Sunday, July 26, 2009

More miles on mountain bikes in the hills

What a great day for a bike ride. About 6 miles of wonderful trails, good company and fantastic weather. Jim and Cooper joined us for a Saturday morning run along the valleys and ridges of my new favorite place. The open spaces of Briones Regional Park.

So is Bailey "that good?"

Here in Cotati, California I stand by the the small garden of the farm workers with 13-month-old Bailey. We are ready for more "green breaking" training.

Bailey is so excited he trembles at the idea of working birds.

Bailey is pointing his second bird out of the three planted by Joe just a few minutes earlier.

I was concerned going up to Oregon for the Trail's End Vizsla Club because the last time out in Reno, Bailey's nose failed him on the final Sunday. His nose worked great this day. He was finding the birds at full speed and slamming on the brakes. Pointing strong and steady.

Again like last weekend, I was to hold Bailey as Joe flushed the bird. This week was 100% better than last weekend. Bailey accepts the idea that his job is to hold as the bird is flushed.

Kay Ingle was taking the pictures and later was working Bailey's sister, Nikki with Joe in the fields. Kay is Bailey's breeder.

At the end of the 30 minute session, Joe tells me I have good news and bad news.

"Good news is Bailey is the best Vizsla he has ever worked with "by far" and one of the best dogs he has worked with. With work he has championship abilities."

"Bad news is that you shouldn't hunt Bailey this season because it would be a negitive on his field trials."

I agreed immediately that I would forgo a year of hunting for the chance to campaign Bailey in field trials in the West.

OK. I've got a great bird dog. Next post will be after the field trials in Portland.

We'll be taking the week off starting Tuesday to take a vacation trip in the motor home. Been a very long time since we took a summer vacation.

Dog trials will give Joanie and I a great reason to see the country.

Best of all worlds, dogs, great places, and very neat people.

Having a great time.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Raina and Jada - Super dog training assistants

Jada is age 1o and Raina is age 7. I know, they look older.

Bailey is Jada's dog to help train and Chloe is Raina's.

I am very privileged to live across the street from such great young dog trainers.

When Chloe started working with Raina three months ago, Chloe would growl and bark when Raina got within 10 feet of her. Bailey has a lot of power and Jada had to show Bailey that she could be the boss and does on our walks.

At the end of our little street, Davin and his two daughters have walked the red dogs on their left and under control. They tell the dogs to "heel' and 'whoa," and they mind the girls.

If you don't have children in your family and you have Vizslas, then go out in your neighborhood and try to find some young dog trainers. It is the best thing you can do for your dogs.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Kindergarten is over for Bailey

This was the first day of real dog training for my hunting dog.

Even though this was his 8th session with Joe up in Cotati, everything up to here has been fun kindergarten for Bailey.

Joe and I discussed 13-month-old Bailey's graduation to real training, and today was the first day of "green broke" training.

Directions before we start:
We are going to let him find a bird and point. While he is on point, I am to kneel down next to Bailey and hold him while Joe flushes the bird. I am to hold Bailey while the bird flies away and then lead Bailey away in the opposite direction holding his collar before releasing him to find the next bird.

So Joe plants the three chuckers in different parts of the field and has me wait until they are planted.
Let Bailey go at Joe's signal and off he goes. His first bird he points well and I kneel down and hold him. Joe flushes the bird and it flies away.

We lead Bailey away and release him a good distance away to start working another bird. But Bailey turns around and runs full out to try and find the bird that has flown away. He finally comes back. On each bird he still tries to find the bird that flies away. He does find one in the tall grass quite a ways away and happily brings it back to me.

This is going to be a process that will take some time.

The idea is that Bailey will hold and not move when the bird is flushed until he is released.

This is a required ability for a dog to take the next step in field trials and hunt tests.

The process is counter-intuitive to what nature wants a bird dog to do when a bird flies away.

We'll be at it again next weekend before we are off to Oregon for a field trial.

Bailey is now in first grade and learning his ABC's of a hunting dog.

Playtime is over.

Bailey is doing well

Joe called him a "red GSP"today, and told me at the end of the session that if he was going to have a Vizsla, he'd want one like Bailey..

this is getting more interesting all the time.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Conditioning while biking

Joanie found "The Springer" attachment for dogs to run along bikes while on the road. This product is made in Norway and has sold over 500,000 units in Europe. Easy attach on and off the bike with a safety latch for the dog. If interested, a web search will give you more info.

Tried it out this morning with Bailey and Chloe.

Bailey took right to it ,but it will take a bit for Chloe to get comfortable running along side the bike.

Harnesses are required to do this conditioning since the dogs do pull. The "Springer" with a harness attached is used for mushing dog conditioning. Bailey can pull me right along on flat ground without a problem.

So far I can see this being a great tool for getting Bailey ready for hunting season and field trials. He pulls up against the front of the harness as we ride.

I keep it so that he is in a fast trot or mild gallop, as per directions.

With the "Springer" there is no way for him to get in front of the tire, and the spring takes the majority of the pulling in any direction.

Stay tuned, but I think it will work well. Now off for 5 miles in the hills without leashes. YEAH!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fear of toddlers overcome!

Chloe hated to be around children, especially toddlers, just a few short months ago. She is now 23-months-old and here with three-year-old Barnabas, the son of Laszlo and Agnes, she is completely comfortable and enjoying herself. This would have been unthinkable in March.

With the help of a couple neighborhood girls, ages eight and ten, Chloe has come a very long way. Tonight she was having a grand time playing fetch with Barnabas on our ritual Wednesday night Buckeye Ranch Trail walk. We were joined by Barnabas' parents and their 7 year-old female Vizsla, Fules. Lyn brought Clara and Lucy for part of the walk, and the five dogs had a splendid time in the cool shade of the oaks along the creek.

But it was "The Chloe and Barnabas Hour" for me as they played and Barnabas screeched and Chloe's tail never left the up position. Wonderful night .

Here after an hour walk, Chloe wanted more than a drink of water and jumped in the watering trough. Barnabas came to see and laugh with the rest of us.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Point Pinole Vizsla Walk

The fields are free of foxtails! Yeah. Bailey and Chole joined a Vizsla Walk group for a two hour walk through the fields and paths of Point Pinole Regional Park. Foxtails have been replaced with fennel and lilac bushes. The tide was out so the mud was nice and mushy and cool. The dogs had a blast!

Could you find a better looking group? Sunday morning (this morning) and this group had been walking in the Point Pinole Park for about an hour. Around the drinking fountain by the pier the dogs had to "leash up" for the first time since the parking lot. Took the opportunity to get a jogger to grab a group picture.

As usual, for the first 15 minutes of the walk, the dogs are exploding with the pent up energy they have stored up over night. A group of Vizslas could run a small city with their pent up energy.

Here is a dog pack at its finest. They know that their humans came with them on this walk but they are with their kind.

Nothing could be better for a city or suburban Vizsla than to get to run and play like this!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Nice introduction to the Vizsla video

Great new person's guide to the Vizsla. Thought those who came across this blog and didn't know much about the breed might enjoy. For those of you who already own and love these dogs, then you know how special the breed is.

Briones on Mountain bike

This morning I loaded up the mountain bike and Bailey and Chloe for a ride in the hills of Briones Regional Park.

In the background right over Bailey and Chloe's head is Point Pinole and the SF Bay under a blanket of fog. At this point the dogs have run and trotted for about four miles and it is all down hill back to the truck.

For the first three miles or so they love exploring the hills as I rode. Here I stopped under a shade tree and let them romp in the grassy hills.

Bailey loves to run flat out! When he is roading along with me, off -leash, he stays ahead of me no matter how fast I want to ride.

We are in conditioning training with him for the field trials next month and will be doing this twice a week now that we can get back into the open spaces (foxtails are finally gone).

Want to build up his endurance for in the field trials, dogs are expected to run full out for 20 to 40 minutes.

For Chloe it is great excercise. After a few miles she is just as happy to trot along my side while I peddle on the dirt trails.

If you like mountain biking and live in the Bay area, these are some great trails. On the Yahoo Groups - Vizsla Walk I will post when we go for a ride.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Extreme Bird dog part II

Continuation of the "extreme dog" post by Ray Cooper on Vizsla FT.

... Most other breeds however, particularly the Vizsla, the gene pool of dogs with all these traits is relatively small.

Without a contingent of people willing to stay the course, minority breeds are at risk of going into severe decline as premier pointing dogs.

More than a few hunting breeds have seen this decline when a substantial number of fanciers within the breed began breeding for things like color, coat, hair length, show winning angulation or anything not related to performance.

Fortunately the Vizsla breed has had enough breeders over the years who understood the benefits of these "extreme dogs" to perserve a noble breed as close as possible to what it came here as. Some breeds have not been so fortunate.

Extreme Bird Dog part I

The below write up is what I'm hoping to achieve in Bailey.

"Extreme Bird Dog" by Ray Cooper (first class Vizsla handler)

1. A dog with the desire to go to where the birds are. If that happens to be
600 yards down a field edge or tree line, they do it because they would rather
find birds than hang around their handler.

2. A dog with the olfactory senses to scent birds while traveling at top speed
and not need to stick his nose in every bush on the course to find birds.

3. A dog that has the muscle and bone structure along with a cardiovascular
system capable of supporting the dog for extended distances and time to get the
job done.

4. A dog that has the brains to take training as well as learn from experience
where the most likely places birds will hang out during the day and use the wind
to his advantage.

5. A dog that has a bold, fast, attractive way of going that exhibits an
eagerness to do his job and get to the likely objectives during his alloted

6. A dog that likes to go to the front and responds to his handler when called
upon but has enough independence to seek out likely haunts on his own without

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Another perfect Wednesday night

Bailey loves walking with Clara and Lucy in the hills above Walnut Creek and Lafayette.

Another typical Wednesday night on the Buckeye Ranch trail. Here Lyn and her two great dogs joined me with mine and we walked the valleys, canyons, and ridges from 6:30 until 8pm. The weather was ideal and the vistas were great.

Chole loves the cool west winds blowing through her ears after some great running through the woods and creeks.
Happy, tired dogs are such a joy. The fox tails are in recession and the trails are opening back up to exploring over the rest of the summer and autumn.
Come join us some Wednesday night.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Defending a good man

In my two years of Vizsla ownership I have heard many times disagreements that respected dog owners have with Cesar Millan.

Today and yesterday on the Yahoo group VizslaTalk, there was a drive to have a petition signed against a vendor using him as their spokesman.

Cesar's Way was one of the first "how to understand my Vizsla" books that I read, and I truly enjoyed it.

Tonight I opened the book again and went to the foreword by Martin Deeley - President, International Association of Canine Professionals (at the time of the publication of the book).

His opening paragraph hit home with me then and still does.

"Today, even though we have more books, more help, more training gadgets, and definitely more treats, there are more badly behaved dogs than ever before. We have the means to help us achieve well-behaved dogs, yet we lack sufficient understanding of our dogs' natures. While most of us are well-intentioned and loving dog owners, this lack of understanding can create many common dog problems. Put simply, dogs are not small humans. They do not think like humans, act like humans, or see the world in the same way as humans. Dogs are dogs, and we need to respect them as dogs. We do them a huge disservice by treating them like humans and thus create many of the bad behaviors we see today."

This is the part I loved:

"From the first moment I saw Cesar Millan work with dogs on his show Dog Whisperer, I knew he understood this concept. He is a unique man who is not afraid to be politically incorrect, who talks about leadership with dogs and is not afraid to give and show a correction when a dog requires it."

I'm sure there are methods he uses that Chloe and Bailey will never need to see because they are well-mannered and, I hope, well-trained dogs. But knowledge that works is what I was and am after. His advice, for the most part, rings true for me.

Long post for which I apologize.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Fourth of July long walk

Well , the 4th of July parade started at 9 am in Danville, California, so in leaving my house on foot with the two dogs at 7 am, I felt I had left enough time to make it. I knew it was going to be a good, long walk.

Three hours later, with only a quick stop downtown to grab a coffee, we finally were watching the parade go by (what was left of it). Miscalculated how far it was (a little over nine miles). Met Joanie at the 5-mile-to-go mark (she drove to this point).

Chloe hated the noise of the drums and shook and pulled. She was not having a good time. Bailey enjoyed everything about it. Took some pictures to post and SD card in my camera went bad and I lost all those pictures. Oh well.

So, after 15 minutes it was back on the Iron Horse trail for the three-hour walk back home. Left at 7:00 and got home at 2:30. The dogs and I took a nice two-hour nap.

Great way to spend the 4th.