Sage Monkey

Sage Monkey

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.

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