Monday, February 27, 2012

First Time Vizsla - Pheasant Hunt

Written by guest Vizsla Blogger of their first hunt trip.

"We came across an injured hen on our hunt today. After the video, the hen was set loose to fly off but ended up being too injured to get far. Someone is going to get a delicious smoked pheasant!"

Ashley’s Viewpoint - 4:45AM on a Sunday morning. What was I doing? No, not sleeping... I was dragging myself out of bed (or rather, being dragged out of bed by my husband). This was an important milestone in Riley's life... her first hunting experience! Of course, "princess" Riley slept on my lap for the entire hour and a half drive. We witnessed a beautiful sunrise over the Antioch bridge. FYI - it's a $5 toll bridge, so bring some cash if you make the trip without a Fast Pass! When we arrived, we were loaned some attractive orange apparel to wear so that other hunters wouldn't shoot us by accident. I was happy to wear a coat over my sweater because it was absolutely frigid at 7:30AM (about this time the lack of sleep was kicking in and I was starting to wish that pheasants slept in a little later...) As soon as we got the dogs out to run, I forgot the chill and found myself in awe of how naturally Riley took to the field. It was as if she was meant to be there. She had a great time romping around and we even got a cute point at a small bird. Poor Chloe heard some gunshots a *little* too close for her liking and became a little worried. We put the pup and Chloe back in the cars and that's when the real fun began! While watching Bailey hunt, time seemed to stand still. I've never seen a dog hunting in-person and it was absolutely breathtaking! There is this amazing bond between dog and hunter that is almost tangible. I was enjoying it so much that I hardly took any pictures. After flushing a couple of hens, we moved over to another field farther out from the clubhouse. We let Riley out into the field to run with her 30 foot check cord on and she had a blast. I laughed at her because she is still short and hopped through the grass like a bunny rabbit in order to see where she was going. Bailey found an injured hen and we tried to let it fly off but it didn’t make it very far. Riley, meanwhile, found a pheasant wing and enjoyed playing around with it. We didn’t end up getting any pheasants, but it was a GREAT first experience and I am definitely hooked. We will be back!

Reuben’s Viewpoint – This was my first time out doing any kind of hunting (unless you consider fishing “hunting”), and it was a ton of fun! When Bailey showed us how a bird dog locates, points, and helps flush out a bird I was impressed at how well they can find anything in the grass. Without any dogs around, you could easily walk right by dozens of birds and not even know anything is there. Later, Riley got a chance to run around with Bailey, and at one point she even followed him around as he tried to sniff out a pheasant. I was excited to see that she was interested in the same areas Bailey was checking out, so hopefully she’ll have an easy time picking up the necessary skills. I would love to eventually take her out hunting myself!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Vizsla photo shoot - hunting

 A month ago, a professional photographer, Jesse Freidin, came along with Bailey and me to Hasting's Island to capture an upland bird hunt. 

Jesse's take on the day:
"Getting to observe Rod and Bailey work the field together with the perfect balance of calm and excitement, under a clear blue California sky, was a great opportunity. The images from our session are great examples of the contemporary American hunter."

 Here are six of the pictures taken that day.  I love them. Jesse has a talent. These were all taken with a wonderful classic film camera.
 The camera: a Hasselblad 500c
Image Detail

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Who is leading whom?

 Had a great training session this afternoon. Chloe and Bailey treed something on our hill walk. I thought. "Ok, if I walk up to the tree, they lead me. I don't want whatever is in that tree."

 So I walked on slowly on the trail. I heard them barking. Before I got out of sight I gave them one toot on my whistle, which means "come here."

They didn't come but kept barking at the tree. I walked on. Now I am out of sight. 3 minutes pass, 4 minutes, 5 minutes. Finally Chloe comes up panting from excitement. She sees me and turns back away for the tree. I continue slowly walking. 4 more minutes.

 Chloe comes running up. A minute later Bailey comes running up. I did not acknowledge that they were even gone. I just kept walking and they moved ahead of me where I wanted them. I am my dog's pack leader. They go where I tell them to.

 By the end of the walk, they assumed the heel position behind my left knee with no lead or command. They got the idea.

 Lesson for them and win for me. It was tough not seeing them for almost 10 minutes but it is their job to know where I am.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Vizsla Senior Hunt Test - failed twice

The Irish Setter Club of Northern California sponsored a AKC Hunt Test at Grizzly Island last weekend.
About 50 pointing breed enthusiasts gathered on a cool sunny Saturday and Sunday. 

Bailey watched a brace on Senior Hunt Test dogs from the Jeep.  He was excited to get into the field. 

 14 dogs ran in Senior Hunt test (2 Vizslas).  12 dogs ran in Master Hunter test (3 Vizslas) and 40 dogs ran in Junior Hunt test (6 Vizslas).  This was an all day event done in two fields.  Master and Senior was held in one field and Junior in another.
Bailey was last brace on Saturday and he "bumped" a bird, which flew and Bailey chased it down and retrieved it back to me.  WRONG!  We were done.  Bailey was NOT steady to WING.  He was to freeze at the flush.  Oh well.
Sunday morning, one of our judges on horseback followed us through the field.  Bailey's brace mate bumped a bird early in and so the rest of the 30-minute brace it was just Bailey and me.  We got into the bird field after a great run.  He worked the first bird.  Held point through wing and shot and then retrieved back to my hand.  Looking good.  Second bird, he went on point.  He held on point 3 minutes as we got to him and the gunners got into position.  When the bird ran instead of flew: Bailey chased. 
 WRONG!  We were out.

So we did not pass, but what wonderful mornings out in the country.  Bailey is going into training next month with "A DOG MAN", like the guy who owns the above truck, for a couple weeks. 

 Bailey needs to work on more birds to get "steady" again with a professional.   We'll get there.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hidden Treasures: Grizzly Island

A Pointing Breed Hunt test brought me to Grizzly Island for the first time.  Quite the experience into a wonderful world just miles from many Northern California major metropolitan areas.

Thousands of ducks relax in the huge estuary.

Bailey running a field during his senior hunt test Sunday morning.

Early Saturday morning, the hunt test was on hold as a herd of 30 Tule Elk moved through the area being used for the hunt test.

The hunt test will be for a near future post.  This was just to give a feel for this wonderful hidden treasure.

Vizsla Puppy WWF smackdown

The following is a clip of Sequoia and her sister Alli playing.  

They are 9 1/2 weeks.
The last 10 seconds is more indicative of the rough play. The end of the clip reminds me of Rocky III when Apollo and Rocky take a swing at each other and the image freezes. -
another young vizsla puppy attack caught on camera,3591.msg25066/topicseen.html


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Inter-Dog Dominance Aggression

By: Dr. Nicholas Dodman and Dr. Alice Moon-Fanelli

Bailey is not aggressive but about once every couple months, on our off-leash walks, we come across a dog that just has to show Bailey "who is the boss." 

 Bailey puts up with some of it, but will let the other dog know in no uncertain terms that he will not be dominated.

The whole four pages is a excellent read for owners of assertive and self-confident Vizslas on what to look for in inter-dog relationships.

Click here to go to article:
Article on Inter-Dog Dominance Aggression
Extracted from above article. 
"Dogs fight for a number of different reasons but dominance, in one form or another, underlies much of this feuding. When a couple of unfamiliar dogs encounter each other there is a good deal of mutual investigation that occurs between the two dogs before either can fully relax in the other's presence. During this investigational stage, all five senses are utilized to gather information about the competition and a variable amount of posturing goes on as the dogs transmit their comfort level toward each other through the medium of body language.

If two easygoing dogs meet, there is rarely a problem. If one dog is clearly dominant over another, and the other dog accepts his dominance, again there is no real reason for concern. The more dominant dog transmits his status to the other by certain characteristic posturing and expressions.

Perhaps the most well known signal is the dominant dog's stare. Other signals of dominance include tensing of muscles, erect ears, tail held at or above horizontal, and the head and neck held high. The approach of the dominant dog is often toward the other dog's flank, and upon reaching it, he may rest his chin upon the other dog's back almost daring him to react.

A clearly subordinate dog will defer to a show of force by averting his eyes, shrinking down to make himself small, holding his tail either low or tucked between his legs, and may even squat and urinate or roll over to expose his belly in extreme situations. At the instant the dominant dog has received the signal of deference, he immediately stops posturing and may start playing with the other dog.

Problems arise when two dogs of near equal dominant status meet and the true leader is not immediately apparent. In signaling dominance, dogs may stand parallel to each other, facing the opposite direction, each with his head resting on the other's rump and each with his tail raised like a flag. Next may come a low growl, lip lift, snap, or even bite. If neither dog concedes, a dogfight will ensue, and winner takes all.

In an entirely appropriate battle, the dog that eventually emerges as the dominant individual immediately accepts the underdog's concession. The dominant dog may laud his victory for a few seconds before strutting off but will usually not sustain or escalate his attack under these circumstances. Some dogs, however, are not savvy regarding canine etiquette and will continue to attack despite the other dog's obvious submission. Such dogs usually have a checkered history of improper socialization with other dogs or have had adverse experiences with similarly dysfunctional dogs in the past.

A dominant dog may behave well in the presence of nine out of ten other dogs because the others either defer or are even more dominant. Occasionally, however, such a dog will encounter another dog of almost identical dominance status and that's when the trouble begins. As two owners stand chatting, not paying much attention to their dogs, a fight may suddenly break out."

Further research:

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday morning pheasant hunt with Vizsla

"Viszla nélkül lehet élni, de minek!
translated from Hungarian
"You can live without a Vizsla,
 but what for?"

Jessie Freidin, a professional photographer, joined Bailey and me out at Hasting's Island for an early morning pheasant hunt.

We had a great 90 minutes out in the field with Jessie following us with his wonderful film camera.  He is doing a portfolo of hunting dogs doing what they do.

I asked him to take a few with my little Nikon CoolPix that I am including here on this post.
In a couple weeks, I am looking forward to seeing the proofs of his prints.  Next to dogs, photography is my next love.

Jesse Freidin . Photographer

"In a world going increasingly digital,
Jesse Freidin dares to buck the trend." - Modern Dog Magazine

2010 + 2011 Best Dog Photographer in the Bay Area

Creator of 'The Doggie Gaga Project'

Park Rangers and Vizslas

After last week's tasering of a dog walker by a park ranger south of San Francisco, I thought of park rangers and how they have changed over the years. 

I loved hiking as a Boy Scout years ago.  Our troop would hike in the mountains and the park rangers, we would come across, were manning the look-out towers for fires and patrolling the forest for problems and to help those in trouble. 

These days, in California at least, I see a different attitude.  Here is a note I sent to a friend down in Australia after he came across one of the "dog hater" rangers.

"Some park rangers and hunting dogs have a tough time with each other.

Many rangers are hunters themselves and when we come across them on our walks, they just smile and enjoy watching the dogs do what nature in-grained in them to do. 
I must admit in four years Bailey and Chloe have killed wildlife.  In our thousands of miles of open space walking, they have caught a total of 3 ground squirrels (out of a population of 10,000). 

Many rangers understand that true hunters are the most nature concerned people around and are very active in helping conserve the great outdoors.  These rangers love to talk about wildlife and
how man relates to the wild."
 But then these rangers also have to deal with the jerks that go out drinking and shooting animals just to kill them, or the slobs who leave their garbage in nature expecting someone else is going to clean it up. 

These are the stupid people that true rangers want to stop.  Most of them understand and try to do just that.  They are my heroes.

Then you have some rangers that became rangers to
"save nature from mankind."
They sit in the booths at state parks at the entrances, or walk along with their citation books in their "Disneyland-like nature theme parks", and dictate the rules and regulations to enter their kingdom.
 (Thinking of Bambi.)

Hunting breed dogs in "their park" might endanger one of nature's creatures. Their thought process;  "The only good dog is no dog".

Unfortunately there are becoming two factions even in the dog world.

Dog lovers and dog haters.

The dog haters relate to dogs as what is wrong with man and join groups like PETA and HSUS.

So, Ozkar, you got the "dog hater" ranger.

Arguing with them is like trying to pick up your dog's poop from the clean end.

Happy trails.  We are off pheasant hunting this morning."