Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Days of Summer

Photo by Holly Higgins
It's that time of year again. Time to get the dogs we hunted and field trialed last season back in to shape, give the broke dogs a tune up and get the puppies that have been pointing and chasing, broke before this fall season. It's a tough time of year to train; the weather is hot, the weeds (foxtail, cheatgrass, madusahead, speargrass) are dangerous, it's snakey, and the hours at work are generally long; time is a scarce resource. The dogs feed is being cut back to help burn off the winter layer of insulation and prepare them for early season field trials and hunts; they will typically be three- to seven-pounds heavier in the winter than in the summer; depending on the dog. Some folks like to change feeds between the high activity level seasons of fall and winter, and the lower activity level seasons of spring and summer. I've always stuck with the same feed year-round, a high quality 30/20 mix, and just regulate the once-daily ration of feed according to the dogs needs. Each dog in the kennel is different in it's daily consumption; some are easy keepers and most aren't. I have a small female that weighs in at about 36-pounds, and may be a couple pounds heavier in the winter, and a male that will go 55-pounds in winter and down to 47-pounds during field trial and bird season. Even at their heaviest, my dogs have a waistline. If hipbones and spine begin to show as they cut weight during the summer, I'll add a little feed to smooth-out the bumps. Pointers and Setters are world class athletes and need to be kept in top physical condition to do their job in the field at the highest level. High quality feed, and access to clean fresh water throughout the day are important in managing your dogs physical condition year-round.

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