Tuesday, August 31, 2010

When can you start running your Vizsla?

This is one section of an article about running with your dog.  for the full article, go to:


"I have frequently been asked for advice. In general, most dogs love to run, and in most cases, it is perfectly safe for both you and your dog.

Your dog should be examined by your veterinarian before you start training together to assure that there are not underlying health problems that would prohibit running.

Heart disease does occur in dogs, as do orthopedic problems such as hip dysplasia, cruciate injuries, and even stress fractures.

Also, since your dog will be in contact with other dogs, it is especially important that he or she be up to date on all vaccinations.

Your veterinarian will also be able to advise whether your dog is old enough to start a training schedule.

It is best to limit a puppy to short jogs of one to two miles, whereas an adult may well be able to go four miles on the first day.

Since different breeds mature at different rates, your veterinarian should advise whether your dog is ready.

In general, most large breed dogs (retrievers, pointers (VIZSLA), and shepherds) reach skeletal maturity between eight months and one year, while the giant breeds (Great Danes, Newfoundlands, and wolfhounds) may take up to two years.

Usually, by the time your dog is ready to start training with you, he or she is already neutered and has had at least basic obedience lessons. Taking an unneutered dog on a run invites potential problems -- males may make frequent stops to mark territory or have a propensity to start fights, and a female in heat may attract other dogs.

Your dog should be trained to heel so the two of you can safely negotiate obstacles, such as other animals, people, and cars. Your human running partners will not appreciate it if your dog trips them. You may need to teach your dog a new command for running, one to keep him going when he gets distracted. A gentle "c'mon" or "move" usually works well; "go" sounds too much like "no" and may stop your dog from moving altogether.

Just as you would not eat a large meal before a run, neither should your dog. This is particularly important in large, deepchested dogs such as Dobermans and Great Danes, as they are at risk for bloat or gastric torsion.(The stomach swings freely in the front of the abdomen and can twist with the weight of undigested food.)

After a run, allow your dog to drink small amounts frequently before letting her drink as much as she wants, and always wait 30 minutes to an hour before feeding. She should be cool and relaxed before she eats.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Promoting the Vizsla as a High Class Bird Dog

Bailey has now been gone a little over two months in professional training with Randy Berry. Next weekend Bailey will enter his first Open Gun Dog trial in the Northwest German Shorthair Club trial.  This is the start of Bailey's "campaign" to become a field champion.  Is he among the best?  We'll see.  He'll be running against some of the best.  In two weeks I fly up to Madras, Oregon to attend that weekend's field trial.

Below is a partial write up by one of the most respected people in the Vizsla community.

Ray Cooper -- Co-Founder of the National Vizsla Association

Here’s how and why:

1. By competing in trials against breeds that are considered
the best, one gains a perspective on what is needed is his own dogs.

This helps to prevent kennel blindness.
If you see what your dogs need in order to
win, you will be far more selective in your breeding
 program or when selecting a pup.

2. As you select the best of the best from your breed you
 automatically encourage improvement and
discourage complacency.
 If you know either the sire or dam 
 you are considering for breeding stock isn’t capable of
beating the best you are going to look elsewhere.

3. As the product of better breeding begins to perform and
win against the breeds considered to be the best,
 not only does your attitude change,
 but so it does in the minds of those you’re competing against.

4. As these better Vizslas begin to win more often, you attract others
 to your breed who have the same desires as yourself.

5. As you attract more bird dog fanciers they in turn only breed
the best to the best and you begin to see more improvement yet.

6. Over time the breed improvement benefits from this continued momentum.

This can only happen in an arena of purists.

As long as there is a diversion of interest there will be a dilution of quality.

 If you are trying to have a do everything dog,
 you may very well wind up with a do nothing dog.

By running in American Field trials you are competing
 in a world of bird dog purists.

 They don’t give a hoot about which dog won last weekends
best in show. They aren’t interested in hearing that your dog
can catch a Frisbee and jump over a stick.

While they may be polite about it, they are thinking why
 do those people care about that?

If you love the bird dog in your Vizsla, then you owe it to yourself and
your dog to go up against the best.

Find out how you stack up.
You may be surprised, just as many Vizsla owners have been,
when you bring home the blue.

 You may be disappointed at first. One thing you will know is what
you’ve got and what it’s going to take to win.

If you have the desire and the dedication you can have an impact on the trials you
 run in, the people you compete against and the breed you love.

If you would like to learn more about running in
American Field trials, instead of taking someone else’s word for it,
go to their website (http://www.americanfield.com/)
or subscribe to their weekly magazine.

You will see that there are trials all over the country and
 probably some near you on nice grounds.

Go to some, run a dog or two and meet the people. 
You will find a world of people completely dedicated to

bird dogs, their preservation and improvement.
 You may take a little ribbing because you don’t have aPointer or Setter, I sure have.

But that only makes it sweeter when they hand you the trophy.

A good Vizsla can compete against any breed.

A mediocre Vizsla can beat other mediocre Vizslas on any given weekend.

You decide which you would rather have.

Cows, calves and Chloe

New born calves are now with the herds up in the Briones Regional Park Open Space.  Chloe has been around cows since she was 10 weeks old.  She leaves them alone.

This is very important to teach your dog.  LEAVE COWS ALONE.  Don't let your young Vizsla chase cows. The adult cows will protect their calves and think our dogs the same as coyotes and  wolves. They will injure your dog if your dog appears to being getting to close to the young.

Out in the country, where ranchers raise cattle, a loose dog bothering their livestock is looked on the same as the other predators and can be legally shot.

But if you teach your Vizsla like Chloe to leave livestock alone and enjoy the wide open spaces running loose, then a morning walk is great and fantastic for both of us.

Ground squirrels sure are fair game.  A hole in the ground with a ground squirrel hidden deep inside brings out the huntress in Chloe.

10 minutes of digging and she starts to understand that she will loose this battle.  Maybe next time during one of our walks she will win.   This is "dog heaven" for Chloe.

Friday, August 20, 2010

200th post - A Hungarian Vizsla Video

(click on the arrows in the lower right side to make full screen)
Enjoy the video and two wonderful Vizslas.

This musical video took scenes from the movie "The Tale of Two Gypsy Dogs."  A version was was done during season 20 of "The Wonderful World of Disney" in 1964.  The story of a Vizsla, a dachshund and a hawk.  The dogs trying to get back to their owner. 

"That would be the cinematographer of these links, Istvan Homoki-Nagy. So beautiful...

Interestingly enough I recently ran across information (Early Times In Hungary,

published HUNGARIAN REVIEW) about the Vizsla star of this film where the trainer

said the dog had a mental breakdown.. He also said that there were two "Fickos"

in the movie as actors. Seeing this film was shot in the very early fifties, how

the herd of driving horses & diving dog shots were shot is a wonderment.

The real Ficko sired a bitch named Csardas who was lost from her USA owner in a

card game. At the hunting preserve near New York City Csardas retrieved an

astronomical number of pheasants in a weekend. She also helped feed the goats by holding

the bottle. She appeared in a local newspaper, might be the NY times. In turn

Csardas was the dam of the Disney movie star Vizsla named Ficko."

Diana Boggs

Horseback riding lesson for new field trialer

Last night, I got my first true horsemanship lesson from Deanna Beals (D.J.).

I have ridden horses before but never really understood the horse and how they communicate to us and we to them.

At the next level of field trialing with Bailey, I needed to get better at my horsemanship skills.  I will need to be able to ride the horse while paying attention to handling Bailey and his actions during a brace.

D.J. is shown above in this video riding Patch. 
(click the four arrows pointing out in the lower right corner to make video full screen)

Patch is a wonder five-year-old Tennessee Walker that I have had the pleasure of borrowing from Gordon at a field trial last year.

This is the same horse I am learning on. 

D.J. and I have set up weekly two-hour lessons.  Good times.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Attending Your First Field Trial

Field trials are a great adventure to accompany your well-bred Vizsla.  An adventure complete with the great outdoors, good company, friendly competition, and watching our dogs do what they do best: HUNT.

Now that I am hooked, I want others to experience the joy of following their dog in competition.  But that isn't the best part of it.  The best part is the daily training and honing of both your and your dog's skills.

Just finished the audio book, "A Dog's Purpose."  These amazing animals that we have brought into our lives deserve a "purpose."  Doing field trials is just one of the many ways we can change from being pet owners to owners of dogs with a purpose.

Here is a slightly modified article by Ms. Greenlee and Mr. Webb about attending your first field trial. I have substituted Vizsla as the dog breed.

Martha H. Greenlee and David A. Webb
copyright ©

If you have never been to a field trial, you might consider attending one. Field trials are family events, so plan on bringing your family, your Vizsla, and spending the day outdoors.

Who knows, you might decide that you want to compete with your dog in the field. Field trialers usually don’t start out field trialing. Some of them begin bird hunting with their dogs before getting hooked on the sport. Others begin by showing their dogs in confirmation or obedience or buying their Vizsla pups as pets. There are many different organizations, including the American Kennel Club and the American Field, that sponsor field events, and the rules vary depending on which organization sponsors the trial.

A field trial is made up of different stakes (individual events). Each stake is defined by a dog’s age and ability. Here is some information about the different types of stakes that may be offered if you plan to attend an AKC walking or horseback field trial.

To compete in a puppy stake, a puppy must be between six and fifteen months old. If a puppy has game contact, the handler may be required to fire a blank gun. Puppies run for at least fifteen minutes, but no more than thirty minutes.

To compete in a derby stake, a derby dog must be between six months to two years old. A derby dog must establish point. If handlers are within gun range, they must fire a blank gun. Derby dogs run for twenty to thirty minutes.

To compete in a gun dog stake, a dog has to be at least six months old, be steady-to-wing-and-shot, and back (honor) if the opportunity presents itself. Gun dogs run at least thirty minutes.

An all-age stake is the same as a gun dog stake, but an all-age dog must show more independence and hunt beyond gun range.

Each stake is made up of braces. A brace is a pair of dogs that run together. The number of braces depends on the number of entries. If twenty dogs are entered in a gun dog stake, there are ten gun dog braces. A running order is determined by a drawing and is printed up before the day of the trial.

When it is time for a specific brace to run, the two handlers take their dogs to the line on leads and break them away (release the dogs). A thirty-minute course can cover two to three miles of ground. The handlers walk or ride behind the dogs and try to keep them on course by singing and using their whistles. Two judges, one for each handler, follow. Two scouts, one for each handler, look for the dogs if they get off course or are ridden past where they are on point. The scouts must stay behind the judges.

 The gallery, which is made up of people on foot or horseback, follows and must also stay behind the judges.
At a weekend trial the gallery may have twenty to thirty people in it, while at a national championship, the gallery may be in the hundreds.

Quail or other game birds have been released on the course, and the dogs have to find and point them.

 Dogs are judged on their desire to hunt, on the way they cover the ground, and on their manners. The dog that comes closest to the standard for each stake wins. Winning dogs receive points towards their field championships, and winning handlers receive ribbons and trophies.

Field trials are competitive events, but they are also social events for dogs and handlers. Dogs enjoy the friendly atmosphere and interact with other dogs and people on a variety of grounds. Handlers are competitive, but this competitive spirit does not interfere with the sportsmanship and the fellowship that are integral elements of the sport. Since field events are held throughout the year, they are a way of enjoying hunting with your dog year round and sharing the comradery that comes with the sport.

The Wonderful World of Sporting Dogs-WHAT IS A FIELD TRIAL?
The Wonderful World of Sporting Dogs-WHAT IS A FIELD TRIAL?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Dog's Purpose

Loved this book and I could not put it down. - Temple Grandin

A Dog's Purpose

"A Dog’s Purpose - A Novel for Humans - tells the story of a dog who finds himself reincarnated and decides there must be a reason, a purpose he must fulfill, and until he does so, he’ll continue to be reborn."
Follow the adventures of "Bailey" and "his boy" seen and told through the eyes, ears, and nose of the dog.  You will also meet the "other" narrators of the continuing story.

Bought the audio book and listened to about half of it on the trip to and from Texas.  This is a great book on audio as the reader does a great job in this simple story.

Giving me a greater insight on how our dogs view their world.

Good boy Bailey!

Highly recommended.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Texas Hill Country and dogs

Joanie and I took a long weekend and enjoyed Austin, Texas and the surrounding hill country.

Texas Hill Country

  Miles and miles of open country.  Land made for upland bird dogs. 
 Talked to a couple of the locals about bird hunting. Quail and dove hunts seem to be the favorite hunts west of San Antonio and Austin. 
 The hills and rivers fill the landscape covered by the big sky.

In "small town" Texas, hunting dogs still ride in the back of the Ford F-150s and the shotguns lay in the gun rack behind the seat.
We noticed in these small towns that some of the biggest buildings, after the churches and schools,

are the veterinarian hospitals.

Texans love their dogs.
With temperatures over 100 degrees during the afternoon, the only place to be was on the water.

Thousands of Texans found relief in the lakes and rivers.

I saw only one Vizsla on the trip.  Max was leaving the South Congress Ave., Austin Pet Rescue area with his owner.  They had come to look for a home companion dog for Max.  

Backroads of the Texas Hill Country: Your Guide to the Most Scenic Adventures (Backroads of ...)

Austin is an extremely dog friendly city with several off-leach dog areas. 
 We walked in Red Bud Isle park where dozens of dogs played happily among the trees and swam in Lady Bird Lake. 
 Joggers with their well mannered dogs ran along the river water front in the early morning before the heat drove them inside.

In San Antonio along their River Walk, well behaved dogs are allowed on leash.  In the extreme summer heat, the sunken River Walk is a good 20 degrees cooler.