Time for some long tails. Check out these setters…

Every time I see one of these videos from Sky Dance Kennels, I think “that’s the life.” Horses, great dogs, wide-open country and lots of birds. If there’s a heaven, I hope it’s like this.

In this video you can see some of Sky Dance’s young setters stretch their legs, crack their tails and show off all the style they have. Not bad for long hairs…

Run setters, run! Sky Dance Kennels video, 11/8/16
Run setters, run! Sky Dance Kennels video, 11/8/16

An interview with Ferrell Miller, legendary pointer trainer & breeder…

Paul Fuller of Bird Dogs Afield just posted this great interview with legendary pointer breeder and field trialer Ferrell Miller. If you’re into bird dogs, you should make time to watch the whole thing.

And if you don’t know much about Pointers, this short video is a nice introduction to the breed. It also features Ferrell Miller, and is worth watching just to see Mr Miller in the field working his dogs.

Ferrell Miller and CH Miller's Happy Jack, from http://www.phantomkennels.com/
Ferrell Miller and CH Miller’s Happy Jack, from http://www.phantomkennels.com/

Amazing bird dog work from Sweden….

From the website http://landins-hund-katt.se/
From the website http://landins-hund-katt.se/

I didn’t know English Pointers spoke Swedish. But this orange-and-white female does (hahaha).

Check out these videos to see how much control this guy has over his dogs. He’s running up to four at once: Britta the Pointer plus a trio of Drahthaars. The relationship between them and the trainer is amazing to see. Find out more about the trainer and his dogs here.

Great video of bird dogs on the prairies…

Wide open country, a horse, some great birds dogs, and plenty of wild game — looks like heaven! Skydance Kennels in Dousman, WI, is well known for turning out rhigh quality English Setters. Check out this video to see some of the training that goes into their dogs.

Breed of the Week: The Braque de l’Ariège

The Braque de l'Ariège, Continental Pointing Dog, from Craig Koshyk
The Braque de l’Ariège, Continental Pointing Dog, from Craig Koshyk

The Braque de l’Ariège has had its ups and downs, and the fact that it exists today is a testament to how much passion of handful of men and women have had for the breed.

Even though the Braque de l’Ariège’s origins are disputed, what is agreed upon is that these bird dogs originated in southern France and that at least one of its ancestors was the Braques Français. Standards for the breed  were established in 1905. Over the next several decades the popularity of these large, easy hunting white and orange pointing dogs spread. Unfortunately, this enthusiasm petered out, and in 1960 the Braque de l’Ariège was considered dead.

Fortunately, this isn’t the end of the story. To find out how the Braque de l’Ariège was saved, check out this post over at Craig Koshyk’s Pointing Dogs blog. Koshyk is the author of Pointing Dogs: Volume One, The Continentals. If you’re into birds dogs, it’s a bird you absolutely have to have.

The Braque de l'Ariège, Continental Pointing Dog, from Craig Koshyk
The Braque de l’Ariège, Continental Pointing Dog, from Craig Koshyk

Style…

When it comes to bird dogs, different breeds hunt in different ways. This is especially true with Continental and English Pointers.

Last weekend when I was out with Bob I had a chance to see these differences in action. Check out these videos to see what a mean.

This is my English Pointer, Puck. Check out how high she holds her head. She’s also a bit rangier and more dynamic in the field.

This is Bob’s GSP Nelly. She’s an easy-handling, closer ranging bird dog. Check out how she holds her head lower and looks for scent closer to the ground. Her body tends to “rocking horse” a bit.

A new book from the author of Steady with Style….

Steady with Style is one of my favorite bird-dog blogs. Informed and well written, I always come away from it a bit more informed (and usually a bit chagrined by how ignorant I am). That’s why I’m excited to check out the author’s new book.

Steady with Style
Steady with Style

You can download a free PDF of it by clicking here: What’s the Point? A Collection of Bird Dog Writings by Martha Greenlee. The book is a collection of articles about dog training and field trialing, plus a piece called “Thoughts on Scent” and some helpful training tips. I’m sure I’ll enjoy reading it.

Breed of the week: Braque Français…

Bird hunters have always cross-bred dogs with the hopes of creating better four-legged companions. The Braque Français is a perfect example of this process. In Craig Koshyk’s superb book Pointing Dogs: Volume One, The Continentals, he explains how hunters modified this breed and developed two types of pointing dogs with a shared ancestry and the same first name.

Braque Francais, Gascony Type
Braque Francais, Gascony Type

Back in the early days of bird dogs, the Navarre region of Franch/Spain was ground zero for some of the earliest Braque Français pointers. These dogs were big bodied and short haired, with large ears, loose skin, and a hound-like look overall. They hunted close, at a trot, and were known for their all-day stamina in the field.

Of course some people thought these dogs could be improved. These hunters developed a smaller, quicker line of Braque Français, with a wider range and more athleticism. Soon fanciers had a dilemma: which dogs were the true Braque Français?

To solve the problem, the Braque Français club established two sub categories: the Braque Français Gascony and the Braque Français Pyrenean. You can read more about these dogs here on Craig’s blog.

Time for a check-cord check up…

What could be simple than a check cord? It’s just a chunk of rope. You attach it to your dog and train away. Of course,  it’s not that simple. There are right and wrong ways to use this training essential. Here are a couple articles that point out some of those dos and don’t. If you’re training a bird dog, both are worth a read.

2” x 30’ Pro-Trainer Check Cord
2” x 30’ Pro-Trainer Check Cord

Understanding the Check Cord, by Martha Greenless, from Steady with Style.

“Sometimes the more simple the tool, the harder it is to understand. The human mind seems to like making simple things more complicated. Maybe simple is more complicated. Take the check-cord. There are few pieces of training equipment as simple, yet this short piece of rope is the single most important tool you will own, and it is vastly misunderstood. Unlike a leash where the dog walks next to you, a dog should hunt in front of you while walking on the check-cord…”

You can read the complete post here.

The Checkcord, from www.HuntSmith.com, the official site for Rick Smith, Inc.

“…In every dog’s training, there comes a time to ask the dog to work out away from us at a distance. This is best accomplished gradually and in small steps using a valuable tool called the check cord. Using a check cord gives us control over our dog’s movement at an increasing distance, reinforcing how and where we want the dog to work when hunting in front of us. This is simply an extension of the previous step, the command lead. If the lead work was done thoroughly and correctly, and we’ve developed a point of contact on the dog’s neck, then the check cord work will go easily. If it does not, it means more time is needed on the lead and development of the cue on the neck…”

You can read the rest of it here.

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