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Today, for the first time in 13 years, I don’t have a child in daycare, preschool, or at home with me.  The youngest is off to kindergarten and as much as I’ve looked forward to this day for so bloody long, it still hurts a little.  But I’ll be back to substitute teaching English at the high school the day after tomorrow, so that will be exciting.  And there’s always the dogs.

It has rained every day since we’ve been back from vacation, so they haven’t gotten a good long run in for awhile.  It shows; they are a bit rammy on their walks out back.  Yesterday, Sam finally met the new intact male pitbull that moved recently in a few properties over.  I was very nervous, but the pit is probably several years younger and 3-4 inches shorter than Sam, so nobody was questioning who was dominate (thank God).

Fall is Coming

In case you hadn’t noticed, fall will be here soon.  The dog cult of Branched Oak Field Trial Grounds will be re-assembling in 10 days for the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Nebraska’s Fall Field Trial.  We’ll go ahead and run Fire in the Amateur Walking Puppy and Amateur Walking Derby stakes.  The following weekend, we’ll do the same thing at the same place with the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Lincoln.  Those trials fall on each end of my work week trip to Maine, August 25-29 for AWPGA National Specialty, so it will be a very doggy week.

Speaking of the people who hang around Branched Oak, I’d like to give a shout out to Kahne Packer, and his folks Dana and Chad.  Kahne is bud of my kids at dog events and was featured in the Best in Show photograph for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Nebraskaland Magazine Photo Contest for 2014.

Kahne Packer and his German Shorthaired Pointer anxiously wait to set food afield at a youth mentor pheasant hunt at Cub Creek Hunting in Beatrice.  Photo by Kaleb White

Kahne Packer and his German Shorthaired Pointer anxiously wait to set foot afield at a youth mentor pheasant hunt at Cub Creek Hunting in Beatrice. Photo by Kaleb White

Sharptailed Grouse and Statewide Early Teal

We will skip opening day of sharptailed grouse on September 1 and instead head out there on Friday the 5th to chase them, with statewide Nebraska early teal opening on Saturday the 6th.  If you go out for early teal on the 6th, make sure you take the time to properly identify what you are shooting.  This season is under evaluation by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and if we harvest too many non-teal ducks, we will lose the season.  TEAL ONLY.  Please download the NGPC Waterfowl Guide to your phone or tablet prior to going out into the field for further guidance: http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/hunting/guides/waterfowl/waterfowl.asp

 The battle of the over/unders: the SKB Model 505 vs. the Browning Citori Lightning

We have a way of winning big ticket items at Pheasants Forever banquets.  Charles and Conrad both have Nebraska Lifetime Hunting and Fishing licenses.  I won the 12 ga. Browning Citori Lightning O/U four or five years ago.  I used to shoot a 20 ga. SKB 505, but I don’t get a chance to shoot skeet that often, so I needed the extra reach of a 12 ga. to put more birds in the bag.  Plus, it took me several years of hunting to work up the upper body strength to carry a shotgun all day and not end up with a black shoulder from bad form.  Charles would have taken the Citori, but it is just too long for him.

An array of Browning Citoris, from pafoa.org

An array of Browning Citoris, from pafoa.org

I have fought with that damn shotgun since the day I won it.  It has driven me to tears.  Both the Browning and the SKB have the safety on the top of the grip of the stock, just behind the receiver.  With the SKB it is a simple thumb push forward to take the safety off.  On the Browning Citori Lightning the safety and the O/U switch are one in the same, where you push the same switch side to side to choose barrels, then forward to take off the safety.  If the O/U switch is not properly engaged, the safety will not turn off.  And it is just enough to send me into a complete hissy fit and makes me lose my focus on the shot.  So good riddance, Browning Citori Lightning O/U 12 ga., into the safe to be a loaner gun.  Or maybe one of the boys will have more patience for it than I.

Unfortunately, SKB shotguns are not currently in production.  About three years ago, the family who owned the SKB factory in Japan decided that they no longer wanted to carry on operating it once the family patriarch passed on.  So, SKB USA, which is headquartered right here in Omaha, Nebraska, is building a new plant in Turkey to continue to manufacture these functional tools.  Sure, it is cool to look at a Kreighoff, but what happens when I fall into the swamp (again)?  But luckily around Christmas time, we found a 505 12 ga. in mint condition here at Guns Unlimited (aka SKB USA headquarters), so I am super excited to get her out in the field and shoot some stuff.  Oops, I mean harvest the sacred game.

SKB Model 505 12 ga. field grade

SKB Model 505 12 ga. field grade.  Photo from skb.com

 Vacation selfies

Looking back on my vaca post, I realize that I edited myself out of the photos.  Here I am, “Hi!!”

Great Sand Dunes National Park kicked my arse.  Photo by Charles.

Great Sand Dunes National Park kicked my arse. Photo by Charles.

Charles and I at the Grand Canyon.  Photo by our 10 year-old son, Conrad.

Charles and I at the Grand Canyon. Photo by our 10 year-old son, Conrad.

Pupdates

We received Ben’s OFA certification back and it was Good.  He is a 3 1/2 year old male out of Sam and Sue that we’ll be breeding on to our co-owned female, Velma.  I can check that off of the list.

Ben's OFA certificate

Ben’s OFA certificate

Ernie up in North Dakota has been working with his 5 month-old pup, Duncan, and the Central Dakota NAVHDA chapter towards the Natural Ability test.  Duncan is from our 2014 “H” litter of Sam and Mae.  He said, “Duncan is doing great, he has more natural ability than any other dog I have ever seen at this age.  He is picking up on the obedience training very quickly.  The guys at NAVHDA are sure he could do his NA test now, but I will wait until spring.  Hope you have a great hunting season.”

He also sent along a video of their training:

As it says in the credits, thank you to Ernie for the great video, and to the Central Dakota NAVHDA chapter for the training opportunities!

Duncan on a fishing trip, waiting for hunting season.

Duncan on a fishing trip, waiting for hunting season.

Also working with the Central Dakota NAVHDA chapter is TracHer, with Susan and Tom.  TracHer is from our 2012 “C” litter of Sam and Mae.  They sent along a GoPro headmount video of working with her on steadiness.  I appreciate them sharing a video of a work in progress, as training steadiness is challenging.  If you are sensitive to motion, you might want to start the video at 1:15 or so.  I also film with a GoPro and know that getting anything of quality is lucky, so thank you again Susan and Tom for putting in the effort to share this.  

Matt up in South Dakota has been out with Josie, Duncan’s sister.  He called me up and said that she’s gaining her independence in her puppy adolescence, but they are getting her reined back in by having her drag a check cord.  She had a bit of random nervous barking early on, but they resolved it quickly with a no-bark collar.  Matt guides upland and waterfowl near Vermillion when he isn’t doing his day job, and I learned something interesting from him about hunting waterfowl along the Missouri River.  They do not use any type of collar on the dog up there, for fear of having dogs snag on the numerous logs and branches in the water.  We have yet to try and take on the Mighty Mo here, it is a big deep channel, but that is a smart tip.

Josie sitting

Josie sitting

Josie in the field

Josie in the field

Josie with a bumper in the yard

Josie with a bumper in the yard

TracHer’s brother, Chester, out in New York was caught on camera by his trainer, Steve Anker.  Charles hangs out on the versatiledogs.com forum and showed me this.  I loved it so much that I had to snag it.  Chester is working on his NAVHDA Utility Test with the Hudson Valley NAVHDA Chapter, and is pictured with his owner, Sal.

Sal and Chester up to serious training business.  Photo by Steve Anker.

Sal and Chester up to serious training business. Photo by Steve Anker.

Okay, not a pupdate, but still a silly griffon photo from my pack.  My brother Ron had Mae out on Main Street in Valentine, Nebraska while the bar folk were about.  I didn’t ask the details, but he titled this one “Mae Meets the Party Girls”.

Mae giving love to the party girls

Mae giving love to the party girls

Time for me to get on with the day.  Party on, Mae.

Introducing Ben, etc.

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Introducing Ben

We will be using Ben as the sire on the litter planned with Velma (De Jac’s Zip-Ah-Dee-Doo-Dah) for 2015.  Ben is from our 2011 “B” Litter between Sam and Sue.  We had him here as an overnight guest last week in order to get his hips X-rayed, which is really just a formality as there is no sign of anything wrong.  It is just one of those things that you are supposed to do before breeding a dog.

Ben has a wonderful temperament: he only barked once or twice out in the kennel even though it wasn’t home and he let me mess with him up on the grooming table without putting up a fight.  He is strictly a wild bird hunter of quail, sharptailed grouse, and pheasant here in Nebraska.  He lives on a farm outside of Lincoln with Nate and his family.  We plan on taking our next stud puppy out of the Velma and Ben litter, they really compliment each other well in their conformation.

Ben on point last fall.

Ben on point last fall on a hen pheasant.

Ben au natural, before any grooming

Ben au natural, before any grooming

Ben after being brushed, before trim

Ben after being brushed, before trim

Ben after a full trim and bath

Ben after a full trim and bath

Ben with Nate ready to head home

Ben with Nate ready to head home

I was really blown away by Ben’s head furnishings, neither of his parents have anything near that long.  I would put his eyebrows and beard at around 4 in. long.  His face really makes me think of the West Coast show griffs.  His body coat is more of the hunter lines liver coat, but it isn’t flat like some, it does have a curl to it like Sam’s.  Then the chest and the legs have lots of gray fringe on them.  He also isn’t too big, 64 lbs. and probably 23 in. at the shoulder, so really the perfect size and right in breed standard.  We hope to get out this fall and do some hunting with him too, so I’ll have more pictures of him then.

Retiree Update

Mae is doing really well with my brother Ron, and his Siberian Husky Whisper.  Whisper used to escape and run away all of the time, but that has changed now that he has an old lady.  Mae was fixed before I moved her, so there will be no griff/husky cross puppies (although it was much talked about in jest beforehand).  They sit around the yard all day, then play fight in the house at night.

Mae and Whisper doing what they do best.

Mae and Whisper doing what they do best.

Stan shared a cute picture of old Sue running with Savannah down the driveway, she seems to be very happy playing with the kids.  Trey is 12 this year and passed his hunter’s safety, so game birds in Mellette County, South Dakota be warned.

Sue and Savannah on a jog.

Sue and Savannah on a jog.

Fire Training Update

Last weekend, Charles took our 5-month old puppy, Fire, out to Skyline Sportsmen’s Club in Thurman, Iowa for training with the Heartland NAVHDA Chapter.  She did her first exercise with live shotgun fire and did just fine.  She also retrieved bumpers from the water.  The veterans of the chapter said that she is ready for her Natural Ability test, so we will go ahead and move that up to October of this year.  We were talking about doing it in the spring, but will go ahead and move it up and do the UPT test in Spring of 2015.  That way we can get her through the Utility Test prior to her coming into breeding age, probably Fall of 2015.

Pupdate

Cliff in Oklahoma sent over a great update on Bluestem Belle, from our “C” litter of 2012 between Sam and Mae.  That would make her a littermate to Chester in New York and TracHer in North Dakota who we get frequent updates from.  Here’s what Cliff had to say:

Belle has been just almost the perfect pet.  She is so personable and most always very obedient.  I will take partial credit on the obedient attribute.  We had her spayed prior to her coming into heat the second time, so about 16 months ago.  After going through one cycle of wearing doggie diapers and having to be careful what dogs we hunted around that first fall, I didn’t want to go through that again!  She is an inside-outside pet.  Inside when we are home, but outside if we are going to be gone more than a couple hours.  We got our yard fenced shortly after bringing her home, so she has about half an acre to be in. 
 
I continue to be amazed on how smart she is.  She can open doors (we have door handles instead of door knobs), know toy names, and last week she fetched my socks and shoes to put on so we could go on a walk!  When we go to our public walking area, I usually don’t have her on a leash unless we are about to walk past another dog or geese.  She always wants to get in my truck to go someplace.  There is a pub in Stillwater that allows pets on leash.   Attached is a picture of her in front of a menu board.
 
She does great hunting, super nose and follows commands: verbal, whistle & hand directions.  One of our most fun days out last season was the Jan 31st in north-central Kansas.  We woke up to new and continuing snow.  Belle loved hunting in that cold and snow.  Attached are a couple pictures of her that day.  She was caked in snow and had a vast number of icicles in her beard.

 I look forward to seeing more of your posts.

Belle at Finnegan's Pub

Belle at Finnegan’s Pub

Belle in the Kansas snow

Belle in the Kansas snow

Belle on point

Belle on point

Thanks so much to Cliff for that update, I am pleased with how all of  these pups have turned out and it really bolsters my spirit to hear from my owners.  Infinite gratitude.

General Blog Ramblings

It is hard to believe that I’m fast approaching 300,000 lifetime hits on a totally homemade blog about an obscure breed of hunting dogs written by a gal who considers herself half redneck and half intellectual.  I suppose I could sell ads on my YouTube videos and convert this over to a site where I could put ads on it, but it is a passionate hobby and am fearful of taking myself too seriously.  But when I am able to see folks from all over the world reading it, like daily hits from Brazil during the World Cup (probably some Dutch and German griffon enthusiasts), it makes me feel pretty self-conscious and aware that I’m representing my breed and my sport internationally.  I need to do a better job of being a professional about it and not so flippant.  I appreciate you, my readers, for making me feel appreciated and tolerating my sometimes lazy and goofy posts.

I have also finally committed to going to Maine at the end of August for AWPGA National Specialty and the Korthals Cup.  I am looking forward to seeing some good friends and meeting some of the East Coast US and Quebec griffonniers that I’ve only encountered online.  If you’d like to join us, registration is open until August 1st http://www.awpganationalspecialty.com/.

Enjoy the end of summer and stay cool.  Griffs love kiddie pools, so bust one out if you haven’t already.

One last thing: I finally updated the gallery on the About Us/Contact page to include the last two years of our adventures, so be sure to check that out.  The button is in the brown top navigation bar.

NAVHDA Handler’s Clinic, our first Best of Breed, and other news…

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The Countdown Begins

It was only in the 50s when the sun was coming up this morning and it set Sam a-howling, which seemed appropriate to me because my first thought when I woke up was, “only two months left and it will be hunting season again”.  Although I’m very excited, I’m also a bit nervous since we’ve retired all of our older females at this point and I’ll be hunting with Sam.  It will be my first time hunting by myself with a male dog, and Sam and I have our moments where he thinks there is room for debate as to who is the dominate player in our relationship.  But I’m sure we’ll get it sorted out and have a grand time as we always do.

Opening weekend 2011: Charity, Ryan Tompkins, Chas, then Sue, Sam, and BB.

Opening weekend 2011: Charity, Ryan Tompkins, Charles, then Sue, Sam, and BB.

Best of Breed

I am just beside myself at the success of Bluestem Big Sky Rendezvous NA I “Midge” in both the field and the show ring.  She is from our 2013 “F” litter from Sam and Mae.  Only a couple of weeks after her Prize I NAVHDA Natural Ability test with a score of 112, she took Best of Breed on June 20th at the Electric City Kennel Club Dog Show in Great Falls, Montana.  The competition in Montana is tough and I am just thrilled.  Infinite thanks to owners/handlers Lou and Lindsay Volpe.

Midge has a stretch after her BOB win at Montana Expo Park

Midge has a stretch after her BOB win at Montana Expo Park

NAVHDA Handler’s Clinic

The first and most important thing I have to say about NAVHDA Handler’s Clinics is: GO.  I wish that we had gone 10 years ago, as it would have saved us numerous hours of time in both research and training.  We were lucky to have 3 judges with us over the weekend: our own Tracey Nelson and Chuck Casanova, and our instructor, Jason Wade from the Sebasticook and Yankee Chapters in Maine.  The first day was devoted to going over the Aims, Programs and Test booklet that covers the elements of the Natural Ability, Utility Preparatory, Utility, and Invitational Tests.  We then scored two dogs at the Natural Ability level.  The second day we scored a UPT and a UT dog, then finalized any remaining questions.  It was a great combination of direct instruction, guided practice, then finished with independent practice.  Kudos to Tracey and her family at Skyline Sportsmen’s Club in Thurman, Iowa for being gracious hosts to the Heartland Chapter yet again.

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Pupdates

Speaking of the NAVHDA Chapters in Maine, Tyson out in Bangor sent me a pic of Moose doing some work at a recent training day.  Moose is from our 2014 “H” litter from Sam and Mae and is 12 weeks old in the picture.

Moose retrieving a chukar

Moose retrieving a chukar

Kaylee down in Missouri shared this cute pic recently of my pup Fire’s sister, Willow, working on the water retrieve.  Willow is from our 2014 “G” litter of Sam and BB.  I love the confident look in her eyes, like, “I’ve got this!”

Willow is proud of her duck dummy

Willow is proud of her duck dummy

I just love all of the pics that Susan and Tom up in North Dakota get of TracHer and the pretty flowers.  Here is Susan and TracHer, who is from our 2011 “C” litter from Sam and Mae.  Don’t be fooled by her show dog looks, she’s tearing up the sloughs, ponds, and prairies up there.

Susan and TracHer in the summer flowers

Susan and TracHer in the summer flowers

As always, many thanks to all of my owners for sharing photos with me and giving great homes to our pups.

Mae’s Retirement  

We spent the solstice/wedding anniversary weekend up in the Nebraska Sandhills, enjoying time in the outdoors with family and friends.

Caleb, Fire, Charles, BB, Cordelia, Conrad, Mae, and Sam at our special swimming spot

Caleb, Fire, Charles, BB, Cordelia, Conrad, Mae, and Sam at our special swimming spot

Mae has been officially retired to Valentine, Nebraska to live with my brother, Ron, and his 1 1/2 year old Siberian Husky, Whisper.  The initial introduction of the two dogs was a bit dicey, but they settled in with each other quickly and are good friends.

Mae and Whisper chilling in my brother's yard

Mae and Whisper chilling in my brother’s yard

Burr season is here

As I was writing this, I received a panicked phone call from a griff owner asking about how to deal with burr mats in the coat.  If we run the dogs in burrs, I try to brush them the same or the next day to prevent matting.  Should I forget to do this and a mat develops, I try to brush it out with a wide toothed comb or burr puller.  I make sure to grab the fur close to the skin before I start yanking on it with the comb.  There are spray-on liquid detanglers that you can buy at the pet store to help with this.  If it will not come out and the dog is crying and/or trying to grab your hand with its mouth, it is okay to cut the mat out with scissors if you have to.

I had better move on with my day, even though it seems like there is always more to write, but the littlest one is asking for me to fix him a hot breakfast.  So everyone have a safe and Happy 4th of July!  Keep the dogs inside or kenneled a safe distance from fireworks so they don’t try to eat them like my little cocker spaniel did when I was a child:)

Spring Training

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It is supposed to get into the mid-90s today, so it is a perfect day to get dog baths and grooming out of the way.  Mae will be heading up to her retirement home with my mom and brother in Valentine, Nebraska this weekend, so I want to get her all spiffy.  Speaking of retired dogs, I’ve gotten some pics and video of 10 year old Sue who is retired up in South Dakota and she looks to be enjoying a relaxing family life up there.  I am so thankful to the folks who are choosing to take our retired dogs, as an acre and a small house that is already full of kids just isn’t enough to keep an active breeding and hunting program going without transitioning the elders.

Fire and Charles out working over on Saturday

Fire and Charles out working on Saturday

Right now we are mainly working on getting Fire ready to hunt with us this fall.  Opening day of sharptailed grouse season is only 2 1/2 months away!  She comes when called, searches out in front, retrieves, has a good point, and isn’t afraid of the starter pistol sound.  The housebreaking accidents are getting to be more infrequent.  I seriously think that griffons are one of the slowest breeds to housebreak and am finding that it usually happens between 16-20 weeks.

I went out with Charles on Saturday when he worked with Fire on some planted quail.  Obviously this video is edited for time as we walked for probably 30 minutes or more.  I apologize that it is impossible to see the dog point because of the thick cover, but you know when the dog is pointing when Charles gets his starter pistol ready to go.  Keep in mind that the pup was first started on pointing/flushing birds without a gun, then with a kids cap gun, now a .22 starter pistol with acorn crimps.  We are getting close to working with a shotgun.

Ernie up in North Dakota sent me a video about a week and a half ago of Duncan, who was 10 weeks at the time, pointing a pigeon.  I love the timing on this since I had a gentleman ask me a week or so ago if I guarantee my dogs pointing abilities.  I don’t guarantee it in writing because I can’t guarantee someone training a dog incorrectly and messing it up, but the natural ability and instinct is all there and I see it starting at 5-6 weeks old here in the yard.  I think that the only way that a griffon wouldn’t naturally have pointing instinct would be through poor breeding practices, but I’ve heard of plenty of housepet and show dog griffs who have the instinct without formal training.  They are pointing dogs, they all are supposed to point naturally.  I’ve never had anyone tell me that one of my puppies doesn’t point.

Thanks again to Ernie for sending that video over!

 

Training and Testing

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Puppy Homegoing

I received a picture of Hez in his new home in Bangor, Maine with Tyson and family.  He also has a big golden retriever friend named Ferg and they are all getting along splendidly!

Hez (now Moose) and family in Maine

Hez (now Moose) and family in Maine

Shipping a puppy by air cargo

Someone asked me recently about how I ship puppies by air cargo.  Well, I get an interstate health certificate from the veterinarian (needs to be dated within 10 days of travel).  Then I buy the intermediate level crate, which is 22 inches tall, 28 inches long, and 22 inches wide.  I take all of the plastic hardware off of the outside of the crate and replace with metal nuts and bolts, then fill the crate about 1/3 full of shredded newspaper.  Each side of the crate has “Live Animal” signs taped on to it, with a leash, a small bag of dog food, and the shipping/care instructions taped to the top.  I attach food and water dishes to the inside of the crate, then simply place the pup in the crate with his collar on.  I always have the pup take the first available flight out of Omaha Eppley so they are more mellow.  I am about a 15 minute drive from the airport, so I feed and water the pup, give it a walk to go potty, and away we go.  I use Delta Pet First/Air Cargo.   I check the dog in at the air cargo office (which is over with the FedEx and UPS buildings), they pull the pup out of the crate and inspect the crate for any contraband, put the pup back in and ny-tie the door closed.  All of the holding areas in both the airports and the planes are climate controlled so that the pup never experiences extreme temperatures.  I wish I could put a little camera in the crate and see what the pup sees when he is being shipped, it must be exciting.  But I think that the cargo folks are really nice to the pups because they’ve never come out of their crates traumatized.  I’ve shipped 15-20 puppies this way and have never had a problem at all.  Some breeders do not ship air cargo from reading a story or two on the internet, but it is like anything you read from questionable sources.

Grooming of the young griffon

I also had a question about what type of grooming to do on a young griffon puppy.  Aside from giving it a bath once a month with puppy shampoo and cleaning its ears with Malascetic Otic solution, very little.  I don’t recommend aggressive brushing like I do with adults, as I accidentally overbrushed a young puppy once while its puppy coat was coming out and the adult coat still hadn’t come in.  I had an almost bald griffon in October.  Charles was not happy.  So don’t do that:)

Fire’s training

Fire is coming along nicely at 15 weeks old; Charles has been planting birds for her once a week to point and flush.  He has switched from using the kiddie cap gun to the .22 starter pistol with blanks and she couldn’t care less about the noise.  He’s talking about incorporating the remote bird launchers as to avoid any accidental “traps” (when the live bird gets caught by the dog).  Then once he feels comfortable there, probably mid-July, will try the first live-fire exercise with a shotgun.  I will try to get out to catch some video of this process.

First NAVHDA Test Pupdate of the Season

Congratulations to owner/handler Lou Volpe and Bluestem’s Big Sky Rendezvous “Midge” on a NAVHDA Natural Ability Prize I with a perfect score of 112 at the Montana Sharptail Chapter test over the weekend!  Midge is from our 2013 “F” Litter from Sam and Mae.  Great job everyone!!!

“A” Litter Pupdate

Back at the end of April, my very first litter from Sam and Sue turned 4 years old.  Here are some recent owner photos from the litter that changed my life for good!

Maggie is a good kid pillow

Maggie is a good kid pillow

Maggie keeps her coat trimmed for the Alabama heat

Maggie keeps her coat trimmed for the Alabama heat

 

Maggie giving a look

Maggie showing off her beautiful eyes

Whiskey is a handsome dude

Whiskey is a handsome dude

Whiskey (front) and friends beating the Nevada heat

Whiskey (front) and friends beating the Nevada heat

Whiskey bringing Dad (Pete) his croc

Whiskey bringing Dad (Pete) his croc

I also saw a cool video on Whiskey’s mom’s Facebook page of him hunting chukars with his girl, Andi.  

More training

Susan and Tom have been working with TracHer on preparing for her NAVHDA Utility Test and sent me some pictures of her retrieving a giant Muscovy duck.  The first picture is of her retrieving it after a 60 yard dryland track from a drag and the second is a water retrieve.  TracHer is from our 2012 “C” Litter of Sam and Mae.

TracHer and the duck in the field

TracHer and the duck in the field

TracHer's water retrieve

TracHer’s water retrieve

I have one last bit of media to share with you and that is a YouTube that I made from a couple of video clips that new owners of this year’s litters sent to me.  You can see the pups style and personality already starting to shine through!

Many thanks to all of my generous owners who take the time to update me with photos and videos so that I have something to share with you!  It is greatly appreciated and keep it coming!  Hope that everyone is enjoying the beginning of summer and I’ll check back in soon.

H Litter Homegoing

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I am officially puppy-free for the rest of the summer (aside from Fire, of course)!  Everyone went home on their 8-week birthday on Tuesday, except one who went home on Sunday.

Herbert went across town with Bill and family.

Herbert went across town with Bill and family.

Harriet's went to South Dakota with Matt and family.

Harriet’s went to South Dakota with Matt and family.

Hope went to Wyoming with George and his wife.

Hope went to Wyoming with George and his wife. (Photo courtesy of George)

Harold went to North Dakota with Ernie and family.

Harold went to North Dakota with Ernie and family.

Hez is not pictured because he took a plane all the way to Maine!  He arrived safely without even messing in his crate.  Maybe one of these days Tyson will have a chance to send us a photo.

Mae did well with her spay and is ready for retirement.  We took Sam, BB, and Fire out on Memorial Day for Fire’s first swim.

Fire swimming with the kids.

Fire swimming with the kids.

Sam found himself a big stick.

Sam found himself a big stick.

BB and Fire having a run on the shore.

BB and Fire having a run on the shore.

I hope that everyone enjoyed their extra day off!  Spring NAVHDA tests are upon us, so I’ll be looking forward to any pupdates on that front and any others!  Fire is due for her last round of shots this week, so then we’ll be ready to start going to training days.  I also need to think about getting her trained up to go into the show ring at least once.  Maybe we can learn to enjoy it because BB, Mae and I really did not.  But if at first you don’t succeed, try again, right?

“H” Litter 7.5 weeks

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Well the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.  I was going to blog this weekend before the puppies started going home.  I managed to get their pictures and video on Sunday, but here I am blogging in between puppies going to their new homes.  Oh well, better late than never.  Saturday morning Charles and Conrad took our 3 1/2 month old pup, Fire, out with a few quail; just to plant them and let her point and flush them.  Then the whole family went and picked up some more quail for training this spring on Saturday from one of our game bird breeders down by Lincoln, so that was a road trip.  Then Sunday we took our weekly dog exercise hike.

So here are the last shots of the “H” Litter 2014 from Sam and Mae before going home.  Everyone goes home today except for one going over the weekend.  Mae will be spayed at the end of the week, then head up to her retirement home with my brother in Valentine, Nebraska mid-June.

Herbert is staying in Omaha

Herbert is staying in Omaha (not with us!)

Harold goes to North Dakota

Harold goes to North Dakota

Harriet goes to South Dakota

Harriet goes to South Dakota

Hez will live in Maine

Hez will live in Maine

Hope is headed to Wyoming

Hope is headed to Wyoming

The video this week is a little random and slightly controversial in dog training circles.  Playing with the dead quail in such an uncontrolled environment should be very limited.  Here I am doing it in the litter setting just to activate prey drive.  Notice how they want to fight over it and hard-mouth it.  That is why it is limited and I don’t recommend doing this at home with your new pup.  Once you have your pup home, you want to work on retrieving with toys and dummies.  Once they have that down, then you can graduate to retrieving a carcass.  But don’t let them get rough with it like they do here.  The second portion of the video has Charles playing with the pups with a wing.  Once again, something that should be very limited if you do it at all.  Ideally you’re looking for the pup to point the wing, but these guys are in their play yard and not in a training environment, so they just want to chase it.  These pups are great pointers, but not the best on-call actors.  If you look at the pics of Herbert and Harold, they are pointing the clicking of my camera. .

If you want a step-by-step “gun dog puppy training for dummies”, you can’t beat Richard Wolter’s Gun Dog.  Here is a review I wrote of the book a few years back, you can pick up a copy on Amazon: https://bluestemkennels.com/2010/07/22/book-review-gun-dog-by-richard-a-wolters/

Here is the aforementioned YouTube puppy video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsQRVSpAsCA&feature=youtu.be

Tomorrow is the last day of school for the kids, so I’m looking forward to a puppy-free (with the exception of our Fire, of course) summer.  Really working on getting into shape with September 1st on the brain and already excited to get back out in the hunting fields and swamps.  I’ll post the homegoing pictures after the last pup goes home over the weekend.  I hope that everyone enjoys their Memorial Day holiday and remembers those who gave their lives so that we can enjoy the awesomeness that is America.

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