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.
You hear all sorts of “truths” about Pointers: They’re not personable; they make lousy house dogs; they don’t retrieve (not naturally, anyway). Sky is my third pointer, and just like my first two, she has shown me that all these “truths” are total BS. Watch this video to see her dispel the third.
I was up in northern NH last weekend visiting Lexi. She’s about 1/2 through her summer training program, and she’s just starting to get out in the woods to chase wild birds. She turning int great bird dog — very easy handling and a real strong bird finder.
I took her out for a couple hours and hit a few spots. Lexi moved 3-4 grouse. I only heard the birds. The woods were too thick for me to see a thing. Here’s a quick vid of Lexi plus some pics of what we saw (and a vid of a slithering little guy we came across). Enjoy.
My new English Pointer Lexi is almost 21 weeks old now, and she’s growing fast. She’s up to 20lbs – almost 1/2 of how much she’ll eventually weigh – and her dexterity and coordination is improving. Training wise, she knows her name, and she’s picking up some basic commands: Come, Down, and NO (she hear’s that one a lot). I’ve been working on getting her to turn and quarter on command, too, and she’s picked it up very quickly.
Here are a couple videos of her. I shot this first one last Sunday. This was Lexi’s first time in thick, weedy cover, with limited visibility, and it took her a little while to get used to it.
I shot this next video on Tuesday. This is Lexi’s first visit to the local doggie daycare facility. While Lexi has been exposed to lots of other dogs, she’s seen this many at once. This video was shot within minutes of her being introduced to the pack. Lexi handled the situation very well.
These are all things our new pup Lexi loves to chew on. We’re on day six with her, and so far Lexi is sleeping through the night, and we’re not having any messes in her crate or in the house. The chewing and the nipping is a bit of an issue, but I’m sure it will resolve itself soon.
For all you out there who’ve raised a pup before: What tips and advice do you have for us? What did you do right? And what do you wish you had done differently? Please let us know.
Here are the latest pics of the pups. These were taking on June 8th. These pups are from Superior Pointers in Bayfield, WI, and they’re just about over 5 weeks old. We’re going with the orange one. Her name will be Lexey.
Puck passed away almost 8 weeks ago. Her bed is still on the floor in my office, and I still glance over at it and expect to see her looking back. This spring has been strange. I didn’t realize how much my life built around on having Puck by my side. From chasing spring woodcock to daily walks in the woods, I did so much with her this time of year. I’ve missed all that since she has been gone, and that part of my life feels stagnant and empty.
Fortunately, I have a pup on the way. She should be here around July 3. I started looking for another pointer a couples years ago. The plan was for my wife and I to raise a pup and while we eased Puck into retirement. Life arranged things differently, though.
Mark and Kathy Wendling own Superior Pointers. They impressed me with their passion, dedication, and kindness . They “…hunt, and breed, only pure Elhew Pointers with lineage tracing exclusively to matings personally designed by Elhew Kennels’ founder, Robert G. Wehle.” If you have some time, I suggest checking out the “Rambling Thoughts” section on there website. There’s a lot of valuable advice there.
Here’s another video from Ross Callaway. Until this pointer blinked, I thought I was looking at a still image of rock-solid hunting dog covered in red dust. Then I realized what was going on – and saw just how steady this dog is. It’s nice to see a dog that’s trained to this level.
The folks at Superior Pointers love fine grouse dogs from Robert Wehle’s incomparable Elhew Pointers, and they’re dedicated to improving this fine line of shooting dogs. Part of the improvement process includes breeding the best dogs they can find. Another crucial part is learning what goes it takes to create a fine bird dogs, from breeding to raising and training
If you’re picking up a pup this spring, you owe it to your new pal to read this piece from Superior Pointers about raising a young dog. The first 9 months of a gun dog’s life are crucial, and the advice in this article gives a lot of insights into how you can make sure your pup gets the most out of this time.
“The new puppy arriving at your home has been abruptly uprooted from a known, comfortable environment and the companionship of siblings, and immersed in a completely foreign setting. He is confronted by, and must adjust to, new sights, sounds, food, people, and often dogs. This can be a very intimidating situation for an eight to ten week old pup, the age at which most new prospects are acquired.
Puppies, therefore, require lots of attention – the more, the better. They need to be introduced to their new family, new home and/or kennel, car rides, and other dogs in a manner which ensures a safe, positive experience. It is extremely important that your puppy not be subjected to loud noises or other frightening – to a puppy – situations. He needs to feel that he is at the center of the universe, and in an exciting, wonderful, safe place. This early socialization is vitally important in shaping your pup’s personality. How it is handled will have long lasting implications for you and your gun dog. As Joan Bailey notes in How to Help Gun Dogs Train Themselves, “How a dog is brought along during the first months of life will largely determine his future as a useful gun dog…”
I’ve never met Mark and Kathy Wendling, but I know we share a passion for grouse dogs. The Wendlings own Superior Pointers and I’ve learned a lot about the ins-and-outs of Elhew Pointers from their website.
The site’s Rambling Thoughts section features 13 short articles of interest to anyone with a passion for bird dogs and upland hunting. Wing On A String is one of the pieces you’ll find there. Concise and to the points, it’s knowledgeable, opinionated, and typical of the kind articles you’ll find on the site. Here are the first two sentences.
“There is a fairly widely held misconception that puppies are “trained” to point birds by being encouraged to sight point a game bird wing on a string, manipulated with a stick or fishing pole. This belief is categorically false…”