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The weather made conditions challenging in the field for sure. It was very warm and dry and it made tracking rabbits and pointing scent conditions a real deal breaker. It was a smaller outcome than last year but all in all a great turn out.
We arrived the opening day of the event and checked out the water and breed show areas. Handlers and spectators began to join and gather, as we had the "Sears" father and son team managing the Beer Gardens and we provided a catered BBQ dinner with all the fixins Old West Style! After dinner the handlers and judges meetings were underway, and a plan was discussed so everyone involved was on the same page. Once all the official business was taken care of we started a Silent Auction that included a Moose Quilt, Blood Tracking collars,Dog Bed, and a Arizona Quail Hunt! We also talked Brandt Hardy into being our Auctioneer for the Live Auction we held as well that evening that had some nice items including a Yeti Cooler, California Waterfowl Hunt,and a California Quail Hunt! We also announced the winner of the Raffle for the Browning Citori shotgun.....which was Blake Gibson who also ran a dog and did very well. The first evening wrapped up around dark, as all had a big weekend ahead.
The first day of testing opened early, with field groups and water/breed show groups meeting up and heading off to the appropriate locations. The temperatures were still high, very warm and dry. Scenting was no easy task for any dog,and even the water portion of the test had it's moments of defeat as well. I was helping around the breed show and water areas, so I was unable to see any of the field work,but there was no lack of stories as to the outcomes.
The second day of testing was the same agenda, however field and water groups switched and continued on. It was another very warm, dry day. Scenting conditions were tough and made it challenging for the dogs. It was a long day in the field work portion and handlers were returning back to the hotel late afternoon. The water work and breed show went smooth, hot and buggy but that's water work. After all were done with the days testing they returned to the hotel worn and exhausted and were finally able to relax that it was all over. The "Sears" boys were back again with the Beer Garden festivities and the parking lot was like a scene from the wild west movies minus the horses and guns! Handlers,Judges,Organizers,Spectators alike were all enjoying the fun and camaraderie of good ol Draht Folks.
The next morning and last day of the event was full of more activities. After breakfast there was a Seminar on breeding that had a good attendance and the Parade of Dogs was in the afternoon. It was a nice warm day, and the parade went great, all handlers were able to show off there dog and spectators were able to get a better look at each one. This same evening was the Awards Banquet also. The silent auction continued and all that attended were able to walk along and get a good look at the Prize Table. There was no absence of prizes at this table. We had a great collection from hunts,puppy's,dog houses,crates and kennels,blood tracking collars and leads, to rifles,safes and of course some Drahthaar Addiction Gear!
All the handlers were called up and given their awards and had a shot at picking a prize. It is nice to see the handlers being awarded and congratulated by the VDD board for all their hard work. Awards were given to some of the organizers including myself for service to the breed and organization. A very neat experience for something I enjoy doing very much!
I want to personally thank Matt and Zac for all their efforts on the Prize Table and collecting donations. Prizes were put together nicely and the table was full. Julie for her diligent work on the Armbruster program. There was alot involved in getting the ads to look right. Paul and his wife Diana did a fantastic job keeping the ball rolling and keeping order, Cal and Lee along with their spouses for their hard work on the meals and merchandise, and Lynn for keeping the test running smooth and without issues. It takes alot of know how to get things done like that. I know alot of people had their hands and time into this event and you are not forgotten. Thank You one and all for another great time and help along the way. Hope to see you all again next year!
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Some see these as hunting dogs and that is all. Others see a hunting partner, home companion and travel buddy. Who wants to deal with a dog that doesn't get along well with other people or dogs? Either hunting or hanging around with others, it makes life a lot less stressful with a well mannered, socialized dog. All breeds need to be socialized. Some take to it with ease, some need coaxing, others need to be taught how to socialize and play appropriately. Drahthaars are one of those breeds that could use the extra help in the social department. They are high drive hunters with superb prey instincts. They work hard and are good at it too. They know it! Them knowing this tends to make most think in Alpha terms. They want to be the top dog, and choose not to engage in play and socializing. It is our job as handlers and owners to nip this in the bud. We are the alpha, we are in charge of everything! Appropriate play is important, when socializing your dog with other dogs, it is always best to have the other dog owners around and watching every move every second. Those that are experienced with dogs know exactly what the signs are, here is a little info and some tips.
Understanding social play behavior,dominant and nervous interaction will help in all aspects of handling your dog. There are basically play games that canines engage in.
The Hunt: A chasing game usually, one dog is acting "prey" and the other acting "hunter".
Most commonly the dogs will trade roles again and again. Often they will pause, check on each others emotional energy and verify that they are still "playing". You will most likely witness play bowing,body checks, faces are relaxed,"smiling", eyes are normal and not dilated. The acting "prey" may fall to the ground, allow themselves to be rolled to the ground,grabbed by the neck and play wrestle or fight. All this is acceptable play behaviour unless the roles never switch, you can see one dog getting to serious, barking or growling, baring teeth,playing to rough or not pausing. Once the other dog is frightened it will take on the persona of real prey with the tail tucked, eyes wide, shaking, running fast,etc. All signs it is time to intervene.
Play Wrestling or Fighting: Mostly fake posturing,wrestling,mouthing and noises, canines will chew on each other,mumble growls, one dog may be standing above another,flashing teeth, making noise. All is well as long as the dogs inhibit their bites, and no one appears frightened or like they are trying to escape.When this becomes to serious or a dog gets frightened, it is time to intervene. Most dogs enjoy interaction, dogs that are at play will show strong signals of such.
Play bowing, stretching,role switching in hunt or fight play, taking turns,pausing to check emotions and mumble growls . Usually dogs that are in proper play mode are easily interrupted. Play is basically just practice hunting and fighting, it can escalate quickly,every dog has their limits, so be aware.
Some inappropriate things to watch for include,chasing and stalking with teeth bared,placing or attempting to place a head on the other dogs shoulders,pushing or slamming into another dog, attempting to or humping and mounting, constant barking at another dog,moving in a direct path to other dog.
Most socialization issues can be easier dealt with in the puppy stage. Puppies learn how to communicate by engaging in play with other dogs.They may not understand at first and all dogs play at different levels and use different signals. From this pup's learn what is truly threatening and what is not. They learn politeness,confidence and social skills by being like the other dogs.
It is completely unreasonable and unfair to think all dogs will get along, but with a little help and some supervision, it is possible to make a dog understand the dynamics of play and socially acceptable behavior.
Went out to the VJP in Malta, Idaho to check out all the new pups and meet some first time owners and new members. It was a dry,hot, windy 3 days but fun regardless how crazy that sounds. The rabbits were scarce and scenting conditions were not so great. But all the dogs and handlers did well with what they had to work with. Met some new members and of course all the regulars were there. Some new apprentice judges this round as well as my chance to jump in as an emergency judge on the last day. It was good to gather around again, talking about training,testing and cheering each other on. I wonder if other Dogmen have the fun we do!
Special interest this year was to see the Barenwald pups and how they have come along. This was the first litter for Scott Doxey of Barenwald and they look good. Also testing was some of Jon Davis' Red Rock pups, who looked good too. One who my attention was focused on was Bella or Greta vom Red Rock. I know some of us were worried about the tracking a little bit, and she had only been on about 6 birds but she knocked my socks off and left the test grounds with a 69. I was pleased and impressed at the same time. Always fun to see the crew and new faces, I put together a video of the test and the test results can be seen on the Wild West Chapter website. Also on the chapter site will be all the Chapter clothing that is available for purchase. Your purchase helps the chapter along for the Armbruster this year and shows your pride in the Wild West. Pick yours up soon along with your Drahthaar Addiction merchandise!!
Greta swimming out far...