Sage Monkey

Sage Monkey

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rainy Day at Doggy Daycare

There is nothing more entertaining that logging onto facebook and seeing that the doggie daycare you send your beloved pet to has posted a picture like the one above. Needless to say it made me belly laugh and I just thought I would share how cute my Cleopatra looks battling the rain in a poncho. Thanks Mill Pond. You guys are the best. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Congrats are in order!


Today was the day we were supposed to run Cleo in her NAVHDA UT test. For various reasons we decided to pull her. To read more on that check out last weeks post. But two fellow birddoggers we know ran there pups today at the Rock Tavern, NY NAVHDA chapter with fantastic results.


Rick Affuso who owns Oak the 14 month old Brittany pictured at the top of the blog knocked her first NAVHDA test out of the park with a prize 1, 112 points. Oak pointed and held on 4 birds today, had no trouble with the track and swam like a fish! Congrats Rick and Oak! Job well done.

Frank Capogna who owns AJ the 9 month old handsome black and white DK pictured above also had a phenomenal day and proudly brought home a prize 1, 112 points.  Way to go Frank and AJ!

Rick & Oak

Frank & AJ

Anyone who has participated in a NAVHDA NA test knows that it takes dedication and training. Nothing feels better than watching your dog accomplish all the things you worked so hard for. There is no doubt that Rick and Frank will have a great hunting season this year.

Also, tomorrow is a big day for several of our training buddies. Several of Cleo's siblings from a later litter will be running in their Natural Ability Test tomorrow. Best of luck guys! You will all do great!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Rock Tavern, NY NAVHDA Training Day

Frank, Danny and 5 1/2 year old Britt Diego

When Jim and I started on this crazy bird dog adventure two years ago our breeder Bob Corsaro required us to run our GSP pup Cleo in a NAVHDA Natural Ability Test. At first Jim and I were a little turned off that we were required to test the dog but in reality it was a blessing in disguise. Knowing that we had to test her and not wanting to be unprepared we sought out how to train her. Very quickly into that process we realized that we loved it and a new hobby/obsession was born. 

AJ - A beautiful 8 1/2 month old DK pup

When we first began researching NAVHDA (North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association) we heard mixed reviews. The normal negative feedback was that it was clicky, some people were snobby and there was prejudice against certain breeds. Jim and I joined but did so guarded. Our experience with NAVHDA is that its full of knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and helpful people who will go out of there way to hep you and your dog achieve the goals you have set. We have experienced none of the things we were warned about and have found it to be a great asset to our training. Today we drove close to 3 hours to Montgomery, NY from Bucks County, PA to train with the Rock Tavern NAVHDA Chapter.

AJ and his owner Frank on a Pheasant Track

Oak and his owner Rick also on a Pheasant Track

We spent the day working the younger dogs in preparation of their Natural Ability Test. They worked on pheasant tracks, getting the pups in some water and lots of field work. Cleo who is working towards her Utility Title also got to dabble with a duck search or two, staying steady by the blind, duck drags and walking at heel ect. It was nice day for training. See below for some pics.

Cleo returning from a successful duck drag

Sophie the DK retrieving a bumper

Pop and his Britt Diego on the way to the lake

8 1/2 month old AJ on Point

14 month old Oak in the field on some birds

Sophie on point

Today was a great day of training. We met so many nice people and got to watch a great group of dogs do what they love the most. It always makes me feel good about the world when perfect strangers can work together and help each other. If your unsure about joining a local NAVHDA chapter give it a shot. You'll be amazed at how much you can learn and how friendly everyone is. 

Cleo returning from a duck search. She felt is easier to run down the road then to swim back. 

Cleo had a so so day. She did some things well and other things not so well. If you have been following this blog the past year Jim and I have been on a quest to test Cleo and have her place in a UT test. She has been scheduled to test next weekend. As of this afternoon we decided to pull her out. It's a tad bittersweet but for the best. Cleo is an amazing dog. In fact the only down side to her is Jim and I. She is a much better dog than we are trainers. Cleo is our first hunting dog and from the get go we have been aggressive to do as much as we possibly could with her as far as testing and hunting. It's what she loves and what we love too. The past year has been amazing as far as learning experiences and we owe so much to Bob Corsaro for his guidance. But in the end she just wasn't ready. Her fieldwork is good, she stays steady by the blind, she heels like a champ and her ducks drags are normally perfect. But she needs more water work. We would have been setting her up for failure next week if we ran her. We are by no means abandoning our goal we are just going to hunt her all season and enjoy her and get back on the horse come spring. Hopefully one year from now I'll be blogging how we went to the UT test and kicked its ass and took its name.  As an aside, Cleo smelled so awful on the 3 hour ride home is was borderline unbearable. She smelled like the swamp thing. And even after a solid bath she still seems a tad bit stinky. Gross. But such is life with a hunting dog. So stayed tuned for hunting adventures and the silly sassy things she always does. Also if you get the chance check Cleo out on facebook. Her page is titled: Adventures of a German Shorthaired Pointer. On facebook we post extra pics and updates that don't always make the blog.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bird Dog Road Trip!!


This past weekend my girlfriend Jackie and I took an amazing bird dog road trip which spanned 3 states. Jackie has a handsome 17 month old German Shorthaired Pointer named Gunner. One month ago she sent Gunny Boy down to Springfield, West Virginia to stay with and be trained by Bruce Shaffer from Almost Heaven GSP's. After one month of training she planned to head south this weekend to see the progress Bruce has made with Gunner. She asked if I would be interested in tagging along and before you know it our Thelma and Louise weekend was in effect.

LCS Day - Vet Seminar

Our first stop on the road trip was LCS day. Lion Country Supply is a leading supplier of everything dog hunting related. Each year the company which is located in Port Matilda, Pennsylvania puts on an amazing dog extravaganza which includes great sales on items everyone into sporting dogs would need, free seminars by dog nutrionalists, knowledgeable veterinarians, training seminars by legends like Rick Smith, gunning performances by Team Benelli and one seriously delicious pig roast. And dogs are invited too. Epic bonus.

9 month old Chloe chilling out 

A highlight of the day was the Rick Smith seminar. He put on two seminars on Saturday - pointing breeds and then one on retrievers and flushing dogs. The only one I attended was the pointing breeds seminar and I have to say it was phenomenal. He talked about so many great things that I could do an entire blog post just on his seminar but he really focused on developing a good foundation. He also talked about and did a demonstration on introducing the e-collar.

The dog pictured above was a dog Rick picked out of the crowd. Within minutes the dog was coming with him, responding to him and walking at heel. Watching him work with that dog was like watching a maestro conducting an orchestra. Some of the big things that I took home from his seminar are the following: That when using an e-collar its not about shocking the dog, it's about cueing them. That the e-collar is not supposed to be used as a quick fix. The e-collar is just an extension of your training. He also emphasized that there is no place for being angry while training your dog and that we do not cure problems around birds. He also spoke quite a bit about consistency.

While at LCS Day we met up with Bruce Shaffer who drove Gunner up to see Jackie. What a happy reunion!

Thelma AKA Jackie Secan

While we were at LCS Day we watched Team Benelli USA put on shooting exhibitions. They were pretty neat. The only issue was every time they fired their guns Gunner would scream and whine as loud as he could. It was pretty entertaining. All he wanted was whatever they were shooting. After a while we had to get him out of there.

Lion Country Supply puts LCS Day on each year. I would recommend marking it on your calendar so you can attend next year. It was a great time.

After lunch we hit the road and headed down to the Maryland / West Virginia area to get situated at our hotel for the night. Bruce lead the way and then was nice enough to take us to some mountain top fields to run Gunner out. While we were there he went over some obedience stuff he has worked on so Jackie could see what they have been doing.

Bruce walking Gunny at heel

 Gunny in all his glory

We also got a chance to go to a local scenic vista. The view was great and it was super nice Bruce took us up to see it. 

Jackie and I then headed back to the hotel to drink some wine and have some dinner. I have to say that Gunny has a big personality. He's funny, loves bugs, is a huge cuddler and he is very sweet. He does not have a bone of aggression in his little spotted body. But last night while in our hotel room it was clear that someone was outside our door. They sounded so close that it felt like at any moment they would try to open our door. It was an uneasy few seconds. But Gunner was on it. Before you could blink he was at the door growling and barking and whoever was out there soon left. Gunny loves his girls. He then spent the next several hours bed hopping between Jackie and I.

First thing this morning Jackie, Gunner and I got up and drove 35 minutes to Springfield, West Virginia to meet up with Bruce. He took us to a farm just minutes from his house to get Gunny out on some birds.
I have to say that Bruce's 8 year old daughter Rain put it best this morning when she said, "We live in the country. Springfield IS the country." Boy is she correct. It's remote. Say good bye to your cell service and say hello to some beautiful land.

The farm where we trained. It comes complete with baby cows and barn kittens. 

Gunny did a great job today and I have to say that I was so happy to have the opportunity to watch him on some birds. Gunny runs pretty big, he has a great nose and there is no doubt he is full of desire. He screamed like a banshee the entire way to the field. It was also apparent all the work Bruce has done with him.

Gunny had some nice points today

Bruce working Gunner

Nice point Gun!

There was also two other pups that ran today. One was a 6 month old GSP named Sizzle and also 9 month old GSP named Madison. Both dogs were very nice looking dogs. Below are some pics!

Sizzle on the go!

Madison and Gunner

Madison getting some love from her daddy

It was a great weekend. Jackie and I had a blast but we headed home after a sad good bye to Gunner who is staying with Bruce for another month. In addition if anyone is looking for a trainer I would highly recommend contacting Bruce as you will be hard pressed to find a more knowledgeable trainer. Bruce works with all breeds and levels of dogs. Please contact him through his website at Almost Heaven GSP's.

Find us and follow us on facebook at Adventures of a German Shorthaired Pointer.

Monday, September 5, 2011

End of Summer Blues

Sunset off my parents deck in Cape May, NJ

Ahhh Labor Day weekend...its sadly the last weekend of summer, for those with kids its the signal of another long school year. For me and my family its the last long weekend every year we get to act like immature drunkin fools together down the Jersey Shore. We partake in this ridiculousness each year at my parents shore house in Cape May, NJ. We never miss it, always look forward to it and need it to cap off the beach season.

It's not just us humans who love the beach. Cleo looks forward to the different smells and salt water bliss. She spends each morning running down Higbee beach chasing balls and playing with other dogs. She spends most afternoons crashed out in a dog coma while we lounge on the beach drinking cocktails. At night she gets to run down Broadway beach stirring up a dust cloud. She loves Cape May every bit as much as us.

Beach Time Cleo

Cleo passed out on the screen porch with a ball still her mouth

My brother's Bassest Mr. Fisher taking a nap

Cleo also gets to go on jeep rides and enjoys drunkin wrestling time with her Uncle Matt (My Brother). 

She also gets to watch the ducks off our kayak dock.

And enjoy sunsets

The end of summer is sad. Luckily we get to come down here for weeks after most folks do. But for us the end of summer marks the beginning of a new hunting season. So soon enough we will be focused on pheasants, grouse and hopefully some woodcock. With the end of one season another begins. I know I feel thankful for the past summer and the time spent with family.