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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.

“H” Litter at 5 1/2 weeks

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The puppies are doing very well, they are now excited to get out of the kennel a few times a day instead of being scared to go out of it.  It is hard to believe that they will start going home two weeks from tomorrow.  After the week of rain we’ve had some nice sunny days, so it gives them the opportunity to experience all of the sights, sounds, and smells of spring.

We’ve been running the big dogs out in the country every weekend now, it really helps with control when we’re back at the house.  Although we have an acre that is attached to the neighbors’ 4 acres, they need to get out into a hunting field that often to blow off steam.  Plus it is good exercise for us and kids.

Here are the pictures of the pups:

Girl: Hope

Girl: Hope

Girl: Harriet

Girl: Harriet

Boy: Hez

Boy: Hez

Boy: Harold

Boy: Harold

Boy: Herbert

Boy: Herbert

Here is the weekly video update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAKwT7lR9ak&feature=youtu.be

Susan and Tom shot some video of practicing with a live duck retrieve with TracHer up in North Dakota.  TracHer really gets out there and swims just like her dad, Sam.  She is from our 2012 “C” litter of Mae and Sam.  Thanks to Susan and Tom for letting me share their video: https://vimeo.com/93433615

Happy 4th birthday to my “A” Litter of 2010 from Sue and Sam, the litter that started all of this craziness!  It is funny how all of this versatile hunting dog stuff has totally taken over our lives and I am so thankful for all of the wonderful people we have met through pup and clubs such as NAVHDA and AWPGA.  Time to get outside and let everyone out, so I’ll catch up with you next week.

Puppies on the way and pupdates!

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Sue’s retirement

Sue out on the prairie

Sue out on the South Dakota prairie

12 year old Trey gave me an update on how 10 year old Sue is doing up in South Dakota.  He says that he is finally licensed and has a shotgun and is ready to shoot some birds over her.  We miss Sue and my youngest boy Caleb (age 4 1/2) asks about her at least once a week.  We want to keep our dog numbers at 4 here at the house, so that we can hunt them regularly and give them personal attention, so retirement and re-homing is a necessary sadness.  But we are so happy to give folks an opportunity to experience the griffon who might not be able to afford or have no desire to raise a puppy.  I can’t wait to see pics of Trey and Sue with some birds in the fall!!

Sue's sweet face

Sue’s sweet face

Pupdates

I really appreciate all of my puppy owners who contribute photographs and stories of their dogs as they grow up.  It is truly the reason why we do this.

Pete, Whiskey, Andi and chukars in NV

Pete, Whiskey, Andi and chukars in NV

Great job to sharpshooter Andi and our oldest boy Whiskey, who will be four years old soon!  He is from our first, or “A” litter in 2010 with Sue and Sam.  Andi and Whiskey really tore it up in the chukar field and we couldn’t be more proud!!  Thanks to Pete, Deborah and Andi for giving him such a great life out in Nevada!!

Sal and 2 year old Chester

Sal and 2 year old Chester

We received a lovely Christmas card with photos of Chester from Sal and family out in New York!  When Chester isn’t out with Steve “Hoss” Anker training or out with the Hudson Valley NAVHDA Chapter, he’s having a good time at home on Long Island.  He is from our 2012 “C” litter from Sam and Mae.  Sal has done a great job working with this dog and he has a bright future ahead!

Chester taking a rest

Chester taking a rest

Chester’s “C” litter sister TracHer is having a good season up in North Dakota.  She has a new brother, a 10-month old German Wirehaired Pointer named Max.  Thanks to Susan and Tom for the lovely Christmas card with photos.  Tom had surgery is on crutches from a knee injury incurred while hunting, so we send prayers for a speedy recovery.

TracHer and Susan in the ND snow

TracHer and Susan in the ND snow

Chester and TracHer’s little sister Zoey, from our “F” litter in 2013 also from Mae and Sam, is having a blast down in Oklahoma with Jimmy and Sandi.  Here’s what Jimmy had to say:

This girl is the best thing that every happened to Sandi and me. Here some updated photos. She is now 10 mos old and weighs 55 lbs. We just bought some land in the badlands of SW Oklahoma and she loves it. Here is some photos of her expeditions so far. She loves hunting antlers and when go into the shop she will go to the gun safe and sit there until I either get a gun out or tell her we aren’t going hunting. 

Jimmy and Zoey

Jimmy and Zoey

Zoey on point

Zoey on point

Zoey water retrieving a stick

Zoey water retrieving a stick

Zoey retrieving an antler

Zoey retrieving an antler

Zoey patiently waiting for the ducks

Zoey patiently waiting for the ducks

Zoey and her mallard haul!

Zoey and her mallard haul!

Thank you so much again to all of my owners for contributing to this and keeping me up to date on how their dogs are doing.  It is really important for us to see their success, it keeps us going during the times that we find the pressures of breeding overwhelming.  Watching the gun dog lifestyle continue in our pups is one of our greatest joys.

I will be sure to keep everyone posted on the upcoming litters.  BB is already heavy and I need to get some pictures of her, along with updated shots of the rest of the dogs.  I’d also like to do video of Tor.  Now that I’ve recovered from travel, the holidays and a major plumbing project, I will do a better job of keeping the blog updated.  Charles and Matt are out right now trying to spook up some pheasants, all of the chaos lately has really cut into their time in the field.  Until then, stay warm and don’t blow away in these winds!

North Dakota Trip, AWPGA Nationals, Nebraska Pheasants and other news…

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When you go three weeks without blogging, stuff piles up, so I apologize if this seems a bit like a random barrage.  What most people come to my website for is to find out about new litters, so I suppose I will start there.  Mae is starting to have changes and Sam wants to be in the kennel with her, so by the looks of things we will have a breeding between them within the next month.  So, let’s project that they breed at the beginning of December; that would have puppies being whelped at the beginning of February and going home at the beginning of April.  This is all just my somewhat educated guesstimation and by no means guaranteed.  Mae is 6, so I suspect that she will have a litter around the same size as last year, which was 4.  BB (who lives with us) and Velma (who lives with a friend) are set to have their first litters this year.  They should come into season anytime between now and April.  I will not breed after late March because any pups after that would interfere with being able to take a summer vacation before school starts for the kids and hunting season starts for us.  Right now I have 12 reservations with deposit and other folks trying to decide.  I could have anywhere from 12-30 pups if all goes as I plan, but it isn’t up to me.  Feel free to call (402) 682-9802 or e-mail bluestemkennels@cox.net if you would like to discuss things further (I know I still have a couple of callbacks and e-mails, so bear with me another day or so to let me get those returned).

October 19-24 Charles, BB and Sam met up with Lou, Murph and Midge in North Dakota for a pheasant/duck hunt combo.  Also along was deer camp friend, Ozzie, and Lou’s father, Lew (AKA Lou Senior or Old Lou).  They saw some stuff.  They shot at some stuff.  They stayed in a cabin and cooked on a Coleman stove.  I’ll spare you the second-hand details and get down to the bird totals and photos.

Saturday, October 19, 2013: Charles and Young Lou got 3 sharp-tailed grouse.

Sam brings in the sharpie retrive with BB on backup.  Photo courtesy of Oscar Hollenbeck

Sam brings in the sharpie retrieve with BB on backup. Photo courtesy of Oscar Hollenbeck

Sam bringing the sharpie into Charles.  Photo courtesy of Oscar Hollenbeck

Sam bringing the sharpie into Charles. Photo courtesy of Oscar Hollenbeck

Young Lou, Murf, Sam, BB, Midge, Old Lou, Charles and the sharpie

Young Lou, Murf, Sam, BB, Midge, Old Lou, Charles and the sharpie.  Photo courtesy of Oscar Hollenbeck

The day's stringer of sharpies back at camp.  Photo by Charles

The day’s stringer of sharpies back at camp. Photo by Charles

Sunday, October 20, 2013 – skunked

Monday, October 21, 2013: Charles got 2 roosters

Charles and the first pheasant of the trip.  Photo courtesy of Oscar Hollenbeck

Charles and the first pheasant of the trip. Photo courtesy of Oscar Hollenbeck

Tuesday, October 22, 2013: Charles got a rooster pheasant and a mallard hen late in the day.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013: Charles got one rooster

Thursday, October 24, 2013: Young Lou got two roosters (no photo available)

Random pic of Lou cooking since there is no pheasant pic.  It snowed Saturday night, so this must be Sunday morning.

Random pic of Lou cooking since there is no pheasant pic. It snowed Saturday night, so this must be Sunday morning.

The trip was more about the memories and the time spent together than the bird totals anyway.  I hope that the guys enjoyed themselves even without game bags overflowing.

The griffon masters

The griffon masters

As Charles was driving home from North Dakota, Cordelia and I were on the road to the American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon National Specialty in Greeley, Colorado.  We missed the fun hunt, specialty show and annual meeting, but managed to see the supported entry show on Saturday and go to the banquet.  We also had an awesome sojourn into Boulder to shop and eat on Pearl St. and do some hiking in Boulder Canyon and at the Flatirons.

Cordelia and Charity in Colorado for AWPGA Nationals

Cordelia and Charity in Colorado for AWPGA Nationals

It was great to catch up with some griffoniers and talk dog nerd talk freely.   AWPGA National Specialty 2014 is on for Kennebunk and Union, Maine from August 25-31.  In addition to the events held this year in Colorado, they’ve got the Korthals Cup back on and there will be AKC and NAVHDA hunt testing opportunities available (in place of the fun hunt), and an interesting grooming and handling seminar.  I hope to make it out, but it is cutting it awfully close to the opening of dove and grouse Sept. 1.  I encourage any and all griffon enthusiasts to join the AWPGA and attend a specialty, so much fun!  Here are Susan Edginton’s photos of this year’s specialty dog show, if you want to check those out:

http://sedgintonphotos.photoreflect.com/store/ThumbPage.aspx?e=9111641&g=1ZZR001G02

Last weekend also had plenty of excitement!  Charles and Matt went out on Saturday in search of rooster pheasants and actually found some!  Nebraska Game and Parks planted 4000 pheasants this year on public land across Eastern Nebraska (finally).  If you’ve read my blog during pheasant season over the past few years, you know how much I like to whine about the decline of pheasants in our part of the state and how much NGPC needed to stock.  Well they have heard the desperate pleas of the hunters and “did us a solid” (as my kids would say).  The Pheasants Forever Rooster Road Trip party took 17 pheasant out of Northeastern Nebraska in one day off of public land.  We are very excited for this pheasant season in Eastern Nebraska, now that we know that we actually have a chance.  Both Matt and Charles took their limits and Charles got a quail too.  In total he said that they saw 20 pheasants and 50 quail.

Mid-day bag in Southeastern Nebraska

Mid-day bag in Southeastern Nebraska

End of day bag.  One of Matt's roosters somehow got away.

End of day bag. One of Matt’s roosters somehow got away.

By the time they pulled into the driveway, it was dark and the kids and I were in the middle of dinner, so no great photography went down.  Sorry.

On the same day we found out that our new male was born!!  He will be coming from Bourg-Royal Kennel in St. Lambert-de-Lauzon, Quebec, Canada, the same kennel as BB.  Different parents, both French imports.  We are very excited to bring him home around the first of the year!

Cristal and the 4 puppies: 1 male and 3 females

Cristal and the 4 puppies: 1 male and 3 females

Announcement in the last Griffonnier with the parents' credentials

Announcement in the last Griffonnier with the parents’ credentials

And the blog post wouldn’t be complete without some pupdates.  Here’s Midge (who went on the North Dakota trip), from Sam and Mae’s 2013 “F” litter with a big haul of pheasants from Montana.  Charles said she is a hard charging little dog with a great coat and lots of prey drive.

Midge and Montana Pheasants

Midge and Montana Pheasants

Midge’s older sister TracHer from Sam and Mae’s 2012 “C” litter has been having a great season up in North Dakota and is showing off all her skills.  According to Susan, “Gorgeous day today….we limited out 50 miles from home. TracHer retrieved 4 of the six birds, one in water with cattails.”

18 month old TracHer on retrieve of a North Dakota rooster

18 month old TracHer on retrieve of a North Dakota rooster

TracHer on left with Tom, Susan with Zepher (griff unrelated to my dogs) and their friends, the week prior to the close-up photo

TracHer on left with Tom, Susan with Zepher (griff unrelated to my dogs) and their friends, the week prior to the close-up photo

And one of my first dog babies, Whiskey from Sam and Sue’s “A” litter 2010, took his girl Andi out on her first duck hunt out in Nevada.  They did so awesome and I love how much Whiskey is Sam Jr!

Andi, Whiskey and some ducks

Andi, Whiskey and some ducks

Well, that pretty much wraps it up for right now.  Charles and I are heading out on Saturday in hopes of some pheasants and ducks.  We are still debating about where, but it will be pretty close to home.  I’ll keep you posted.  Until then, stay warm, winter is coming!

Our First NAVHDA Utility Test

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On Saturday, August 17th was our first North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA) Utility Test in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with the Midwest Tri-State NAVHDA Chapter.  In the running were Sweetgrass Plainsman Samson “Sam” age 5 and Bourg-Royals CB Bluestem “BB” age 2 with my husband Charles handling both dogs.  The Midwest Tri-State NAVHDA Chapter is one of the best in the country and folks come from all over to participate in their events.

They come from far and wide...

They came from far and wide…

The Natural Ability dogs were first in the field on the day, with Sam as the first Utility Dog who ran.  His very first point was not on one of the planted chukars, but was a wild rooster pheasant!  The gunner said that he was twitching to fire, but it isn’t that time of year just yet!  Sam did fairly well on his first three finds, but it just started to get out of control.  The field was packed with birds and he was finding them every 45 seconds in some places.  He just came apart.  Sam has been hunting wild birds his whole life but has only received steadiness training in the past year, so he just couldn’t handle the overwhelming number of birds.  His pointing and retrieving never fail, but his habit of breaking on the shot came out in full force.  He probably had 10 total finds, but only held on maybe 3 or 4 of them.  Afterwards, Apprentice Judge Leo Boman told us that we need to go ahead and make a correction with the dog in the field, not letting him mess up over and over without trying to right it.  This is different than AKC, where the dog is supposed to work without correction and commands or face an order from the judge to “pick up your dog” (meaning you failed).  So that was a great tip for future handling.

IMG_3252

Charles walking in on one of Sam’s points

Although it shows Charles carrying a shotgun, it is not loaded and only the two chapter gunners do all of the shooting for the test.

A bird in the air, Sam breaking on the shot

A bird in the air, Sam breaking on the flush

Sam on retrieve

Sam on retrieve

Charles was pretty disgusted as he walked out of the field with Sam, but I knew that was where the dog would make mistakes and his time to shine would come later on in the day.  We had to shake it off quickly because we were running 2 out of the 3 utility dogs that day, so it was a short break until it was BB’s turn.

BB has become an outstanding field dog and proved in this test that she is ready to move on to Master Hunter runs in AKC (American Kennel Club) Hunt Tests.  She had 4 or 5 finds and every single one was textbook steadiness.  There was even a point where Charles chose to run after a bird to try to flush it and BB just stood there stone still.

BB stands steady with a bird in the air (see it up between the trees?)

BB stands steady with a bird in the air (see it up between the trees?)

BB retrieves to hand

BB retrieves to hand

Another bird in the air with BB standing steady

Another bird in the air with BB standing steady

BB on retrieve

BB on retrieve

Moment of Impact: BB stands by as a bird gets hit in front of the smaller cottonwood

Moment of Impact: BB stands by as a bird gets hit in front of the smaller cottonwood

We walked out of the bird field with BB feeling as if we’d taken our first steps toward a Utility Prize I.  We were very hopeful.  It was time for a delicious lunch of chili and cornbread.  You can’t beat the food at NAVHDA tests!

The next order of business was the duck search for the utility dogs.  Sam was up first and we had no worries about his performance.  Swam the full 10 minutes and searched the pond thoroughly.  He did not find the duck, but that isn’t the point of the exercise.

Sam going hard on the duck search

Sam going hard on the duck search

BB’s weak spot is the water.  With Sam always dominating the retrieves while we are duck hunting, she just hasn’t had a chance to get fired up about it.  She did an okay search, then came and sat down by Charles at around the 7 minute mark.

BB out on the duck search

BB out on the duck search

Afterwards we talked to Dan Griffith, who is a full time trainer of German Wirehaired Pointers and a very experienced Utility Tester.  We were wondering if Charles should have re-cast her out into the pond.  Dan told us that if you re-cast without judge’s instructions, it is automatically a one point deduction.  If the judge wants you to re-cast, they will tell you.  Do not re-cast on your own.  Another great handling tip for the future.

The Natural Ability dogs did their duck retrieve first (which BB had no problem with at her test, NA Prize I with a perfect score of 112).  The setup for the Utility dogs was that they walk on leash on heel through a set of posts to the blind.  The dog is released from the leash and “whoaed” behind the blind.  Shots are fired and the dog has to stay steady behind the blind.  The dog is then moved just outside of the blind so that he can mark where the throw of the duck lands.  More shots are fired and the duck is thrown.

Sam marks the throw.  You can see the heeling posts in the foreground.

Sam marks the throw. You can see the heeling posts in the foreground.

We were in no way prepared for the 50 yard duck retrieve that they set up for the Utility Dogs.  The throw was way outside of shotgun range and it is only because of Sam’s absolute love of swimming and water that he was able to pull it off.  We had not trained for that distance at all.

Sam brings in the duck

Sam brings in the duck

At that point, we knew that it would take a miracle for BB to get that duck.  She did great in the blind and I saw her mark the throw, but she got distracted by the decoys next to the shore and would only go about 20 yards out to search (within shotgun range).  We tried to cast her farther, but to no avail.  BB did not get the duck and received No Prize as a result.

The final event was the track.  Flight feathers are pulled from a pheasant or duck and left in a pile at the start.  The pheasant or duck is either allowed to run and hide on its own, or if a carcass is used, it is dragged to a particular spot.  Sam never follows a track from point A to point B.  He knows that the bird is there, he just wants to go to points C. D, and E, then pee on them, then find the bird.  So he did the track…sort of:)

Sam comes back from his track with the duck

Sam comes back from his track with the duck

BB does an amazing job of tracking and always goes from point A to point B flawlessly.  But as she didn’t get the duck, it was all for naught.  So we ended the day with Sam earning a Utility Test Prize III.  It was our first test and I was just happy to bring home a prize, especially on Sam who has just been a wild bird hunting dog for so long.  BB was perfect in everything but the water.  We will hunt her alone on wild ducks down in Missouri for early teal season in a few weeks and then Nebraska High Plains duck season a few weeks after that.

It was a great time in Sioux Falls and we learned so much from folks.  It was great seeing Cliff Koele of Coppershot Griffons, home of several NAVHDA Versatile Champions, who recently announced his retirement from testing and breeding.  He will now focus on fishing and mentoring other breeders/trainers.  We had so much fun with all of our fellow handlers, the volunteers and the judges.  We learned and laughed.  It’s just dogs after all.

Congratulations to our fellow griffoniers who also participated in the weekend from Aux Lake Kennel!  From left to right: Keith Feldhaus and Deke UT I, Scott Moore and Josie as observers, Rick Jones and Jessie NA II and the godfather himself: Larry Woodward and Holly UT I.  Thank you Kim Jones for allowing me to use your photo.  We had a chance to spend time with the Joneses since Jessie ran on Saturday, but only saw everyone else briefly as we were ships passing in the night.  Their UT dogs ran on Sunday.

Aux Lake Crew

Aux Lake Crew

Wow and a big thank you to the Midwest Tri-State NAVHDA Chapter for a great test.  We will be back.

I have so much more to write about, but am just out of time for today.  I will be sure to post again later this week before hunting season starts on Saturday!!  I have some pupdates that I need to clear out of my queue before I get way behind!  Talk at you later this week.

Summer comes to a close…

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It has been a very busy summer of work, family, travel and dog training here.  Sorry that I have not had a chance to keep you all updated, with the kids all at home with me, it makes it challenging to find the time and quiet space to do it all.  I suppose it would make the most sense to me to work backwards chronologically with the news.

On Friday we will be traveling up to Sioux Falls, SD to run Sam and BB in the NAVDHA Utility Test at the Fall Test of the Midwest Tri-State NAVHDA Chapter on Saturday.  They have been doing well in practice and I’m hoping that they both prize.  Some folks grumble about whether they get prize I, II or III, but it is one day in the life of a dog.  If the dog is having a bad day, there is something in the environment that they don’t like, the conditions are not what we are used to, etc., etc., the dog might not get the prize we want.  In the recent issue of Versatile Hunting Dog, NAVHDA’s magazine, two of my most respected dog training mentors ran dogs in UT and NA and didn’t prize at all.  These are folks who have been doing this way longer than we have, or most folks I know have, for that matter.  We don’t reach some sort of state of dog perfection and never have a bad day or a bad score.  So any and all NAVHDA prizes are celebrated here!

The last couple of weeks we have been on the road on summer vacation.  The dogs stayed over with our friends at Pheasant Bonanza in Tekamah, Nebraska (http://pheasantbonanza.com/) while we were gone.  They have a full training and boarding set-up there, we elected to board only.  It is nice to take your dog specifically to a place for gun dogs that is clean and well-maintained.  The dogs came back healthy and happy. (Not a paid endorsement)

BB’s OFA hip certificate came in the mail while we were on vacation, so she will be ready to be bred sometime around the new year.  We are still working out who we are going to use as a stud, so we will be sure to keep you posted.

BB OFA

While we were traveling, I spent the day in the Lion Country Supply office.  Right now, I am in the process of updating their catalog of over 2300 dog training supplies.  It was cool to meet the people and see the facility.  My favorite part of the office was the gun dog humor found on the restroom doors.  Instead of Women and Men it was Setters and Pointers, ha!

Setters and Pointers on the restroom doors at LCS

Setters and Pointers on the restroom doors at LCS

The kids dropping me off at the office.

The kids dropping me off at the office.

Before we left for vacation we were training every chance we had!  Every weekend was spent on trips to the pond and field.  Even when we were sitting around the backyard, we were practicing blind dummy retrieves and “whoa”.

Sitting in the yard: Mae, BB and Sam

Sitting in the yard: Mae, BB and Sam

BB brings in the goose Dokken Dead Fowl dummy from a blind retrieve

BB brings in the goose Dokken Dead Fowl dummy from a blind retrieve

Sam's goose blind retrieve

Sam’s goose blind retrieve

I suppose I should explain a blind dummy retrieve.  That is where the dogs have to stay in the yard on “whoa” and one of us goes way back into the woods and hides the dummy without them seeing where we placed it.  One of the dogs is then released to go fetch the dummy.  The dummies are not scented and the dog is only finding them by sight, which is fairly difficult for them.

We had a cool new dog box shipped out to us from Michigan.  It is a hound style box and the dogs have lots more room and are able to stick their heads out of the side of the box.  It will make the long distance trips much more comfortable for the dogs and we are glad to have finally retired the “slave ship”.  It was a nice enough dog box, but it just didn’t have enough room for multi-day roadtrips.

BB and Mae getting ready to depart on the maiden voyage of the dog box

BB and Mae getting ready to depart on the maiden voyage of the dog box

Sam and Mae at the pond in the new box

Sam and Mae at the pond in the new box

Well that pretty much sums things up for the time being, I will be sure to update you all next week as to the outcome up in Sioux Falls, keep your fingers crossed for a good Saturday for us!  I am still running behind on returning voice mails and e-mails, so I apologize to those of you who have reached out to me and I haven’t gotten back to you.  I have dedicated time set aside this week to get caught up before we head north on Friday.  Talk at you next week!

Oh and hunting season starts in two weeks!  Woot!

The last pup home and lots of pupdates!

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Over Memorial Day weekend, Reagan returned home to Colorado at 12 weeks old with Pam and Josh!  Josh is so excited to have a hunting dog of his own and will make a great trainer!

Josh, Reagan and Pam

Josh, Reagan and Pam

We had considered running Sam and BB down in Lincoln in AKC testing that weekend, but it was just too much to try to do that and a homegoing at the same time.  We’re signed up for UT in Sioux Falls in August with the Midwest Tri-State NAVHDA Chapter and I’m pretty sure we’ll just focus on training between now and then.  And of course, just having fun!  Took all the dogs to the pond this week for the first time since last year, but needed to get some grooming time in too!

Sue ready to be groomed while Mae swims with the kids.  Sam and BB off running.

Sue ready to be groomed while Mae swims with the kids. Sam and BB off running.

There were plenty of pupdates over the last few weeks!  We heard from 3 year old Gauge out in Wyoming, who is from our “A” litter (Sue/Sam) and is the brother to Whiskey in Nevada who we hear from.  He is doing great in the field and home according to Sean and Amber.  Here’s what Amber shared with me, “We absolutely love him and have fallen in love with the Griff breed for his loving side as well as his commitment to our family. He is an extraordinary dog in the field and works beyond our expectations. We could not be any happier with him, and wanted to share that with you.”  We are so glad to hear from you, thanks Amber, Sean and family!!

3 year old Gauge pointing a pheasant

3 year old Gauge pointing a pheasant

3 year old Gauge in the water

3 year old Gauge in the water

Let’s go backwards by order of age here.  Next up is Chester from our 2012 “C” (Sam/Mae) litter.  I pulled his trainer’s photos off of versatiledogs.com.  Chester is trained by Steve “Hoss” Anker in New York.  Here is what “Hoss” had to say, what a hoot:

 Don’t hold it against me…butt….recently through the A-TEAM kennels, in training, training for NAVHDEEEEEE stuff, we have uncovered an unknown SPECIES of caninus familiarus known as the GRIFF-A-GATOR.A Woolie, droopey eyed, shaggy, hound-like, pointing animal, water oriented, replete with enough hair to clog up a 12 inch drain pipe.Shown here in intense A-TEAM training………INTENSE….

Chester in the water

Chester in the water

Mannnnn….look at those choppers, looks like a hairy bear trap on legs.

FETCH…OUT……Good Boy!

Chester working on fetch

Chester working on fetch

Is that the GRIFF-A-GATOR or is that the LOCH NESS MONSTER?  Not sure…WHAT SAY YOU….You hairy woolie hairball pointing dog types..?

Chester swimming

Chester swimming

Chester got a Prize II with 106 points recently on his NAVHDA Natural Ability test with the Hudson Valley Chapter, but owner Sal and Hoss are bound and determined for Prize I, so they’ll be back at it again soon.  Good luck guys!!

Our “D” litter from 2012 (Sue/Sam) recently had their 1 year old birthday and I got a cute “then and now” card from Rick and family.  Rick said, “Thanks again for introducing her into our lives. She’s a wonderful member of our family, and a great asset in the field. I’m looking forward to this fall, and her first full grown season of eastern Nebraska upland hunting.”  Thank you so much, Rick, Dawn and family for being great owners!!

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Happy 1st Birthday "D" Litter and Dottie!!

Happy 1st Birthday “D” Litter and Dottie!!

Dottie’s sister Abby recently scored a Prize I Natural Ability with 112 points at the Missouri Uplands Chapter of NAVHDA Spring Test.  Keep up the good work over in Illinois, Rob and Abby!!

Jimmy down in Oklahoma did some great video work with 3.5 month old Zoey from this year’s “E” Litter (Sue/Sam) both on water and land, that I put together in a YouTube video:

He also sent over a nice shot of her fetching up a stick out of the water.  What great work, Jimmy, thank you!!  You are doing awesome training!!

Zoey brings in her stick

Zoey brings in her stick

And what hunting dog doesn’t love off-roading?!?

Zoey in the dune buggy

Zoey in the dune buggy

Zoey’s sister GiGi is also having a great life in Maryland.  Marilyn said, “GiGi is progressing. I think a little slowly because my husband babies her. She walked a mile with him on the leash today. As a teacher I know kids don’t learn until they are ready. So it must be for puppies! We love her!”

Ben and GiGi taking a nap together

Ben and GiGi taking a nap together

GiGi on a walk

GiGi on a walk

And Midge in Montana from this year’s “F” litter (Sam/Mae) at 12 weeks old is having fun exploring the headwaters of the Missouri River.  Thanks Louie and Lindsay!!

Midge in the Mighty Mo.

Midge in the Mighty Mo.

Midge watching the kids

Midge watching the kids

Midge’s sister, Fern, is also doing well.  Danny down in Texas said:

Fern is doing great.  She’s a machine.  Never stops or slows down.  Potty training is going pretty well, but she still has some days that it just doesn’t click.  We love her.  She is very very sweet and lovable.  She wants to be by me all the time, until we get outside.  I think my other dog tolerates her.  Fern attacks her and wants to play all the time.  Basically, my old dog will let Fern growl and bite her neck and hold on until she’s had enough, then she just tosses her to the ground and tries to walk off.  But, Fern will never give up!  I’m waiting for Fern to take cues on when to stop.

One can’t help but feel good after going through all of those beautiful pics of pups and hearing all of the stories.  I can’t even begin to express how grateful I am to all of my owners for sharing their lives with us.  Sometimes I get overwhelmed with it all and wonder why the heck I put myself through all of this craziness.  But this is why.  This must continue.  I can take a few months out of my life each year to get to play Santa Claus and spread some joy.  Thanks for the happiness in return.

I’ll be sure to get out training with Charles and Matt over the summer to get some updated photos and talk about that process.  Now that Mae and Sue have dried up their milk thoroughly, it is time for all of us to get in shape for hunting season (me included)!  Thanks for coming along on our journey and I’ll talk at you soon.


			

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