Yesterday afternoon we played hookie from work and took the ATVs up the mountain to deep lake. I took Jake and Rocky along to give them some free time to romp and to see how they feel about water. Once they figured out that those fishing poles were for catching fish they stuck around to see the action. Every time we reeled in another trout the dogs would go crazy and try to catch the fish. We were able to tease them into the deeper water while the fish was still attached to the line. The water was a bit chilly since this is a high mountain spring-fed lake. Rocky was flat-out swimming trying to catch the fish while Jake would only go up to his belly. It was a great way to introduce the pups to water in a low pressure situation. The key is that they went into the water of their own choosing and they figured out that water is pretty fun stuff.
Jake will turn one year old in the next few weeks, he was whelped September 20th, 2005. I am pleased with his overall attitude and temperment. The past month or so he has chilled out quite a bit and is beginning to get serious about training. September 1st marks the beginning of our pheasant preserves legal hunting season. Tomorrow I aim to take Jake out and chase some pheasants to see if he has any interest. If he looks good I may shoot a bird or two over him. If nothing else, I will make sure that Jake has a good time and gets excited about finding birds. The alfalfa fields are perfect cover right now and should make good training grounds.
Frustrated by the lack of selection for dog leads and leashes, I decided it was eaiser and cheaper to just build my own. For less than $10.00 I was able to build a rock-solid ten foot long dog training lead. All of the materials are readily available at Wal-mart or your local hardware store. The swivel eye bolt snap hook was a couple bucks, the twine was under 3 dollars for a hundred foot spool and the 1/2 inch rope was 5 bucks. You can use just about any diameter rope you choose. I had an odd-length scrap of 3/8″ utility line that I bought at a sporting goods retailer.
The trick is wrapping the twine extremely tight to keep the ends secure. One loop secures the snap hook and a loop on the opposite end creates a solid handle. I chose to make mine about 10 feet long for working with my puppies in yard training. But, you can make any length for the training purposes you have in mind. The local pet stores usually only have 4-6 foot leashes and the sporting goods stores have 30 foot training leads but nothing in betweeen. I’ll see how it hold up overtime, but it seems to as sturdy or even better than the 30 footer I bought at Cabelas. Most rock-climbing or rappeling shops will sell scrap lengths of solid utility line that’s perfect for building a custom dog training lead.
Who can turn down a FREE AKC german shorthair puppy with a solid lineage. I couldn’t. Now I have three german shorthair puppies to train and take care of. My neighbor Russ Peterson of Rooster Valley Pheasants found himself with two litters of puppies when he meant to have only one. With six extra puppies under foot he needed some help and my little boy Travis just fell in love with this little male shorthair pup. The pup is an all liver male that’s about 9 weeks old. His dam is out of FC AFC ANE UND Evolutions Sparkler. You can check out the dam’s full pedigree here. I will get the papers on the sire later this week, but he is hunting machine on a pheasant preserve.
We have been working on our training with our now three german shorthair puppies, Jake is 11 months old, Abby is 4 months old, and now Rocky who is 2 months old. With a wide range in ages and skill levels it makes dog training quite challenging. But, I don’t know of a better way of learing to train dogs than to get a puppy and start training. My 8 year old son Travis has been quite a big help and is learning to teach the dogs basic obedience with the use of treats and simple commands. Right now we are working on Here, Kennel, Bring it and Sit. Rocky is the best at playing fetch and never seems to tire of the game. Jake seems to have the best nose and Abby is the most birdy of them all. It will be an exciting and busy year for me and the dogs.
After reading several Dog Training books I have identified this gem by Bill Tarrant as my very favorite. Besides the priceless knowledge and dog training experience that Bill brings to the subject, his easy writing style was a joy to read. The main thing that rang true with me was his humane methods and the common sense training with an emphasis on having fun with the pup. In a day and age of “train your dog in one night” schemes and speed training videos it’s not hard to get off on the wrong path. Bill Tarrant keeps you well-grounded and teaches you the basics about pack order and the natural instincts of your dog. By building on your dogs natural abilities Bill shows you how to bring a dog along without whips and shock collars.
I am still training my German Shorthair pups and a finished dog seems like a far off dream, but Bill’s methods have gotten me well on my way to a brag quality dog. One of my favorite games to play with my pups is the scent training drills where I drag a small peice of hotdog across the grass and teach the pup to use his nose to find the treat. There are many more great training drills in this bird dog training classic by Bill Tarrant. You can find it at most major bookstores or you can order it online at Amazon.com like I did for $19.95 with FREE shipping.
I just purchased this one from Petco.com for my new german shorthair puppy Abby. It is important to have a good crate for potty training and to give your dog a place where he can get away from it all. There are literally hundreds of dog crates and portable kennels to choose from. Since I live in a small town I prefer to do my shopping for pet supplies online. I usually end up at Petco.com because of their great prices. Right now they are offering a 10% Off Coupon on all internet orders. If you live in a rural town like I do you can also try the local IFA or Tractor Supply Co. which often have a good selection of pet supplies.
It was such a beautiful day outside I couldn’t possibly be expected to work all day long in a stuffy office. We decided that a half day was good enough and we loaded up the ATV’s and headed for the mountains. In less than an hour we were fishing on the shores of a pristine high mountain lake. Abby was excited to get out of the yard too after a few rough nights getting used to her new home. We did end up catching a few trout and had a relaxing afternoon communing with nature.
I wasn’t paying close attention to Abby, but she was very much enjoying the water. She waded in to her belly and began drinking and fishing for sticks. She brought several sticks back to me but each time she attempted to get larger and larger sticks. Until she tried for this monster log. She had her teeth around and was growling and pulling on it. I couldn’t stop laughing at her. She finally gave up and came back to me. I was very pleased that she had no reservations about getting into the water.
Today I spent 10 hours on the road driving to pick up Abby from her previous owners. We ended up meeting in Rifle, Colorado in a Wal-mart parking lot to finalize the deal. Abby did well on the ride home and we only had to stop twice for potty breaks. Abby is about 14 weeks old now and is really looking great. She seems to have a good personality and quite a bit of spunk. She comes when called and kennels up just fine.
My kids were excited to meet Abby when we finally arrived home. I was pleased with her easy-going nature around the kids as she seemed to be gentle. Abby was not too excited to meet Jake. At first sight of him she howled and ran away even though Jake was tied up. After a little coaxing Abby warmed up to Jake and got close enough for a quick smell. Hopefully over the coming days they will become friends.