Meet Daisy, a shy, but friendly Vizsla/Rhodesian mix (we think). Whatever combination, this girl is a sweetheart with eyes that catch your attention.Daisy currently lives in Oklahoma City, OK, but is willing to move anywhere she can have a little more room to run. Her current family loves Daisy’s disposition, but feels she would be better suited for a more active family that will let her burn energy through runs with them or just stretching her legs in the the park or nearby fields.
A buddy of mine stopped by Oklahoma on his way home from an out of town visit and brought Daisy out to watch some birddogs in action. Lily and Bodie thought Daisy was pretty laid back and thought it even better that she really didn’t show any interest in the quail – “More for us!!” you can imagine them saying!
If you think you might be interested in meeting Daisy or know of someone else looking for a great companion, please contact me at the Gmail address GunDogAdventures.
Please join me in hoping Daisy finds a great new home soon – and thanks for passing the word!
[Thanks for the editorial comment on my typo! I like to give credit where credit is due.]
Well, I felt the need to create a NSTRA Strategy page on this site to support the claim I made in an article that’s been selected to be published in the Feb/Mar issue of the NSTRA magazine. I made the comment that searches for strategic methods employed for being successful at NSTRA trials had returned very little information. Maybe that is on purpose or maybe someone just hasn’t taken the time to put content together to share with others.
So, for all those interested in entering a NSTRA trial or maybe even those that thought they had it all figured out…..you might just find the content of interest. Please feel free to add a comment to the NSTRA Strategy Page so others can learn from all our experiences, successes, and yes – failures too.
There may be a stigma about gun dogs being “kennel dogs” that live out by the barn and only get out to road, run, or hunt. But the more I get involved with others that have gun dogs, the more I understand that their gun dogs are also their family pets. For instance, Lily rotates between the foot of our bed and our daughter’s bed depending on whether our daughter calls her up to go to sleep.
When Jo went to live with her new family, they definitely wanted to start training her to be a gun dog – hence her new name Benelli Jo!
Now, just as Benelli, she’s beginning to retrieve consistently in the backyard. And she also got pulled into the family Christmas photo.
Looks like someone has a new hunting buddy!Speaking of hunting buddies, Pat K.’s been keeping in touch and passing along updates on how Ruger is progressing in his training.
That training really takes a toll on you sometimes!
Cody and Knox are also doing well, I got this pic from Michele who informs me that the two boys from Lily’s litter are growing like crazy.Nellie helped out quite a bit when Webber came to visit and I had her sit down for our own family photo.
So folks, don’t be shy about making that gun dog part of your pack around the house. I’d argue they are just as obedient as any house or lap dog your neighbor has, and they sure don’t yap as much!
A few of us got together just north of McKinney, Texas to get some NSTRA field trial practice in before some upcoming events. The temperature almost reached 70 and the wind wasn’t too strong to cause the dogs any confusion.
We each took turns running our dogs – either by themselves or with other dogs. In my opinion, it’s sometimes just as fun watching the other dogs run as being in the field with your own dog. For instance, this picture might be hard to make out, but the English Setter on the far left is on point while the center and right dogs are honoring from 40 and 50 yards away.
Here, Jimmy backs up Bodie’s find and point from about 30 yards away.
I brought Lily in behind another Shorthair on point and steadied her during the shot and retrieve.
Graham brought Webber out who seems to be getting more and more serious about her bird work. Here, Momma Lily is honoring the find and point for her daughter. If you look closely, you can see the quail at the bottom right.
I’ve entered Lily in a regional Amateur run in March, so I wanted Dale to handle her with me out of the picture. She’s never been handled by anyone else, so I was interested to see how she’d do for him. As shown below, she pointed birds; he shot them over her; and she was just a little timid about retrieving them to his hand. So, I need to have the neighbors help me on some retrieving drills with her.When I took her out on a couple runs, I handed my phone to a buddy to get a few pictures. She had some nice looking points….…and then the ones I like to call the “hunchback” look:We definitely had some happy dogs by the time we ended the day.And of course the day wouldn’t be complete without some antics. Here, a bird had flown out of the field and landed on the windshield of Chris’ Subaru. Bodie and Webber both looked to be saying, “Here, I’ll take it!!”
Chris and I got Bodie and Lily out into a hardwood bottom a couple weeks ago to see if the dogs could find some woodcock. The habitat was certainly conducive to the preferences of woodcock, at least from what I’ve researched.
The dogs took to searching the woods quite well together.They seemed to catch scent every now and then, but never came across any birds. It was a nice day for a walk in the woods though.
We even managed to find some potential duck hunting areas like the open backwater slough.
We met the game warden, whom I had talked to before coming out to the area – he was interested to see if we’d found any birds. We chatted a while and told him that while we didn’t have any luck, we’d definitely be back in search of the wary woodcock!
I was trying to think of a different field to get the dogs into for their run this morning and remembered an open invite I’ve had to come out to Brushy Creek Retrievers for weekend training sessions. Tim Marshal is a great guy that I’ve known for a few years and seeing him work dogs for his clients is a real treat. I think Lily thought we were at a Hunt Test or Trial after I staked her and Webber out behind the truck.
Tim starts with the younger less experienced dogs running retrieves and then moves up to Senior and Master Hunters.
This yellow lag broke early, but didn’t get too far under Tim’s watchful eyes.
Tim encourages his clients to come work with the dogs on the weekend so they can learn alongside their dogs. Here is Mike working with his 8-month old black. Good looking gun dog Mike!!
Lily and Webber even got to take their turns! Lily ran out for a 60-yd bumper run and Webber retrieved this duck from about 25 yds!!
It’s all about getting dogs in the field and networking with others that do the same……oh, and having fun while doing it!
During Webber’s stay with us for the week, I wanted to give her as much exposure to field work, birds, and retrieving as possible. I needed to run an errand that took me close to a nearby lakeside park, so I took the opportunity to load up the dogs and grab some ducks I had in the freezer.
At first, it seemed like a typical run through a field.
But then, Webber noticed the lake and wasn’t quite sure of what to think.
After a run along the shore, we started with a couple short land retrieves to get her warmed up.
And then, I tossed the bird at the water’s edge with a long parachute cord attached to “reel in” the bird and/or Webber.
Here is where reading your gun dog comes into play. You need to be able to step away from the action and take a bigger look at all the elements of the training scenario. In this case, the waves seemed to be a little intimidating crashing into the shoreline. So, I decided to let the dogs run some more working our way over to an area out of the wind. After a short throw and retrieve at the shore’s edge, I thought I’d see if she’d wade out deeper.
And just as I had hoped, she did great! Now, I made sure I was in shallow water and didn’t want to make her swim to get the bird – remember slow and steady will make progress if you take your time with your gun dog. I definitely considered the outing a success and was pleased with the progress this little pup has made in the week with us. She’s going home today and Lily (and all the rest of us here at the house) will miss her.
Transitioning training from the house, to the yard, to the field teaches dogs incrementally and shows them they can have fun in the big fields or deep woods. Start out in a hallway where the pup can only come back to you with the toy, ball, or bumper.
When you move to the yard, let the dog tell you when it is ready to have feathers in its mouth – they all move at their own pace. Checkcords ensure the pup can be “reeled in” and taught to return by a direct path.
When encouraging the pup to explore fields, patience will pay dividends.
That field sure looks big…
Those woods sure look deep…
Having another older dog will help convince the younger ones of the fun to be had.
Hey, wait up!
Doesn’t look so bad now!
Let them be sponges and learn to explore and hunt from being around the other dogs.
Planting birds in a field of high grass forces pups to search using their nose.
It’s gotta be around here somewhere…
Soon, their confidence will build and you’ll be hunting alongside them in the field.
Come on…..there’s gotta be another one around here somewhere!
Webber, one of Lily’s female pups from her maiden litter is staying with us for a week
while her parents have fun on the Utah ski slopes. Lily and Webber got out for
a nice morning run through a local hay field and had a great time.
Lily showed her daughter what a meadowlark looked like.
They slowed down just enough to pose for some pics…….then…..
it was off to chase mice, or rabbits, or whatever else they could find! Webber just wanted to say, “I’ll take these Texas winters over Utah any day. Take your time coming back Mom & Dad!”
You can probably find lots of articles and recommendations for exposing a puppy water for the first time, but we might actually be overlooking an opportunity that exists before the pups leave for their new home. For instance, Webber, shown below, is from Lily’s maiden litter. Her white body seemed to show every speck of dirt that she managed to trudge through in pursuit of her mother or brothers and sister. Because of her innate ability to attract mud, we had ample opportunities to wash and rinse her off in the kitchen sink – her first exposure to water!
You certainly want the pup’s first experience to be as stress-free as possible. Warm the surface of the sink and place a warm washcloth in the bottom of the sink. Fill large drinking cups of lukewarm water and have them nearby. Place the dog in the sink and rub them all over. Slowly, pour water over them filling the bottom of the sink just enough to cover their paws. More than likely they will try to get out of the sink, but reassure them with petting and more warm water.
Graduate to warm water from a sink hose if available, since water from the faucet might startle the pup or get in their ears. Lather up from head to tail and work into all the nooks and crannies of their webbed feet. This is a good time to look for fleas, ticks, and burrs or stickers also. Start again with warm water rinsing the soap completely. Let the pup lick the water or faucet stream if they seem interested – it’s all about having fun in the water.
Later, when the young dog is introduced to retrieving from a pond or waterway, these first moments of water introduction might significantly add to or subtract from the work ahead for your gun dog.