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.
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…
We used to have one big bed for both Lexi & Sky (the green one to the left). But that didn’t work. Sharing was not something they wanted to do. So I bought another bed. Now they fight over the new one, even though the older one is bigger. Go figure.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
“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…”
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.