All of us at Filson want to thank everyone who came out for Scott Linden’s “Bird Hunting Boot Camp,” at our Seattle Flagship store, on Saturday. A special thanks to our friend Scott Linden, and his dog Buddy, for hosting the event. If you didn’t get enough lessons from Scott, he has given us a guest blog post to share with all of you. Hopefully it will hold you over until next time. This observation gets the most nods and smiles at my Bird Hunting Boot Camp. The recent Filson Seattle event was no different. Just think about it for a minute or two and see if you agree. Buddy works hard to find birds before and after the shot. But let’s be honest. He’d rather take that shot bird and bury it than bring it to me. So how to encourage him to retrieve shot birds to hand, rather than heading for the far horizon? Let him keep it for a bit. The ultimate reward for a bird dog … is birds! The savory smell, unique feel, that feathery taste – mmmm good (at least to a dog). If you want him to work for you, give him a suitable reward when he performs to your expectations. Don’t be so eager to grab the bird or retrieving dummy the moment he arrives. Let him hold it, even a little light play is okay, short of gnawing on it. Let him carry it while he walks at heel. No harm done. If you need to keep your young dog close, step on his check cord rather than grab his collar. Bend over and reach, even just for his collar, and he’ll run. Turn away or kneel down, and he’ll eventually offer you his treasure willingly. Keep your hands to yourself so he doesn’t think you’re taking away his favorite source of pleasure. I’ll put my hands in my pockets, or sit down. That less-dominant posture somehow convinces Buddy I’m not after his bird. Yet. (You can watch a lot of these insights and observations in video form, at – search for “Buddy & Me.”)