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Welcome “O” Litter!

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At this time, all 2018 puppies are spoken for.  Please email bluestemkennels@gmail.com to inquire about future litters.
The arrival of the “O” litter…

I knew things were starting Friday night at bedtime, so I put Fire in the whelping area when I went to bed, thinking that she would bark or howl to wake me up to help her whelp.  Nope.  Here is what I woke up to Saturday morning…twelve clean and healthy puppies!  Nine boys and three girls.

Fire O Litter1

Fire and the “O” Litter

I had only taken five deposits since she’d had a smaller litter last year, so I’ve been working through contacts and finding some great homes all across the country for these little ones.

This morning I took them to my vet at Heartland Pet Hospital just down the hill for their tail docking and dew claw removal.  Dr. Kliewer said that everyone looks healthy and vibrant.  All twelve are still going strong after two days, so that is a good sign.  I don’t see any of them at risk for fading away on us.

Fire O Litter2

“O” Litter at the vet

I will keep this blog post updated as I fill the last two male puppy reservation spots for the “O” Litter.

“N” Litter Picks

I have listed the “N” Litter picks by the state where they are going to (or region in the case of MO).
Boys:
Norman – Tennessee
Nicholas – Virginia
Noah – Iowa
Newman – Nebraska
Girls:
Namaste – Northwest Missouri
Nichole – Oklahoma
Nefertiti – Mississippi
Nellie – Texas
Nettie – East Central Missouri
Congratulations everyone!  We are scheduled for our shots and microchips on Wednesday the 4th and we’ll be ready to rock and roll.  Here is the YouTube video that I made of them Saturday morning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fqg-2sIj2JY&t=7s
Thanks to everyone for your vote of confidence in me as a breeder.

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.

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.

Playing with Fire and “H” Litter 6.5 weeks

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The puppy that we kept out of the “G” litter, “Fire” from Sam and BB is doing well.  She is 3 months old right now and weighs about 17 pounds.  We took her out with 3 of our captive quail on Friday, unfortunately 2 of them got away from us before she could get on to them, but we did have one good point and flush.  My video camera was out of battery, so I only took a couple of stills from the day.

Three month old Fire getting used to working out in front.

Three-month old Fire getting used to working out in front.

Fire pointing the planted quail.

Fire pointing the planted quail.

Fire is doing okay on housebreaking, we still have an accident every few days.  Instead of putting her in the ex-pen in the front yard for bathroom breaks, we’re working her on the puppy-gauge checkcord which is good practice for when we start to train with the adult-sized checkcord.  Probably the biggest difficulty we’ve had with her the past week is with her stomach.  She is obsessed with my hair ties and has stolen from the night stand and eaten about 5 of them.  They’ve either passed back up or through, but I don’t want her getting a blockage from them, so they are hanging high from here on out.  Also, she must have gotten into some wormy deer or rabbit poop out back, as we had to fight off a bad case of roundworm.  Luckily, two days of dosing her with the over-the-counter liquid puppy de-wormer seemed to do the trick.  So hopefully the stomach concerns are over for now.

The big dogs are all fine, just ready for their spring grooming.  And of course my last litter of puppies for 2014, they start going home a week from tomorrow.  They are all just wonderful pups and their owners should be very excited;  they’re pretty feisty and are ready for some more individual time.  In addition to our own de-sensitizing with the cap gun, one of our neighbors has been getting a new roof, so there has been plenty of popping going on.  We had a 100 degree day on Wednesday, so I was outside with the dogs most of the day keeping them cool in the pool.  They love to pick up random objects and carry them around.  Plus they are super friendly!  I have one of my frozen dead quail thawing out and we’ll play with that this week, then Friday is their vet appointment for microchips and shots.  Here are their individual pictures:

 

Girl: Hope

Girl: Hope

Girl: Harriet

Girl: Harriet

Boy: Hez

Boy: Hez

Boy: Harold

Boy: Harold

Boy: Herbert

Boy: Herbert

This week’s YouTube is pretty funny, as it features my five-year old son, Caleb, absconding into the woods with two of the puppies and me trying to get them all to come back.  You can see how active they are now.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rnFdgULxIU&feature=youtu.be

Charles and our ten-year old son, Conrad, went out on Saturday to give a hand at the Heartland Chapter NAVHDA Spring test.  They got to meet one of the Switchgrass griffons out of Oklahoma and were pleased with the dog’s performance.  Plus it was just good for them both to get out with the dog people.

We weathered last night’s storm just fine, it was really no more than an average thunderstorm here, but I know that there are folks west of us who lost homes, barns, and animals, so our prayers go out to them and we’re thankful to all be safe here.  I hope that both dog and human mothers had a blessed Mother’s Day yesterday.  I’ll be sure to catch up with you again this weekend before the pups start going home.

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