Sage Monkey

Sage Monkey

Monday, July 2, 2012

Duck Search Seminar Weekend!

Chase a Large Munsterlander owned by Don Kissling

This past weekend Jim and I drove 2 hours out past Harrisburg, PA to attend a special two day duck search seminar put on by Greg Fry (The owner of Deadwood Kennels) and hosted by the Keystone NAVHDA Chapter. Jim and I had first heard about this seminar last year but were unable to attend so we made a special point of signing up and putting it on our calendars earlier this year. Needless to say our expectations were not only met but greatly exceeded.

8 month old Wic, a GSP from Friedelsheim Kennels, owned by Kathy Krommes 

Greg has a great teaching style. He refuses to just give you an answer rather he makes you think about it, quizzing you along the way. He also gets you to participate not only in your own dogs journey but engage with all the other dogs who are there that day. Through that he arms you with a set of troubleshooting tools to help you not only in the present situation but he equips you to deal with what you might run into down the road. His advice and perspective was eye opening.

Greg out in the kayak

Poggi the worlds fastest moving Spinone owned by Deirdre Lehman

Our current situation happens to be getting our 2 1/2 year old GSP Cleo to go out and search without a visual. Once she's out there she's good to go. Cleo is full of drive, has little fear of thick cover and she almost never comes back without her bird. But getting her past the shore has been tough and frustrating for us. She gets to the water and waits for you to throw her something. Greg wanted to remove the human connection and build her drive to want to move out and search. He started off by throwing a duck (without Cleo seeing it) out into the lake and bringing her up on shore to see it and retrieve it. Once she brought it back he built upon that and each time made it more difficult as her confidence grew. With the aid of some additional drills and a few of Greg's techniques, by the end of day one Cleo was moving out and searching without a visual. Success!

Cleo returning with a duck

By day two Cleo was not only still searching without a visual but was successfully being resent. During the seminar she got to do 6 or 7 duck searches in multiple ponds with various kinds of open water and thick cover. It was a great learning experinece for all of us and the exposure Cleo got was outstanding. We will be heading down to NJ tomorrow to work in the water with Bob Gelder and I'm so excited to see us continue to build on this momentum.

Our 18 week old Luna at the waters edge

We also got to expose our 18 week old GSP Luna to duck searches as well. We had brought Luna along to the seminar because we could not leave her home crated for so long. Almost immeaditly Greg got her involved eventhough she was not originally signed up to participate. After the first day 18 week old Luna was swimming 100 feet after taped ducks and delivering them to hand. It was amazing to watch! On day two after Greg really built up her confidence he removed the tape from a rather worn out duck and sent Luna out after it. The look on her face was priceless the first time the duck dived under water but instead of quitting and returning to the shore the wheels started turning and she began a search. After a few minutes she found the duck. The exposure Luna recieved this weekend was more than we could have ever hoped for.

Yay!! Way to go Lulu!!

Luna totally eating lilly pad stems while doing her search. Why is this puppy always eating something?

We also got to meet an amazing group of people and watch all levels and breeds of dogs work. Below are some more pics of the dogs in action.

Deadwood's Junie owned by Bob Dewar

Brown spinone owned by Dan Devlin

Deadwood's Scout owned by Chuck Hershner

8 month old Wic owned by Kathy Krommes

Maggie owned by John Lehman

I would highely recommend attending one of Greg's duck search seminars. Even more so if you are struggling with some aspect of the search, not sure how to introduce your dog or pup to it, or if you are looking to learn some new techniques. Greg has lots of experience and is a wealth of knowledge. He has owned shorthairs since 1984, has been with NAVHDA for 19 years and has 4 Versatile Champions. He spent several years as a NAVHDA judge and was actually the first person to have mother/daughter VC shorthairs. He will and has taken his seminar on the road as he just recently did this past May for the Grand Canyon NAVHDA Chapter in Arizona. Greg can easily be contacted through facebook at Deadwood Kennels to set up a seminar for your local NAVHDA chapter. I would also recommend anyone in the Harrisburg/Gettysburg PA area to reach out to him for upland or versatile dog training. I also want to take a second and thank the Keystone NAVHDA chapter for sponsoring such  a cool seminar!

So overall it was a great weekend. When you go to a NAVHDA event like this your always guaranteed 3 things: 1. Your gonna meet an amazing group of people  2. Your gonna learn a lot of great info and 3. Your gonna get legit bad tan lines. Pretty sure theres no chance of me wearing a tank top for the rest of the summer. Be sure to check back and follow our progress!

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