Monday, February 28, 2011

Vizsla Tooth Brush - Raw Turkey Wing

In the fourth of a series of posts on brushing a Vizsla's teeth, I took this video of Bailey taking on a raw turkey wing.  Bailey has a large head and mouth and a raw chicken wing would be gone in seconds.  Not much scrubbing action was taking place.

  Now Chloe on the other hand, has a small mouth and a chicken wing is perfect.

The turkey wing has an added bonus.  I fed Bailey the wing just after we came in from a run in late this afternoon. 
Turkey is full of the chemical tryptohan, which is a natural sedative.  
Now he has been peacefully resting on the couch all evening with teeth that are markedly cleaner.

Plus the wings were on sale for only 99 cents a pound compared to $2.99 for chicken wings.

The raw bones completely dissolve in their digestive tract, and I see no traces in his stools.  RAW is the key.  NEVER COOKED!

Thank you to my friends John and Juliet, from the UK, for enlightening me on this great way to clean teeth and give the dogs some fat, minerals, and protein while making their teeth bright white.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Answers to "What makes a good field trial?"

Here are a few great answers to the question of:
  "What would make a great field trial that attracts new field-trialers in a tough economy?"

"Rod, you asked me several days ago what I thought made a good field trial to bring in new people and get them engaged.
 Off and on since then I’ve started to type up a lot of different ideas and then you asked me a subsequent question that really got to the heart of it for me.

 You asked me, if I could remember my first field trial? I’m not sure honestly of which was the first, but what I can remember is snippets from early trials. I couldn’t tell you whether the grounds were good or bad. I couldn’t tell you if the judges were the best in the world or the worst. I don’t remember if the gunning was good, the food was great, the birds flew well or not at all. I know I didn’t win. I know I didn’t place – I didn’t even get an atta boy for trying ribbon.

So what was it I wondered, that brought me to trialing, made me enjoy it, and brought me back for more?
The answer - I had a mentor in the person who bred my dog. He encouraged me to enjoy the dog and supported me in my first several runs with him. We had fun, and people were accepting of me and my newbie dog and all that we were and all that we weren’t.

So that’s my answer in a nutshell, and that’s what we try to offer in return.

 Down the road, it’s those who spent their time with you at the field trial that makes it a good trial for newbies.

 That personal involvement, in my opinion, is the singularly most important aspect in what brings people into the sport." - KK

"When I think of a good field trial, it is one held on good, safe grounds with wild game with low enough cover to offer objectives of 50-yards and up. A few treelines, harvested crops, edge country. It's a swell day if the skies are not pouring or blowing. The trial is administrated by competent individuals who do not cross the sporting lines of misconduct ethically or by deed.

Competent, honest judge with no conflicts of interest, capable handlers & scouts and competitive entries with sporting conduct. A good trial goes a lot farther than the actual event.
 I am happy with a good field trial. Will let those who think they know more than me determine if it is a high-class field trial or not.
There is the FT camaraderie, whose power should never be underestimated. It must be present in the parking lot, course, campfire & clubhouses. It's a sure sign that this group is having field trial fun when as a FT visitor to a club where the membership is involved in some sort of old joke.

People who are smiling are not jacking their jaws or twittering their facebooks. Then you can further judge that club if you are a visitor by watching how people act if someone has broken down on their dog, their vehicle. I've seen better field trials afterwards just watching people get pulled out of muck.
Next thing you know, you got a great story to tell and are all involved telling it." (shortened response) - DB

"Its all about bang for your buck, especially for those that aren't wealthy.
Here in the midwest, clubs are getting together and doubling up on a weekend...Thurs-Fri and Sat-Sun trials...or Fri-Sat and Sun-Mon trials. That way you can run twice as much for one trip's expense. I put on a two day walking trial for the Vizsla Club of MI on Memorial Day weekend. We follow the local GWP club's one day walking trial on sunday. In three days, you can run in 3 open gun dog stakes, 3 amateur gun dog stakes, 3 puppy stakes (2 open, 1 am) and 3 derby stakes (2 open, 1 am). That seems to really encourage participation, though it makes for a long weekend.

I'm fortunate because I live an hour from one of the premier grounds in the midwest, if not the country (Ionia, MI) I can trial there almost exclusively. I find myself going to all-breed trials there rather than driving 300+ miles to a Vizsla club trial elsewhere. I don't see that changing because of the rising fuel costs.
Field trialing is going to become more localized for Amateurs. I think walking trials will become more popular, too, since the expense is considerably less if you don't have to drive a big truck pulling a horse trailer. I can rent a car for the weekend, with unlimited miles, for $44. Tack on $100 in fuel and a couple entries and I can go to a trial 500 miles away for under $500. That same trial would cost me $400+ in fuel alone if I pull my rig with horses. I'm not a huge fan of walking with my dogs, but if that's what I have to do...then I will.

Glad to see you are getting involved in the sport. We can always use more trialers."  - JP
"For me, a good trial, for experienced and novice trialers alike, is well-organized, efficient, and employs judges (in the Amateur stakes especially) who understand that this is supposed to be friendly competition and that the future of the sport lies in encouraging folk to participate by explaining rules, offering advice, and letting dogs run their thirty minutes (even if they're not going to get used). If you don't have those things, then folks don't want to hang out in a clubhouse or round a grill; if you do have those things, then being able to sit down, chow down, and either ask questions or shoot the breeze is pretty awesome."

".... So, for example, I think our CVVC Spring trial especially is known as a historically good trial because we do several things:
We bring at least one judge from 'away,' someone whose reputation we know, but who doesn't know the dogs in our region;
We aggressively raise money to support that expense through sponsorships and raffles -- and in fact, we've turned a profit on our last three trials because of those things;
Our spring trial is horseback; our December trial is all walking -- at both trials, we have one Amateur stake which is vizslas-only;
We also have a vizslas-only Hunting Dog Championship (with two different stakes) in early June;
We could always use more, but we have a solid core of volunteers from within the club who marshal, bird-plant, sort paperwork, cook, and clean (and half those people don't even trial);
We belong to an active Grounds Association that is continuously maintaining and upgrading our facilities, so we do actually have a proper bathroom with warm water, a proper kitchen, and a warm dining room;
We eat really well! And have a great grill."
(shortened response) - AC

What makes a really good field trial?

For discussion: What makes a good field trial that engages new Vizsla owners and gets them to want to stay involved?

I have asked the above question on the Yahoo Groups: Vizsla Talk and Vizsla FT yesterday.

I am entering my second year of field trialing. Like most people in the sport, I have started helping at our local Vizsla club field trial events.

Over the last two years I have been able to attend maybe 20 field trials all over the West Coast, both walking and horseback, and each is run a little different. These have been all pointing breed events.

In a really tough economy, where everyone is watching every dollar, field trialing is an expense that really needs to be justified.

Even hard-core field trial friends are having to cut back on what trials and how many they can attend.

With fuel going through the roof and all other expenses going up, it is harder to make the commitment to go to trials. Especially if you are new to the sport and not a breeder or professional.

The answers will be organized and posted on my blog Sunday night:

Thanks for any suggestions. I really enjoy the sport but am cutting back on our expenses also."

A couple years ago, at the 2009 National Vizsla Gun Dog Championship, I found the below write-up on the internet.  Great pictures and interesting write ups of how a high-class field trial can be run. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Teeth cleaning experiment

I had to try raw chicken wings today to answer someone's question from my last post on cleaning teeth.  She had a Vizsla that would just lick the wing and not eat it.  My friend Juliet said this might happen when a Vizsla was offered a raw chicken wing.

We have never tried raw wings before.

My suggestion was to go out and run her Vizsla in the morning and not feed him breakfast. Get him good and hungry.

We went out and they ran off-leash for 90 minutes up in the hills.

 On the way back I stopped at the local food market and bought 10 fresh wings. About 60 cents each. 

Brought them to the car all wrapped up and the dogs smelled them with interest. Fresh, I think, is the key.

Got home and Bailey devoured one and then the next. Not much chewing action with the big boy.

Bailey may require raw turkey wings.
These chicken wings don't last long with this boy

Chloe took hers down the hall and kind of licked it for a bit and stood over it with her tail between her legs. We just let her be and about 5 minutes later she started chopping away. It took her a couple minutes to eat it.  I can see how the action cleans the teeth. 

I think fresh and hungry are the key parts to getting it going.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Taking after master: US pets obese too

" Just like their human masters, a majority of American pets have a weight problem, a study released Thursday says.

In its fourth yearly study of how fat Americans' four-legged furry friends are, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) found that 53 percent of cats and more than 55 percent of dogs were overweight or obese.

That means there are around 50 million fat cats and 43 million pudgy dogs in the United States.

The study looked at 133 adult cats and 383 dogs.

Nearly a third of the cats were classified by their veterinarians as overweight and nearly 22 percent were deemed to be clinically obese, the study found.

Among the canines observed, 35 percent were found to be overweight and 20.6 percent were obese.

"We're seeing a greater percentage of obese pets than ever before," said Dr Ernie Ward, founder of APOP.

In 2007, roughly 19 percent of cats and a mere 10 percent of dogs were found in the APOP study to be obese -- defined for the family pet as having a body weight that is 30 percent greater than normal.

"This is troubling because it means more pets will be affected by weight-related diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease," the same illnesses that afflict obese humans, Ward said.

American cats and dogs are doing slightly better, in obesity terms, than their masters and mistresses, around one in three of whom is obese."

Thu Feb 24, 7:05 pm ET  WASHINGTON (AFP)

How do you tell if your Vizsla is overweight?

How Do I Determine if My Dog is Overweight?

Veterinary Services Department, Drs. Foster  and Smith, Inc. - Holly Nash, DVM, MS

Q. When is a dog considered to be fat?

A.  Veterinarians often use a 9 point scoring system to evaluate the body condition of pets.
A point value of 1 means the dog or cat is extremely thin to the point of emaciation. A score of 9 means the pet is grossly overweight. And like Goldilocks and the three bears, a score of 5 is 'just right.'

To determine body score, there are several specific areas of the dog or cat we look at. Remember, these are guidelines. A Greyhound with a score of 5 is still going to be thinner than a Bulldog with the same score.

To perform the rating, we first feel the pet's ribs. We should be able to quite easily feel the ribs. There should be a slight amount of fat over them, but each rib should be distinct. If you can see the ribs, the pet is too thin. If you can not feel them at all, the pet is very overweight.

Second, check the area near the base of the tail. There should be a slight fat covering over this area and it should feel smooth. If the bones protrude, the pet is too thin; if you can not feel any bones at all, the pet is very overweight.

Third, feel other bony prominences on the pet's body such as the spine, shoulders, and hips. Again, you should be able to feel a small amount of fat over these areas. If these bones are easily felt or visible, the dog or cat is too thin. If you can not feel the bones beneath the layer of fat, the animal is obviously overweight.

Fourth, look at your pet from above. The animal should have a definite waist behind the ribs. If the waist is extreme, or again, bony prominences are visible, the animal is too thin. If there is no waist, or worse yet, the area between the ribs and hips is wider than the hips or ribs, the dog or cat is grossly overweight.

Fifth, look at the pet from the side. Dogs and cats should have an abdominal tuck, i.e., the area behind the ribs should be smaller in diameter than the chest. This can vary a lot between breeds. Irish Setters and Greyhounds, for instance, appear to have a much more distinct abdominal tuck, since they are so deep-chested. An animal who is too thin will have a very severe abdominal tuck.

Overweight animals will have no abdominal tuck.

If you feel your dog is overweight, consult your veterinarian to determine if there are any other medical problems before starting the animal on a weight reduction program. Your veterinarian can also suggest various diets, how fast your pet should lose weight, etc.

NOTE: illustrations which depict the contours of various body scores are in the attached links.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

RAW chicken wings to clean teeth

From my friend Juliet in Dorset, England.

She and John own two great Vizslas, Radar and Rio. 

She responded to questions about how to clean a Vizslas teeth without expensive vet cleaning bills on a previous post.

"Hi there - 

I'm definitely talking about RAW chicken wings and lamb ribs (about raw bones in general). Here in the UK I can buy wings from my local supermarket but can also source all raw bones directly from butchers, butchers wholesalers and abbatoirs.

Cooked or baked bones must NEVER be given as they can splinter cause perforation of the GI tract.

Chicken wings are a brilliant source of fat, protein and minerals. The chewiness of the wings helps keep teeth clean without brushing.

Raw meaty bones (including meaty lamb ribs) help to scrub the teeth clean and the gristly stringy bits floss the teeth. It's very important to remember that it's not crunching the bone that does the work (even though they will eat EVERYTHING (!)'s gnawing off the meat and cartilage that does the trick.

My two also get raw recreational bones (these are non-edible bones like big knuckles) - these are also valuable tooth-cleaners plus are good mind soothers and muscle exercisers.

Raw meat is also good because it does not stick to the teeth to start with and therefore, does not encourage the formation of bacterial plaque on the teeth.

Feeding dogs a raw diet including the raw meaty bones means (imho) that they are healthier and suffer less from common modern diseases such as chronic colitis, atropy and periodontal disease. They are also less likely to suffer from blocked anal glands (a very common condition in dogs fed wet food or poor quality kibble).

Here are a few of the other benefits of feeding raw and raw meaty bones (RBM): Reduced doggy odour and “dog breath”; chewing RMBs cleans teeth and supplies minerals, but, most important, dogs love it…it gets their endorphins going; the time it takes for a dog to chew RMB gives their stomach time to get the acids moving; produces firmer, more “pick-upable”, less smelly, smaller stools.


Another opinion about chicken wings by John (Juliet is his better half):

"Hi Rod,

Juliet can elaborate but I can say that both our dogs have been fed on raw chicken wings since they were old enough to pick one up and we have never seen anything untoward happen and do not see anything looking like a bone coming out the other end…

We have been cautioned about feeding the longer stronger leg bones but the wings and chicken frames (carcass stripped of meat, legs and wings) seem absolutely fine and they love them.

The big no-no is cooked chicken bones which seem indigestible and can splinter potentially lacerating the gut.

Rio picked up a cooked leg bone, probably from somebody's discarded take-away dinner, and this came out his backside (fortunately) in one piece..I know 'cos he needed a hand!"

"Excellent - do let me know how you get on.  By the way, if Bailey and Chloe have never had a raw chicken wing before, don't be surprised if it takes them a while to work out what to do. They'll probably lick it and push it around for a while before actually getting on with the crunching bit...just leave them to it, they'll soon work it out!!! "


Saturday, February 19, 2011

An Old Closed Road Walk in the Rain

 Carquinez Scenic Road out of Martinez, California is where we head on these wet days.  By 8 a.m., this morning, it was 43 degrees and pouring.

Chloe and Bailey were waiting for their walk.  We had missed our walk yesterday because of the rain so today was not an option.  We were going out come hell or high water.

 This road has been discussed quite a few times in this blog.
(you can search Carquinez for other posts)

Today was the wettest day by far.  Our other trails, we might have walked, would have been little rivers of mud.
Nothing like a huge ocean going cargo ship cruising by as you walk in the rain.

 Not the best of times, but they still gave me my 20 smiles per hour.
They were so wet they could not get any wetter by swimming.  All in all, a good walk. 

 They now are napping quietly in front of the fire.

Nice to get feed back from time to time

"I've been wanting a Vizsla for years, but it just hasn't been a possibility until now. I'm hoping to add a new pup to my household within the next year, and in the meantime, I love reading about your canine friends and learning from your experiences. By way of thanks, I'm recognizing you with a Stylish Blogger Award.
 If you'd like to read about it and pass it on, I've posted about it here:"

Yankee in Iowa



 I have been reading these posts and at times, I visit your blog. I opened your site this morning to a wonderful vista, over the ocean with your little one, running (down wind from Fort Funston).

What an exceptionally, beautiful picture. I have saved it as my screen saver. This path/view was one of the last walks Christine and I did with all of you ....

So this area, this beach holds a very special place for me...

I have been reading about the off-leash debacle and I have galvanized my non-Vizsla-group friends to assist/check out the meetings/events...those who are in the company of 4-legged and those who are not.

This is something we must protect and fight for..."

Kendall with Abby.

Thank you both.  I hope this blog does our breed justice and shows that they are not just a "pretty face" but dogs that need to get out and run to be happy.

Kendall brings up the fight regarding keeping open spaces dog friendly.

There are currently two issues in the Bay Area where certain groups want to eliminate the access to off-leash trails.

Any one who wants to help save the open spaces where we can let our dogs free can contact me and I will put them in touch with the right groups.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cruft's winning Vizsla vs. Westminster's Vizsla

Just watched the sporting group at the 2011 Westminster Dog Show in New York on TV. 

UPDATE 2012 Westminster Vizsla Results:
Congratulations to all of our Vizsla exhibitors who supported the breed entry in New City
Our breed was well represented!!

Best of Breed: GCH Artisan Grouse Point Pink Panther, JH

Best of Opposite Sex: CH. Brazenrock's Who's That Girl

Award of Merits: GCH Regal Point Pinnacle of Kilauea, JH

GCH Jaybren's Irish Star

GCH Artisan's Vladimir The Imperial

According to the Westminster website, the Vizsla has 40 entries for best of breed this year.  One of the largest group at the show.

 The female Vizsla, that was put up to represent the breed, looked small, delicate and dainty in my opinion.  I guess that is "the show look" here in the US right now. 

(Please remember that I am new to the breed - 4 years.  I mean no disrespect to the great accomplishment for the owners of these Vizslas to be able to qualify for Westminster.)

Not at all the rugged hunting dog that "Yogi the Vizsla" represented as BEST OF SHOW at Crufts in England 2010. (A total of 21,422 dogs entered into breed judging. )
Yogi and his owner

The judge for "Best of the sporting group" at today's Westminster went right by the Vizsla in the ring. 

Bailey, my traditional athletic Vizsla

The winner of the 2011 Westminster Best of Show is the Scottish Wolfhound. 

The Italian best of show judge said that the winner "represented the best example of the standard of the breed 150 years ago". 

Best Vizsla for 2011 Westminster Dog show

15 Ch Cinnabars Aldebaran Epiphany

Sex: Bitch

AKC: SR 44876903

Date of Birth: September 13, 2007

Breeder: Susan B Potocik & Katherine E Stookey

Sire: DC Arsla And Auburn's Sunny Boy MH

Dam: Ch Cinnabar's Annie Only

Owner: Debra Jean Becker & Alan S Becker

Other Vizslas with placements at 2011 Westminster Dog Show

Best of Opposite Sex

16 Ch Kezdet's Texas Whisper Chant

Sex: Dog

AKC: SR 52322306

Date of Birth: August 23, 2008

Breeder: Barry Golob & Judy Saddlemire

Sire: Ch Vallyhntrs Natural Selection JH

Dam: Ch Kezdet's Warrior Whister SH

Owner: William Davis & Barry Golob & Judy Saddlemire

Awards of Merit

44 Ch Elgincariad Dorratz Kindofblue JH

Sex: Dog

AKC: SR 39130702

Date of Birth: December 01, 2006

Breeder: Edwin Foster Jr & Marian I Coffman

Sire: Ch Dorratz Bebop At Birdland CD SH

Dam: Ch Elgincariad Fear Nothing

Owner: Donna & Russell DeFilippis & Doris Ratzlaff

31 GCH Classic That Girl CD

Sex: Bitch

AKC: SR 48481901

Date of Birth: February 22, 2008

Breeder: Marcia Folley & Brooke Counts

Sire: Ch Classic Dr Robert Hutchinson

Dam: Ch Classic Centre Of Attention

Owner: Marcia Folley & Stephen Cabral

5 GCH Artisan Grouse Point Pink Panther JH

Sex: Dog

AKC: SR 48798001

Date of Birth: March 07, 2008

Breeder: Mark Toepke & Joan Toepke

Sire: Ch Copper Creek Toscanini's Gsm MH

Dam: Ch Grouspt Semprfi Vorosakapink

Owner: Corinne Miklos & Sue Lonabaugh & Robin Bernstein & Joan Z Toepke

14 Ch Starr-Point's Celtic Red MH

Sex: Dog

AKC: SR 42110201

Date of Birth: April 08, 2007

Breeder: Jeanne L Star

Sire: Ch AFC Comynara Celtic Red Oak MH

Dam: Starr-Point's Pontos Sunbury La'Ny

Owner: Joseph Buchanan & Charlene Buchanan

Sunday, February 13, 2011

How to brush your Vizsla's teeth

How To Brush Your Dog's Teeth | on Howcast

I liked this video.

This is now the method I am using with my Vizslas.

The trick is to get them used to getting their teeth cleaned.

The vet quoted $300 per dog for a full teeth cleaning.

They have to be sedated.

Life is a Vizsla beach

 The joy of seeing our two dogs happily run the cliffs overlooking the Pacific in San Francisco makes the 45 minute drive worth it.

One of these days I am going to catch the true spirit of a Vizsla in a picture.

  Until then I will keep trying.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pictures of two Vizsla in the hills

 Just my two dogs, a bright sunny day in the hills of the East Bay and my little Nikon camera.

Even though I like a good pheasant hunt or a competitive field trial, a walk in the hills west of my house still is a great thrill.