This past few days I had the pleasure of fishing for bass with some very classy hunting dog training folks. I have a share in a houseboat on scenic Lake Powell and the fishing this time of year is just fabulous. We invited hall of fame bird dog expert Dave Walker to join us when we learned of his love of fishing. We stayed on the lake for three days until a wind storm and cold snap sent us packing a day early. It was a true joy to spend time with Dave and get to know him better. He is a true southern gentleman and an amazing teacher and dog trainer. If you ever get the chance to attend one of his seminars or buy his books or dog training DVDs don’t hesitate for one minute. Dave Walker is the real deal.
My good friend and training partner Chris Colt of Cove Mountain Kennels was the mastermind of this bass fishing getaway. He planned the menu and bought all the groceries for the trip and hosted Dave Walker at his home the night before we left. Chris is one of those rare dog trainers that can soak up information from experts like Dave and apply that new knowledge for instant results. Most of Dave’s tips and tricks went right over my head but I could see the light bulbs going on in Chris’s head.
Russ Peterson of Rooster Valley Pheasant Farm was our bass fishing guide and was kind enough to share some of his honey holes with us on Lake Powell. Russ has run a successful pheasant farm in central Utah for nearly 20 years now. A real accomplishment in a world where hunting preserves seem to come and go with the changing winds. Russ also trains and raises some nice german shorthairs. Thanks to all of these great guys for spending time with me. I had a blast. Let’s do it again next year.
Ace had an allergic reaction to something this week and I had to take him to the vet for treatment. His poor little snout was swollen up and he was in obvious discomfort. The Vet gave hime a couple of shots and some antibiotics to fight against infection. He was pretty miserable but by the next morning he seemed as good as new. I have no idea what caused the reaction but the Vet suspected something like a spider bite. You can see where it started oozing after he scratched and pawed at it all morning. You never know what kind of trouble puppies are gonna get into.
My son Travis just recently turned nine years old and is starting to show an interest in hunting. He has become more and more involved in helping train our dogs and shooting has become a big part of that training process. Today my friend custom loaded a few 16 gauge shells with not much more than a primer so the boys could try shooting a shotgun. Since they changed the minimum age for youth hunters in the state of Utah I have been trying to decide what is the right age to sign my son up for Hunters Safety classes. Personally, I think 12 is a good age limit and will use that age as a goal for Travis to reach before he hunts. There will be plenty of opportunities between now and then for me to begin teaching him about gun safety and hunting ethics. I look forward to the day when we can hunt side-by-side but first and foremost will be teaching him a respect for wildlife and firearms.
Through the hot summer months my dogs didn’t have much of an appetite so I only fed them once daily. Since the weather started to cool off a few weeks ago it seems they are suddenly interested in food. This week I started feeding the dogs twice daily again as they try to bulk-up for the winter. With Fall and Winter comes the hunting seasons and a lot more action. So, between burning energy to stay warm at night and burning more energy just flat out working hard they truly need more food this time of year. Specifically, they need more fats and proteins to get them through it all. I have fed my dogs Black Gold Performance Blend dog food since they were pups and I wouldn’t change brands for anything. Feeding the right dog food makes it easy for me to help my dogs stay healthy and strong for the bird hunting season. Another thing I do is sneak them a couple of raw eggs from our laying hens a couple times a week. This adds some good protein to their diet and also is a fun treat that they look forward to.
Today we launched our new website called DogBreederSearch.com. It is largely based on the same framework and code as our very successul gun dog breeder directory. We received quite a few requests from those raising hunting dogs that also happened to raise other popular dog breeds for pets. We purchased the domain name more than a year ago and finally got around to launching the new site this week. We have already got quite a few new dog kennels added to the site through our free kennel listings. We hope to get the word out on this new site as the pet industry seems to be very strong, especially heading into the holiday season. Please take a minute and look at all the dogs and puppies for sale.
The parts came in today for my new Polaris Ranger XP. I had ordered the front and rear windshields as well as the molded plastic roof. I chose to buy the lock-n-ride Polaris brand accessories and was very pleased with the fit and finish. Installation was pretty easy and took less than an hour to install all three parts. It went especially smooth since my good friend John helped me, he has the same accessories on his ranger. The kids were very excited about the roof to keep the rain out. The tool racks were my favorite accessory. For only $349 I got the lock-n-ride accessory mount for the bed rails, the garden tools rack and the lockable weed wacker rack. The tool rack comes off very easily by simply removing two clips. Since I will be using my Ranger for a variety of things I am quite pleased with the versatility that all the accessories provide. Two thumbs way up for the Polaris Ranger and the hundreds of aftermarket parts available for it.
Kia is a german shorthaired pointer owned by our next door neighbors. She is great with my kids and approaches them cautiously and then sits patiently by their side awaiting the reward. My son Max loves Kia and calls her puppy. Actually every dog is named puppy in Max’s world. His world consists of “Shoes” which means outside, “Choo-Choo” his favorite toy, “Vroom-Vroom” is anything with wheels and “Puppy” is anything with fur. Out of my 5 children Max loves dogs the most. He is absolutley fearless and thinks every dog wants to lick his face even though he has been tumbled many times.
Over the weekend our new gun dog breeder website reached the 200 kennels mark and kept on climbing. We are excited about this project since it is a labor of love for us. My hunting buddy and I thought it would be great to build a web directory that helps bring buyers and gun dog breeders together. As of this moment we have 234 gun dog kennels listed in 44 US states. We recently added the Canadian provinces to our list so that we can now accept kennels from our friends to the North. I didn’t realize how many gun dog kennels there are in Canada.
Users can search for gun dog kennels by State or by Dog Breed. Currently the top gun dog breed on our site is the German Shorthaired Pointer with more than 140 GSP kennels listed. Second is hunting labs and retrievers with nearly 40 kennels listed followed by Brittany breeders with almost 30 kennels listed. Our classified ads are getting well used also with 44 current ads announcing puppies for sale, started dogs and finished dogs for sale.
GunDogBreeders.com is really starting to take off as more people hear about it. Over this past weekend alone we received 30 new gun dog kennel submissions. We are considering applying the same format and web technology to a much larger site for all dog breeds called Dog Breeder Search.
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.
I think I found the german shorthair puppy I was searching for. When I started searching I wasn’t sure if I could find the perfect german shorthair. German shorthairs in general are very high spirited and can sometimes be hard to train. My personality and feelings tell me that a softer more biddable dog would suit me much better than a firecracker. The trouble is that many breeders intentionally breed away from the more timid or easy-going shorthairs. Everyone wants to have a field trial champion dog. If I have to ride a horse to keep up with my dog, then that’s not the dog for me. I was looking for a mild mannered family dog that could go foot-hunting with me for local pheasant and chukars. The search ended this week when I found Abby in Denver, Colorado.
Abby is the name that the breeder has given and I think I will keep it as a call name. Female puppy names are hard for me to decide on, so buying a dog that already has a name is a plus. One of the things you do after buying a puppy is to fill out the AKC registration papers. Typically the official registered AKC name will be longer and reflect the dogs parents or the kennel or breeder name. In Abby’s case the breeder is a first-time breeder and both parents are somewhat unproven in the field. So I have the choice of naming Abby after her sire or dam, or simply starting from scratch with my own clever name. I have decided to include Annabella, the name of my town into the names of my dogs. I could do something clever with A’s like Annabella’s Adorable Abigail or something like Bell’s Annabella Abigail. I have plenty of time to think about it. Any suggestions?