Less than a minute is all it takes to see how proud and smitten Chuck Baker is with his new puppy, Rose. A full-blooded English Cocker Spaniel from County Line Kennel in Nashville, GA, Baker’s Primrose Fox is spunky, energetic and already showing those telltale signs of a good bird dog at merely eight weeks old. Baker, an Orvis Shooting Grounds at Pursell Farms Sporting Services Associate, watches proudly as Rose prances around the Orvis Clubhouse yard with a stuffed duck toy (bigger than she) gently tucked in her mouth.
“She’ll be ready (to hunt) by fall,” Baker says as he tosses Rose’s duck back in the yard. Already, Rose is retrieving with a soft mouth and brings her prize back to hand. All of her natural instincts are fully engrained in her tiny noggin, but with some training, she’ll learn all the basic “sit, whoa, here” commands and refine those natural instincts until she is an upland aficionado. She doesn’t even bat an eye at the sound of shotgun reports coming from the sporting clays course. Gun-shyness certainly won’t be an issue for Rose.
Not to be confused with their cousin, the American Cocker Spaniel, the English Cocker is more than just a show dog. English Cockers are compact, versatile and can hunt in almost every scenario. Their intelligence, prey drive, loyalty and willingness to please make English Cockers a suitable companion for any hunter. Rose, no doubt, will be a great hunting partner for Baker, who already has a busy itinerary planned for the two of them come the fall.
“I want to take her up to Minnesota to hunt woodcock and grouse,” Baker says as a teething Rose gnaws on the tip of his shoe. “And maybe Nebraska.”
On top of being a well-traveled hunting dog, Rose will mostly be working right here at Orvis with Baker as one of their flushing and retrieving field dogs during upland hunting season. She has a lot to learn, but Baker is experienced having trained several English Setters over the years. Rose will be a mighty fine bird dog, but for now, she is all puppy tumbling and stumbling about the yard.
A now tired Rose returned to her kennel for a nap while Baker flipped through the photos on the camera of his pup playing in the yard.
“I need to get this one framed,” Baker says beaming at a picture of Rose running, ears flopping. Told you it would not take long to see how proud and smitten he is with Rose.