I'm passed the point of caring very much about how many birds we take. I do like and want to take a few, but that is not where I get the enjoyment anymore. Just being out, being in the woods with dog and gun is plenty of pay off for me. As to talking to my dog. Especially now that I have just one gun dog, I talk to him all the time. Hunting, life, finances,fishing,and so on. I've either come to my senses or lost them all together and don't care which. Dogs are better people than most people. Who else are you going to talk to?