Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Beware When Purchasing A Started Hunting Retriever

With pheasant season opening in a few days, the idea of obtaining a started hunting retriever might be very appealing to some hunters. Often buyers of started dogs want to bypass the puppy stage and buy a dog that is already trained.

Sometimes the family has no time for a puppy and for all the hours that go into training a competent canine hunting partner. Or they just don't have the knowledge about training. Perhaps they are very knowledgeable and experienced with hunting retrievers, but they have suffered an injury or illness that prevents them from doing the work needed. And sometimes a family dog passes on unexpectedly, leaving the family without a dog for hunting season.

For those who wish to purchase a started hunting retriever, but have no experience training and handling dogs, beware! A good looking website and a fancy kennel name does not mean buying a dog from that kennel is your best choice.

Recently we heard from a newly retired couple who had purchased a "Started Pointing Labrador Retriever" from a kennel out in the country. They had no experience handling hunting retrievers and did not know what questions to ask about the dog's training level. They were charged $2,400.00 for a nine-month old black Labrador Retriever. The price sounded fair for a dog of this age, until we found out how little "training" the dog actually had.

The couple was invited out to one of our group's training sessions on a weekend. When they saw the level of training in our nine-month old Labrador Retrievers they began to dread taking their dog off their truck. When they did let their dog out of his kennel, the dog took off into the field toward a gun station where we had been shooting ducks. No amount of calling him would get him to return and he had to be caught. It turns out that the dog did not have even basic obedience. He had no recall. He was not force-fetched. (No trained retrieve.) He was not collar conditioned. The only thing he did have was a tremendous and maniacal desire for birds.

Because they hadn't known the right questions to ask, and because they were told that the dog was ready to hunt, they were disappointed to find out that they probably would not be able to hunt the dog this season.

A dog that jumps out of the handler's vehicle and runs off playing keep-away--or worse--runs out to another hunter and their dog across the field, is not only a danger to himself, but a big annoyance to other hunting parties and an embarrassment to his handler.

There is nothing wrong with purchasing a "started" nine-month old retriever, as long as you know what questions to ask about the dog's level of training, are willing to team up with an experienced trainer or training group and spend the time furthering the dog's development as well as your skills in handling a high-powered dog.

For an inexperienced handler, even buying a very seasoned or "finished" dog will not necessarily make for great teamwork. The handler must learn how to lead the dog and call the shots in the field. No matter how well trained the dog is, he will always look to the handler for direction. If the handler does not understand how to direct the dog, the partnership will falter.

Before buying a dog with any level of training, ask yourself if you have the time and interest required to become a competent handler. Understand that it will take time for you and your new dog to become a great team.

If buying a started dog ask questions like, "Is this dog force-fetched?" "What kind of yard work has the dog been doing?" "Is he collar conditioned to a remote training (electronic) collar?" "Does the dog take directional casts and sit on a whistle out in the field?" "How does the dog like water?" "Is the dog doing multiple marks or single marks off multiple guns?" "Will the dog honor another dog while the other dog is working a bird?"

A started hunting retriever should at least have basic obedience, be force-fetched and worked through the T-Pattern on both land and water. If the dog has been put through at least this much training it is fair for the seller to ask a price significantly higher than the price of a puppy. If not, the buyer is just being sold a big, out-of-control, overgrown puppy.

For a video of early training of hunting retriever puppies click here: Started Pups

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pacific Northwest's Fast Pup Dog Training Helps Reassure Toddler

Lia, a toddler, was terrified of dogs--especially the family's young Pit Bull who would exuberantly knock her over in his eagerness to play. (Please scroll through our blog just a bit and read his story and the testimonial of Lance and Angela about Fast Pup's help with Malieko the Pit Bull.)

Now that the family dog is under control and obedient, Lia is relaxing around dogs in general. Here she snuggles with Spanky, an Australian Kelpie Cattle Dog who loves other dogs and children. You can see that this little girl is going to grow up confident around dogs, rather than being afraid of them.

For help getting control of your dog, contact Fast Pup Dog Training in Pierce County Washington

Grouse Hunting In Washington State

Our friends, Scott & Fran are really into hunting grouse. Their dogs are pretty "into it" too. Sarge (formerly known as Mojo when he lived with Kate,) is only 9 months old. The right puppy with the right upbringing and training makes all the difference. Fran sent the following comments in an email:

The pics of Scott and the "A-team grouse hunters" are an example of what it looks like when hunting ruffed grouse early season in the northwest woods. The cover is heavy and when the birds get pushed, they flush fast and are gone. If the dogs don't stay close and hunt the edges of the cover, a person will never get a shot off. The best dog work (in our opinion) for this type of hunting is what shows in these pics. Disco and Sarge are quartering in front of us. They are hunting close and both are very thorough. We are not having to whistle them in constantly to stay close. They are doing it because they are good dogs. And, consequently, we are pretty quiet hunters. I think that's why we're finding so many birds this year. Not that we're getting too many shots. But, that will come. We're into birds every time we go. Disco and Sarge are non-stop hunting machines! Our hunts have been about 2 - 2 1/2 hrs. We take a few short breaks, but mostly, we're hunting. Every time we've been up there, the dogs have found grouse. Very exciting. But, the birds have flushed where Scott or I couldn't get a shot. Only Sarge's first hunt, so far, produced any meat for the pot. :)) But, we're going again next Tuesday. Sarge is an "old pro" now. When he's hunting, his new name is, "Sargent Brown of the Hunting Platoon." But, when we take a break, he turns back into "Sargento Love."

Friday, September 10, 2010

Izzy The Pomeranian At World Championship Of Sand Sculpting Federal Way

Izzy, a Pomeranian owned by Todd Dearinger, poses for the camera in front of a dog sculpted of sand. Izzy is a Fast Pup Dog Training, Tacoma client. Izzy is Corky's mother. Check out the video of Corky!

Lower Columbia Hunting Retriever Club Fall Festival

Greetings friends of the Lower Columbia Hunting Retriever Club

Join us on Sunday, September 26th, for the 2nd annual LCHRC Fall
Festival. This fun filled day is a mix of testing, training, social
activities, great food, and giving dogs of all ages and breeds an
opportunity for having success in the field.

Location: Parkdale Kennels, Rainier, Oregon

Time: Registration begins at 8:00 am inside the kennel office.
Complementary coffee, fruit, and pasties will be available in the
registration area. Activities begin at 9:00 am.

Activities: A hunt test scenario for dogs of all skill and training
levels will be set up for you to run your dog. If you are new to HRC
hunt tests, this will be an opportunity to handle a shotgun and
poppers along with your dog. Experts will be there to help and assist
in introducing gun safety and handling during a hunt test. And of
course, you are more than welcome to skip this all together or just
ask for a designated shooter.

For handlers age 16 and under, you can enter for free. And if you
don't have a dog, we can supply a trained dog to assist you in
experiencing the delight of working with a trained hunting dog. We can
match up dogs of all temperaments and sizes to work with young handlers.

And for young dogs, there will be a chance to introduce them to birds
in a casual, low stress environment.

There will be a demonstration of an HRC Upland test as well. Watch a
dog/handler team work their way through the field looking for and
flushing live birds. Afterwards, our expert trainers will answer
questions and demonstate a few methods in upland-training for this
specific type of hunt test. (and great for your dog that hunts
pheasants and chukars as well)

Food: A lunch time burger bar will be set up with all the fixin's.
Home made potato and pasta salad and multiple deserts will abound. The
LCHRC is known for its food, and we don't intend to disappoint. There
will complementary drinks available throughout the day.

Cost: $30 per dog and $10 for lunch. $5 for the puppies and
introduction to birds. Young handlers 16 and under - FREE.

If you are interested in joining us for a day of dogs, fun, and food,
just reply to this email so we can plan to have enough food and birds
for you and your dogs.

We will have some tents to provide some moderate protection from the
weather, but this is the end of September so we can have a mix of
sunny days and driving rain. Dress accordingly and bring rain gear and
boots as needed. In the world of retriever training and hunting, there
is no bad weather, just bad clothing choices.

Feel free to forward this email on to anybody that may be interested
or send them the link below to the webpage that shares the same
content of this email.

Russ Dodd
Lower Columbia HRC

Monday, September 6, 2010

Save Money At The Vet And Add Years To The Life Of Your Dog

There are a number of common sense ways to save money on our dogs' veterinary bills over their lifetimes. Most involve a little time and effort on our part as owners and handlers of the dogs. Common sense prevention not only will save money but also can add years to our dogs' lives.
The best money spent at the veterinarian's office is for vaccinations against all sorts of preventable diseases and conditions such as parvovirus, distemper, rabies, and worms. The vaccinations are not expensive--especially if a little research has been done to find the right veterinarian. Prevention of disease and death from many viruses and parasites is very inexpensive in comparison to the cost of treating the disease both in terms of dollars spent and heartbreak to the owner.
After making sure our dogs are vaccinated, the number one health issue we have nearly complete control over is diet and exercise. In almost all cases, the only way our dogs can be overweight, is if we allow them to over eat. If our dogs are given a high quality food and it is fed in the right proportion, along with giving them the right amount of exercise, our dogs should have a perfect figure. Yet recent studies have found that as many as 17 million dogs (40 percent) are overweight. Just as in humans, dogs can experience a number of health risks from carrying those extra pounds such as diabetes, heart and respiratory problems, joint issues and arthritis. Tragically, many of our dogs suffer from maladies that are as simple to prevent as not over feeding.
Dental health in dogs is just as important as it is in humans. Yet, by age three it is estimated that eighty percent of dogs suffer from periodontal disease in which the gums and supporting bones of the teeth may deteriorate. If nothing is done to reverse this problem, harmful bacteria can enter the blood stream and cause serious damage to vital organs such as the heart, kidneys, liver and lungs. Bad breath in dogs is a warning sign that the dog is suffering from dental problems. Brushing a dogs teeth with a toothpaste formulated to be safe for dogs (not human toothpaste) and rinsing the teeth regularly with a mouthwash made for dogs can help in the prevention of plaque build-up. There are products that can be added to the dogs' food that prevent plaque formulation. Offering the very tough nylon bones for chewing also helps remove the plaque. Keeping up on the care of our dogs' teeth can add two to five years to our dogs lives.
Keeping our dogs away from certain human foods is important. Most of us have heard that chocolate is harmful to dogs. But an even more serious threat to our dogs health is the ingestion of grapes, raisins or currants. Eating even a few raisins can cause kidney failure in some dogs. Also on the list of extremely dangerous foods are coffee, tea and other caffeine, alcoholic beverages, tobacco, mushrooms, spoiled or moldy food, human vitamins containing iron, and Xylitol, an artificial sweetener. Onions and onion powder added to many human foods, including baby food can cause anemia and damage red blood cells. Many dogs are counter surfers and if you have one of these it is important not to leave that trail mix with the raisins and chocolate on the counter.
Dogs overheat much more easily than humans. Not only do many dogs die every year from being left inside cars that heat up to deathly temperatures, but many dogs overheat even on cool days after prolonged and intense exercise. Gun dogs such as German Shorthair Pointers and Labrador Retrievers participating in the excitement of opening day for pheasant, for example, can quickly overheat when the weather is warm. Dogs will exuberantly "beat the bushes" in order to find the elusive birds. They don't realize that their body temperature is rising to crisis levels until they fall panting to the ground and have trouble standing up. A dog's normal temperature is around 101' F. At 106' F, the dog can be in serious trouble. Avoiding letting your dog get overheated is the best money saving option. Once the dog gets seriously overheated, a trip to the vet is urgently needed.
Training your dog is important to maintain health and prevent many injuries. A dog who is reliable off leash or on, will sit and stay whenever and wherever we tell them to, will come immediately when called no matter what level of distraction is around is a dog that will stay safe in extremely dangerous situations. Many owners of gun dogs are familiar and comfortable training their dogs with remote (or electronic) training collars. A remote training collar combined with expert training is helpful to train obedience for any size or breed of dog. Maintaining control of our dogs in extreme situations will prevent many accidents from happening.
Sometimes due to injury or illness, a trip to the vet is absolutely necessary. Veterinary care can be incredibly expensive. Having pet insurance on our dogs is a big help with major expenses. It is important to have the insurance in place well in advance of any emergencies, since once an injury or illness presents itself the dog will no longer be insurable for that issue.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Nine Month Old Labrador Retriever's First Grouse Hunt

Hi Kate,

Thought you might like to hear about “your” puppy, Sarge (previously known as “Mojo”).

At not even 9 months old, this was Sarge’s first hunt. According to Scott, it took Sarge about 20 minutes before he really got the hang of quartering and staying in the cover along the sides of the logging trail. Then, he got a little more intense, did a couple zig-zags, jumped under a low evergreen branch and flushed a grouse! Scott said Sarge chased it for a couple seconds and when the bird got out ahead, he shot and knocked it down. Sarge had never been “shot over” before. He slowed and then stopped. He looked back and forth between Scott and where the bird had gone. (He must have thought he was supposed to stop – what a good boy.) Scott sent Sarge for the retrieve and off he went. The bird had fallen in the cover and Sarge found it quickly. He came to heel, sat, and delivered to hand. Scott said it was textbook perfect!

Although they didn’t bag another grouse after that first one, Sarge hunted like he knew what he was doing. He found and flushed two more singles.

Scott was so impressed with Sarge’s natural hunting instinct and how well he behaved, on their way home, he stopped at McDonalds and bought him a cheeseburger (minus the bun).

Scott and I are taking Disco and Sarge tomorrow morning. Wish us luck.

For a look at Sarge as a three month old puppy (Then known as Mojo) check out this video