Happy First Birthday, Bluestem “A” Litter, on April 30th!!  Here’s Winston’s 1st birthday picture, he lives on an acreage outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Thank you to Kelvin and Nancy for the picture!

Winston from our "A" litter at 1 year old

I also received some pictures from one of my new owners of a “B” litter puppy.  “Roxy” (formerly known as Bess) lives out in Utah with Randy and Pam.  They are very happy with her progress and surprised at how fast she is learning.  Once again, many thanks to them for the photo contribution:

Roxy of our recent "B" litter checks out the wing

Roxy on retrieve to Randy

Roxy points the wing

Roxy on water retrieve

While we’re talking water, Monday and Tuesday of last week were 95+ degree days here, so I took the opportunity Monday afternoon to take the big dogs out for some swimming practice and see if we could get our new puppy “BB” in the water.  Water practice is not only fun, it is vital for the dog’s desire to water retrieve waterfowl during hunting season.

Sue and Sam take a dip

BB takes her first swim

BB heading back to shore

The water was still pretty cold even though the air was warm, so our time in the water was limited.  Swimming is an instinctual behavior for dogs, therefore you can’t introduce them to water too soon after picking up a puppy from a breeder (weather permitting).

As a follow-up to the wing work that we’ve been doing in the house, BB got into her first live chukar on Saturday.  I used the same technique on BB that I just used on the litter of puppies.  I put the chukar on a bird harness attached to a leash, I then used my puppy training pen (a 5 ft. x 10 ft. area that I created with metal fence posts and snow fence) to get the puppy to focus on the bird.  I first hold the bird in my hand and put it into the puppy’s face, then slowly give more and more leash, until the bird can move about pretty freely (run and flap) within the confines of the pen and my leash.  Naturally, at first the puppy is apprehensive about this strange new creature, but the scent from the training wing made it somewhat familiar.  By the end of the 10 minute session, BB was chasing and pouncing on the bird with vigor!  This is a good first step to get a new puppy excited about birds.

BB a little apprehensive at first

It didn't take long for BB to get aggressive with the chukar

Spring training isn’t only something for the dogs, it is important for humans too!  When it comes to upland hunting, we have to do our part to ensure success also.  Dog training and handling are very important, but the hunter’s shooting skill and physical fitness are also key.  We’ve been spending a few weekends a month at the local skeet range tuning up our skills with the shotgun, in preparation for hunting season (which is only 3 1/2 months away).  If you can’t hit the bird, then the dog doesn’t have anything to retrieve!

Charles walking back to station 1 to start a new round

Charles smashes the high bird on station 7

Those are the happenings over the past week at Bluestem Kennels!  We will have a booth at the Bark for the Cure Cancer Walk on Saturday, May 21st from 9 AM -12 noon at the Lied Activity Center, 2700 Arboretum Dr. in Bellevue, Nebraska.  If you would like more information about the walk or would like to register for the walk please see their website at https://sites.google.com/site/rflthunderingherd/bark-for-a-cure-cancer-walk  We will be there to talk Wirehaired Pointing Griffons, versatile hunting dog training and just for some good canine fellowship!  Hope to see you there!