More great quail flushes. Winter training, Hifive Kennels…

Hifive's Unlisted, from Hifivekennels.com
Hifive’s Unlisted, from Hifivekennels.com

Here’s more gundog-quail action from the folks at Hifive Kennels.

Check it out to see lots of great points and lots of fantastic flushes.

Hifive is a well-known kennel in Beulah, MI. They’ve been breeding, training, and trialing dogs for 20+ years, and they’ve produced a long list of great dogs.

Meet Shawn Kinkelaar. His bird dogs are better than yours.

 

Watch interview with Shawn Kinkelaar, Shooting Dog handler & trainer
Watch interview with Shawn Kinkelaar, Shooting Dog handler & trainer

Shawn Kinkelaar is one of the top bird-dog handlers & trainers in the U.S. He started field trialling in the 1980s, and today he’s one of just two people who have won 100+ Open Horseback Championships–the World Series + Superbowl + Stanley Cup of bird-dog competitions.

He has also won more National Dog of the Year Awards than any other trainer, as well as three English Setter National awards and three National Handler of the Year awards.

For the past 25 years, Shawn has spent his summers training in North Dakota. This year, a local news crew caught up with him and produced this video.

In the video below, you can get a taste for what it’s like training in ND in the summer: Horses, bird dogs, and the space to run both. I’m envious.

No ribbons, but still a great time…

New England Bird Dog Club, August, 2017, field trial
New England Bird Dog Club, August, 2017, field trial

Field Trials are great places to see other dogs and meet other dog folks. The New England Bird Dog Club held their August field trial a few weeks ago and plenty of both were there.

I ran Lexi and Sky, but we didn’t have any luck.

Lexi ran twice, but on her first try she broke on the flush. On her second run, she failed to honor. Those offenses got her disqualified.

Sky ran well and found a bunch of birds. Unfortunately, other dogs dig a better job overall than – so no ribbons for her.

Waiting their turn
Waiting their turn
As handsome as it gets
As handsome as it gets
Lexi, staked out on a chain gang
Lexi, staked out on a chain gang
My rig, waiting to go
My rig, waiting to go
Pointer power
Pointer power
Best part of the day
Best part of the day
Now that's noble
Now that’s noble
Resting after his run
Resting after his run
Cool-down station on the course
Cool-down station on the course
The view from the field trial area
The view from the field trial area
Out of the way!
Out of the way!

This could be big: Introducing Retrieving Pointers…

Shrunken head or slimey old tennis ball? I didn't pick it up to find out.
Shrunken head or slimy old tennis ball? I didn’t pick it up to find out.

You’ve heard of Pointing Labs. Well, I my dog Sky could be the foundation for a similar line of hunting dogs: Retrieving Pointers.

Sky’s nuts about anything round and mouth size: Tennis balls, lacrosse balls, slimy round things that may be shrunken heads. She finds these things on our daily walks and if I throw them, she brings them back–whether I want her to or not–over and over and over…and over.

I’ll be taking orders for pups soon. Like Pointing Labs, the prices will be stupid high. And yes, I’m kidding…

Here’s Sky’s growing collection of balls.

The Untold Story – Grouse Counting

Grouse counting is a game-management technique used on grouse moors across the UK. This beautiful video explains how it works. But the best part of seeing how the dogs point and work the field.

The Untold Story – Grouse Counting

The Untold Story - Grouse Counting
The Untold Story – Grouse Counting

Personality and my two Pointers …

Lexi, always sweet and loving
Lexi, always sweet and loving

I was some pictures of yesterday, and I fired off a few shots of my girls. These two pics do a great job of capturing who they are and what sets them apart.

Lexi and Sky are Elhew-bred Pointers out of Superior Pointers in Bayfield, WI. They share a father, and Lexi is the elder by about two years now.

Sky, always a rascal
Sky, always the mischievous rascal

The pure joy of Pointers …

Can't catch me, Sky chasing Lexi
Can’t catch me, Sky chasing Lexi

My first bird dog was a Brittany spaniel. He knew a bit more about bird huntign than I did, but together, we still had almost no idea what we were doing.

Years later, I was getting back into bird hunting and dogs and I was interested in a Springer. An ad in Pointing Dogs Journal led me to visit with a breeder near me who had some Pointers. We took a few of them out for a run and I was hooked. They were they most incredible dogs I had ever seen.

Looking back on that day, I realize it was the Pointer’s athleticism that thrilled and excited me. Watching then run and leap is an impressive experience. I took these photos at a local beach. It was a low-tide sunrise–something I try to always take advantage of–and Lexi, Sky, and I had a great morning.

 

Lift off
Lift off
Dog smile!
Dog smile!
Every which way
Every which way
Poise
Poise

Glorious grouse shooting in Scotland …

BLACK CORRIES LODGE, BLACK CORRIES ESTATE, GLENCOE, ARGYLL
BLACK CORRIES LODGE,
BLACK CORRIES ESTATE, GLENCOE, ARGYLL

Yesterday was the Glorious 12th, the traditional start of the UK’s red grouse season. While most of these birds are shot driven style, some are still taken the more traditional way: over pointers. Check out this video for a glimpse at what this is like. It was shot on the 30,000 acre Black Corries Estate in Glencoe, Scotland, and there’s some great footage  — of the countryside and the dogs.

 

Goodbye to a great dog: Ch Beaver Meadow Benjamin has passed away…

Back when I first got into Pointers, Beaver Meadow Benjamin was THE hot dog on the New England field trial circuit. Even though an injury put an early end to Benny’s trial career, he went on to sire a bunch of winners. Born in 2001, Benny passed away a couple weeks ago. You can read more about Beaver Meadow Benjamin here on the Region 1 Field Trial Club site and in this string on the Cover Dog Field Trial Board.

Desert Dogs: Another great photo essay by Craig Koshyk…

Here’s another great photo essay by writer, photographer  Craig Koshyk. He’s the author of : Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continental, one of the best books around about pointing dogs. If you want to learn more about dogs like the ones you’ll see in his pics, be sure to check it out

Desert Dogs: In Idaho with the WPCGA

Desert Dogs: In Idaho with the WPCGA, by Craig Koshyk
Desert Dogs: In Idaho with the WPCGA, by Craig Koshyk

Prairie Dogs: A must-see photo essay by Craig Koshyk…

Craig Koshyk is the author of one of my favorite dog books: Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continental. He’s also a talented photographer, and, of course, a passionate upland hunter. His photo essay Prairie Dogs: Under the Broomhill Sky takes a look at the people, horses, and dogs that make the Broomhill Field Trials so special. The pictures are beautiful, so click through and give yourself a treat.

Prairie Dogs Under the Broomhill Sky, by Craig Koshyk
Prairie Dogs Under the Broomhill Sky, by Craig Koshyk

A couple must-reads about birds dogs…

Pointing a Spring Woodcock
Puck pointing a woodcock in the spring

I used to read the magazine Sporting Classics regularly, but in the past few years I’ve stopped. Judging by the quality of these two stories, perhaps I should pick it up again. Both these stories are quick reads and, if you love bird dogs, well worth your time.

There’s Hardly a Man Who Can’t Be Improved By a Good Dog: By Robert Matthews

“At the time, I vowed that I wouldn’t get another dog. Life’s thread had grown too short, the grief too deep and the task too burdensome, I reasoned. And I knew for certain that I would never find another dog like Sam. A dog like that comes along only once in lifetime….”

“We think of ourselves as hunters, and of our pups as gun dogs. Yet as important as the hunting is—and make no mistake, it is important—the time we spend afield is only a part of it. There’s a bigger picture. It’s the tail thumps when we walk into the room, the gentle weight of his head on our knee, the absolute trust that shines in his eyes, the way that our hand seems to find his ear of its own volition. It’s the fact that, as every attentive dog owner knows, our dogs define the term “unconditional love.” Hell, if we had half their innate capacity for love—if we had a quarter of it—this magnificent world, which we treat with such studied indifference, would be a paradise.”

Five dos and don’ts of bird dog development…

Puppies are a lot like kids: When you’re raising them, there are things you want to do and things you want to avoid. Writer, trainer, and gun-dog lover Betsy Danielson covered five in those points in her latest post at Strideaway.com. If you have a pup that you would like to turn into a hunting machine, I suggest you check it out now.

The Early Development of Bird Dogs, by Betsy Danielson

“My husband, Jerry Kolter, and I run Northwoods Bird Dogs, a pointing dog breeding and training business.

We’ve found that there are five factors vital to early development of puppies. Some of these practices help foster a good attitude that will make them a better dog in general. Others actually begin the very earliest stages of training—even before the puppy is aware it’s being trained. The five factor are…”

Read the entire piece now.

What do you really need to train bird dogs?

A friend of mine has won some of the top field trials in the country. I asked him once about what it really takes to train bird dogs. Steadying barrels and fancy leads? Nope. Wireless launchers and the latest ecollars? Nope. He told me that the most important things are patience and brains.

Ross Callaway is the trainer featured in this video. If you watch him work this young dog, you can see that Ross has plenty of patience and brains.

Take a look at these Portugese Pointers…

Portugese Pointer, from Craig Koshyk
Portugese Pointer, from Craig Koshyk

The Portugese Pointer is not a hunting dog you see every day (at least not in the US). Craig Koshyk has written extensively about these dogs in this book Pointing Dogs Volume One: The Continentals. He’s also posted a bit about them here at his Pointing Dog Blog.

Check out this video to see what these dogs look like in action:

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