Sage Monkey

Sage Monkey

Monday, May 21, 2012

Field and Water Work at Colliers Mills WMA

Gunner owned by Jackie Secan on point 

Yesterday Jimmy had a work event so I ventured down to the Colliers Mills WMA in New Jersey to get some work in with the pups. My girlfriend Jackie Secan also tagged along and brought her GSP Gunny to get some bird work in. He's that handsome guy on point in the picture above. I just love how expressive and intense his eyes are.

Luna on point at 13 weeks

13 week old Little Luna got to be the first dog out on birds. We planted two pigeons in traps and we cut Luna loose to let her work. I am not exaggerating when I say that Luna hit that bird from 15 feet away and then stayed steady through the flush. I was astounded. The group of people standing by watching were pretty impressed too. I think its a true testament to her breeding. I want to say that although Luna is just a young pup we are not by any means pushing her on birds. In fact she hasn't even seen a bird or any bird hunting related propaganda in two weeks. Before that she had seen two live birds and chewed on two dead ones. I think she has had just enough exposure to really open up her natural instincts. 

Cleo on point

Cleo had a so-so day in the field. She did well on her first two birds but then crept a bit on her last two and then wanted to keep dropping the bird right before she returned it to hand. We worked on anticipating her wanting to drop it and would yell fetch right before she dropped it so she would continue to hold it. It got harder as the training session went on as it started to get hot and she was clearly panting heavily. However, she ran nice and stayed steady without having to be whoaed or given any commands other then fetch when she would drop the bird. Below are some pics of Cleo and other dogs working in the field.

Bonnie styling with that ear flapped back

Bonnie retrieving to hand

Ruby the Vizsla

Another Cleo point

We also did some duck drags for the older dogs. Cleo had a great track which is normal for her but she did drop and readjust the duck before returning it to hand. We also did a little mini track for Luna with a dead chukar. She did great with it and happily scooped up the chukar and trotted around with it in her mouth. It was really cute to watch. 

Luna with her chukar

Cleo on return from her duck drag

Bonnie on the return

And Ruby!

We also got quite a bit of water work in after the field training which was great. Last year we didn't get Cleo in enough water so this has been a blessing having her exposed to so much of it. Cleo's crux last year in regards to the duck search was we couldn't get her to range out and search without a visual. When released she would go out about 12 feet into the water and then turn around and look at you like she wanted you to throw something for her. She wasn't making the connection to go out and search. Two weeks ago when we were at the Del Val NAVHDA training clinics we worked on getting her to range out and then be successful. Yesterday we placed a trap with a live duck in it out on an island across from where he would send Cleo out for the search.  He took Cleo out to the waters edge and sent her out and I'll be dammed but off she went! I was super happy. She clearly was searching and she went without a visual. After she searched for about 8 minutes we popped the trap and Cleo was after the duck. She found it and brought it back. Cleo took a break and then got to do the entire exercise again. The repetition was awesome. 

I also got to photograph one of Cleo's sisters I had never met before.  Cleo and Luna's mother and father have been bred 4 times to each other resulting in A, B, C & D litters. Yesterday there was a sister from each litter there as well as their dad Maximus. Cleo's big sister Amazing Grace was there, and then of course Beautiful Cleopatra and then Cleo's younger sister Clementine's Maggie who I had never met before and then little Luna who is Dance's in the moonlight. Pretty cool huh? I wish I had the sense of getting them all in one picture but I would have felt like tool asking everyone to pose the dogs together. It's Jim I never feel bad forcing to help me do silly things like that. Maybe another time. I also need to get some pics of that Sassy Grace one of these days. But below are a couple pics of Maggie.

Go Maggie Go!

I've really got to stop breaking the golden rule of blogging which is don't make your blog post so flippin long BUT so much happened its hard not too. I did leave out two important things...Number 1: Luna swam for the first time. It warmed my heart. Number 2: I need to bring suntan lotion with me moving forward as I have the worst sunburn farmers tan ever. It's going to take me the rest of the entire summer to even this out. Ugh. But it was a great training day. I left so impressed with little Lulu and I felt Cleo made progress. What could be better than that?

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

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The puppy chronicles: 12 Weeks Old and Looking for Trouble

The Calm before the storm

Luna has reached the 12 week mark and has been with us for 5 1/2 weeks. She is getting bolder by the day. Her confidence is growing and she's developing into one spunky little doggie. And we all know spunky puppies have a propensity for finding trouble.

Out on the prowl....

Cleo and Luna's yard adventures have officially grown from the "explore together" phase to the "let's see how much trouble we can get ourselves" into stage. For instance, earlier in the week Jim had the pups out to do their business and immediately they ran to the woodpile in the back to hunt for chipmunks. Upon finishing their hunting escapade Cleo army crawled under the shed through a small opening in a woodpile. And of course whatever big dog does, little dog does. Before Jim could do anything Luna was under the shed with Cleo. After about 6 or 7 minutes it became clear they had no intention of returning. Jim called Cleo with the come command and Cleo responding by giving him the paw. Jim eventually had to remove a large section of the woodpile and partially climb under and manually remove the two of them. There's nothing like dragging two spotted dogs out of a small space against their will, in your work clothes when you are now running late.  Lets just say Jim was not a happy camper.

Cleo with her head jammed into a hollow rail road tie used to stack wood back by the shed. She's hunting critters.

She sticks her dog snout in there and huffs as loud as she can

And when all else fails digs at it while screaming like a banshee.

Or like last night at 4:30am when I took Luna out to do her business and she darted under the deck refusing to come out. She would pop out in prairie dog fashion and then would immediately retreat upon me trying to catch her. I'm pretty sure she even laughed at me when I tried to gently call her out, walk the other direction or bribe her with treats. Sleep deprivation and barefeet on cold wet grass in the middle of the night will make anyone feel desperate. And during my attempts to lasso her Cleo took advantage of me and trotted off into the dark edges of our property probably to hunt rabbits. They double teamed me. Needless to say I joined rank with Jim and became an unhappy camper. Moral of this story....Spotted dogs at 4:30 in the morning are not to be trusted. Ever.

Warning: Do Not and I mean Do Not be fooled by this cuteness.

Luna has also turned into quite the digger. She needs constant supervision when near our mulch beds. I find myself counting the days till we put the fence up around the garden so I don't have to go through the fight of wiping mud from her paws. Because of course this puppy can't stand to have it's front feet touched. Wiping wet paws turns into an all outright melt down baby fit. My heart goes out to parents who have had their kids melt down in super markets and toys stores. Last week at the vets they cut her nails and she basically flipped out. You know its bad when the staff brings up three days later. We touch and play with her feet everyday to try and desensitize her with little to no effect. And of course I'm sure the feet thing will be even more fun when she's 55 pounds.

Someone is having entirely too much fun digging in the sand

Sandy dog snout

The silver lining to this troublesome cloud is that Luna is still the sweetest puppy ever. She loves to nap on your chest when sleeping on the couch. She would rather be laying snug as a bug in your lap when sitting outside as opposed to lounging on the deck. She loves to be touched and petted and coos loudly the entire time. All of this loviness makes it hard to stay mad at her and if anything it makes her and Cleo's antics all the more humorous. But I find myself lamenting a bit at the quick rate of her growth. She's getting big so fast that soon my puppy will be gone along with that scent of puppy breath. I find Jim and I holding onto that sentiment and doing our best to make every little puppy moment with her count good or troublesome.

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Weekend Training with the Del Val NAVHDA Chapter

George - Owned by Kathi Harrington

Jim and I ventured to NJ this weekend and spent two days training with the Del Val NAVHDA chapter at the Collier's Mill location. That specific location is known for its great amount and diversity of water. We had been to this location once before, two years ago for Cleo's Natural Ability Test. This year we joined the chapter knowing we need to get Cleo exposed to as much water as we can for her upcoming fall Utility Test. 

Diesel the Griff owned by Ron Granai

Kathi & George

Jim and I were pleased with the training grounds but the real gem of the Del Val chapter is the members. What a great group of people. The members who we trained with offered up great advice and seemed to have the patience of saints. 

Cleo on point

Saturday we ran Cleo in the field and did some duck search work. Her fieldwork was good. She stayed steady through the shot and fall without Jim saying a word to her. She retrieved to hand but not without stopping to readjust the bird. This has been her shortfall lately. Jim plans on spending quite a bit of time with her this week on force fetch. We need to get her over the hump with this. 

Her duck search went well on Saturday. She was out in the water for about 15 minutes as the duck she was pursuing tape loosened and it kept diving under the water. She wouldn't give up and eventually got it and brought it to shore. As she has done in the past she got to shore and dropped the duck before picking it back up and bringing it to Jim. Again....back to the table this week.

Lift off!

Sunday we trained with Bob G who owns Nobelle's Maximus, the sire to Cleo and Luna. It was awesome to get to watch their dad Max work birds. It was fun to see that Cleo works a field just like her old man. It was quite obvious that Max has an impressive nose and we watched him point a bird on one side of a hill with the quail hidden on the other side. I love that Max will wine and bark to you if you take too long to flush and shoot the bird. Now I know where Cleo gets her sassiness and propensity for back talk from.

Maximus on the go!

Maximus on Point

Bob's 16 month old female Blackthorn's Bonnie

Cleo did not do as well in the field on Sunday as she did on Saturday. In fact it was the worst she has looked in the field in a longtime. She kept creeping until she was just on top of the birds which is so unlike her. She did remain steady but again readjusted the birds before returning them to hand. We know what we need to work with her on and plan on doing that at home for the next two weeks.

Cleo on point

Bob working with Cleo

We did get little 11 week old Luna out and she had her very first point!! It was so exciting! See below!

We did get to do some cool water work as well on Sunday. Jim and Cleo got to work walking at heel right by the water which she did pretty good. We got a few tips and will be using those moving forward. She had no issues with remaining by the blind. We also got to practice the steadiness by the blind portion which went well until Cleo retrieved the duck and again dropped it before bringing it to Jim. Cleo tends to retrieve the duck and then swim to the closest spot to shore and then run back to Jim. The downside is that gives her more time to drop the duck. But considering it was her first time doing this exercise in water she didn't do to poorly. It all seems to be fixable issues.

Jim and Cleo

Cleo returning down a path

16 month old Blackthorn's Fiona doing the same exercise

She did get to do a beginner version of the duck search. A semi-restrained duck was launched from an island into the water and Cleo was sent to retrieve it. She loves looking for those ducks. She's so full of drive and desire. But as with most new things there is plenty of room for improvement and with some discipline and dedication I think we can get her to where we want her to be.

Kerry and Keith Lucas's 16 month old Blackthorn's Indy doing the same duck search as Cleo

Kerry Lucas and Indy

Kerry and Keith also own Cleo and Luna's older sister Nobelles Amazing Grace

There are so many more pictures and stories to tell but this blog post is already entirely too long. So overall it was a great time and we plan on heading back for some more training days this summer! Check back for updates and follow us on facebook at Adventure's of a German Shorthaired Pointer

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Puppy Update: One month in!

Looking back over the last 4 weeks life has changed so much....for the better of course. It's amazing the excitement a new puppy brings to your home as well as a severe lack of sleep. Jim and I may be picked up as Zombie extras for the A&E show The Walking Dead in lieu of its next season. God knows we've had enough practice since bringing home little Luna. Even though we seem to be chronically tired its worth every sleepy moment. Luna is an amazing puppy. She's sweet and silly and has quickly become Cleo's best friend and has won our hearts.

Since arriving Luna has doubled in size. At 11 weeks old she weighs just shy of 20 pounds. At this age Cleo was about 13 or 14 pounds. Her personality is really starting to shine. She is clearly a bush crapper. There will never be exposed field pooping for this pup. She wedges herself as far into bushes and trees as possible to do her business. She grunts the entire time she craps which is actually nice since at night you can hear her doing her thing under the need to check, you know she's good. Lol. And she coos....alot. She loves to sleep on Jim or mine's chest or buried deep into the crook of an arm. She sighs and coos every few minutes almost like a cat would purr. She's happy and I'm pretty sure she loves it here.

Napping on big sis

We've been working hard on the "come" command and she is picking it up well. She has been wearing a 20 foot lead when out in the yard, if we say "come" we only say it once and if she doesn't listen she gets a tug on the lead and comes running. Jim and I both know there is no point in yelling a command if we know she won't obey or we can't get her too. She's progressing along nicely. She knows the "kennel up" command and has now realized it kinda sucks. She knows she's getting put in her crate and tries to escape! She will sit for  treats. She waits to be let out of her crate and waits to be fed. And saying "Let's go do our business" sends her and Cleo charging for the back door. 

She does suffer from legit puppy A.D.D tho. For instance her and Cleo could be wrestling up a storm, in the middle of a bona fide fight and they will slam into the food bowl. Luna will stop and then be like...ohhhhh, time to eat. She forgets about playing and stuffs her face. Or if she munching on a bone and you start to rub her she melts into you like the bone never existed. Her short attention span has helped greatly with getting her mind off of our cats.

My baby....Cleo. Love her so much. 

Even though I am so proud of what Luna has learned over the past month the baby I'm most proud of is our Cleopatra. She has really taken to her new role. She loves Luna. She spends every second trying to find something to get her to play with. She lets Luna abuse her and chew on her. When we come home all she cares about is getting that puppy out of her crate. I'm really thankful she has responded well because had she not it would have made this experience a much different one.

Cleo holds bumpers, balls, antlers, bones, pig ears for the pup to chew

But really all Luna wants to do is chew Cleo's face. Screw the bumper..... 

Luna is obsessed with my socks and underwear. But I'm pleased to announce she eats Jim's shoes too. I know I shouldn't be happy about that but I am. No one tell Jim, Ok? Lol. Below are some more pics of Cleo and Luna in action.

Not much to say about this one...

Cleo's got a shadow!!

Cleo awaiting the next puppy sneak attack
 And here it comes!

Check back, this coming weekend we are training with the Del Val Chapter of NAVHDA to help get Cleo ready for her upcoming UT test!! And be sure to like us on facebook at: Adventures of a German Shorthaired Pointer