Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dog Training

Early this year my old pointer, Lulu, died from complications of pyometra.  She went from fine to not fine very quickly.  We got her to the vet and she had emergency surgery to remove her uterus.  Unfortunately, she was septic and only survived for a few days after the surgery.  The vet told me that this can happen to anyone and there was nothing more that I did or didn't do that would have changed the situation; still not very comforting when you just lost a dog in the prime of her life.   

Lulu was a pretty special dog, in that she was the offspring of Steve Chingren's Tucker and Steve Sherrod's Sis, both proven falconry grouse dogs with winning personalities.  She also had that personality and was great at finding birds.  I had just begun the process of looking for a stud dog and had hoped to breed her this past summer when this all came about.  She would have been 6 years old this month.  I only know that because she was also born less than 24 hours before my first child, another reason she held a special place in our family.

Lulu as a pup

Lulu after ducks

Lulu after one of our final hunts last season.

Enter......Rangle (dopey puppy from this post

A couple of months or so after Lulu passed, I began the hunt for a new bird dog puppy.  I thought I would get a shorthair pointer this time around, as that type of dog would probably match my current hunting life better.  I looked at a few puppies here and there but I quickly realized that true pointers are really what I love.  Something about that happy tail wagging all over as they cover the terrain at doggie mach 5, only to slam to a stop, ridged as a board, at the hint of bird's scent is where my interests lie. 

After talking to a few breeders with pups in the greater area, I settled on a gentleman in Arkansas who was only breeding to get himself another pup from his favorite dog, but needed hunting homes for the others.  This guy was a serious bird hunter who traveled all across the midwest in search of wingshooting quail, not just some yokel who only gets his dogs out at Thanksgiving and Christmas for the family hunt each year.  He also showed me videos of his dogs working wild birds, which was a nice bonus over seeing a picture of a dog on point.  

So my oldest daughter and I hopped in the truck one evening after work and made the 4 hour drive to Arkansas to meet the puppies. 

Immediately upon stepping out the car I knew which puppy was going home with us.  One puppy ran right up to V and was at her heals nearly the entire 45 minutes that we were there.  Sure there were 5 others to choose from, we played with the big liver colored male pup, we chased around a couple black and white females, but through it all the little lemon female stayed right with us.  So we paid the man, got back in the truck and started back to Oklahoma with the new puppy in V's lap.

All was right with the world for the first hour or so of the drive, then it happened.  *WURP *WURP BLEEEEEEEH and the puppy vomited all over my daughter, covering her pink shorts and flowery pink shirt with pink putrid pureed puppy puke.  We quickly slid into the closest Braums (burger/ice cream chain for you non-okies) and got daughter, pup, and truck cleaned up.  Needless to say, V's enthusiasm for the dog waned a little bit after that, but soon the puppy factor won her back over.

Not long after getting her home she earned the name Rangle by attempting to eat some of the pea gravel in her kennel.  The name stuck and here we are today 7 months later and well into her training. 

My middle daughter, "L" and Rangle at 8 weeks old

Early signs of pointing

L running from the crazy puppy

8 month old Rangle with on of her first true points in the training field.

Pigeon by the post

She is still relatively young so we are mainly just out on the prairie just having fun chasing dragonflies and Meadowlarks with a few dizzied pigeons thrown into the mix.  She will be pretty young for serious hunting this season, but she has been a quick study so for, or maybe I'm getting to be a better trainer, either way I think that she will be far enough along to help make an impact.

Counting down the days until I can get my bird on the wing.....