Thursday, March 29, 2012

Letter from Bailey's Pro trainer

Ken Kuivenhoven is my friend, fellow Vizsla owner, and professional pointing breed dog trainer.
After a wonderful season of pheasant hunting, Bailey needed a "tune-up" as he had gotten "sloppy" in his bird work.  Below is a letter and some pictures sent to me by Ken this morning of how the 3-week session has gone up to know.  Bailey comes home this weekend.

Ken's blog is:

He did a nice write-up of his latest training session on his blog.

Hi Rod,

I wanted to give you an update on Bailey's "tune-up".   As you recall, he was breaking on the flush and not performing Stop to Flush too well anymore. The first thing we did was to work on he and I becoming a working team. He remembered me but given the short duration, I pulled out all the stops and he spent the first two days with me wherever I was and when we had down time he was with me in the trailer. He's not too much of a bed hog, which is nice! If I was out working another dog, he watched from the dog wagon.

I use roading for not only conditioning, but to help establish a leadership role with the dogs and accustom them to running with other dogs, getting bumped by strange dogs and coming along with me. The first time out with Bailey he wasn't too fond of it. I know you've roaded him off the bike, I think this was likely new for him from an ATV. We made it a short trip, just he and I and roaded out to a bird. Suddenly roading was a lot more fun. Now he roads with the crew for 10-12 miles every other day and he had no issues with other dogs.

We dropped all the way back to beginning training - flying birds and enforcing the stop on check cord as the first order of business. He remembered this in one lesson and proved it out on the second. Then we went to launched birds as he went by off wind working on Stop to Flush. He did this well and recalled quickly. It seemed it was as much him understanding that I MEANT steady, and he willingly did so. I know he can do the same for you - we need to spend a couple coaching sessions together so he will do the same for you.

We kept working through flushing and blanking birds for the first ten days, moving from pigeons to chuckar, from hand-held check cord to dragging to e-collar free run. He never missed a step. And then we added the shotgun. This was a weak point for him so I moved back to blanking birds, but using a 12 ga. and missing every one. (Not really hard for me to miss!) Two sessions and he had it dialed in.

Then we worked him with another dog to check his honor and steadiness through a retrieve, which is great steady training. He passed well with only a minor correction for a small step when the other dog released for the retrieve. He did start to trail a bit after this, so it's something we'll want to watch for when you run him. It's not uncommon for a dog to start really watching the other dog after the other dog has a find. I took him off by himself for a bit to let him know he had to hunt for himself and me, not let the other dog do the job.

I then tested him on steadiness after a retrieve. I had him work a warm up bird, with a 12 ga. "miss" and he was rock solid. The next bird I killed for him and he gave me a wonderful retrieve. Straight back, easy delivery to hand - couldn't ask for more. The real test is the next bird, as he's just made a retrieve - will he stay steady on another miss. Short answer, he passed with an A+.

He's really matured nicely and is running well. He's not got huge range like an All Age dog, but he is a very pleasing gun dog. He's happy and fun to watch run. You've got a great Boy there Rod. It's been a pleasure spending time with him.
 Anytime you want to send him back to me, I'd love to have him on my string. Maybe he could spend some time at wild bird dog camp in South Dakota this summer..."
Best, Ken

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hidden Treasure - Garland Ranch Park, Carmel Valley

I can not possibly cover Garland Ranch Park in one post.  This is one of four posts with pictures and videos from this slice of heaven on earth.  10 miles east of Carmel-by-the-Sea is this great place for human and well-behaved dog.

Carmel River from bridge going into Garland Park

Taken from the bottom of "Waterfall Trail"  Dry but wonderful
Down on the valley floor before the morning walk into the hills.

Spanish Moss hanging from oak trees along the trail

Chloe next to "Fern Pond" 600 feet up from the valley floor

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Vizsla Owner goes Bald for Cancer Research

Mary Joan with granddog "Fawkes"
 Saint Baldrick's is a charity to support childhood cancer research. 

 Folks sign up to have their heads shaved and ask for sponsors.  We were happy to help.
 Mary Joan, Ken and Aaron have a connection with us.  Aaron, has Fawkes, one of Bailey's pups from his first litter.  Ken, Aaron's father, is waiting for a male from Bailey's second litter that just arrived Wednesday. 

Vizslas look even better with bald people.

  Thank you Mary Joan for raising a lot of money for the kids!
If you do it next year, I'll see if the Vizsla community can sweeten the Saint Baldrick's pot even more.

Morro Bay Mud Bath

18-month-old Lily found the joy that is the mud flats of Morro Bay at the Morro Bay State Park.
She shares the fun with her dog Rowdy and her dog aunt Chloe.  Mom wanders out into the mud flats as I hang back laughing my rear off - taking these pictures.

Lily's poor mom was certain they would be swallowed up by the quicksand.  It was most mushy!
 Lily was in toddler heaven.
  Moist sticky mud.  The dogs had fun prancing around.  They were light enough not to make much of a print in the soft, sandy muck.
Good thing she had her extra-absorbent diaper on.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Why We Love Our Dogs So Much?

By Josh Dean

When people hear that I spent more than a year wandering the aisles of America’s dog shows while working on a book about the culture, the first question they inevitably ask is: Why? Why do otherwise normal humans with decent jobs and sound minds spend all of their free time and much of their disposable income on what seems like such a frivolous pursuit—primping and preparing their dogs to be judged in the show ring?
It’s really quite simple: because people really, really love dogs—almost as much as they love their children. Sometimes, even more.

That said, there are probably plenty of you who own dogs who still don’t see how that explains the motivation to put them in dog shows. So let me put it to you this way: Do you adore your dog to the degree that you sometimes call yourself “Mommy” or “Daddy”? Do think he or she is the most beautiful and special creature there is and ever has been? Do you often brag about him or her to friends and family? Do you post adorable photos on Facebook? Well, this is exactly what we do with our children.

And it’s why people show dogs. Because while dog showing is ostensibly about breeding — it’s the way the best and healthiest stock is identified — it’s also about validation.
Just as parents want teachers to tell them their kid is the smartest and politest in class, dog owners want to hear people lauding their dog’s beauty and obedience, and there’s no better place to hear that than in the show ring. Which isn’t to say that dog show participants need a ribbon to prove what they already know. If there are 3,000 dogs entered in a particular event, you’ll find 3,000 humans who’d argue for hours about why their dog is best.

It’s almost impossible not to feel that way. Because the bond between humans and dogs is more intense than our bond with any other species, and there’s not even a close second.
Dogs were the first domesticated animals, the ones that made domestication of all others possible. Scientists can’t seem to agree whether it was 10,000 or 15,000 or 100,000 years ago, but it’s inarguable that dogs evolved from wolves because of us. They were selected and honed to be our companions — to help us hunt, to guard our homes, to look after our livestock and even our children and, over time, to do so many useful and wonderful things that it boggles the mind.

For all the talk about wheels and metal and gunpowder, we often overlook one very important tool that helped lead us out of the caves and into societies: our dogs.
We have dogs that serve in combat (famously assisting in the capture of Usama Bin Laden); dogs that detect bed bugs; dogs that defend sheep from wolves (and cattle from cheetahs), in the process protecting the wild animals too by keeping ranchers from shooting them; dog lifeguards; dogs that guide the blind and allow the disabled to live better lives; dogs that sniff out cancer and drugs and invasive species. And dogs that simply provide companionship, making millions of lives around the globe much, much happier.
There seems to be no job dogs were asked to do that they didn’t figure out how to do capably, and if only they had thumbs we’d probably have taught them to drive us around by now.

Every day our scientific knowledge about these amazing animals increases, enabling us to better understand the very special voodoo that dogs have over us. What exactly makes canines so malleable is not yet fully understood but the fact that the species was literally born at our side explains why they seem to understand us at a level that’s sometimes spooky (but always nice).
Recent research shows they can read our facial expressions and pick up subtle cues that even toddlers can’t, and any dog owner has experienced moments where it seems like there’s an almost extrasensory frequency by which our two species communicate. What owner hasn’t come home on a bad day to find his dog immediately understanding, and offering a little extra love as a result?

And the best part of this relationship is how simple it is. While we often ask so much of them, they require almost nothing in return. You can ask your dog to chase a Frisbee, take a nap on the couch, herd some sheep, or run around a show ring and he’ll do it, happily, for hours on end. He only wants to be fed, and told he’s good, and most of all loved. If a dog has love, he really needs nothing else.
Unlike your kids, who will bug you for money until the day you die.

Josh Dean is the author of "Show Dog: The Charmed Life and Trying Times of a Near-Perfect Purebred," out now from It Books/HarperCollins Publishers

"Every weekend, for nearly fifty weeks each year, tens of thousands of Americans pack up their SUVs and minivans with crates and dryers and treats and shampoos and hairsprays and plush toys and fan out for some of the two-thousand-plus dog shows held annually across the United States. More than two million pedigreed dogs, and exponentially more humans who handle and care for them, will take part in these events—for the most part happily—and the world that has grown up to support them is massive and vibrant, and almost impossible to imagine unless you've seen it in person"

Read more:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Brawny or Sinewy Muscular Condition

Battle scars.  Brawny or sinewy muscular condition.  Field conditioned coats.  These are the things that I love about field Vizslas.  Bailey has barbwire lines down his back most weeks.  He charges through the hills on our hill adventures.  They are never "walks" for him.  It amazes me he doesn't break or injure himself.  Chloe can run with abandon also following Bailey as he charges a hill or stream bed or cliff.  Fearless is the best word I can think of.

My hope is the highlighted section of the General Appearance standard never gets cut.  

AKC Vizsla Standard

General Appearance

That of a medium-sized, short-coated, hunting dog of distinguished appearance and bearing. Robust but rather lightly built, the coat is an attractive shaded golden rust. Originating in Hungary, the Vizsla was bred to work in field, forest and water. Agile and energetic, this is a versatile dog of power, drive and endurance in the field yet a tractable and affectionate companion in the home.

It is strongly emphasized that field conditioned coats, as well as brawny or sinewy muscular condition and honorable scars indicating a working and hunting dog are never to be penalized in this dog. 
Two Males:  Notice the chest size - Bailey in front

The requisite instincts and abilities to maintain a "dual dog" are always to be fostered and appreciated, never depreciated. 

Bailey didn't "stack" well.  Notice the back legs

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dog posters I love

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Northern California Fun Field Days April 14th

Vizsla Club of Northern California Fun Field Day

April 14, 2012

Venue: Hastings Island Hunting Preserve, 7758 Hastings Island Road, Rio Vista, CA 94571

Starting time: 8:00 am until we are done (rolls and coffee will be available for early birds)

"The VCNC Fun Field Day is a great opportunity to expose your Vizsla to the

joys of hunting game birds in the field. 

It is particularly geared towards novice dogs of any age
and their novice owners.

However advanced handlers and their experienced Vizslas

are also very welcome to attend in order to

fine-tune their hunting skills.

You are given the unique chance to participate in

training runs, hunt game birds in the field, get advise,

soak up the atmosphere and enjoy a day with

many other Vizslas, their owners, friends, and families.

Come and see what field work is all about,

and your dog will love you even more!

Vizslas of all ages and experience levels are welcome.

The training courses will be run like hunt tests or field trials.

There will be two fields set up. Course one will be

designated for novice dogs with a special run for the puppies;

course two for dogs at advanced and at intermediate level.

We will have a formal starting line and a course that leads

to a bird field with planted game birds.

There will be judges / mentors riding along on horses

ready to give you helpful feedback and answer questions.

It is important that you let us know at which level your

dog is and also whether you want no shots to be

fired at all, or just from a training pistol.

Shot guns will be used in the Advanced Stake;

blank guns in the Intermediate Stake. 

If your dog has never been blanked or shot over,

entry him/her in the “Novice / Beginner Non-shooting Stake”."

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cats RIP

In memory of our two cats, Webster and Danbe, who died of old age within the last two weeks. 

 Both of our daughters brought kittens home in the mid-1990's.  They were their cats.  Well, within a short time Webster and Danbe became our cats for the next 14 years.  We just had the two cats until Chloe came in 2007. Danbe and Webster were none too pleased with this interloper.
 May the cats rest in peace. 

 Now we just have our two dogs.  I'm good with that.

8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!

9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing! 
9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!

12:00 PM - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!

1:00 PM - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!

3:00 PM - Ran back and forth in the hall! My favorite thing!

5:00 PM - Milk bones! My favorite thing!

7:00 PM - Got to play tug! My favorite thing!

8:00 PM - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!

11:00 PM - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!


Day 983 of my captivity.

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling ojects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape.

In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.
Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a 'good little hunter' I am.

They continue to pick me up and handle me, an obvious attempt to subvert me.

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of 'allergies.' I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released -- and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded.

Tonight I will again lie on their heads while they sleep and hope to smother them.

Above post about cats and dogs December 2009

Thanks Ashley for finding this gem of a comparison