Sage Monkey

Sage Monkey

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Preparing for The AKC Senior Hunt Test


Jasmine - A beautiful 14 month old DK GSP
 
Today I took Cleo to train with Bob Corsaro in New Jersey in order to get her ready for her first two braces of the AKC Senior Hunt Test. We will be running her Memorial Day weekend in upstate Pennsylvania. Today Bob had Cleo focus on honoring and staying steady on the shot. Normally Jim is the handler for Cleo but due to work related events this weekend he was unable to attend so I was the one in the field with her today and will be again tomorrow. The only down side to me handling Cleo is there are no pictures of her training but its well worth the trade off for getting to be more involved.

An example of Honoring (also known as backing) from a previous training session:
 
We started Cleo off backing Jasmine the DK dog who's picture is at the top of this post. The first time Cleo came up and saw Jasmine locked on point she did not stop and back on her own. I attribute that to me. I got a little anxious and wasn't sure if she could see Jasmine or not and I believe I stopped and whoaed her before I should have. The next few times I felt much more relaxed and let Cleo do her thing. When she would see Jasmine on point she would stop. More importantly though when Bob would flush Jasmine's bird and fire Cleo stayed steady and just watched the birds fly off. In the past she would have moved. One of Bob's goals today was to get lots of repetition in on honoring for Cleo. She also had the opportunity later in the day to honor another male GSP. I believe the extra practice on honoring really helped because when it was Cleo's turn to work the field and she pointed she stayed steady and didn't move a muscle when Bob flushed and fired. I was so excited and at the same time totally bummed that Jim missed it.

I did get to see some other dogs in the field with Bob today. He was working with two 5 month old English Pointer brothers. They were very cute pups and it was my first time getting to photograph English Pointers. I love my German Shorthaired Pointer so much but I can totally appreciate watching other hunting breeds work. It's also nice because I love to photograph the dogs and its nice to see the contrasts between tails, and body color ect. It makes for fun photography. Below are some pictures of 5 month old Luke:

 
 
 
Here are some pics of his brother Gus:
 
 
 
 I also got to tag along and watch Chaeli a beautiful setter owned by Ron Levine work the field. Chaeli is a real joy to photograph because she's so soft and white she is almost illuminescent. Besides she has a super fancy tail!
 
 
 
Tomorrow I'll be back in Jersey with Cleo to work on more honoring and staying steady but we will also be working on retrieving.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Discovery of Guinea Pigs

If you have ever read my post from March titled "When it rains it pours...." then you would know on rainy days taking Cleo to Petsmart is a no brainer. Today has been relatively nice but we have had intermittent showers so I thought I would shoot over and buy some goodies for tonight just in case we got trapped inside. We picked her up a purple ball with a handle, a flying squirrel toy and a big pig with several squeakers inside. Such gifts delight a spotted dog. But the most hilarious part of our trip was when Cleo discovered Guinea Pigs. They moved them down to her perfect face level and they were squeaking and running about! Please reference the video below:

video

About 5 seconds after I stopped recording she punched the glass and piggies dove into their plastic domes. I grabbed Cleo and darted for the checkout line. Luckily no one was watching and my questionable parenting went unnoticed. Anyway, as soon as we got home we busted out the purple ball with the handle and had a good game of fetch until she finally laid down and ate the handle off.

She looks so dainty and girl like when she is destroying things.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cleo is Prepping for the Summer...

My eyes are itchy, my nose is runny...it must be close to May. The summer is fast approaching. With the last few days in the mid 80's and bright blue skies it feels like summer has already arrived. All that is missing is the dreadful Pennsylvania humidity. Other than the gorgeous days I've had few additional signs that summer is right around the corner. For starters....I can tell by the condition of my flip flops.

It's only been warm for a couple of weeks but it doesn't take Cleo long to work her magic. I'm sure that this will not be the first pair of flip flops to meet an untimely demise this warm weather season.  In fact, I think we should get a flip flop death pool going. I think she maimed 7 pairs last year? This is a great time for me to point out that she has never touched any of Jim's flip flops. So I know its personal. I will wear the flops pictured above until they can no longer stay on my feet. I realize that the homeless look is not chic but I wear them as long as I can because the next pair will most likely have the same fate. I barely got to take the picture above and she came out of know where like a ninja and descended upon this pair.
My next sign of Summer is Cleo's excitement for the water. In a few weeks we will bust out her doggie pool but for the meantime she has the hose. Cleo loves the hose. I'm not sure what she thinks it is but she sure gets herself in a frenzy for it. She has been doing this since she was a puppy. Not sure the video below does it justice but it gets pretty entertaining and its one of her favorite summer activities.
video

 There has also been quite a bit of happy frolicking and of course talking back.


She's happy to be outside and I can't wait for barbecues and beach time at Cape May. Although I will spend a fortune on flip flops this year I'm looking forward to the summer.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Here comes Cleo cottontail charging down the bunny trail.....

Above is a picture of the elusive Easter Pointer. It's much more rare and special than the Easter Bunny and if little kids are well behaved all year she will bring them things likes pheasants, ducks, and woodcock....and the occasional destroyed half eaten shoe. The Easter Pointer is a magical beast very much like a unicorn and should be thanked with delicious treats such as pig ears and marrow bones.

For the record.....Jim completely disapproved of this picture. I believe the conversation went something like this:

Me: Check out these bunny ears Becker got me. I'm gonna put em on the dog and take a picture!!
Jim: Your not putting those ears on my dog.
Me: What!?!?! Are you kidding me....this is serious Easter contraband. She'll look great.
Jim: Your stealing my dogs masculinity.
Me: Masculinity?? She's a girl.
Jim: Whatever....she's my hunting dog and your taking her pride with those ears.
Me: Ugh....Look I got a basket as a prop too. Help me and we'll all be happy.

Cleo was not happy. Below is a picture of her trying to sneak off. 10 seconds later she ripped off the ears and tried to eat em. Jim immediately intervened and was like were done here!! Makes me feel like one of those creepy parents who makes their kid participate in beauty pageants. Whatever.
Lucky for me I have a year and half practice of rescueing things from her destruction. The ears survived!! Thank you my wonderful sister in-law Rebecca for finding them for me! :) Have a happy and wonderful Easter everyone!
 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Dog Friends Galore!

Cleo was finally allowed to go back to daycare today! Yay! It's been 5 long weeks since she has gotten to go because she has been in heat. She knew where she was going this morning as soon as we pulled in and she basically dragged Jim up to the front door. I'm pretty sure she ran her hardest for 5 straight hours. Cleo only has one speed and it's called go for broke.
When I picked her up her weinerimer friend was getting picked up as well. It's always so nice that there are other sporting breeds there because when all the normal dogs quit playing because their tired she still has hyperactive dogs to run with. So when I got her home she ate, drank and passed out. She is such a happy, spoiled doggie.
  

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bison Burger Dog Treats

It's been awhile since I posted one of Cleo's favorite dog treat recipes so I thought I would throw one out there for you guys. If you have ever read any of my earlier dog treat rants you would know that I believe in making homemade dog treats for Cleo because they are healthier for her and I never have to worry about recalls ect. Besides, Jim and I are health freaks and if I won't eat it I won't feed it to my dog. That's not in anyway implying I eat dog food...because I don't. But I will say that I have in fact eaten one of these treats and they are super yummy...so lets just pretend I didn't admit that.

Bison Burger Dog Treats

What you need:
~1 lb of ground bison meat, cooked and strained of fat
~1 1/2 Cups of grated cheddar cheese (I prefer cracker barrel aged reserve mainly because I can steal slices of it while I grate it....clearly I'm not a role model...moving on)
~6 Slices of turkey bacon, fried, patted dry and crumbled
~2 Cups whole wheat flour
~2 Eggs
~1/4 Cup of water

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixer combine the whole wheat flour, eggs and water. Beat until combined. Add in the cooked ground bison, grated cheese and crumbled turkey bacon. Mix until a sticky dough forms.
2. Roll out the dough on some parchment paper and cut small burger patties out with a round biscuit cutter. Place the patties on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Then flip the burgers and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Place the patties on a cooling rack and store in the fridge when cool.
These little patties hit the spot and make for a happy spotted doggie. Somehow Cleo always knows when I am baking for her because she circles the kitchen like a shark in shallow water. Okay maybe that was a poor analogy but you got my point. Hope your doggies like em!

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Preparing for the NAVHDA Utility Test: Water Work and then some

Griz
 
Today we spent allot of time working Cleo and her two favorite brothers Bruin and Griz on water work in preparation for the NAVHDA Utility test this fall. Jim and I showed up a couple of hours early today to get some field work in because Cleo is not only working towards a UT title but is working towards a Senior and eventually Master AKC Hunt title. Her first leg of the AKC Senior test will occur in about a month. Cleo needs more time honoring. So today we started our work off with some pigeons planted in traps and using two dogs to have them honor each other.

 
 
Today we used pigeons during training for a number of reasons. One reason is because they are not game birds. The dogs will point them but if we make a mistake its much more forgivable because we don't hunt them and they won't be used in a test. Another reason is because they are strong fliers and the dogs can not catch the birds. When the bird flies off and the dog will stand there which is the begining of the steady to the flush.

Below are some pics of 20 week old Maggie working with the pigeons/traps. Maggie is a full blood sister to Cleo.
 
The pigeon being fired out of the trap
 
   Maggie watching the pigeon fly off.
 
Maggie did a great job in the field today. She uses her nose and its apparent she has lots of desire. At 20 weeks old she had nice easily noticeable points. Way to go Maggie!!

Next up we ran Cleo and her sister and litter mate Brandy through the fields. Taking turns having one dog point and then bringing the other pup up to honor.

Cleo on point
 
 Cleo with her sister Brandy backing
 
Brandy on point
 
Mike keeping Brandy steady
 
 Cleo honoring Brandy's Point

Popping a pigeon
 
Bob ran his DK Dog Sadie through the fields with Bruin so they could get a little time working backing as well. I just have to say that Sadie is an amazing dog and watching her work a field is a real treat. She is a hunting machine!  Below are some pics of her at work.  

 
 
 
After the field work we headed over to a pond to prepare for the water work portion of the NAVHDA UT Test. Today we were focusing on "Search for a Duck". This portion of the test grades the dog's ability to find a wounded waterfowl. Per the NAVHDA website the duck search, "tests use of nose, cooperation, desire, perseverance, and stamina. Of significance is the fact that it places the dog in an environment where the handler often cannot physically follow the dog or even see the actual situation, thus requiring the animal to rely on its own initiative and intelligence in going about the task independently." Jim and I watched this last year at our NAVHDA NA Test and they basically want your dog to search for a minimum of 10 minutes. Retrieving the duck is not required. If the dog does retrieve the duck it has to be to hand.

 
Above is a picture of Cleo on her very first duck search/retrieve. Her first time out she did great. She found the duck and brought it to hand. But from that point on her performance went down hill. She started to play with the ducks when she got to them. Her drive to find them never wavered tho. She clearly showed she would search for them until her dying moment but she failed to bring them back to hand. To be honest it was frustrating. But it was her first ever duck search and to expect her to knock it out of the park on her first shot is unreasonable. She did well and will improve because she works hard and she loves being in the field. I have no doubt that she will get it. In boxing I have a beloved coach named Ray Velez and he says a fighter can have "flashes of greatness" and she showed that today. More time on the table and more force fetch and Jim and I have no doubts she will get it. With that said, below is a video of her taking off on a search.

video
 
Griz did a nice job today in the water. He had no issues finding the birds but he would bring them just short of hand. Below are some pics of him in action.
 
Griz searching
 
Still searching
 
Found that duck!
 
Go Griz!
 
Bruin also did a nice job today. Below are some pics of his duck search. Bruin also has such great desire. I'm pretty sure he would still be out there looking for a duck if you let him!!

 
 
After the searches we did a duck drag for Cleo and a duck drag for Griz. Although both dogs searched well they both still need to work on retrieving to hand. On land they had no issues which means it may just be having an issue of applying what they know on land to being on the water. Here are some pics of Cleo's duck drag.

 
 
 
Some pics of Griz's duck drag:

 
 
Baby steps. It's April and we are testing in September. All of these dogs have made tremendous strides in the past few weeks. At this rate we will be good to go come fall. Besides, we are learning a tremendous amount along the way. We brought home some ducks so we will be working with Cleo all week. Below is a video of her from when we got home this afternoon and we were finished unloading the truck. She loves those ducks and I can't help but feel the sky is the limit.

video