Trouble with track of the duck, both testing and hunting

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Trouble with track of the duck, both testing and hunting

Postby Just-a-bird-hunter » Mon Jul 19, 2021 12:12 pm

I have a 3 + year old Cesky Fousek that is having trouble tracking the duck for the test. The dog has a good nose, and is a good land tracker but is falling down in this aspect, both in testing and in past actual duck hunting, when sending him on duck cripples. I secured a couple of ducks, kept him out of sight, then did the usual drill: pull some breast feathers, pull a few primaries so they couldn't fly, and then sent him. While he seemed to do better, I noticed real hesitation for establishing a track: I watched him sniff the scent trail, but not follow his nose; instead of swimming after the scent trail, he went into shallow water and eventually found the duck. At best, it might have been scored a "2". In his Natural Ability test with the CFNA, we received a Prize III, as he had difficulty in the land track, but a Prize I in NAVHDA natural ability 3 months later and no tracking problems. He seems to be a slow developer (as was his Dam). As I said, he has a fair amount of waterfowl exposure and I am wondering if he is just going to be a dud in this area; this seems odd to me? Anyone out there in Versatile Land ever have a dog who was a standout land tracker and just could not transfer that skill in the water? I have several dogs, many with noses not as good as his, and they could track ducks. Is this a maturity thing? A confidence thing? One of those damn things?
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Re: Trouble with track of the duck, both testing and hunting

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Mon Jul 19, 2021 9:50 pm

I'd look at two things: does he like and swim well in water?
Has he been hurt by a duck and not like them.
It is likely one of those two things.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: Trouble with track of the duck, both testing and hunting

Postby Just-a-bird-hunter » Tue Jul 20, 2021 7:11 am

Gonehuntin',

He swims well AFTER he gets the duck in his mouth. He has always been a "weird" swimmer in that he does not "line out" and really reach out with his stride until he makes contact with the duck or dummy. He seems to absolutely love the retrieving drills with the dummy launcher, though. As for being hurt by a duck: no, I don't think so. He shows a lot of drive going after the ducks ONCE he's made contact with said duck. The duck track part of the test is usually in fairly shallow water, more akin to slough than deep water. There is a deep water retrieve part of test; no problem with that task whatsoever.
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Re: Trouble with track of the duck, both testing and hunting

Postby orhunter » Tue Jul 20, 2021 8:27 am

Wild guess here. The land track is easy when compared to water and he just may be not willing to work very hard at acquiring scent in the water portion. Take away the land retrieves (you know he can do it) so the only way he's going to get a duck is to work harder in the water.
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Re: Trouble with track of the duck, both testing and hunting

Postby ryanr » Wed Jul 21, 2021 7:41 pm

Where are you releasing the ducks for him to pickup scent? If you're not starting the water track pretty much right from where you send him, maybe try that a few times and build success. Also how many good duck chases has he gotten in? In my limited experience the more a dog is fired up to find ducks the more automatic they become. I do that by putting out a bunch of live ducks and they learn quick that all they gotta do is swim out and they're going to find a duck.
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Re: Trouble with track of the duck, both testing and hunting

Postby Just-a-bird-hunter » Wed Jul 21, 2021 8:13 pm

ryanr,

I am pretty much doing the release just as I have seen it done in the CFNA and NAVDHA tests: pull some breast feathers and primaries from the duck at the shore/water interface and then release the duck. As for duck chases he's been in more than a few, about 6 in training and about 4 in actual duck hunting.
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Re: Trouble with track of the duck, both testing and hunting

Postby Just-a-bird-hunter » Thu Jul 22, 2021 10:46 am

I suppose what I am asking has anyone ever experienced this before? Is seems odd to me that any dog that obviously has a nose can't or wont track a duck across water. Is it a lack of desire or some sort of anxiety on his part? It is as if his nose shorts-out when he gets in the water. He get's a rematch with a the track-of-the-duck part of the CFNA Intermediate test in September, mostly because of a testing quirk made in the Spring test. (It's a long story) I want the breeder to know I did all that I could as an owner and I also hunt a fair amount of waterfowl so I would like him to figure this out!
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Re: Trouble with track of the duck, both testing and hunting

Postby ryanr » Thu Jul 22, 2021 11:01 am

Just-a-bird-hunter wrote:I suppose what I am asking has anyone ever experienced this before? Is seems odd to me that any dog that obviously has a nose can't or wont track a duck across water. Is it a lack of desire or some sort of anxiety on his part? It is as if his nose shorts-out when he gets in the water. He get's a rematch with a the track-of-the-duck part of the CFNA Intermediate test in September, mostly because of a testing quirk made in the Spring test. (It's a long story) I want the breeder to know I did all that I could as an owner and I also hunt a fair amount of waterfowl so I would like him to figure this out!


It's doubtful it's nose. I would lean more towards drive and desire. Casey Fousek's from what I understand are a bit of a diminished breed as far as hunting genetics that some dedicated breeders are trying to "bring back." There just aren't many really strong ones out there yet setting the world on fire so I think the stock is limited. So kudos to you though for doing all you can for your dog and the breed.
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Re: Trouble with track of the duck, both testing and hunting

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:55 pm

So from your answer to my question, it still seems it's a swimming issue if I'm reading you correctly. I'd bet the dog is swimming straight up and splashing water unless there's a bumper or duck in his mouth. If this is true, he has trouble with a water track because his nose is straight in the air and he's dissipating the scent by splashing the water all around. There's an easy way to fix the problem but there's no use telling you how if that isn't really the problem.
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Re: Trouble with track of the duck, both testing and hunting

Postby AverageGuy » Thu Jul 22, 2021 4:00 pm

Take a video and post it. Then people will have more and possibly adequate information to comment.

You mentioned at least once before he ignored the track abandoned the scent, searched shallow water and found a duck. Could be he is resorting a tactic which has been successful before. Especially if he is not keen on swimming.
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Re: Trouble with track of the duck, both testing and hunting

Postby Just-a-bird-hunter » Fri Jul 23, 2021 7:47 am

ryanr,

Someone once told me, "Just tell me what time it is, not how to build the @!@@ clock!" So, I'll do my best to be succinct. Cesky Fouseks are also known as Bohemian Wirehaired Pointers and are the oldest of the wirehaired dogs in existence. As I am sure you know, they are in the genetic makeup of the German Wirehair (Deutsch Drahthaar). (Surprised at that; no JBH you are wrong, it was the Stichelhaar!) Well, back when the DD was coming about, if you were in Munich the dog (Cesky Fousek) was called the Stichelhaar, if you were in Prague, it was the Cesky Fousek. More than a few came to Canada with Czech expatriates escaping Communism in 1948 and again in 1968 after the uprising, and a few made it to the US. My first Fousek came from Canada and some of that bloodline is now in New Zealand. They have always been a dog owned by hunters, not show fanciers or people seeking the "cute-sy" fuzz-face. From what I understand, the Stichelhaar is suffering from a lack of numbers and thus genetic diversity, so much so that the German Stichelhaar club has asked the Cesky Fousek Club in the Czech republic to share some frozen semen and they have agreed. My first Fousek could track ducks with no problem; he excelled at it. My current dog came from the Cesky Fousek Club of North America, and has a better coat than the first dog, and on paper, a better pedigree. At times I see flashes of the first dog, pheasant tracks that mimic a heat-seeking missile; and then we come to the duck track. Where I do agree with you is on this point: at so many of CFNA tests, where many of the dogs seem to fall down is in the testing associated with the water. I will never forget, one senior judge, reading scores at a post-test dinner, and scores were 3's and 4's and so many times, he would say, " and then we came to the water." While some of this is because many CFNA owners don't hunt waterfowl, I hunt a fair amount of it. So, I am trying to figure out if it is a maturity thing (he has been a slow maturing dog) or, he really is a total schlep in the duck track. (Of all the dogs I've owned, if they could track on land, they could track on water...except this guy.)
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Re: Trouble with track of the duck, both testing and hunting

Postby orhunter » Fri Jul 23, 2021 8:32 am

I was a member of the WPGCA and been to lots of WPGCA events where the dogs were heavily influenced by the Cesky Fousek. A lot of the dogs simply couldn’t track a duck on the water but I don’t think it was the fault of the dogs. This was in the early years of me getting back into pointing dogs and my observations and lack on exposure to testing situations may be what’s at fault. When I switched to NAVHDA format I still saw a lot of dogs who didn’t exactly tracking on the water it just appeared they could because they had more drive to get out there and I think NAVHDA folks put more effort into training. I still think water tracking is tough because not all water is capable of holding scent. A lot of the tracking is accomplished by how much crap is floating in the water to hold scent. Clean water, free of junk, water tracking becomes more of a myth. Going to the NAVHDA Invitational and spending tons of time at the water observing really good, high drive dogs, a high percentage simply didn’t respond to water scent or were unable to complete the track. It’s tough and our dogs demonstrate that.
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Re: Trouble with track of the duck, both testing and hunting

Postby ryanr » Fri Jul 23, 2021 11:55 am

Appreciate the information JBH. How many, ballpark, really great Cesky Fousek's do you think are in the US/Canada? And are most of these dogs imported or are there Kennels in the US currently producing outstanding CFs? To be honest I haven't seen many CF's period and have little knowledge of them here other than a little of what I've heard regarding the state of the breed. I don't think I've seen more than 2. I know we had one at a duck search seminar once and that's really the only one I remember. And the dog wasn't very good, it didn't seem to really be interested in finding a duck. Of course, didn't get to see any field work by the dog though.
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Re: Trouble with track of the duck, both testing and hunting

Postby Just-a-bird-hunter » Fri Jul 23, 2021 3:06 pm

rynar,

I had a really good one, who received a 4H in the tracking part of the older Intermediate hunting dog test. I tested him under WHPGNA auspices in 1991, when they were "injecting" Fousek bloodlines into the Griffon. We all know how that worked out, within 10 years their dogs were 98% Fousek and so they became the Cesky Fousek club (while a lot of people had a fit, I was ok with its since I was a Fousek guy, not a Giff guy) That dog should have been bred but he tragically did not make it to six years; his prostate went cystic two weeks after being neutered. (He started having prostate problems and my Vet said it had to go) The WHPGCNA passed on breeding him because none of his littermates were not tested, but as it turns out, some of them were. Today, with the internet and the increase of Fouseks in the US, I could have found a suitable pairing. The CFNA has a nephew of his, on ice, as they say (frozen semen) willed to them by the late Scott Overton. Scott's son Jake, married a Kiwi gal and now that line is in New Zealand. Personally, I would like to see him (Angus of Chinquapin Ridge) paired with a suitable female and see how the litter tests out. The exceptional dog on his dam side is Archie (Archer of Swansea) I remember how the breeder, the late Anton Schlee, told me, "I never trained his grandfather, the dog just did it". Taking a suggestion from a previous post, I am going to take a video of the next training session and post it so maybe someone can see something I'm not seeing.
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