I spend a LOT of time with my dogs–most of my time, really. I work from home, and so Lexi and Sky are my constant companions: A run in early am, in the office together all day, a walk in the PM, repeat.
But not this July and August. Both girls went to Wild Apple Kennel at the end of June for summer training, and they’ll be there through this month.
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
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.
“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.”
Fans of the TV show Downton Abbey, you know that attention to detail is one of the things that makes this period drama so much fun. From the tea set used on Lady Mary’s breakfast table to the cut of Lord Grantham’s suit, Downton Abbey gets things right — most of the time, anyway.
In a passed episode, Lord Grantham was shown shooting with a yellow Labrador Retriever at his side. While most of went on in the scene was correct, the Lords loyal companion was not. According to this article in The Field, there’s almost no way the Lord Grantham would have had a yellow lab — or any lab– at his side. Why? And which breed of dog did most posh people in the UK favor around WW1? Click through and read The Downton Abbey Gundog to find out.
Here’s a dog I haven’t heard of before: The Sprocker. It’s a cross between a Springer Spaniel and a Cocker Spaniel.
According to SprockerSpaniel.co.uk, Sprockers have been around for over 2o years, and there are between 5,000 – 10,000 of them in the UK, making one of the most popular spaniel breeds there.
Other than color variations, I’m not sure what advantages a Sprocker offers, and I don’t understand what niche they fill in the gundog world. Is it a leggy, rangier Cocker? A stockier, close-hunting Springer? If you have one, please let me know. I would love to learn more.
Most of us train our pointers to find game and then point it until we arrive to flush and shoot the birds. But in Finland, some pointing dogs are trained to something even cooler: They’re trained to point Capercaillie, and then on command return to their human companions and guide their two-legged friends back to the bird.
Learn the how’s and why’s of them doing it by checking out this post from Craig Koshyk’s Pointing Dog Blog. And be sure to check out the videos. The last one is amazing. Versatility Part 1: Reporting From Finland…
“In the gundog world, the term ‘versatile’ is pretty versatile. In the UK, France, Italy and other European countries, it means a dog that hunts, points and retrieves. In North America, according to NAVHDA, it means a dog that hunts, points, retrieves and tracks on land and water. In Germany and countries to the east, it means a dog that hunts, points, tracks, drives, bays, flushes, kills vermin and protects the house and home.
But even as broad as those definitions are, they still don’t cover the full spectrum of how versatile dogs are actually used by hunters in each region. So in this next series of posts, I would like to explore some of the more interesting and unusual ways that versatile dogs are used in different parts of the world. Today’s post will look at something called “reporting” done by Finnish hunters, field trialers and their dogs in the vast forests of Finland…”
Read the entire piece now. Discover more about “reporting” and see a great video that shows how Finnish hunters this technique to their advantage.
BTW: be sure to check out Craig’s book Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continentals, the most thorough and authoritative work available on the history of continental Europe’s pointing breeds. If you love hunting dogs, it’s a book you must have.
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!….
Check out this short video to see Little Jeb go from wild to steady — right before your very eyes! Here’s a bit about the video from the folks at GunDogDevelopment.com: A chronology of Little Jeb’s steadiness training. Over the last six months, we anxiously waited for him to show us that he was ready to be steadied on game. This video journal, begining May 25, 2013 captures all of his training sessions up to July 13, 2013. All of the clips are in sequence to show his progression.
Although edited, all of the benchmarks to move him through the program have been included. Little Jeb received one E-collar correction in the at the finally. If you watch closely, you can see a slight twitch in his tail when the correction occurred.
I always enjoy watching a great bird dog do its thing. In this video, you can see Silverthorn’s Emma, a Springer Spaniel out of Silverthorn Gundogs in northwestern, PA, do just that. I love her energy & enthusiasm. She’s the perfect partnership, and you can see how fun she’s having in the field.