Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Early season set-backs

I recently returned from Northeast Oregon. Returned from my hunt early - not something I would usually do.

I ran out of dog. My old dog Jesse is a little long in the tooth and I left him home to keep my wife company. Tommy is in South Carolina in training. So I took Ted and Cody, the six month old puppy. Long story short, we hunted opening weekend but by Monday Ted's foot began to swell and looked really nasty.

To the vet in Enterprise, Oregon (Jereld E. Rice, DVM). Neither of us could find a wound, but it looked a lot like a grass awn in a middle toe. Ted was fevered and the foot was red and swollen to almost twice normal size. The vet prescribed Cephalexin and Rimidyl and said it would probably take 10 days or so to heal, but to come back if I saw changes. 

Two days later I let Ted out of his crate to pee, and he decided to go hunting. After Pete and I spent a couple hours looking for him, he showed up at the truck looking contrite, and without his bandage on his foot (I had found most of the bandage downhill and about a mile away earlier in the search). I cleaned his foot and flushed with saline solution and while doing so noticed an entry wound. Back to the vet, where he did some deep cleaning and removed parts of a cheat grass awn. "Give him 10 days", said the vet. 

So I hunted with Pete behind his setters, Silk and Rosie and focused on running Cody every day and had a good time watching him learn about chukars and Huns. This was really the bright point of the trip. 

But after suffering some back pain in the mornings, shooting poorly when I had opportunities and falling while fishing the Wenaha and ruining my digital camera, I felt I was snake bit and decided to head home to regroup and plan for hunting later in the fall when Ted's foot heals up. 

I did enjoy Pete's company, we had some great campfires and ate and drank well. But even I know when to quit.

Selling a 'reject' trial dog

I recently received this contribution from Dr. Charles Hjerpe. Charlie has vast experience raising and training trial dogs, and wrote this as a 'owner's manual' for those people who buy dogs that don't quite cut it as trial prospects. 

I should point out that these are not inferior dogs and will often make a real brag dog for the hunter. They simply have some  (real or perceived) shortcoming that would hamper their success in field trials.


To: Yaller’s New Owner
From: Dr. Charles A. Hjerpe

I am going to discuss the positives and negatives of your new bird dog, and make some suggestions on how to work with him to maximize your enjoyment of him and to avoid future problems. This letter is like the Owner’s Manual that you get when you buy a new pickup truck.

A. His Positive Attributes:

Yaller is a well bred, male, English pointer and is registered with the Field Dog Stud Book (FDSB) maintained by the offices of The American Field Publishing Company, 542 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL 60605 (312) 663-9797

He is a big, strong, handsome dog that wants to please you.

He has a great nose, and is an excellent bird finder.

He hunts at medium range, and is easy to handle.

He has been yard trained to obey the commands “heel”, “whoa”, and “come here”.

He is trained to move out to the front using short blasts on the whistle, and to turn right or left or to come back to me with the verbal command “How! How! How!” which is repeated until he responds appropriately. If he doesn’t respond, I then change to “Why-you!” “Why-you!” with the accent on the 1st syllable, and “knick” him with the electronic collar until he does. If I want him to come all the way in to me, I begin using the “here” command when he is getting close.

He is steady to wing and shot, and will back another pointing dog on command (the latter means that he may not always back another dog that is on point when he first sees him/her, unless you command him to “whoa”).

He has had a total of 12 weeks of summer horseback training on wild birds in Canada (sharp-tailed grouse), and a total of 8 weeks of winter horseback training on wild birds in Arizona (Gambel’s quail) during 2009 and 2010.

Yaller has one field trial placement, which was a 2nd place in the Mortlach Field Trial Club’s Open Derby Stake. This trial took place on September 14, 2009, in Mortlach, Saskatchewan, Canada. A total of 17 dogs competed in this stake.

B. His Negative Attributes and Deficiencies:

Yaller is afraid of other big male dogs that he doesn’t know, and he doesn’t understand how to behave submissively to avoid conflict. Instead, he will bristle up, growl, make eye contact with, and stare at them. This may cause a dominant alpha male dog to attack him. He will not attack the other dog, and if he is attacked himself, he doesn’t know how to fight and will not fight back. This has never happened while he was actually hunting, only just before or just after hunting. If there will be other hunters and dogs present where you are hunting, I recommend avoiding them while hunting, and taking Yaller out to the field and back to your vehicle while on a leash.