Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Rest Break


The men of my Sunday School class had a little bird shoot yesterday.  Old Bo made an hour run with me and pointed about 15 birds with retrieves. It was a good run for the old man and now he's shown resting in the warm sun.  It sure looks nice and comfortable there!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fun Day

Tomorrow, the boys and I are heading down to Plains, GA (yep, the very same place that Jimmy Carter calls home) to put out some birds and run a few dogs.  This should be a great time for some fellowship.  There should be 8-10 guys there and we'll have Glen's 2 Brits and also another Brit from a friend I know.  The guy that owns the farm plans to release a few hundred birds and we'll have all day to hunt and have a good time.  The weather should be super- with sunshine and a high of high 40's.  Update to follow......

Sunday, February 21, 2010

It's A Sign

Positioned prominently over my desk at work is a small sign that reads "Lord, let me be the man my dog thinks I am!".  Oftentimes, when I'm hunting or training or just messing around with one of the boys, I realize that the bond that I have, while not necessarily created, nurtured or strengthened, is indeed a powerful thing.  They may act full of themselves and think of themselves as big, tough wolves out in the field, but when the you-know-what hits the fan, they usually come flying back home to daddy!  I remember hunting the "Noll Ditch" in North Dakota one beautiful October afternoon. Ace was working some scrub oaks on the slope leading down to the small creek.  We had two pheasant in the bag already and he was definitely interested in that clump of twigs and grass.  Suddenly, I heard a snarl and a quick nasty growl from Ace- and then the afternoon quiet was shattered with a fight to the death (or so it sounded and I thought)!  I yelled to Ace to get out of there and ran in with my gun ready to shoot the lion, boar, tiger or monster he'd cornered.  The commotion stopped and Ace came flying out of the brush- eyes wide, tongue out and acting like a bear was right on his stubby tail.  He ran up to me, flew around to the back and stuck his head between my legs- "Go get him, Boss.  He's right there!"  he yelled. Out the other side of the brush pile and up the side of the ravine flew the biggest, widest, snarling-est Badger I'd ever seen. I let him go. I checked the dog over and found no bites or rips, but I did sense a pretty hefty sigh of relief as I ran my hands over him.  I realized that, to him, I was his world and safe place all in one.  Pretty big responsibility.  So, yeah, I hope I can be some of what he thinks I am......

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sorry Dog!

The things you see when you ease quietly in to your den!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Weather Changing

Sixty degrees!  That will be the high this weekend in Zebulon, my home in the local paradise about fifty years south of Atlanta, GA.  In my work as a Real Estate Agent, I've been bundling up in hunting clothes to show and inspect property.  You'd be amazed at the dual purpose I can put my bird hunting clothes to- rain and cold, lately, snow and cold don't slow me down at all! 

But sixty degrees!  It'll be time to put the muscadines in the ground for that new grape arbor I've been working on and spraying the bulb beds and lawn with pre-emergent to keep the weed seeds blown in from the pasture from germinating.  There's fence-mending, tree pruning, pool cleaning, flower bed preparation and an entire laundry list of chores the old ball and chain has for me.  I'm about worn out already........that sixty degrees doesn't sound so good any more.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Pitiful Sight This Time of Year! The "DBD"

I know this is a common sight around bird dog homes this time of year, but it still is hard to take.  I wonder if the pundits in D.C. will take the time to consider the disenfranchisement of the bird dog at the end of hunting season.  I'm sure an appropriate response would be to allot perhaps 1% of the next Great Stimulous Package to homes with Disenfranchised Bird Dogs (DBD).  I figure 1% of a $ Billion spread over a few thousand homes would just about end the recession and the depression for the DBD (and the DBD's owners).  Write your congressman/woman/person and let's end this injustice right now!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Field Trialing- Bandit goes NSTRA

This is Glen, a hunting friend, and Bandit, my dog Ace's male pup.  Bandit, not quite two, took to the NSTRA fields this weekend and tore them up.  He was fast, accurate, staunch and biddable.  And, after all that bragging, he had a Fourth place finish on Saturday and Third place finish on Sunday- thereby qualifying for the Georgia Regional Championships in March.  (I am loathe to add, that if his handler (me) could shoot a little better, Bandit would have been in 2nd!)  I do like the NSTRA format since, to me, it most closely, of all the formats, resembles bird hunting.  However, my big disclaimer is that it is a GAME, with rules and innuendos.  It is a rare dog that can swap back and forth with any measure of success.  My Ace dog has been able to do that and it looks like his pups are inheriting the ability to do it, too. Congratulations, Bandit and Glen!  I am sure glad I own half of that dog, so I don't have to compete against him!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

49 Days- Fact or Myth (or a little of both)

Right off the bat, I would like to thank Karen Thomason for this information.  She commented on my last posting concerning names, etc.  In the discussion, I mentioned how I pick up my dogs on the 49th day after birth.  In fact, I got that datum from a Richard Wolters book 20+ years ago.  Since then, I've seen no reason to doubt the veracity of the information, but I have always wondered about it and why he was so explicit in the EXACT day.  Karen's link to a study in 1994 is an answer to many questions about dog development, growth and how to enable them to reach their maximum potential. 

http://www.calibertollers.com/49daymyth.htm

This is interesting reading for dog men and women and answers a lot of questions.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Names

Nutrition, training, care, grooming- all these are important in caring for a pup.  But, the one I have the most difficulty with is the name.  For example, the field name of the dog pictured is Bo.  He's one of the best I'll ever have for just pure bird-finding (shown on a Ruffed Grouse in Wisconsin).  I thought Bo would be a great field name; it's short, easy to say, even with the volume turned up, and it has a long history of fine dogs attached to it.  It wasn't until I was well along in the process that I realized "Bo" sounded a lot like "Whoa".  (I know it's pretty obvious when I say it like that, however.)  Bocephus managed to not let me screw him up too much and went on to be a fine dog, but the problem arose when I ran him with other dogs- especially field trial dogs around here.  All of whom seem to to be trained to the "whoa" command.

   Now that I have the prospect of another pup arrival in the near future, I'm back to the name quandary.  Certainly, her full name will commence with "Flyboy", my kennel name.  The rest will be some flowery language used to distinguish her from all the other thousands of registered  pups.  The meat of the matter is- what will be her "call name"?  What will I say and others hear when I address her?  Many times, her full name will give a clue to the call name, e.g., Julia's Flyboy Ace and "Ace", or Julia's Bocephus and "Bo", or (my favorite) Sally's Bud Dog and "Bud".  But, sometimes, the full name will give no clues to the field name, AFC/DC Sanctimonious Rabble Rouser Woofing Shagman and "Spot".  Then there is a field name that has nothing to do with anything other than it's just a favorite or reminds the owner of something.  For example, I was hunting in AZ one year and came upon an old fellow parked in a draw north of Globe.  We shared some time out from hunting.  He said he named his last dog after his ex.  "Yes-sir, I call her (name withheld, starts with a "b")!" I had to admit it was short and easy to yell.....

    So, my wife and I came up with a few names for our as-yet-unborn pup.  We are leaning toward "Flyboy Ruby Deux" in honor of the best bird dog I may ever own (Randy's Rednecked Ruby S/F- see below).  The problem is, I don't want to use the same field name- Ruby. 

  I think bold field names are best and derogatory names are very poor.  Buck, Joe, Ace, Lily, and Sam are examples of great field names for bird dogs.  Snot, Jerk, Sloppy, and Dufus all may fill the requirements, but .......  I'm a believer that names mean a lot.  Probably, because I think we humans treat others to some extent differently due to their names.  So, whatever we decide to do, we'll keep working to get her a short, easy to say, bold name that will describe her, to some extent.  Although, it's a good bet we may revert, at times, to a name similar to my AZ friend's dog.