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Making Game

A term that, for lack of a better one, describes the visible indications that your pup knows a bird is nearby. A pup "making game" will generally show you those signs just before the real action happens. Your Shorthair, Vizsla, Brittany and other pointer/setter dogs will precede a point with a very visible change in body language, just as your trusty Springer Spaniel will exhibit an almost electrical birdiness before flushing out a bird a few yards ahead of you.

How do you spot that your dog is making game? When a pup begins to scent a bird's foot tracks or is on the edge of the scent cone produced by the bird, the pup's body language will change. You are likely to notice an abrupt change in direction, as though the pup just received a nice jolt of caffeine (espresso, no chaser). Or you might notice a difference in your pup's tail: before, it was wagging happily, zooming right along, but when she's making game, the tail begins to tick more slowly, back and forth, like a metronome set at "andante."

What to do when that pup starts making game? Be ready to shoulder your gun -- a meal is close at hand!

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