Sage Monkey

Sage Monkey

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Doggie Daylight Saving Blues

There is a saying that goes, "spring forward, fall back into depression," and it references the winter blues brought on by daylight savings. With shorter days and less sunlight some people get affected by a disorder known as SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder. I mean lets be honest, for most of us going to work in the morning and coming home in the dark during the winter is a drag. I give it a big old Boo Hiss Boo!  But I'm pretty sure Cleo does too.

This is Cleo's "whatever...I'm just gonna flop down and sigh extra loud repeatedly 
till you entertain me" tantrum

Cleo gets legit bummed when daylight savings starts. By the time I get home its dark every night so there is no running through the park with me, no playing fetch after work, no swimming in local ponds, no after work doggie park play dates or farm field adventures. It's dark and I'm not loosing her or putting her in position to get in trouble when I can't adequately see her. All this minimized nightly activity results in lots of loud sighing and sassy back talk on her part.

Woo Woo Woof!! I want to do something fun!

So you could imagine my excitement last week while at Target shopping, when I found light up Sky Balls. Sky Balls are Cleo's favorite kind of balls. They are this crazy compressed plastic that I can wail through the backyard with a wiffleball bat. Their slippery so Cleo has the toughest time holding onto them which inadvertently makes playing fetch ten thousand times more fun. So apparently, to my delight, Sky Balls can be bought with bounce activated lights. Which means lots of playing fetch in the dark. Check out my crude I-Phone video below.

Lets just say Ms. Sassy pants is a very happy camper to be back to playing fetch after work with me. And before people get all worried about there being light up parts in her ball, she's never left unattended with it to chew it apart. And she plays with Maui balls all the time and never chews through them. But thats not to say that some dogs won't so don't go leaving your dog unattended to eat light up parts or anything.

Here's a pic of the light up ball when its not lit up. I bought her a blue one too because she's spoiled. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday Pheasant Hunt!

The heck with shopping on black friday! This year I handed over my coupons and instead hit the field with Jimmy for some pheasants. We had such a good time and Cleo hunted like a machine.

We hit the field early. Everything was still frosted over and the sun came in on a hard angle. It was refreshing and beautiful. It never ceases to amaze me how breathtaking it can be hunting. The abundance of life in the fields, the way the dog works, how crisp the air is, it makes me thankful to be there to witness it and to be a part of it. People who hate hunting clearly have never experienced it before.

Cleo had a phenomenal day. She found and pointed 12 pheasants. She stayed steady on every shot but one. She retrieved all 8 birds we shot and delivered them to hand. She didn't chase any birds, even when they wild flushed or ran. She was a beast and she made it fun. Watching her work was an absolute joy.

Cleo on point

It took us forever to find the hen Cleo was pointing in the picture above. You would have thought it was wearing an invisibility cloak. Cleo stayed steady while both Jim and I searched for it. We tried to ease her in closer to help us but she would take two steps and look at us like she wanted to say, "Really? For the love of god its right there. Do you want me to flush and shoot it for you too??"

Same point, different angle

Eventually we found it, flushed it, shot it and Cleo happily brought it back. I think she was a little annoyed with us that it took so long.

It was pretty chilly this morning. After a few birds Cleo really started to put off some heat. Below is a picture of her on point. It's hard to see it in the first picture so I re-adjusted my position and you'll see in the second pic just how much steam was pouring off of her.

Here are a few more pics:

Cleo on point

Another nice point

More points!

Our bounty

We couldn't get Cleo to look at the camera. All she wanted was to go back into the field.

This was the first of many hunts this season! Be sure to check Cleo out on her facebook page: Adventures of a German Shorthaired Pointer!

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's that time again.....

Cleo is about 10 days into her 3rd heat cycle. She first came into heat when she was 1 year old and then again when she was 18 months. She is now 26 months old. This time it took about 8 months for her to come into season again. Apparently its pretty normal for some inconsistency. Her breeder Bob Corsaro from Nobelles Kennel and our vet reassured me that I had nothing to worry about when the 6 month mark came and went. 

I wrote a blog post the last time she came into season discussing how we handle her bleeding. You can read that post here. I'll give you a hint it has something to do with those fashonista camo boy shorts you see her rocking in the picture above. Cleo is a legit trendsetter. This time around I thought I would blog about some of the other aspects of her heat cycle. I thought it would be worth while since I often see that people inquiring about their dogs heat cycle lands them here on my blog.

I don't want to sound like a cheese poof and say Cleo gets PMS but she absolutley shows signs that she is ready to go into heat. The first sign she shows is being a little needy. Cleo is a bonafide snuggle bug but she is also pretty independent. She doesn't demand attention all the time. She's fine to go and chew her toys and do her thing but right before and during her heat cycle she becomes a velcro dog. She constantly wants to sit on my lap and really thrives off of being held. She also tends to have a little less energy in the first week or so. Which I won't complain about! It's the best time for us to take advantage of it and sleep in. Lady Cleopatra also starts to lick herself alot. Her vulva also swells considerably. After all these signs its usually a few days to a week that she starts to bleed.

I've seen people question a female hunting dogs capabilities while in heat. It's been my experience with our dog that it doesn't make that much of a difference. Cleo has desire. I'm pretty sure you could cut her leg off and she will still continue to hunt. It's what she lives for and its what she was bred for.  The pictures above were taking on a hunt when she was in heat. She had a great day and we shot a bunch of pheasants over her.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to make it sound like having a dog in heat is all sunshine and unicorns. It's a huge responsibility. Cleo is never left alone while in heat. She doesn't get any playdates, she can't be left outside unattended, she can't go to doggie daycare, she can't run in AKC hunt tests while in heat, the list goes on and on. It can be a drag. But its by no means unmanageable and it only lasts for about 3 weeks give or take.

I do have to say that if you don't plan on ever breeding your dog you should get your dog fixed. The last thing anyone wants to deal with is an unplanned dog pregnancy. Keep in mind there are a ton of rescues and shelters over flowing with pups needing homes. Do yourself a favor and educate yourself. And when in doubt get your pup fixed!

If your curious why we haven't gotten Cleo fixed yet its because we haven't decided yet if we would ever want to breed her. Right now we are working on completing the testing goals we have set for her. But we take the responsibility aspect of having an intact dog super serious and we take the proper precautions so she is never in the position to have an unwanted pregnancy. But I can tell you if we ever did decide to breed her we would think long and hard about it. It would be planned and we would absolutley consult the guidance of her breeder Bob Corsaro. We would also be very considerate of who her pups would be placed with. Anything less would be irresponsible. But thats so far off and not something we are really considering at the moment. Right now all I care about is loving her and hunting her. She's an awesome dog and an even better best friend.

If you get time check Cleo out on facebook. She has her own page under the title: Adventures of a German Shorthaired Pointer.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

North Dakota Hunting Trip with Schulhaus Kennel

Matt Smith with Nobelles Blues De Bertha SH - Call name Jazz
This picture was taken when she completed her AKC Senior Hunt Title

Jazz (pictured above) is Cleo's sister and littermate. She is owned by Matt Smith of Schulhaus Kennel in Woodstock, Virginia. A couple of days ago on facebook I saw Matt had posted some pictures from his recent hunting trip in North Dakota. I asked him if he would be willing to share a little bit about himself, his dogs and his trip with me so I could pass it along in a blog post. I was elated when he agreed. Below are some pictures from his trip and little about his life hunting GSP's.

Belle & Aldo with two sharptails

"My name is Matt Smith and I have owned and hunted German Shorthaired Pointers since 1994. I became involved with NAVHDA in 2004 with the purchase of Nobelles Schulhaus Belle. It was a requirement of the breeder Bob Corsaro of Nobelles Kennel, that I test Belle in a NAVHDA Natural Ability Test. It was there that I was introduced to this great organization and became a member of the Potamac NAVHDA Chapter. I was so excited after attending the first Potomac Chapters training day to meet so many people with the same interest and passion for GSP's and upland hunting as me. Through NAVHDA I became a better trainer and my dog's better hunters and companions.

Jazz, Aldo, Moon and Belle after their first stop in North Dakota

I bred Belle in 2008 and started Schulhaus Kennel. Our first litter was a home run and received a NAVHDA Natural Ability Breeder's Award. Out of this breeding we kept a male named Aldo. He has turned out to be our all time favorite GSP. My friends and I have been doing at least one hunting trip out of state for the last 12 years. I look forward to these trips all year long. This year I spent two weeks in North Dakota. This was our 6th year in a row to North Dakota. 

Moon backing Jazz, Cajun and Belle with friend Wade going in for the shot

North Dakota by far is our favorite destination. The state is made for bird dogs. We love it so much for its remote open spaces, public access, the variety of bird and most importantly the cover allows you to constantly see the dogs hunting work. We hunt pheasant, sharptail, grouse, hungarian partridge and a huge variety of water fowl in North Dakota.

Jazz pointing a covey of sharptail grouse

Belle, Jazz, Aldo and Moon on point with friend Wade Dellinger going in for the shot. This is Moon's first hunt in North Dakota. She is 5 months old.

I currently own 4 dogs and took them all to North Dakota this year; Belle (7), Aldo (3), Jazz (2) and Moon (5 months old). I was also excited to take 3 generations, Belle (Moon's grandmother) and Aldo (Moon's father). My friend Wade Dellinger also took Cajun (Moon's grandfather) and Blaze (Moon's Mother). I was unsure of taking Moon on such a big trip at such an early age. However, my fears were put to rest 2 minutes into our first hunt when she and Jazz went on point over a rooster which I shot.

Moon after her first day in North Dakota

 I was also impressed with how well she traveled. She rode in the back seat of the truck rather than the back with the older dogs. I wanted to be able to hear her if she started to whine and needed out. The trip out and back she never made a sound. 

Jazz backing Moon who was backing Belle

A heartbreaker of a tombstone

The main hazards for the dogs in North Dakota are barbed wire fence, porcupines, and skunks. Be sure your first aid kit is stocked for these encounters.

Mike pushing a North Dakota tumbleweed out of the road 

Moon and Jazz with a limit of pheasants

Matt, Aldo, Belle, Jazz and Mike on their last day in North Dakota

We had great weather and a great time on our North Dakota hunting trip and I am already thinking about next year. I encourage GSP owners to pick a destination and plan a hunting trip to experience your dog(s) doing what they were bred to do. "

Moon & Matt, Cajun & Wade, Eden & Bobby Boyce, Jazz & Mike

I can say personally its a dream of mine and Jim's to get Cleo out to the midwest on a hunt like this. We really had hoped to go this year but decided to selfishly run off and spend 10 days hiking through Canyonlands, Arches, and  Mesa Verde National Park instead. Hopefully next year we will get to experience some of the things Matt got to do this year with his pack of GSP's. I'd also like to say that Moon is quite the cutie! By now we all know I'm partial to those black and roan GSP's. And I love the fact that she's still pint size. Makes me that much more excited for when get our second Nobelles GSP in the next couple of months. I also want to thank Matt for taking the time to share his story and hunt with me. Check out his website here for additional info and pictures. And stayed tuned....hopefully I'll get some pics of Cleo and her sister Jazz this coming spring while Jazz finishes off her Master AKC title and Cleo her Seniors.  

To read about Cleo and Jazz's sister Kona click here.