VJP 2010

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's Last Chance For Bunnies

This was the last weekend before the VJP test in Malta, Idaho, and I am still tripping out on the fact she needs to get on a live rabbit track. So Zac and I worked with Greta on Saturday and I decided to pick her up and try again on Sunday. Zac and I were able to work with her in the field, letting her search and working on field commands. We laid a drag and of course she nails it, bringing the rabbit to Zac's hand with pride. The spot we are using has a little water and Greta was interested in swimming and looking for ducks. I am so impressed with her natural hunting abilities, she is going to be quite the hunter! Hessian,Lola and Greta were able to run alot and get nice and tired so it ended up being a productive couple of hours. Fun as always,running dogs!
Sunday morning I woke with an overpowering need for a Drahthaar fix! It was supposed to be nice weather and ended up being cloudy and windy, so nothing fits better than a day in the field with some bearded dogs. Hessian and I loaded up and headed out to pick up Greta, then the 3 of us were on a mission for rabbits. Got out to a spot that we have gotten into rabbits before and began walking for how far or long I just didn't know. Finally an hour or so into our journey Hessian flushed up a cottontail! I commanded Hessian "down" and called Greta to me, took her over to where I saw the rabbit start and put her on the track. She could smell it good,because she was right on it! She followed the track well for the portion I had seen the rabbit run and kept her nose down and was very interested in the scent trail left behind. I called her and Hessian to me and we looked a little more. Sure enough about 20 minutes into it Hess flushes another, maybe the same, cottontail. Either way, I was stoked....I called Hessian and Greta to me, put Hessian in a down-stay and took Greta to the start of the track. Once again, with a snoot full, she was on it, winding through the exact brush I had pinpointed as the path the rabbit took. I followed her a bit because I was sure she would produce the rabbit if I could get down there fast enough to see. I never saw the rabbit again, but she was on it, and her desire was insane...at one point the check cord caught up in the brush and she was stuck, oh man she was pissed! She wanted to follow that scent and getting stuck was not ok with her, she fought and fought,by the time i got to her she had worked it loose and was on the trail again! As I have stated a few times before, her drive is amazing at 8 months old! Addiction satisfied.......for today.....but never cured!
We never ended up finding anymore rabbits, so we headed in. I feel better now knowing she was able to follow some fresh,live scent. Now all I can do is sit tight and wait till this coming weekend to watch the VJP and see her outcome. I will return with pics and a post for sure.
Be sure to check the Wild West Chapter site for current test results and keep checking back for more.

Greta's Visit

Greta (Bella) vom Red Rock boarded with us for about a week, and what an adventurous few days it was! Greta has a sweet disposition and has a full load of hunting abilities to offer already. She is full of drive and energy and just needs it to be focused in the right direction. I was willing and able to work with her on basic in house obedience and so we did. We worked on teaching and enforcing to her commands like; bed, down, sit, stay,come. She has a way of being a stubborn,hard headed, independent pooch who wants to be the center of attention. But with some firm,assertive,repetitive and well timed correction,she was becoming a well mannered girl in no time. Now to focus her hunting drive.....

In preparation for the VJP, which is a natural ability test, the idea is to awaken the natural instincts that this breed already has. Not really training, more like exposure and lots of it. However, the pup is being trained or conditioned as to what hunting commands it should understand as well as transferring the at home obedience to the field. It makes a handler more at ease and the test tasks smoother if they both have a general idea of what to do.
So we headed out to a favorite training and hunting spot to run through some basics. We checked up on Greta's search,gunfire soundness,pointing and tracking. She is listening better in the field and cooperating with game she finds, so no issues there really. Her tracking is nice, she understands the command to track and shows huge desire and will to find. She just will not give up and if she gets too turned around,she comes back to where she last had it and continues to find and follow the scent. The bummer is she has not been on any live rabbits, so we were hoping to flush up some during her search but it never happened. Nonetheless she is doing well on drags and I will get her on a rabbit or two before the test! Her search is growing, no issues with gunfire,and she pointed some chukar and waited for me to approach her, so other than the live rabbit track issue she is on the right path. I have one more weekend to work with her and then after that I will be spending the weekend in Malta,Idaho watching and waiting for the results.

Fun Run!

I had been boarding Jager for a short stay,the hounds were getting restless and it was a weekend so, we headed on out to let the dogs loose. Pretty much just having some fun this day, but always make time for some real dirty work too!
After the dogs had their fill of searching the place over we laid down some blood tracks to put each dog on. Lola got her chance first, blood is a new thing for her, we have not done alot with her yet and are working her into it more now. It is always neat to see the interest spark in a new dog. The way they desire to find whats at the end and how they get there. Each dog has its own style and the handler needs to watch his dog,feel his dog and learn to read his dog. It is not an easy thing to do or get accustomed to. Trying to follow a high drive dog through the trees and brush with a 30 foot lead dragging at your feet while watching your dog and the track ahead. Teaching the dog to not wander off track or not go too fast on the track and so so forth. From the beginning of the track it feels like a jumbled mess the first few times but, eventually it becomes natural to both dog and handler.

Lola did well on her track, slow but focused, self correcting when realizing she was off track. Desire to follow and find the prize at the end. She seems to understand the concept and works hard to reach the goal. Her desire to please and desire to hunt go hand in hand. You really cant ask for a better combination for a hunting companion. Slow and methodical with Zac in tow, we get to the end,Lola is lavished with praise and a little food reward and hangs out until we are ready to do the next dog. She is getting the hang of it indeed and we will be making each track longer,harder and older as she progresses. Good Girl!!

Hessian had his turn next on a long track with half the normal amount of blood. He is slowing down now and focusing on the track more. I am getting to know him better and read him better. The collar and lead I use seems to be helping me feel his movement when I am looking at the ground for sign of blood. I remember when I hardly had the chance to look for blood because he was pulling me so hard and fast I didn't stand a chance! We jumped a rabbit during the track and Hess was hot on its scent, I reminded him we were looking for blood and to my amazement he went back to looking for the blood. Back on track and successfully to the end. Good Boy!

Next up was Jager and boy is he ready! Always ready for action of any kind, Jager is like following a freight train through a crowded mall most the time. Taking out everything in his path to find the prize. But this was different.....he was curious,intrigued, and excited at the same time. He followed the track well, slow and trying to figure out what the new smell was and where it was leading. Amazing how different he was on blood, it just blows me away. It was a long track with not much blood and he did well. He lost focus a time or two and i would have to spark his interest in the track again. Once he would smell the blood again, with atta boys from me, he continued along to the end. It was nice to follow a slower dog through the trees and brush no doubt. Not fumbling with or tripping over the lead, and being able to actually see the blood was awesome. Now it's time to make the next track harder! Good Boy!!