Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Growing up Vizsla in SF Bay Area

Uploaded by  on Dec 27, 2011
Family of Hungarian Vizslas growing up in Bay Area. Days of their life

 Great You Tube Video.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Junior Hunter Naturally

Belle and her dad Bailey last year 
"Dear Rod, I can't thank you enough for the vote of confidence you gave me to work my own dog. Flat out didn't think I was capable. And now, I want to do more. Our Belle has turned on her "lights" about birds, and she may never have known the pleasure of the experience, had it not been for your "try it, you may like it."

The greatest pleasure, besides pride in her efforts, is watching her natural ability out in the field, Coupled with the grace and style that Vizslas possess. Well it was a wonderful day, out in the field. Thanks again for your quiet support. One more pass for her Junior hunter title, and she is on her way.

I encourage anyone out there, to just try it. It may or may not be for you, but your dog will thank you all the way home." - Julie

RBD note:  Julie has owned and bred Vizslas since the early 70's.  Belle will be her first Junior Hunter.  Bailey and I are proud of both of them.  Belle has had NO formal training.  It truly is all natural ability.  She was a joy to watch.
Bailey Senior Hunt pass, Belle Junior Hunt pass

The Biology of White Markings

"AKG, from my (admittedly somewhat limited) understanding of dog coat genetics, the white marks frequently seen on Vizsla chests and toes is not something being thrown in from pointers, and is not necessarily hereditary. The presence of these marks is due to incomplete migration of melanocytes during development. This is why you can have pups born with white marks on the chest, even though the dam, sire, and previous generations won't have had the white marks.

Biology time (I'm a molecular biologist--bear with me)! Melanocytes, which are cells that produce pigment (such as the baguette/golden rust/whatever you want color of our Vs), migrate from the neural crest during embryonic development. The neural crest is basically a precursor to the spinal cord. The cells have to migrate the farthest to reach places like the chest or the toes (those aren't formed yet, but the tissue that will become those structures is). Sometimes during development there is a delay--maybe the mom got a tiny cold, something that wasn't even symptomatic. Maybe something stressed her and her developing pups. Maybe one developing pup was in a weird, less-than-ideal spot in the womb, while the others were unaffected. Or there could be some other reason that scientists and breeders have not yet elucidated. But for whatever reason, the migration might be delayed, resulting in some areas of the developing dog that lack melanocytes, and thus lack pigmentation in their fur that grows from that area. At a certain point in development, if the tissue lacks melanocytes, it will lack them forever, so if migration was delayed and the cells never got there...boom. White. This is why you often see those white spots on the chest and/or toes. Whether or not the rate of melanocyte migration is hereditary remains to be seen. 

Chloe has a bit of white on her chest
For now, these marks are considered incidental, which is why a small amount is permissible on the chest and/or toes in the conformation ring. The marks have no influence on other qualities of the dog, such as sound body structure, trainability, eagerness, temperament, and/or hunting ability, and so they would not be a limiting factor in the field."

Generously allowed to be posted to RBD by a fellow member of the Hungarian Vizlsa Forum who goes by Redrover.  Thanks.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

In This Corner... Intact Male Vizslas

In this corner, 
1 year - 4 months old, 
weighing in at 61 pounds,
 24" to top of the shoulders.....
Intact male Hungarian Pointer.............TOBI

    In this corner, 
4 years - 2 months old, 
weighing in at 60 pounds,
 23.5 inches to top of shoulders....
intact male Hungarian Pointer........BAILEY

Bailey and Tobi have been going on walks in the hills now for six months from time to time.  Tobi's owners are first time dog people and are really great with their dog.

About a month ago, on our walks, I started noticing Tobi starting to "test" Bailey.  It was the little things an intact male will do to test his new "doghood".  I told the owners that one day the two dogs would have to work it out.   This type of behavior repeated itself over maybe five walks.

Two weeks ago, on a walk in the hills with Chloe and another female Vizsla, it was the day.  I could almost tell from the start that it would be this morning that the testosterone would kick in and things would be settled.  I mentioned this to Tobi's owner as the walk began.

After a great 90 minute walk in the Sunol Regional Park it was "put up or shut up" time between Bailey and Tobi.

I'll let Tobi's owner explain: ( I had asked her to put it in her words)

" In regards to Tobi and Bailey “working it out”…
I had noticed the challenge brewing over the past few walks, so even though you’re never totally prepared, I was sort of waiting for it to happen. I know that Tobi had been challenging Bailey…waiving the stick in front of him and trying to assert his strength. To be honest, I was still worried, but having walked with you and Bailey countless times gave me confidence that Bailey would show Tobi (still the puppy) his place and then back off; not “go in for the kill” so to speak. That is why I did not feel the need to step in. You and I may differ slightly on our opinion of this, but I probably would’ve reacted differently had it been a dog and/or owner that I don’t know. I don’t think I would have been comfortable, or felt the need, to let Tobi work it out with a strange dog. That being said, it was over rather quickly and Bailey backed off as soon as Tobi whimpered…and then they went on their way. Do I trust that all dogs would back off? Unfortunately, no. So I would still be somewhat protective of my dog in an unknown situation."

Just walked with Tobi, Chloe and Bailey last night.  First time since.  The boys were fine.  NO posturing or testing.  Just a pack of Hungarian Pointers enjoying the hills on an off-leash walk.

Ain't nature great!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"Give Me Space" Vest

Lulu modeling her new "Dog in Training" vest

From Lulu's owner:  Posted on Hungarian Vizsla Forum:

So, in conjunction with this training, I bought this fantastic "Dog in Training - Please Give Space" vest. The letters are nice and big and it will hopefully keep well meaning dog lovers at bay :). And I like that the vest looks nothing like a service dog vest, since I don't want anyone to think I'm trying to pass her off for a service dog. I've attached a pic of Lulu in her new vest. I hope it will give me more confidence to work with her in busier places!

I'm mentioning this vest in the context of a fearful/reactive dog, but they'd also be great while working with those exuberant Vs who love everyone and just can't contain themselves when people or dogs are close by  :D. I like that the vest sends out a message that your dog isn't perfect, but a work in progress!

From the vest maker's website:

"The Pawsitive Dog, LLC is passionate about dogs. I have seen too many dogs left home alone because of their behavior in public. Genetics, lack of early socialization, fear, over-stimulation and even age can contribute to behaviors such as barking, lunging, jumping up, and trying to run away. These dogs may be fearful of strangers or new places, have space issues, or even be overly friendly and exuberant. It can be a challenge to work with your dog in public when well-meaning dog lovers are asking you questions and trying to pet your dog. This can create a lot of stress for you and the dog. Too often owners feel embarrassed by their dog's behavior. One of my goals is to help owners get over their fear of embarrassment, to relax and focus on training their dogs in a positive way. The "Dog In Training" Vest will help. By identifying that you are training your dog, you can relax and know that people will realize that you are working on your dog's problem behaviors. It will encourage people to give you and your dog some space so the dog is less likely to react from stress. Then you can control the environment a bit more; ask people if they are willing to let your dog greet them rather than have people approach the dog. When the owner, the dog, and the public are more relaxed, true learning and change can begin. I look forward to a world where human understanding creates better socialized dogs; where dogs and humans live in peace and harmony."
Cricket Mara

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Hidden Treasure - Byrne-Milliron Forest Santa Cruz

This is now my new favorite "Hidden Treasure".
  Byrnes- Milliron Forest.

Review of Milliron Forest by Coastal Canine

Within 30 minutes of downtown Santa Cruz is one of the most wonderful walks I have taken in my life.
Eight of us enjoyed a great two hour walk through this Hidden Treasure created over the last 25 years by one man.  Jeff Helmer.  Jeff has been the caretaker of the forest since 1987.  
 Section taken from the trail map available at the start of the trails from the parking lot.
The notebooks, children's stories, oranges, water and little gems hidden around the forest - that's Jeff.
It's his way of saying WELCOME! - and thank you for caring for the forest that he's called home for 25 years.

A rest stop along the ridge overlooking Santa Cruz Bay

Jeff's classic Studebaker station wagon parked at the parking lot.

"Cathedral Point" is a rest stop after climbing up a beautiful canyon of  redwoods and ferns

Once you think you are there, you go up a little 10 foot wide road up the hill another mile

Look for this sign to know where to turn left.
The website for all of Santa Cruz Couny's Land Trust is  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hungarian Pointer's Character over Personality

A member of Hungarian Vizsla Forum asked me after I had posted the statement below:

"One in three people are introverts. Maybe closer to half the population. But we live in a society that is geared for the extrovert's world.

A Vizsla makes a great introvert's dog. There are extrovert breeds, but my thesis is that a Hungarian Pointer is custom made for the introvert."

Her response included this question:

"Why would the Hungarian Pointer be 'custom made' for the introvert?"

As I read the book "Quiet - The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking." by Susan Cain 

my understanding of how the Culture of Personality has replaced the Culture of Character since the age of mass production created a need for the "super salesman." Then the super salesperson became the ideal and the role model to aspire to.

Even as I call myself an introvert (not a bad thing), I help run a muti-million dollar a year heavy-civil engineering construction company; have a dozen mechanics, 360 employees work for the company currently, and hundreds of vendors that I deal with constantly during my work week. 30 years ago I learned to be a "super salesman' with Firestone Tire Company and was quite successful. I can do "meet and greet", talk in front of groups, confront people and problems, but prefer the power of quiet when I can get it. That is where I use my relationship with my Hungarian Pointers and the solitude and enjoyment of the upland bird hunt.

To answer your question.

A Hungarian Pointer, or any well bred pointer, is an independent versatile hunting dog. When you train them to hunt or do field trials, the character looked for is the dog's teamwork with the hunter but at the same time a bold independence to hunt for the birds where nature and training has shown the dog to look. The teamwork is much less then say hunting with a lab in a duck pond or a fox hunt with a pack of beagles working as a group.

That is part of a working Hungarian Pointer's character. The Vizsla is one of the quietest dogs in the field according to most hunters. They do not bark in the field as they go about their job. They have a mission and that is to find the birds. Once trained they will do it for any good hunter. Any team mate will do as long as the hunter does his job of bringing down the bird.

One of my joys in life are the hill walks I take with my two dogs. They are usually 50 to 100 yards away from me on our walks. They are exploring. They know where I am. That is the job I have given them. I don't need to know where they are and there are times I don't see them for 5 minutes at a time. They find me. I can call them to me at almost any time but only do so once or twice in a two hour walk.

Hungarian Pointers do not do well in dog parks or other pack group conditions for the most part. The pack is not why they were bred. My dogs do not enjoy anything about a "pack."

I could go on but it is going to be hot today and it is already 7:30.

Hope that makes some type of sense.

Happy trails,"


Friday, August 10, 2012

Low Blood Sugar Danger in the Field

The above blog shares great information that may save your dog's life when you go out into the field either training or hunting hard.

I have been told by professional sporting dog trainers that they only feed the dogs once a day in the late afternoon.  I never knew why until I read the article.  Here is a brief except:  The whole article is well worth reading.

 "Feeding: When hunting dog people sit down together to talk about conditioning their dogs, they will almost always be thinking and talking about an exercise regimen that will result in the degree of cardiopulmonary fitness and muscular strength that their dogs must have in order to be good, strong hunters. However, there is another aspect to conditioning that is mostly “flying under the radar”, that few people know about, and which is almost never discussed. That aspect involves conditioning dogs so as to maintain large liver glycogen reserves, and to become primarily dependent upon those reserves as an energy source, and as a source of glucose for maintaining normal blood glucose concentrations. Ideally, a conditioning and feeding program for a hunting dog should seek to achieve the following end point objective: The dog should have achieved sufficient physical strength and cardiopulmonary and metabolic fitness that it is able run and hunt industriously for the entire length of the hunt, and be able accomplish this on an empty stomach. 

It is generally recommended that hunting dogs be fed once each day, in late afternoon or early evening. This practice, which essentially starves your dog for 24 hours after each feeding, makes it IMPOSSIBLE for your dog to rely entirely on glucose entering the blood stream from the gastrointestinal tract for maintenance of normal blood glucose levels. As a result, your dog is FORCED to gradually increase its liver glycogen reserves, and adjust to using those reserves as the primary source of glucose for maintaining normal blood glucose levels."