A reader sent me an email yesterday and asked that I post the info below. The pic is of his lab Angus. We’ll keep you posted on how Angus is doing.
For some folks, British is always better – from shotguns to gundogs. While I’m a nut for British doubles, I’ve always had my doubts about spaniels and labs imported from the UK. Like our language, the way we hunt differs just enough to make the transition from one side of the Atlantic to the other a bit bumpy.
In this post from Sporting Classic, trainer Todd Agnew points out some of these bumps and explains why you may be better off American-bred dogs when you’re searching for your next hunting companion.
“We all have expectations to different degrees, and at Craney Hill Kennel, they are extremely high for our dogs. The theory is that if we set our standards to an almost unattainable level, when we fall short, our dogs will still be very talented animals. It is hard to keep such a high standard when the public’s is so low that it becomes difficult to continually explain why you can or cannot do something.
Many people have a predisposed opinion of English dogs. This could be body structure, personality or training method. Regarding structure, I think it’s a mistake to think that an English dog looks like this or that. There may be certain tendencies, but the English dogs come in all shapes and sizes just like their American cousins. If you buy a puppy from England, you may get a 60-pound male with no legs or a 60-pound male with long legs. Or, you may get the same legs but the dog is 80 pounds!….
Here’s an interesting video from Willow Creek Kennels that shows a pair of GSPs working with a chocolate Lab. Pretty cool.
Check out this ad. It’s from a small New England newspaper, and reproduced word for word.
“Stud wanted for my canoe sized black lab. she is not papered however she is well on her way to being an exceptional hunting dog. If you have male, who loves to hunt and is canoe sized. please call for possible spring tie.”
Is this guy’s lab as big as a canoe, or small enough to fit in a canoe? I can’t figure it out.
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.
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.