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Q Litter Homegoings!

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Feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com if you wish to enquire about our 2022 litter plans.  I am hoping to get through the 2022 interest emails by the old tax filing deadline of April 15th.

Over the last couple of weekends the Q Litter has gone to their new homes.  They are really a handful at 8 weeks old and I am so glad that they are with their new owners getting into a routine and having plenty of individual attention.  We still have Sally here (her litter name was Quarry) and she is very sweet but obviously does normal puppy annoying behavior, like chewing stuff that she is not supposed to and having potty accidents.  I am not going to try and sugar-coat housebreaking a Griff.  They are really one of the toughest breeds to get through in my experience.  Where I can have an English breed fully broken by 12-16 weeks, I’m honest with myself in knowing that I’m still going to be struggling at that point and not to expect to be accident-free until 20 weeks with a Griff.

The only thing that I can think of to account for the longer period of time is that they have so much to learn as a versatile breed that it just takes them longer to get everything down.  And they are just a slower maturing breed anyway; Obi is 17 months-old and still has some very puppy behavior.

Let’s do photos first, then I’ll talk about what we’re working on with Sally.  I’m just going in the order of pickup for simplicity’s sake.

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Joe and family, with Qbert going to Iowa

We are excited to have Joe and Qbert (he will be called something else, but I always forget to write down their new call names and so I’ll just refer to their litter names, sorry) just across the river in Iowa and hope we get to train with them soon.

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Ricardo and Quartz are off to Colorado

Ricardo has an older Griff who will be showing Quartz the way on pheasants in Colorado.  They have a population of white ptarmigan out there that I hope that we get to chase someday, so maybe we’ll meet again.

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Cliff’s family and Queen on their way to Oklahoma

Cliff also has Belle from our “C” Litter between Sam and Mae, so this is their second Bluestem puppy.  They had just come up from taking their granddaughters to show their pigs.  Belle and the pup are still figuring out their relationship but it is going well so far.

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Greg and his wife with Quince going to North Dakota

Greg also has Epsilon from our J Litter between Sam and BB, so yet another two Bluestem puppy family.  He will be getting spoiled since both Greg and his wife work independently and someone always has the dogs with them.  And of course North Dakota is one of our favorite places to visit during hunting season, hopefully the bird population up there bounces back in the next few years.

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Jim and his family with Qiana

Jim and his family lives out on an acreage in central Nebraska.  This is their first Griff, so they are in for an adventure.  But Jim has had hunting dogs his whole life and his dad was a trainer of Labarador Retrievers so they’re ready for action.

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Aaron and his wife heading back to Ohio with Quest

Aaron has a Bluestem pup that goes by Pepper from our D Litter between our original breeding pair Sue and Sam.  He says that Quest and Pepper are getting along splendidly and she is really fitting in with the family.  Aaron also wins the “traveled farthest” award for coming almost 800 miles one way to pick up his puppy.

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Quentin going to Michigan with Paul and Deb

Second in the “traveled farthest” award is Paul and Deb, flying out from Michigan to rent a car and drive back home with Quentin.  They also own a pup by the name of Fielding from our O Litter between Fire and Chief with their daughter Galen and her fiancee.  Galen works in IT for a major Detroit auto manufacturer and her fiancee is a police officer, so all four of them take turns raising the dogs with schedules all over the place.

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Travis and family with Quetzal going to Kansas

Travis and I have been in contact about getting his family a puppy for a long time, but being active duty in the Army with consistent deployment and his wife home with three kids, there was no way she was going to let him get a puppy until he retired!  So happy military retirement, Travis and thank you for your service!  Bird numbers in Kansas have been good lately, so I’m sure you’ll get a chance to chase some of them around.

I suppose I should set up a tripod and take a family picture of us with Sally, but it has not happened yet, so here are just a few candids from around the house.

Charity Upchurch Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Puppies

Sally and I taking a selfie

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Sally on top of her big sister Ruth, who is almost exactly four years older

On Good Friday, Charles took Caleb and mama Fire out for some preserve hunting.  Caleb shot a rooster and a few of the chukar, with Charles harvesting the rest.  The most important to me was that Caleb and Fire had a good time.

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Caleb trying to pose with Fire

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Caleb showing off his rooster and his smile

As fas as what we are working on with Sally, I focus on the housebreaking and crate training.  If someone isn’t watching her to catch accidents, she is in a crate near the rest of us so that she can still interact and hear what we are doing.  Charles is working on whoa and heel using treats in the morning.

When we started out working with dogs twenty years ago, we didn’t do much other than housebreaking the first year and letting them on to wild birds.  This was sort of the old field trialer dog training mentality.  But as we’ve matured as dog owners, we’ve found that the sooner we work with them the better.  Not overtraining or hacking on the pup, but just fun basic command learning and general obedience.

Especially with Griffons, if they are not exposed to a little pressure to behave right away, because they are so sensitive it is extremely difficult to impossible to break bad habits since their feelings get hurt so easily.  It’s better to get them used to being trained early so that when you get to the more advanced steps they are not as difficult to handle.

Speaking of advanced steps, Charles is taking Obi and Ruth down to Lincoln for AKC Senior Hunter runs this weekend, so we’ll see how those go.  I had forgotten about the tests and am scheduled to lifeguard, so I am a little bummed that I won’t get to do some field photography.  We’ve also got them signed up to do the Utility Preparatory Test for NAVHDA in May, so I need to make sure to keep my calendar open that weekend to get some good photos.

Good luck to everyone with their Bluestem puppies, we are all in this challenging and joyous situation together so don’t hesitate to shoot me an email with questions.  And of course don’t be afraid to turn to your local NAVHDA chapter members for help and advice.

Q Litter Seven Weeks

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This litter is all microchipped with their new owners’ information and they start to go home on their eight week birthday on Sunday.  Our next litter will be in Spring of 2022 between Wyo Plainsman Kenobi, NA I “Obi” and Bluestem Peaches En Regalia, NA I “Ruth”.  We keep going back and forth on a final repeat breeding of Fire and Chief next year and have not yet made a final decision.  Once these puppies are all in their homes I will start responding to my backlog of new interest emails.  If you want to join the queue, shoot me an email at bluestemkennels@gmail.com.

I’ve made sure that the puppies all been over by the pigeon coop and have had a bird fly up near them so they get used to that wing flapping sound and are not startled by it.  We’ve all had a couple of turns on the leash.  They’ve spent time in the crate.  They run around the yard like wild animals and run out into the woods so far that I’m afraid a coyote will eat them.  They have their shots, microchips and vet checks.  The papers from the AKC and NAVHDA are here.  They are ready for their own people.

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Queen (female) is going to Oklahoma as the family’s second Bluestem pup

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Quartz (male) is going to Colorado

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Quentin (male)  is going to Michigan as the family’s second Bluestem pup

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Qbert (male) is going to Iowa

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Quince (male) is going to North Dakota as the family’s second Bluestem pup

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Quest (female) is going to Ohio as the family’s second Bluestem pup

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Quetzal (male) is going to Kansas

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Qiana (female) is going to Central Nebraska

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Quarry (female) is going to become AKC/NAVHDA Bluestem Sally Forth “Sally” and stay with us.

Here is the video that I took this week: Q Litter Seven Weeks Old

I really need to run and do puppy chores, but for now I’m just going to post the photo of Charles and Wyo Plainsman Kenobi, NA I “Obi” and their sweep of the Walking Derby at the inaugural AWPGA AKC Walking Field Trial, winning first in both the Amateur and Open Divisions!  We are so proud and thankful that the club was able to pull off such an event.  Biggest thanks to Tom and Kristen Mathis for their work.  Also thank you to our Griffon friends for showing up, I really wish that I could have been there and thank you for all of the messages of being missed.

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Charles and Wyo Plainsman Kenobi, NA I “Obi” First Place ribbons in both the Amateur and Open Divisions of the AWPGA AKC Walking Field Trial

 

 

 

Q Litter at Five Weeks

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Five week old puppies keep you moving!  This litter is spoken for, but feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com regarding our Spring 2022 planned litters.  My responses are slow right now with everything going on and I keep being hopeful that I can get around to responding to emails, but right now my focus is on raising these puppies and caring for my family.  If email responses have to wait until April then so be it.

But I’m here writing to you all now and that’s what counts.  Just to make sure that I got pictures of every single puppy, I pulled them out individually yesterday and played with them on the front lawn.  I am really going to take my time on making picks with this litter, they are really all fantastic and I want to make sure that I talk to all of the new owners again and get it all right.  They get their microchips on Monday, March 22nd so final decisions all have to be made by then.

Here is what I ask that the new owners have in mind when we talk next week: 1) have your pickup plans pretty firm so that I have it on my calendar 2) think of the personality of the pup that you are looking for: do you want an alpha dog or somewhere in the middle?  Coat length?  Size for your purpose?  All of them are really lovely and we’re having just a terrible time even figuring out which female we want to keep.  Regardless of which puppy you get, you will be happy!

Okay here are the pics.  They are simply in the order that they were photographed the first time at the age of three weeks, no reason for the order other than the random selection that I did on that day.

Males

Quartz

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Quentin

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Quince

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Quetzal

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Qbert

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Females

Queen

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Quest

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Qiana

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Quarry

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Wow, those are some cute photos!  They were pretty nervous.  They would run around for a couple of minutes, then come up to me for a cuddle and pets, then I’d put them back down and let them run around for a few more minutes.  When you see where they are sniffing and searching around, they are looking for their litter or their mom.  They are still very focused on wanting that security of being together.

Here is the video that we took in the backyard yesterday afternoon, pretty unscripted and random: Q Litter at Five Weeks Video

It is really getting to be nice weather here and I’m looking forward to when the puppies start to let themselves out which will be any day now.  Right now when I open the gate, they still pretty much want to stay in their kennel but that will change soon.  I did put collars on them a few days ago, those will stay with me when they go home.  Some of those camo collars on the boys are 10 years old!  Those are the small puppy collars, they will be ready for their new owners to bring medium puppy collars when they go home in three weeks.

We are trying to transition from soft canned food to puppy hard kibble, but they still really like canned food so they get it once or twice a day.  They have access to kibble at all times.  Mom generally goes out to see them once or twice a day and spends the night with them.  With the limited nursing, they do drink from the water bowl.  I will start our deworming regimen over the weekend, then next week is when I’ll defrost a dead quail to let them have a go at picking that up and also letting them inspect our live pigeon loft.  I’ve been doing noise exposure daily when they eat and they know to expect that and are not reacting.  We’ll mess around with a leash next week and practice being in a crate a little.  With it being spring break I’ll be able to have my helper Caleb assist me with all of this.

Of course right now sanitation is a continuous job and it will just get to be more so.  I’m able to get away with a once per day cleanup now but soon it will be twice a day and will continue that way until they go home.

Charles is preparing for the Griffon field trial in Illinois in a week and a half.  I am excited to see who shows up and how it all goes.

Time to sign off, enjoy the spring weather and good luck to everyone who is training, trialing, testing their big dogs or raising puppies right now.

1st Griffon-Only AKC Field Trial To Be Held

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Come and be a part of history! The first Griffon-only AKC Field Trial will be held March 20-21 at Moraine View State Recreation Area near LeRoy, Illinois, sponsored by the American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association. All stakes are walking only, no dogs will be handled on horseback (although the judges generally are). Entry cutoff is March 17th at 6 PM Central. Your dog needs to be registered with the AKC to participate, but you do NOT need to be a member of the AWPGA.
There will be six stakes: Amateur Puppy, Open Puppy, Amateur Derby, Open Derby, Amateur Gun Dog and Open Gun Dog. Puppy stakes are up to 15 months old and are mainly judged on desire and running style. Derby stakes are up to 24 months old and are judged on desire, running and point style. Gun Dog stakes are for finished dogs who are judged on desire, running style range, steadiness, backing/honoring, point intensity and retrieving. Amateur is only available to non-professional handlers, whereas Open is available to professional handlers.
This Griffon-only AKC walking field trial has been a huge event for the field committee (thank you especially to Tom and Kristen Mathis) to organize and we are excited to participate!
Yes, it is a competition. You are braced with another dog/handler pair and you are competing against them head-to-head on field performance. Then your performance is evaluated based on the entire entry of dogs and handlers for placement. Full rules can be found by Googling for the PDF document “AKC Field Trial Rules and Standard Procedure for Pointing Breeds”.
Our dogs have been running in AKC German Shorthaired Pointer Club walking field trials for nine years, about the same time that we’ve been members of the AWPGA. It has been a fun experience and we’ve brought home some ribbons on derby dogs.
We hope to have an excellent turnout for this event and look forward to some great sportsmanlike competition and camaraderie!
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Our most recent success at an AKC Field Trial was with Charles handling Wyo Plainsman Kenobi, NA I “Obi” to a 4th place finish in the Amateur Walking Derby at the Heart of America German Shorthaired Pointer Club’s trial just last weekend.
2021 Obi FT ribbon

Charles and Obi with their 4th place Amateur Walking Derby ribbon

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Charles and Ruth at the line. Photo courtesy of HOAGSPC

Q Litter at 4 Weeks

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This litter is spoken for and my next litters will be in spring of 2022.  I appreciate the overwhelming desire to get a pup from us, I really do.  I am receiving your emails and will be sure to reach out once I get our taxes prepared.  If you want to be added to my list of contacts, you can email bluestemkennels@gmail.com and I will get you on there and shoot you an email here in the next few weeks.

Why doesn’t she have any time?  Blogging takes time.  Not only do I have to take a couple of hours to write this post, but I have to set aside the time to do the photography beforehand.  Of course, there is taking care of the puppies which now includes daily feeding them and play time.  The big dogs need to be walked several times a day.  I am swimming two miles a week.  We are big foodies, so all of our food is homemade.  Like, I felt guilty for using store bought breadcrumbs in my meatloaf yesterday kind of homemade.  I don’t have a housekeeper and my kids don’t have tutors.  I probably spend six hours a week on tutoring my two boys.  And I try to squeeze in some professional time substitute teaching middle school and lifeguarding.  This is how I have always lived my life, bouncing from one completely unrelated thing to another.  Someday the kids will graduate from high school and I might retire from my out-of-the-house jobs to work on dogs full time.  But I’ve got to “make hay while the sun is shining” as we say out in the Sandhills.  Not time to be an old dog lady just yet.

The puppies are doing great.  Fielding a lot of questions from the new owners about how their personalities are developing and whether they show any curiosity or independence at this point.  The short answer is still “no”.  This is currently how they spend the majority of their life.

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The Q Litter at Four Weeks

They are most comfortable with their litter.  They have brief moments of being up and around and trying to explore with their limited mobility.  But it is not a lot yet.  The photos that I took on Saturday in the yard, they are really only separated from each other and exploring for like five minutes at the most.  Then they were ambling back to me to all curl up together on the beach towel.

Another thing about the photos, is that you can’t really see much of their total personalities in them.  I not only pick photos for the action, but also the general photo quality.  Like here’s a perfect example, I got this blurry shot of Quentin with the grouse wing but the one that turned out is the one where he is howling for mom.

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You would not see this pic normally because it is out of focus

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But no, the crybaby pic of Quentin is the one that turned out

It’s also tough to balance the number and quality of action photos on the puppies at this point.  I’m just shooting and I get what I get sometimes.

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L to R: Qbert, Quince, Quartz and Quetzal

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Quest and Qiana

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Quentin, Quarry, Queen

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Quartz, Quince, Quetzal

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Quest

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Quarry

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Quetzal

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Quarry

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Quartz

I just posted all of those in the order that I took them.  Like I said, that was over a period of just a few minutes before they wandered back to me and the beach towel.  Several of them didn’t get closeups.  There will be more action photos as they get up and move around more during the day.

Here is the video that I took of them last night as I was cleaning out the chips in their box: Q Litter Four Weeks Old

I do have more to write this week about Obi’s 4th place finish in the AKC Amateur Walking Derby at the Heart of America German Shorthaired Pointer Club Field Trial last weekend and an invitation to our own American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association’s breed-only AKC Walking Field Trial in LeRoy, IL.  But it will have to wait until Wednesday.

Think Spring!

Welcome Q Litter!

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Q Litter at 5 days old

I’m sorry that it has taken so long to post the official announcement of the arrival of the “Q” Litter!  At this time, I have all of the puppies confirmed reserved with a plan for the new owners to pick up.  I have one reservation backing them up in the event that someone can’t take a pup, otherwise they will carry over to next year’s litters.  I apologize if I have not responded to your email inquiry regarding puppies over the last week and a half, it has been crazy.  I have set aside time next week to get caught up.  At this point, it would be a very rare instance that I would have more than one person back out.  I am maintaining a list in the event of that situation, but most likely this litter is on the books and any new interest should be for next year’s litters.  If you have emailed recently and just haven’t gotten a response, hang tight.  My email address is the best way to contact me: bluestemkennels@gmail.com.

The story of the puppies arrival is this.  I went to lifeguard rescue practice on Saturday afternoon thinking that the puppies would arrive on Sunday.  So when I got home, I decided to take Fire out for a hike to get everything moving.  We walked over to the nature preserve that borders our house and the Missouri River.  It was a nice mile roundtrip hike in deep snow.

Fire Mo Valley

Fire looking down on the Missouri River

I thought it was going to happen that night with all of the panting and whining going on.  But it hadn’t happened by the end of Dr. Who on Iowa PBS (which gets over around 1 AM), so it was time for bed.  I got up and prepared the whelping area in the garage.  We took walks in the yard about once an hour all morning.  There was definite sign right around noon (I’ll spare the gross details), so I put her out in the area, made lunch and called my mom.  When I went out there next two puppies had arrived already.  They came in twos for the next six hours.  One of the round of two were two stillborns, which even after ten years of doing this is sad and unsettling.  But it happens with almost every litter, so you brush yourself off and keep going.  We ended up with a very nice litter of nine puppies: five males and four females.

Fire Whelping Box

Fire and the newborns in the whelping box

I think that the most important thing that I do during whelping is keeping the female walking outside every two hours.  Even if I have to pick her up and put a leash on her to get her moving, it is really important to keep the labor moving to avoid c-sections.  The puppies are fine to be left for a few minutes as newborns.  Now that we are a handful of days into their lives, mom likes her breaks out of the puppy box.

Fire is doing a good job of keeping hydrated and fed, which is an important part of all of this.  Her mom BB was always skin and bones at this phase of the process, but Fire eats and drinks good so that she doesn’t look emaciated.  The nice thing about nine puppies is that it is just the right amount to feed all-natural with no bottle feeding.  Anything more than that is too much and needs to be supplemented.  I am very lucky that my females have always been good milk producers and so the puppies are pooping like they should be.

So right now my main thing is taking care of mom and looking in the box when there are big squeakers.  They are starting to have a little primitive bark and it is getting louder, so I know when something is amiss (usually just on the wrong end of the box).  They are right in the kitchen where I am most of the time anyway, so not too far away at this point.

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Fire and the newborns in the kitchen

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The Q Litter as newborns

We got their tails docked and dew claws removed at Heartland Pet Hospital in Bellevue with no issues and all of the puppies were inspected by the new lady veterinarian (she has a Dutch last name that I’ve already forgotten!).  She said that they looked great and did well.  Many breeders do their own tails and claws, but I just like having the vet do it and it gives the newborn puppies that first inspection.

Q litter at the vet

Q pups at the vet

I did get a video yesterday.  The SD card from my camcorder got misplaced and I need a new card, so it is just a phone video.  I don’t know on my phone how to do all of the titles and credits like I normally do, so it is pretty basic.  Click the link to go over to YouTube and watch it: Q Litter 5 Days Old Video

Here is a montage of a few more pictures that I’ve taken here over the last couple of days:

The boy in the pictures is our soon to be twelve-year-old son (our youngest) Caleb.  He does not know life before puppies.  We’ve always had puppies since he was a baby and he just loves them.  (Yeah, about that shirt.  I had it in the laundry slated for the donations bag, but it is his favorite and he pulled it out to wear it again even though it is too small.  Boys.)

In other news: Charles wrapped up the hunting season a week early and he didn’t get any photos from his last hunt.  The weather was rough and the roads were terrible.  There were gobs of hunters out where he was at.  A six hour round trip for one rooster, but hey, they had fun.

AWPGA Griffon-Only AKC Walking Field Trial

This is the next item of excitement on our list.  The AWPGA will finally be sponsoring a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon ONLY AKC Walking Field Trial on March 20-21 at the Moraine View State Recreation Area north of LeRoy, Illinois.  Charles, Obi and Ruth will be there along with some of our other AWPGA friends and their dogs from our area.  This has been years in the making and I thank Thomas and Kristen Mathis for finally getting it off of the ground.  I will post the premium once we get ours turned in!  For all of the rules, Google “AKC Field Trial Rules and Standard Procedure for Pointing Breeds”, it is a weird PDF link that doesn’t transpose well.

Signing off for now, but will be back next week for another update.  Stay warm and don’t hurt yourself in this snow and ice.

 

Field Trial Placement and on to Maine

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AKC Field Trial

Today we ran Bluestem’s Prairie Fire “Fire” in her first formal dog event.  She participated in the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Nebraska’s Fall Field Trial in the Amateur Walking Puppy and Amateur Walking Derby stakes at the Branched Oak Field Trial Grounds near Raymond, Nebraska.  These grounds are famous and I noticed a new sign hanging in the lodge as I was getting breakfast this morning.  It is notes made this spring by Delmar Smith.

Comments from Delmar Smith about Branched Oak Field Trial Grounds, April 2014

Comments from Delmar Smith about Branched Oak Field Trial Grounds, April 2014

We met Delmar in Kansas City at Pheasant Fest a few years back and he is definitely a sage of the sport.

Sunrise over Branched Oak Field Trial Grounds

Sunrise over Branched Oak Field Trial Grounds

Horse barn and clubhouse of Branched Oak Field Trial Grounds

Horse barn and clubhouse of Branched Oak Field Trial Grounds

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A standard setup at Branched Oak

It was entirely English Pointers and German Shorthaired Pointers, but we had fun and Fire had a great experience.  Of course she was shown up with range in the field because of her young age (6 1/2 months) and the close-working nature of the breed, but due to the fact that there were only 4 dogs entered in the Amateur Walking Derby, we did walk away with a ribbon.  Although it was a “gimme” (which none of BB’s field trial placements were), it was still cool to represent griffons and be the only 6 month old griff ever to have placed in an AKC Field Trial.

Walking to the line

Walking to the line

At the line

At the line

Starting in the field

Starting in the field

Escapee

Escapee

Running Fire

Running Fire

Charles and Fire with their 4th place ribbon in the Amateur Walking Derby

Charles and Fire with their 4th place ribbon in the Amateur Walking Derby

We also had visitors from Matt and Carter, who live around Lincoln and will be getting a Sam/BB pup next year.

Matt and Carter saying hi to Fire.

Matt and Carter saying hi to Fire.

Fire and Carter

Fire and Carter

I really hate to cut this short, as there’s more to say, but I am still not packed for the AWPGA National Specialty Dog Show, Hunt Tests and Annual Meeting this week in Maine, and I have a 6 AM flight to catch in the morning.  I’m taking all of my equipment with me, so maybe there will be a blog post part 2 if I get the time this week, but I will probably be busy seeing all of my long lost dog friends.  If I don’t get to it, I’ll catch up with y’all next weekend.

More Field Trial Action and Pupdates

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On Field Trials

Saturday, September 22nd was a big day for AKC field events in the Lincoln, Nebraska area, so the kids and I hit the road to visit friends and family involved.  Our first stop was the Missouri Valley Brittany Club’s AKC Hunt Test at Yankee Hill Wildlife Management Area just southwest of Lincoln, near Denton.  Although Charles and I lived in Lincoln for a couple of years in the 1990’s, I had never been to this WMA.  It is very nice, lots of good cover and space, I can see why the Nebraska Game and Parks selected it as a new spot to plant pheasant for the youth hunting weekend in October.  Yet I digress.

I was headed to the test to visit with my friend Sally Jo Hoagland from North Platte.  Although she is probably closer to my mom’s age than mine, she is one of the top (if not THE top) Weimaraner breeders in Nebraska (Weimshadow Kennel) and one of the only professional dog trainers in Central Nebraska (Four Paws Dog Training).  We had met at the Grand Island Kennel Club Dog Show earlier in the year after first connecting on Facebook, due to our mutual involvement with NAVHDA and AKC.  It was funny that at the hunt test I not only knew Sally Jo, but probably 90% of the people at the test and what was even funnier is that we were not the only family of spectators.

The hunt test environment is very family friendly, there are usually multiple families with elementary age children running about, so we all look out for one another’s kids and there is never any worry about any of the dogs being mean.  The dogs typically sit quietly in their crates or on their stakeout chains and love to have the kids mess with them.

Following lunch at the hunt test and a good visit with friends and fellow local hunt test junkies, we loaded up and headed north to Branched Oak Field Trial Grounds near Raymond.  Although we had been there for hunt tests in the past, this field trial environment was completely different.  The German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Nebraska’s field trial over last weekend was four days long and had 235 entrants, making it one of the largest AKC field trials of the entire year.  Our “camp” was out in the back 40, so when the kids wanted to go to the clubhouse to get some sweets and sodas, we had to wade through the melee.  As most field trials are on horseback, most of the other camps consisted of a camper/horsetrailer/dogtrailer combo, a stakeout chain of 10-25 dogs and at least one horse.  Anytime someone walked down the dirt road in the midst of the gypsy village, all 235 dogs barked and spazzed out on their chains.  This was with the exception of BB of course, who really wanted her people very close to her in this strange setting.  I don’t think that any of us were comfortable and felt pretty alien: a family with small children and one griffon surrounded by herds of barking shorthairs, German Wirehaired Pointers and Vizsla dogs along with their owners who reminded me of the rodeo crowd; not sure if their faces are red from being sunburned or last night’s whiskey, or both.  The only time that I saw any other women is when they came out of their campers to water their dogs or smoke a cigarette.

A string of German Shorthaired Pointers at the AKC Field Trial on Saturday

Maybe I’m only drawing these caricatures because I was nervous and scared that my 3 year old was going to wade into a pack of freaked out hunting machines.  I don’t want to hurt any field trialer’s feelings and I’m sure we’ll be back for more, so I’ll get more comfortable and quit seeing things that make me want to point them out.  But as the hunt testing environment is where my fellow griffoniers find themselves, I wanted to point out the differences before anyone else decided to strike out into the field trial world.  Not that I have any serious ideas of other griffoniers going this route, as a few of them have raised questions about participation.

Our take on it is that Korthals wanted to breed a foot hunting dog that was faster than the bootlicking continental breeds of his time.  We do not believe that hunt testing does enough to test the athleticism and endurance of the animal, as it is a brief exercise that is only looking for the dog to satisfy the training requirements of the test (search, pointing, retrieving, steadiness, honoring etc.).  Even in NSTRA and BHU trials, the field is too small for it to be a valid test of athleticism.  We intend to continue to participate in walking stakes at AKC field trials and other trialers at the event encouraged Charles to look into American Field’s Region 19 events.

In my brief readings on American Field Region 19, these are events that last longer than an hour and are on open terrain and wild birds, which is a lot like what we are doing for hunting anyway, where we walk for at least an hour before stopping for water and usually two hours before we really stand or sit around for any lengthy period of time.  I would suspect that BB would be the first griffon to ever participate in American Field, should we decide to check it out.

BB placed 4th out of 5 in the Amateur Walking Derby stakes last Saturday, beating out a Vizsla her same age, working the terrain more thoroughly and having the one bird find of the run.  Although we are flying in the face of current convention with the breed, we worry more about the prevelance of designer house pets and conformation show-only dogs than about our involvement in walking stakes at field trials.  I really just wish we could channel the spirit of Korthals to ask him himself, but in the meantime we’ll just keep doing our research to support our methods and having fun with our dogs.

BB’s Fourth Place Ribbon.

Pupdates

TracHer is busy as usual in North Dakota, she’s 7 months old now and been out on a few sharptail grouse and Hungarian Partridge hunts.  She’s even retrieved a few of them!  Most recently, she brought a live rabbit into the house through the doggie door while company was over, luckily they were fellow hunters!

TracHer on left (7 month old Wirehaired Pointing Griffon) with Susan and her old buddy Zephyr with Tom and their limit of sharptail grouse!

TracHer and her bunny (7 month old Wirehaired Pointing Griffon)

TracHer retrieving a sharptail grouse (7 month old Wirehaired Pointing Griffon)

Mike out in Colorado has also been working with TracHer’s “twin” sister Frankie on some pheasants.  He’s been working on steadiness on the point and he says she’s doing a great job!  Both TracHer and Frankie are from our 2012 “C” litter with Sam and Mae.

Mowgli is 18 months old and is from our 2011 “B” litter out of Sue and Sam.  Quite the looker!  I saw his brother Duke’s owner at the movie theater when I was taking the kids to see Finding Nemo 3-D, so hopefully I’ll get to see him soon.

Mowgli (18 month old Wirehaired Pointing Griffon) and his neighbor friend the Dachshund chilling on the deck

Coming Soon to Versatile Hunter

Well in less than a week, we’ll be headed back out to the Sandhills for some more hunting.  There are no words for how terrible Eastern Nebraska has been this year thus far.  The swamps are too dry for early teal and snipe, then the prairie chicken grounds have all been mowed for hay.  Damn drought.  We are going to have to start commuting to not only the Sandhills, but the Rainwater Basin of Central Nebraska, the pheasant fields of South Dakota and Southwestern Nebraska as well as the quail fields of Kansas.  I hope that this is a temporary blip in the hunting situation in this part of the state because I don’t see us moving anytime soon.  But we are in fear of this being the beginning of a total collapse in hunting in Southeastern Nebraska.

Shirts!!

Oh and one last thing, be sure to check out the new t-shirt designs on our Shop!!  You can either click the button at the top of the page or go directly to http://www.wirehairedpointinggriffongear.com Buy a shirt to show your griffon pride, 100% made in the USA, from the shirt itself, the artists designs to the embroidery and screenprinting!!