Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hidden Treasure - Shell Ridge

In the southeast corner of Walnut Creek, California is a hidden treasure for dogs and humans alike. Shell Ridge open space is a great walking area and I have been using it for field training with Bailey. Plenty of open space to run and many doves and other birds that love to reside in the cover that is abundant in the area.

Miles and miles of trials that are dog friendly.

Easy access and most trails are easy walks. Great mountain biking trails to run the dogs.

The views of Walnut Creek and the rest of Central Contra Costa County are spectacular.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Vizsla exercise equipment

So the rain came in the afternoon today and Chloe didn't get a chance to run.
So, what to do with two Vizslas with pent up rain day energy?
Downstairs we went and Chloe started out on the treadmill. She likes 3mph and 5 percent slope for her thirty minute workout.

Bailey, with his longer stride, enjoys 4.5 mph and 15 percent slope.

The exercise equipment is Joanie's, so it is important that the nails are trimmed before we use it.

Chloe jumps on and waits for me to turn it on. She barks while Bailey runs on it and soon as he is off, she jumps back on and looks up at me with that "what ya waiting for dad, let's go!"

Bailey would rather run outside in the rain but the treadmill is a better option than bouncing off the living room furniture.

How a Vizsla finds scents

One of my favorite books this year has been "Merle's Door - Lessons from a Freethinking Dog."

The book is a combination of a relationship between a orphan dog named Merle and the writer, Ted Kerasote, and research on dogs psychology and physiology.

In the picture above of Bailey, you see his upper lip raise as he takes in the scents. The description of this from Merle's Door page 82 helped explain this too me.

"Over the years, as we walked nearly every valley in the Gros Ventre Mountains on the eastern side of Jackson Hole, I began to see why early peoples so valued their dogs. Many times, when I couldn't detect any breeze, not even with a lighter, Merle would come to a stop and step out from behind me. Raising his head to scent the air, he'd open his mouth, curl his upper lip, and half close his eyes. Nostrils dilating, he'd begin to wag his tail, indicating, "Elk."

What he was doing, particularly by opening his mouth and curling his upper lip, was facilitating the access of odors to his vomeronasal organ, which in dogs lies above the upper incisors.

Merle would also take several rapid sniffs as he diagnosed a batch of drifting air. Interspersed between his normal breathing, these sniffs would pass the air he was inhaling over a bony structure called the subethmoidal shelf and then across the lining of the nasal membranes. When Merle exhaled, these odor-packed molecules stayed in place, giving him an extra few moments to apprise their contents.

Humans do not have a subethmoidal shelf."

Bailey and I are in training to sharpen our hunting skills for the up coming field trial season. We have been working on keeping him "UP FRONT" of me while he searches objectives that have scents.

We are training in the hills above Walnut Creek in the open space called "Shell Ridge".

Lots of birds and great cover and objectives for Bailey to hone his hunting skills.

He is doing very well.

Watch out pros. "Little Mister Sunshine" is in serious training mode.

Monday, November 23, 2009

An English couple at a western field trail

About 140 miles southeast of San Francisco in the rolling foothills of the Sierras sits Kistler Ranch, the site of the 2009 Northern California German Wirehaired Pointer field trial.

Here John and Juliet from Dorset, England, spent the weekend experiencing a western-style pointing-breed field trial. John and Juliet are the proud owners of Radar, the wonderful 2-1/2 year-old Vizsla who has his own blog: John and Juliet arrived Saturday early afternoon and joined us in the motor home for a beer before wandering through the camp of horses, dogs, trailers, RVs, and trucks.

They joined our friends (fellow Vizsa owners) Ken & Janet, along with their daughter, Sarah, with Joanie and me for dinner at the historic National Hotel in Jamestown for a very nice meal and bottle of wine.

We really enjoyed their company and hope that if other Vizsla owners from England make it out to the SF Bay Area, they drop me a line at the following:

...if for nothing else than to get a quick "Vizzy" fix.

Here our neighbors from hometown Walnut Creek, Henry and Catherine Pokorny, enjoy a break between braces with one of their wonderful dogs, Oliver.

This is a brace ready to go out matching young Derby dogs, a GSP and a Vizsla.

Below are John and Juliet with Bailey and Chloe overlooking the Diablo Valley, 25 miles east of San Francisco.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Little Mister Sunshine

Well, Bailey and I spent the weekend at the German Wirehair Pointer Club field trial in the wonderful foothills of the Sierras around Sonora.

There were 9 dogs in Open Derby (Under 2-year-olds). Five German shorthairs and four Vizslas. "Open" allows for professional handlers. This was a horseback handled field trial so all contestant's were upon their mounts. I borrowed a friend's horse for the event.

All the other eight dogs were handled by professionals or long-time field trial folk riding their own steeds.

We came home from the weekend and I felt every bit the amateur I am.

Can I compete against much more knowledgable handlers? Can Bailey compete against stronger and tougher dogs?

I guess I have to believe in the Hollywood heroine pictured below to carry on.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Life before and after Vizslas

Transportation before and after Vizslas.

Vacations before and after Vizslas.

(not really us, body doubles from internet)
Winter Vacations before and after Vizslas.


Any Questions?

Not a dog; a lifestyle.