New to the forum,,,thought I'd introduce myself

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New to the forum,,,thought I'd introduce myself

Postby mastercaster » Sat Apr 22, 2017 5:46 pm

Yesterday while on another website, someone mentioned this forum and I couldn't wait to sign up! I've fly fished my entire life and upland bird and deer hunted for a good number of those years, as well. I owned a couple of top notch brittany spaniel (mother/daughter) through the eighties and nineties but haven't owned a dog since.

My last brittany,,, had to put her down when she was 17 1/2,,,,ranks as the second saddest day of my life:

[url="http://s207.photobucket.com/user/mastercaster07/media/IMG_1163_zpsan7ta8af.jpg.html"]Image[/url]

I've always felt that if you own a pup/dog you better be prepared to put the time in to help that dog meet its full potential and that takes a tremendous amount of time to do it right. While I was working the last 25 years as a teacher, while heavily committed to other activities, spending time with family, and trying to pay off two properties, I knew I couldn't do the job of training a pup properly. Now I can because I'm retired,,,,, have been since October 31st. During the month of November I spent countless hours on the computer researching kennels and breeds of hunting dogs. It was the first thing to do on my "bucket list"!

I thought I had the breed I wanted all figured out,,,,, a brittany or possibly a chocolate lab, but then I started reading about the versatile breed of hunting dogs. I wanted a female dog no larger than fifty pounds; a dog that would point upland game, a dog that would retrieve water fowl, and one that would track game. She needed to fit nicely in the front of my 9' fly fishing pram and behave appropriately on the river bank while I spey fished. After extensive research, I decided on a wire-haired pointing griffon. Besides doing all of the above, I heard they also make excellent companions, which was also extremely important to me.

I was quite surprised to learn that there were only a handful of griff breeders in Canada and none in BC. Four of them are back east so after contacting them all I got my name on a mid February departure litter. I used up the last of my air miles to fly back to Montreal to pick her up. Named her Sako after my favourite firearms,,,,,had the name picked out ten years ago. LOL

She just turned four months old today. So far, I've mostly just been working on general obedience, socializing her, and exercising her twice a day in local parks. Unfortunately, because I live in the Vancouver area, I really don't have access to the open fields and forests until I start heading up to my cabin which will be real soon now that the snow has melted enough to get into it.

I feel I'm behind with her field training. Hopefully she'll be a quick study but I could sure use some advice here and there since I've been out of the game for quite some time. To be honest, I really didn't have to put much work into my brittanies,,,,, they were just good in the field at least in my eyes, probably from hunting them so much for so many years. I have worked on some fetching exercises around the house with Sako and a little with some pheasant wings but that's about it. I'd like to start working live birds into her program.

Before this becomes even more longer winded than I had intended, I leave this post with a question,,,,and a few photos. Where should a 4 month old puppy in its training in terms of obedience and field training,,,,, then I'll know exactly where I need to step it up??

Day one ,,,,picking her up in Montreal. Today she needs to listen to English!

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Got to tag along on pheasant hunt when she was three months old,,,she liked it depite the pouring rain the whole time we were out:

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Taken yesterday (4 months old). Enjoying one of the five days of sunshine we've had in the last 7 weeks!

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Cheers! This appears to be a good site where just about any question can be answered.
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Re: New to the forum,,,thought I'd introduce myself

Postby oldtimer » Sat Apr 22, 2017 10:33 pm

At 4 months I would work on socialization and exposure to as many different situations as possible. Take her to school sporting events around lots of different people, sounds, and situations. Encourage people to interact with the pup. Take the pup on as many romps in the field as possible, in as many different landscapes as possible. Do not worry about formal training yet. Teach "here" and bond with the pup as much as possible. Keep fetch to 3 to 4 throws at a time. Always leave her wa ting more.

Enjoy your puppy, and congrats on a new "fur child". :);)
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Re: New to the forum,,,thought I'd introduce myself

Postby JTracyII » Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:30 am

oldtimer wrote:At 4 months I would work on socialization and exposure to as many different situations as possible. Take her to school sporting events around lots of different people, sounds, and situations. Encourage people to interact with the pup. Take the pup on as many romps in the field as possible, in as many different landscapes as possible. Do not worry about formal training yet. Teach "here" and bond with the pup as much as possible. Keep fetch to 3 to 4 throws at a time. Always leave her wa ting more.

Enjoy your puppy, and congrats on a new "fur child". :);)


Good advice above. Welcome to the forum and good luck with your new dog.
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Re: New to the forum,,,thought I'd introduce myself

Postby oldtimer » Mon Apr 24, 2017 3:56 pm

A couple other things. Play with is paws, and trim them frequently. I even pretend to clip them about once a day. They will get so used to it,
and trimming nails will be easy and not a stressful situation.

If your pup plays too rough or bites, roll them on their back and stare into their eyes until they look away.
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Re: New to the forum,,,thought I'd introduce myself

Postby mastercaster » Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:10 pm

oldtimer wrote:A couple other things. Play with is paws, and trim them frequently. I even pretend to clip them about once a day. They will get so used to it,
and trimming nails will be easy and not a stressful situation.

If your pup plays too rough or bites, roll them on their back and stare into their eyes until they look away.


So far Sako takes great interest in everyone and every dog she meets on the trails we walk on. She really likes playing with out dogs and more times than not she's getting rolled because all the other dog and larger heavier pups have the edge. She doesn't shy away from it, though.

The first tim I trimmed her nails she was quite compliant. The next trim, not at all! The last couple trims we did at the vet when she was in getting her last couple sets of shots. Pretty much had to pin her to the table to do it,,,,,but she has no qualms what's so ever having her paws touched or cleaned. We've had 40+ days of rain in the last 50 days so every time she goes out she has to have them towelled off.

She's been good at just chewing on her toys. She hasn't wrecked a single thing except the first leash nylon leash she started out with because I would leave it on her when she was in the kennel I keep on the back seat of the truck. She's a pretty lucky dog in that I'm retired and have spent so much time with her the last two months. She's only been left at home three times in her kennel and only for a couple of hours. All the other time she goes with me. I'll walk her in the morning and then leave her in the truck which she doesn't mind at all while I go to the gym or grocery shop. I guess she figures I'll be back soon. And then in the afternoon, often at a off leash part of this one park we go to.

So far, in the house, her obedience is good,,,,,she fully understands the words: sit, down, wait, come (which I use instead of "here"), outside, paw, off (most of the time), kennel up, and on your bed. She heels quite well in the house but outside on the trails I have to loop the part of the slip loop around her muzzle to stay at my side, otherwise she likes to pull when she can. Outside with distractions, she's not bad but not as good as in the house where she knows she'll usually get a treat. She fetches her toys and a puppy bumper quite well when they're tossed. She definitely knows one of them is called "lion". LOL

Off leash outside, her recall is surprisingly good but it isn't 100% if she's really distracted.

I sure wish I had an opportunity to train her on some birds with some other v-dog handlers who might be fairly close by but as far as I know there's no club in the general area. I've asked about it on a couple of hunting forums but no luck so far. I'll b heading up to my cabin tomorrow to some fishing but I'll be walking her mostly off leash and there might be the odd grouse around,,,,too cold for quail or other upland birds where my cabin is.
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Re: New to the forum,,,thought I'd introduce myself

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:48 pm

I have a couple of griffs and have been a steelhead bum most of my adult life. You made a great choice in dog breeds so the rest is down hill.

I agree with Oldtimer - socialize her as much as possible. In the city, around other dogs, noisy places,etc. Of course always on lead. If she's chewing leads then use a chain so as to break the chew habit and later it won't be a problem. Problems occur when you can't trust the dog on a leather or rope lead because of chewing. Also, not sure I've ever clipped my dog's toenails but I endorse making sure you can examine the toes and the dog's teeth frequently because you will one day be needing to remove burrs, thorns, porcupine quills, etc. and a dog that's conditioned will be really helpful. So do it every day.

As far as exposure to birds goes wild ones are best but if yore set up for it then homing pigeons are next best (for training). Also, as far as training goes you need to be thinking about what books and what methods to follow.

Also, you should seriously think about getting with likeminded folks like in the NAVHDA chapters and at their tests. Look up on NAVHDA site for chapter near you; I know there's a test coming up south of Seattle later in May and there you will get to meet lots of dogs and owners.

Lastly, be cautious about doing too much too fast. Your dog is not a labrador and so will mature a lot slower. That said, your pup is old enough for some obedience training.

This forum is a good source for answering questions but it will not provide the details you will need as you go forward. Get books, DVDs, and acquainted with other folks and their dogs.

Welcome aboard!
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Re: New to the forum,,,thought I'd introduce myself

Postby bhennessy » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:46 am

X2 Bruce...great advice from all for the new Griff owner. My 2 cents are that even though my 2 1/2 yr old male isn't nearly as soft as some Griffs are (from what I read and hear), I still avoid heavy pressure because it simply isn't necessary 95% of the time. Force fetch aside, I'll dress him down verbally and show him what he did wrong/correct him if appropriate, and if he's screwed up in the house (rare any longer) early on I taught him "time out" is on the back stairs, where he'll go park himself when told and wait to be released. Combined with a verbal "bad dog" if necessary just crushes him...very different than my previous mutts and labs. Both he and my youngest daughter spent some time on the back stairs when they were younger...they were hard headed pair.

Agree with Bruce in that you should consider putting in a pigeon loft, assuming you can't find a regular group to train with that can provide birds. There is no substitute for wild birds, but we city dwellers need a reliable alternative for regular training off season. I live in New Orleans and there are no NAVHDA groups within 7 hours unfortunately, so I converted a shed in my side yard into a loft for the dirty-birds. I'm down to two hard core survivors (had as many as 15 at one point) and was going to sacrifice them to Bear's training as well, but we made the Stonyridge short list for a pup in early June from their V litter! Super excited and now need to locate another batch of winged homing rats. The neighborhood hawks that live in the church steeple a block away will be so excited!

I'm happy to give you my lessons learned on keeping pigeons, and there is lots of info on the web. Rule 1: unless he is a fellow bird dog guy, don't tell the guy who you are getting them from what you are going to use them for. Hard core pigeons guys can take their birds very seriously.
Last edited by bhennessy on Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New to the forum,,,thought I'd introduce myself

Postby bhennessy » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:51 am

double post
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Re: New to the forum,,,thought I'd introduce myself

Postby ANick » Thu May 04, 2017 8:27 am

The PNW NAVHDA chapter has been having training days a couple days a month this Spring, and there is a test coming up which could be a fine time to tag up.

If you can make the run, it is good exposure for the pup and a great bit of fun, contact and educational opportunity for your pups handler. :) It's surprising what opportunities can pop up on the edges of a training day. Obviously lots of bird smelling things. :)

One thing I'd add to the lists, be sure to give the pup some time to itself. IMO they need to be able to handle being by themselves without melting down. Otherwise, save the furniture, have some fun, take lots of pictures and grin lots. :)
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