of our play time:

From the back hill looking towards the house...things are getting greener!

Ready to retrieve!

Tuesday afternoon we ventured to the veterinarian for first shots and final health clearances.  The pups are weighing between 12 and 14 pounds and all look great!

Wednesday was sort of my “final project” day for the puppies.  We spent a few morning hours on terrain work (once again including water, waterfowl and tallgrass) on some private land along the south bank of the Platte River, about a half mile west of the confluence of the Platte and Missouri Rivers.  Here is the video of our Platte Valley time:

The boys have no trouble keeping up with my running, even through tallgrass

The afternoon was spent back home on live chukar exposure:

Throughout the week, we have also been working on crate conditioning.  They’ve driven in town, on the highway and a bit of light off-roading crated up and none of  them have gotten car sick or made a mess of their box, so I consider that a success.

Cruising in the dog box

What a week it has been and I couldn’t be more proud of this group of pups.  I am confident that they have everything that it takes to be productive hunting companions as well as delightful family pets.