I mentioned in my earlier post that Skye would be going out on his first day as a 'Beating' dog on the 22nd. Let me try and give you a taste of how it might be. First thing nothing will be different for the little chap, six thirty he'll have his toileting walk with Flyte and then back home for breakfast, this is where it gets a little different, his breakfast will be more substantial than normal, but he wont consider that, he has a good appetite and will eat whatever is put in his bowl. He wont be too bothered about getting in the car without Flyte, I often take them out for training sessions on their own so he'll not see anything odd about this. He will however begin to wonder what's afoot when we get to the gamekeepers cottage and he jumps out of the car to be met by, perhaps fifteen spaniels all of whom, because it's the first day of the season for them also, will be pretty wound up themselves. They know what's ahead and will, each and every one of them, be raring to go. He'll be confused, and he wont have his pal with him to give him support. He's going to get sniffed and examined, and if he tries to be playful, probably growled at, some of the older dogs dont suffer fools gladly. They know what they're here for and just want to get on with the job. He'll likely cringe a bit, hide behind my legs, may even try to jump back in the car. I expect all of this, I've seen it with many youngsters over the years, he's going to be anxious at getting in the back of the landrover that's used to transport a lot of the dogs, ( I'll get in with him for the first few trips, nothing like sharing a confined space with a bunch of hyper spanners.) and by the time we get to wherever the first drive is going to take place, he'll be wound up like a spring. If, however, he responds like all of my other dogs have done, once we're ready to begin the first drive, all lined up and waiting for the 'keeper to let us know it's o.k to start, as soon as I give him the command to ''Push on'' the springer will take over, his drive to hunt will kick in, and he'll do what I expect him to do, and that's flush game. For sure, he's going to need watching, all young 'uns have a tendancy to get too far in front of the line, so I expect to be using the stop whistle quite a lot for the first couple of shoots but I'm sure that very soon he'll learn to pace himself, keep in line with the other dogs, and become every bit as good a dog as his predecessor, Bracken. I hope this may give you an little insight into my feelings with regard to taking out a young lad for his very first shoot.