Peat’s staying put. All the comments we received from readers were really helpful. Dale’s comments hit me hard because I trust his judgment as much as anyone I know when it comes to bird dogs, so I was sick about his recommendation to re-home Peat. It still might be the best thing to do, but I don’t want it to be so we’re doing everything we can to make it work. We’ve upped the work with the e-collar, and prioritized the discipline and exercise (crappy time of the year to do after-work lessons, but so it goes). Angus still isn’t thrilled with his putative brother, but we’re trying to limit their 1-on-1-ish time. We’re also making an effort to curb his barking inside – something we tried ignoring, to absolutely no effect. So far it seems we’re making some progress with simple positive reinforcement to “quiet!” He’s still a pain in the ass, but I can see how it’s possible he won’t be that way permanently, and I’m learning – as one of you kindly suggested – to, maybe, become a better dog person. That alone is worth it.
Saturday was the only day we got out last weekend, and we chose an old favorite spot that wasn’t a good choice for birds. Too much snow, too little bare ground and not enough cover. Still, both dogs thrilled their ways, separately and together, across and through the snow as the sun played hide-and-seek with the storm clouds. Wind blew fiercely, and it was chilly, but it was a cathartic hike for us, for all four of us maybe. Dogs slept well that night.