Monday, November 29, 2010

Western Washington Pheasant Hunting

Fast Pup Dog Training clients Jim and Cindy Olson, posted from the field over Thanksgiving weekend.

Jim and Rainy Olson return from a pheasant hunt


Rainy has one more day of pheasant hunting on western Washington pheasant release and then she will be switching to geese and ducks down in Ocosta for the rest of the season.  The pheasant population was down for our trip to North Dakota so we came home with fewer birds this year than last but Rainy has come a long way with her field work so, all in all, it has been a good 2010 pheasant season.

 I believe that all of our retriever training with you the past couple of years is now paying off in terms of her field work.  She is handling well for Jim in the field, she is taking casts and coming back when whistled to keep her in shotgun range.

I know we have not been training for pointing and holding birds but Rainy is starting to point her birds before flushing them.  Unfortunately, I have not been camera ready when she has been on point.  I did get a couple of shots from yesterday.  She got three birds up and one retrieve.  One that got away was so low Jim might have hit Rainy if he had taken his one clear shot.  Needless to say, that one flew away.

More as the goose season progresses –

Cindy and Jim

See our video of hunting retriever puppy training.

Proper Hunting Attire

Friend and guest author, Fran Seagren reported from the eastern Washington quail and pheasant season last week.

Mike and Rhonda sport the latest in hunting attire

We met our friends, Mike and Rhonda, in eastern Washington for quail and pheasant hunting a couple weeks ago.  As they stepped out of their truck, I took a second look.  I asked them to stop for a minute so I could grab my camera.   I just had to get a picture of “the perfect upland hunting attired couple.”  I thought they looked good enough to be in a magazine. 

Then, today, Scott was browsing through an Orvis catalog that came in the mail.  He showed me what – in some circles - is considered “proper” upland hunting attire.  (Hope the picture comes through OK - it was taken with our camera of the catalog.)

Then, we got to talking about how the Orvis outfit would work in the cover we normally hunt.  We wondered if the “shooting flashes” (little tassels on the sides of the socks) would be resistant to the burrs that get stuck in our red setters ears.   Or how the Orvis “shooting stockings” work when it comes to some of the swampy areas we run across.  I don’t know what to think of the boots.  I’ve never seen any like them before.   But, it is fun to see what the English are wearing these days.

The picture is of Sarge quartering in front of me in some typical cover.  Shortly after this picture was taken, he flushed up a single quail.

For help training a hunting retriever, visit our website.  Check out our video of young, hunting retriever puppy training.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving at the pond

Fast Pup Dog Training wishes everyone a very happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dogs Loved Sunday Class Even With Snow

Class was cold and it started to snow, but the dogs had fun tonight.  And what a great looking bunch of dogs and owners too!
Ruth Tollefson and her dog Olie

Kim Griffin & her dog Dexter

Jennifer Ackley and her dog Loki

Stephanie Mann and her dog Aja

Stephanie Mann and her dog Zepher

Pheasant And Quail Hunting Washington State

Sarge (one of the pups from Joanie's last litter) is sitting to whistle and taking casts at 10 months old. 

Guest author Fran Seagren posts this journal entry from her hunting diary:

Sarge and I were hunting pheasants and quail last week in an area we call “The Big Wild.”  This area has every kind of cover eastern Washington can dish up.  The pheasants are as wild as they get and have a lot of places to elude and escape us.  In order to get close enough to get a shot at one of these roosters, a good dog is primary. 

A good upland dog will quarter within gun range with little reminding.  The dog absolutely requires an optimistic personality – translated to “a lot of drive.”  The dog must want to get into the stickery, thickest, nastiest cover there is, because that’s where the pheasants are.  And they won’t just come out without good reason.  A good upland dog must have a lot of stamina – there are not a lot of pheasants in eastern Washington.  To have any success, you and your dog will need to be prepared to put a lot of miles into the hunt.  

The quieter we are, the more chances to sneak up and surprise, or confuse the birds.  As pheasants consistently outwit us more than we do them, getting one is always a challenge.  Which is one of the reasons I love upland hunting more than anything.   A dog must also have some training.  He must come when called – using a whistle instead of your voice.  He must stop/sit on a whistle command.  When a dog is trailing a moving pheasant, it’s important to be especially quiet.  If the dog gets a little out of range, a single quiet sit whistle should stop him so the hunter can catch up.  A  silent “cast” should send him on his hunt.  

Sarge is 11 months old now.  Although still a puppy, he shows such maturity and control when it comes to hunting, it’s easy to forget how young he is.  Sarge is one of those dogs that was “born” knowing how to upland hunt.  The first time he was hunted this year, it was like he had done it before.  Sarge and Scott got a grouse that day.   

In this picture, I was hunting with Sarge.  He was in and out of the cover along the trees in the area “The Big Wild.”   He had been very birdy and I thought he was on something hot.  He was getting a little too far ahead and I gave a sit whistle.  As I got up closer to him, I snapped this picture.  We continued on and Sarge flushed a hen.  We had a great hunt.

Quail Hunting Washington State

Friend and guest author Fran Seagren recently submitted this picture of husband Scott and Sargent Brown after Sarge put up a couple of covey's of quail.  For more information on training hunting retrievers for upland game, visit Fast Pup Dog Training's website and check out our video about training the started hunting retriever pup.

Pheasant Hunting Eastern Washington State

Scott & Disco with their "giant" rooster pheasant

Friend and guest author, Fran Seagren is great about keeping a journal about the hunting adventures that she, husband Scott Seagren, and dogs, Ruby, Robert, Sarge and Disco experience as they are hunting pheasant, quail and grouse.  This post came in last week. 

As anyone knows that hunts pheasants in eastern Washington, it is not South Dakota.  As a matter of fact, one of my dog magazines that reports pheasant numbers expected for each state each year, doesn’t even mention Washington.   I guess that’s good in that we don’t get any out-of-state hunters crowding our “best hunting” spots.  So, what I’m trying to say is, if you want to hunt pheasants in Washington, you better be prepared to do a lot of walking and have a good dog or two.  The cover is rough and the pheasants are as wily as they come.  But when you get one of those ditch dragons, it’s a real prize.

Scott and I think we have a pretty good “upland hunting team” of dogs this year.  We have two labs and two red setters.  On our second hunt last Thursday, Scott took Disco, his little black lab, and I hunted Robert, my red setter.  We were in an area that holds both quail and pheasants.  Scott and Disco were working down closer to the trees and I was up a little higher near where the sage starts up.  The cover is incredibly thick in most areas.  Robert went on a point up ahead - facing me about 70 yards.  I could see his head and tail as I walked toward him.  Then, I heard the flush of quail wings, but there was a tree off to my right and I’m guessing they flushed behind it, because I didn’t see a bird.  I saw Robert standing steady and I continued to walk toward him - thinking there could be more.  When I got within 20 yards of Robert, a single flushed up and veered to my left toward Scott.  I turned as I heard him shoot.  I could see Scott stopped so I assumed he hit the bird and Disco was looking for it.  I called Robert over to me and we waited.  We stood there for about 5 minutes or longer, and then Scott held the quail above his head.   I gave a “thumbs up” and we continued our hunt.  Scott told me the quail came directly at his head, wings a blur.  He shouldered his gun thinking it would veer to one side or the other as soon as it spotted him.  But it didn’t.  As soon as it got very close and at eye level, Scott jumped back a couple steps, as it zipped past where his head had just been.  He turned and fired.  It fell in swampy cattails and Scott sent Disco for the retrieve.  He said she hunted and hunted and finally came out with a very wet quail.
We continued on down the tree line draw with Scott and Disco staying in the thickest cover while Robert and I hunted up a little higher where the cover was not as heavy.  About 30 minutes later, I heard Scott shoot again.  I couldn’t see him as clearly so after a few minutes, I called him on the radio.  He said they got a rooster.  Well, I just had to go over and see the prize.  As Robert and I got close, Scott held it up – it looked huge - a beautiful full feathered rooster.  

Scott said Disco had been acting like she was following a “runner.”  He had heard roosters cackling and saw two roosters take off out of range.  They hunted very quietly, with Scott following Disco through the thickest cover of Russian olive trees, and then finally out into a clearing.  He said he stopped for a second, turned to see Disco come out of the cover to his side.  She made two quick little turns, in full “birdy-mode” and then torpedoed into a small sagebrush right in front of him.  The rooster came straight up.  Scott said the tail moved like a snake as the veteran rooster rattled its way clear of Disco without even the smallest “cackle” they are famous for.  He said it had flushed at 10 yards and he waited to take the shot as the rooster gained speed heading for the next bunch of trees.  He fired and it fell in heavy brush.  Scott did not wait to send Disco this time.  He thought his shot may have only wounded the bird, and he didn’t want to take a chance of it getting away.  Disco hit the brush like she always does, full speed.  Scott said he could hear her moving around and see the cover moving, then the motion stopped – a good sign - then, a slow movement back toward him.  He said when Disco came out of the cover, all he could see was the rooster at first, moving toward him and then just the bottom of two little black legs.  The rooster was DOA.

Training A Successful Hunting Retriever

Fast Pup Dog Training client, Dennis White and his dog Colby went hunting at their property near Ocean Shores, WA yesterday.  Dennis writes:

Colby and I went to Ocosta yesterday hunting and it turned into a good day. If it were not for all the retriever training it would not have been so good.

I shot 1 duck which flew a long way before dropping across the water and into some thick cover. Colby was out of sight of the fall and I only had a idea were it was so I lined him up and sent him for the blind retrieve. Within a few casts he was in the heavy cover about 90 yards out and found the duck.

The second blind retrieve was when 2 geese came in and 1 dropped them right in front of us, but was still alive and swimming, the other 50 yards across the water and behind some reeds. I first sent him to the live bird as not to loose it and them to the one behind the reeds. I could not go in a straight line because of the reeds so I sent him to the left ant then a right cast were he retrieved the goose from the bank.

I am very happy to have a trained dog and it sure makes hunting a pleasure. Thanks for all your help getting us to this point.

Dennis & Colby

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Tacoma November To Remember

This October and November have been just awesome, haven't they?  I don't ever remember such great weather!  I remember that most years it starts raining in October and doesn't stop until May or June.  It's like Mother Nature just finally got it!  Yay!

Fast Pup Dog Training Visited Area 13 at Fort Lewis today.

Mount Rainier was a little shy today.  She is able to create her own weather and today she kept playing "peek-a-boo."

Fast Pup Dog Training Visits Point Defiance Dog Park

Fast Pup Dogs pose at cliff overlooking Tacoma Narrows Bridge
This is a beautiful park.  Let alone a beautiful dog park.  But this park is not for the faint of heart or for dogs that are out of control.  There is a main open area that has a large sheltered area for rainy days.  The dogs can run around and play with each other on the bark that has been brought in to keep it from turning into a mud hole.

And then you can go hiking with your dogs.  You will want to put your dog on a leash if you do not completely have your dog trained to be under voice control. Just as you leave the main open area headed toward the blue sky and water of the Puget Sound, you will see a small section of fence.

The fence looks good, but it is not a real fence.  It is just a snippet of fence.

Dogs can easily run around the fence and immediately fall over a cliff.

The trail is fairly easy going down.  There are some stair steps that have been carefully placed.  Coming back up the hill will warm a hiker up. 

The dog park is in a very wooded area laced with trails.  Even on a warm summer's day it would be shady and cool.

The official dog park is approximately 7 acres.  It is off of Five Mile Drive just south of Fort Nisqually.  Get directions.

Point Defiance is a great place to spend a day.  There are great places to picnic and wonderful scenery.
We recently visited Owen Beach with the dogs, not far from the dog park.

Fast Pup Dogs at Owen Beach
There are many ways to have fun with your dog at Point Defiance!

If you have never been, pack a lunch and come explore.  Just be sure to watch out for the dangers of trails that run close to the cliffs.  And remember, if you plan to visit the Point Defiance Zoo, you will need to leave your dog behind.  Dogs are not allowed at the zoo.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Alpha Rolling A Dominant, Aggressive Dog Is A BAD Idea

A call came today about a four month old Pit Bull who has been developing food aggression to his owners over food since he was eight weeks of age.  The behavior is escalating.  His owner called around and was referred to a Pit Bull rescue group for advice.  According to the dog's owner, she was instructed by someone at the rescue group to grab the dog, flip him on his back and hold him down until he submits to this treatment, known as an alpha roll. 

There are several reasons this is an incredibly stupid idea.

Number one:  It is extremely dangerous to the person doing the rolling.  If the dog is already aggressive and dominant, he is going to fight as if his life depends on it to right himself--and that could include biting the roller.  The rollers face in this position is very close to the dog's teeth.  If the person trying to do the roll is not of incredible strength, agility and coordination--and if that person lacks experience, has any fear, or hesitates for a split second, the dog is going to somehow free himself.  In the best scenario, the dominant and aggressive dog will escape from this treatment and will satisfy himself knowing that he is truly the dominant one.  In the worst case, the dog will bite the human and do terrible damage.

Number two: The handler is not calm and not in control.  The dog will experience the whole process as if the roller is going to kill him.  He will fight for his life.  The roller must also fight for his or her life, literally.  There is nothing calm about the handler at this point.  And because it has become a contest between two opponents, there is nothing controlled about this situation.

Number three:  If the conflicts and problems with a dog have become so severe, the dog and the owner need to be evaluated by a professional.  Most aggression problems develop slowly over time and are the result of inexperience on the owner's part.  In other words, most aggression problems are caused by the owner.  Sometimes, however, the dog has been badly wired from birth.  Dogs, like people, can have mental problems.  If this is the case, the dog needs to be put down.

Keep the situation safe for both dog and human.  Do not attempt alpha rolls.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

We Love Our Dogs, But...

From Fran's Hunting Diary:

A couple days ago, Scott was about to eat a cheeseburger and chips.  (please don't tell Michele Obama)  He had set his lunch on the little table in our den with the burger wrapped in a paper towel.  He came back out to the kitchen to get something and Sarge moved in and helped himself.  Scott returned to find nothing but an empty plate and the paper towel on the floor with Sarge's nose in it.  He yelled at Sarge who ran out of the den like his butt was on fire.  But, a little while later, Sarge crawled and "groveled" back in the den toward Scott.  He was obviously "sucking up" for his mistake.  He was hilarious and this picture doesn't capture how funny he was.  Sarge kept his eyes closed as he scooted along the floor, grunting and squeaking and moaning toward Scott. (Scott called me to come in - he was laughing and trying to be "firm" with Sarge.) When Sarge got close, Scott was telling him he was a "bad boy" for eating his lunch.  Sarge would "squint" his eyes open, then quickly close them again.  Like if he didn't "see" Scott's face, it wouldn't be so bad.  It was hilarious, but typical of something Sarge would do - "Mr. Pathetically Lovable."   He appears to be "soft", but when it comes to hunting, he's as tough as nails and absolutely fearless when it comes to the nastiest cover.  It took him all of 'one time' in the eastern Wash nasty cover to figure out where the birds are.  You can't keep him out of it, now.

I'll send you a "Sarge hunting story" from yesterday.  I got the details/description from Scott today.  Sarge is amazing!

Fran :)

Ugliest Most Beautiful Off Leash Dog Park In Tacoma

Dog parks:  Large fenced-in areas where people take distracted, unruly, untrained dogs to run carefree, and let them do whatever they want--even if it is extremely annoying to other dogs and people.  Sometimes, even though there are signs prohibiting aggressive dogs, there are dog fights.  Sometimes, even though there are signs advising people to be respectful of one another, there are fights among the dogs' people.  

The city of Tacoma has come up with an ingenious idea.  They have what they call demonstration dog parks.  A "demonstration" dog park is one where the dogs are allowed to be off leash if the handler has voice control over their  dog and get this:  there is no fence! 

We visited the Tacoma's newest demonstration dog park today at 6002 S Adams Street off 56th Street and South Tacoma Way.  It looks like a great big empty vacant lot next to the ball fields at the South End Recreation area.  There is grass growing there and there is a large area for the dogs to romp and play.  The best part of the dog park?  There was no one there!

Not sure why there were no dogs there, but I am thinking that maybe there just aren't very many people who have the awesome off leash control over their dogs needed to visit the park.  It was a beautiful place as far as the dogs were concerned and they loved it. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Dogs Enjoy Indian Summer

The Fast Pup dogs enjoy this Indian Summer Day at Fox Island

 The Fast Pup Dogs Visit Fox Island, Washington.  It was 70 degrees today.  In November!  What a bonus.

Owning Hunting Poodle Not For Faint Of Heart

Dixie in an AKC Junior Hunter Test

Several years ago Fast Pup Dog Training was asked to take a Standard Poodle in for a board-and-train to get her jump-started for her hunting training.  As a hunting retriever trainer, Kate Johansson was thrilled to help out.  Dixie was a young, energetic dog who had great potential for the hunting-retrieving game.

Having Dixie with us on a daily basis, we soon realized from several conversations we had with other clients that Poodles are not taken seriously as working dogs by many people.  The comments and reactions we got when Dixie came off the truck were sometimes amazing--even snarky.  "You have GOT to be kidding!" was a common reaction upon seeing this dog.

Recently, Dixie and Gail came to help out at the Tacoma Fall Home And Remodeling Show, where Fast Pup Dog Training had the dogs on display.  Dixie was a big hit with most of the patrons of the show.  However, while in the minority, there were a few negative comments about her Poodle looks compared to the Labrador Retrievers especially as hunting dogs.  We were reminded once again that Poodles and their clip styles do inspire controversy in the world of hunting dogs. Gail and Dixie have endured many mean spirited remarks at hunt tests while competing for their title.

For people who think of a hunting retriever as a Labrador Retriever, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, or Golden Retriever, the idea of a curly coated dog (who must be groomed regularly) being used as a hunting partner seems far-fetched.  Especially if the dog is being groomed for the show ring, which requires grooming that seems fairly extreme to most hunters.

Poodles can make excellent hunting dogs.  We have trained with a number of Poodles over the years and have found them to be great markers, highly intelligent and eager to please.  Dixie went on to earn her AKC Junior Hunter title after going back to her owner Gail. 

The Poodle breed is thought to originate in Germany as a gun dog or duck dog.  Because they lack a second coat and because their coat grows continuously, the coat of a Poodle is referred to as hair instead of fur.  The hair must be kept groomed for the dog's entire life.  Over the years groomers have come up with all sorts of lavish designs for the hair of the Poodle.  And perhaps the images of the dogs in the show ring with their Continental or Scandinavian clips have led some hunters and outdoorsmen to have a certain disdain for the dogs.

Dixie is shown in the picture above with a "modified" Continental clip.  (Modified, meaning that it is a shorter, more practical version of a clip for hunting situations.) The clip that Dixie now sports was specifically designed throughout history to help the dog stay warm in water.  Her clip maintains a design where a "jacket" of slightly longer hair is left over her chest and back to protect her heart and lungs from the cold water, "bracelets" or "pompoms" around her ankles, "rosettes" over her hips and a little topnot of hair on her head to keep her joints and head warm.  Her legs are shaved to aid in 'stronger swimming ability. 

Since the hair of the Poodle does not shed, the dogs are ideal companions for a hunter who wants a dog that won't set off allergic reactions to fur. 

If you are thinking of getting a Poodle for hunting it is important to find a breeder who selects for excellent temperament and retrieving instinct in their dogs.  Visit the Versatility In Poodles website to research more about these great dogs.  In the Pacific Northwest, Jac Harbour of Tudorose Poodles is a well known and respected breeder of gun-dog quality Poodles.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fast Pup Dogs At Sunset Tacoma

As the sun sets on a beautiful November day in Tacoma, the Fast Pup Dogs pose in the last rays of sun
A rough winter might be coming and we did have almost record rains yesterday, but how about this weather in November?  Can't remember this kind of weather in November in Tacoma area ever!  We had a high today of 62'.  The Fast Pup Dog Training Dogs pose at sunset at Ole & Charlies Marina in Tacoma.  The mountain, as it is referred to around here (Mount Rainier) is in the background.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Beagles Play Hospital For Halloween

Could your Beagle do this?  Beagles who have been to Fast Pup Dog Training can!

Herman Hardtke, of Fence Specialist fencing in Tacoma, took his Beagles to play in his church program for the kids.  He writes in an email:

Had a trunk or treat at the church, we set up the ambulance for kids to go
in and play operation, then the pups were outside in their respective
hospital wards.
Champ on left in the mental ward (wearing a straight jacket)
Bonnie in the middle in the baby ward, and Clyde on the right in the trauma

Alan Miller's Fun Yards Landscaping Booth At Tacoma Home Show

The Fun Yards Booth Was One Of Our Favorites
This year's Tacoma Home & Remodeling Show was great fun.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by.  We loved Alan Miller's Fun Yards Landscaping booth so much that we just had to stop for a picture.  Here the dogs are sitting on Dream Turf, an ideal surface for pets and children since no harmful chemicals, pesticides or fertilizers are required to keep it looking fabulous.  Imagine a turf that is comfortable and clean with no mud or dirt getting tracked into your house!  This turf does not require water, which can save many thousands of gallons of water per year.  Visit Fun Yards website to see a bunch of great before and after pictures and to find out more about Dream Turf.

Dogs Carry Baskets Of Candy For Halloween

The Fast Pup Dogs Love Kids.  Trick Or Treat!
This year's Tacoma Home and Remodeling Show featured trick or treating for the kids in celebration of Halloween.  With such beautiful costumes it is a shame to go out in the dark.