Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Walking song with Vizslas

Vizslas, like most dogs, have excellent hearing. They can hear sounds from miles away.

A Vizsla can hear voices and sounds from a much greater distance than humans can.

I walk with Bailey during our field trial training in the open spaces, singing or humming "The Happy Wanderer." Here is a version I found on You Tube.

And here are the words translated from the 1810 German folksong:

The Happy Wanderer
I love to go a-wandering,
Along the mountain track,
And as I go, I love to sing,
My knapsack on my back.

My knapsack on my back.

I love to wander by the stream
That dances in the sun,
So joyously it calls to me,
"Come! Join my happy song!"

"Come! Join my happy song!"

I wave my hat to all I meet,
And they wave back to me,
And blackbirds call so loud and sweet
From ev'ry green wood tree.

From ev'ry green wood tree.

High overhead, the skylarks wing,
They never rest at home
But just like me, they love to sing,
As o'er the world we roam.

As o'er the world we roam.

Oh, may I go a-wandering
Until the day I die!
Oh, may I always laugh and sing,
Beneath God's clear blue sky!

Beneath God's clear blue sky!

I have been humming or singing the words to this song for over a year now. Bailey knows where I am from the sounds and doesn't have to keep coming back to "check in."

Bailey can be out 1/4 mile away, and since he hears me, he knows where I am.

Since he knows where I am, he is comfortable staying "out there" and hunting.

Judges during a field trial do not want a dog to keep coming back to the handler. This is one of the harder parts in training a pup to run in a competitive derby stake.
A rookie handler might want their dog close by so that he/she doesn't get lost. I make it Bailey's responsibility not to get lost, not mine.

Field trial judges, I have come to find out over my rookie season, are looking for those hunting dogs that can independently hunt and work the field out in front of the handler.

So, if you ever hear me singing "The Happy Wanderer" on a walk or at a field trial, don't be overly concerned.

I haven't totally lost it. Not totally.

It's all a part of the communication skills Bailey and I are developing.

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