We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Friday, August 10. 2018
Yes and no. Subject comes up because a pal alerted me to a litter of German Shorthairs, getting ready for the taking on Sept. 1. Their hunting pedigree is as good as it gets, so some $ is rightly involved since we aren't socialism yet where there are free champion hunting dogs.
Mrs. BD and I have rarely had a dog-free home, nor did her parents and my parents. And my grandparents, who were partial to Shepherds. I've had English Springers, Labs and (hunting? sort-of) standard poodles. Some of the most glorious times of my life have been grouse hunting in the Maine woods and in Manitoba woods and prairies (Sharptails there). Will a hunt-bred Standard Poodle point on a grouse or woodcock? Yes it can. It will chew up the darn Woodcock, tho.
I'll bet you never saw a Poodle on a hard point. Well, trust Bird Dog on that.
To me, a dog and a fireplace make a house a home. As I write that, it does sound primeval. Maybe I am a primitive male.
Here are my pros and cons, altho who ever made a decision based on such things?
- I love having a dog around. A dog also loves me the way no human could or should.
- A well-trained dog is an incomparable companion, and a well-trained hunting dog is a precious thing to you (and your hunting pals)
- Huge commitment. When I get a dog, I train the heck out of it. I know how. 40-minutes/day of training for at least 2 years. I want a dog that will heel to my knee without leash through a city street, a 5-mile suburban jog, or a woodland swamp. Chase a squirrel or a deer? No chance unless I give a release signal. I want a dog who will respond to whistle, voice, and hand commands. I want a dog who will Sit-Stay in front of Dunkin Donuts when I go inside. My past dogs learned those things. Any dog will - it's up to the owner. A dog's behavior is a reflection of the Master. Never ever blame the dog. I've heard people say "My dog is difficult to train", as if their dog were special and wild somehow. Pure bullshit. It's on them. Training is work, and no dog yummies. Just "Good dog."
- Re Basic Training. Do I use a shock collar outdoors? You betcha. It's not cruel. It gives you a dog you can live with. After two or three little shocks, the 3-second tone before the buzz is all it takes to remind them that you are God. "Come" or the "Come" whistle means hustle back to the Boss's knee. Dogs do like to be well-trained. Like children, training gives them Purpose and it is all relational.
- Hunt-training. Fairly costly. I can handle basic to semi-advanced obedience training, but not hunt training. You have to send them to camp for that. Then you have to go to camp with them to learn it yourself. Hand signals are the best. My last dog Paco was quite good with them, but not so good with some other things.
- I do not do much of the sort of hunting that I love best anymore. I don't know why, because I can bust brush and alder swamps all day better than I ever could. My favorite is grouse hunting in the Great North Woods, with the Moose etc. I rarely refuse a chance to hunt pheasants etc. at a hunting club, but the wilderness hunts are my favorites. In 6 hours in grouse habitat, you might fire zero to twice with your 20 ga., but you and the dog will have a great outing anyway.
Hey - you're pointing on a White-Footed Mouse, silly dog!
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I've found German shorthairs often not of the most agreeable temperament. You might consider the Italian Spinone, that most noble breed of sporting dog, now gaining increasing popularity as a bird dog in the US due to its good-natured versatility. The Spinone points, but it also retrieves. Not nearly as flashy in field trials as, say, a border collie, but will go all day in the woods at a steady jogging pace - tremendous stamina, loves the water. Temperamentally, the spinone prefers the company of humans to other dogs. My Spinone died a year or two back, aged 13. Best dog I ever had, and I would love to get another, but it's harder to travel when you have a dog (and your Spinone will pine when you are away), and my wife has plans to see the world now that we are empty nesters.
I'm unfamiliar with that breed, but I second the caveat on GSP.
My bud has had two GSP and both were HARD headed. All sporting dogs have an excess of energy, but the sheer size of the GSP results in, essentially, a scaled-down, hyperactive horse in the house that will, simply being a dog, destroy personalty when left to his own entertainment.
A French Brittany is a nice strong, but smaller, pointing breed. I purchased a very highly bred and expensive pup in MN ten years back from a breeder who produces the very top line French Brit in the US: L'Escarbot Kennels. Check them out. The dog basically trained itself with simple guidance from me. It was amazing.
Hey Bird Dog. Of course you want another dog. Primeval or not, you know you want one.
One con to consider tho is the end years. It is always hard to put down that trusted, devoted friend when the ravages of hard years begin to add up. And us country folk in Arizona don't always have the luxury of a veterinarian to do the job.
No two ways about it, it'll make you think twice about doing it again.
One thought, young man: there comes a time for every dog lover when they realize that their newest dog will probably outlive its master. Something to contemplate for an old-timer as he shops for puppies!
As I get older, I find myself pondering the same. Will I get another dog when my three pass away? They are a huge commitment and expence. But, there is no getting around it. Dogs are great and make everything better. So far, the heartache at the end has not deterred me.
We have an 8 yr old vizsla - our 3rd - and I’ll get a pup when she turns 10. Gotta have the backup dog. Vizsla - like shorthair -has not been bred down so she is a really smart, high drive, high energy chick. BUT - the most affectionate of the sporting breeds I think. Also maybe the most dependent on handler. But easy to train? So willing to please and eager to get on to work. And any kind of activity is work and play. So obedience and field training is a lark. Will go at it for as long as you’ll take her in the field. We don’t hunt, so don’t train for that, but she will do anything you train her to do. Makes are emotionally much more fragile. I imagine the back up pup will be our last dog.......
I have had three Brittanys in the past and do not have a dog now, I am lucky enough to be getting another pup in three weeks. My Hunting partner, who will also be having a birthday on that day...72 years old, will also be getting a nice birthday present of another pup from the same litter. Good Luck on your decision and I'm sure you will love your new pup.
It's so exciting getting a new puppy. I love puppy breath.
LOVE the breed. I have my fifth Brit now. She's close to 11, still energetic and in good health; I see no reason she won't live another three to four years.
Is there a good book on basic training or good system you recommend?
A dog, a fireplace, and a weapon, please.
I'm totally down with the dog and the fireplace thing, but if I'm not armed, I feel like I'm not going to come out well, even if the dog and the fire work well.
Worst case, a fire-hardened pointy stick will be better than nothing, but I'd really prefer something in .45ACP or thereabouts, if not a Rifle. Or both, if I get the choice, but be that as it may. The dog and the fire are necessary, always.
After your lectures on exercise and diet, I'm sure you just go to DD for the coffee.
Nothing like discussing dogs brings out the same loving comments from everyone. So who's a good dog, every dog... even the one that ate my shoe.
My sister had a dog that was hard to train. Eventually, we realized he was a coyote.
ACD (Red Heeler) finest kind! Never leave home without him!
Get the dog. I’m a Colorado guy and there is nothing better than walking the prairie behind a dog...and with a good hunting partner. A good hunting partner is hard to find, and even harder to keep. And if we can be half as good as our dog thinks we are, we can say “a life lived well”.
I am now down to three dogs. Have been up to 5. All of them just kind of ended up with us. I have never paid for a dog but I know lots of folks who have. I am in my mid 60's and have always had responsibility for dogs, then dogs and kids, and then dogs. I think that I am ready to no longer be responsible for other beings when these dearly loved pets leave this earth. I do not know the age of two of them so I may end up predeceasing them.
The obligatory song:
We are too old now. When we talked to some breeder they politely suggested we take on an older dog, i.e. big vet bills for someone else's mistakes--no thank you. We would like to have a new dog, someone to make us take longer walks, but we also want to travel and it has been nice to just close up the house and go. DD has two dogs and we frequently dog-sit, for now that's good enough.
Another Con: Kennel Cough from boarding. Even at a vet's office. Tried 3-4 different places before finding one that didn't have a problem with it. It was a training school. My opinion was that the bad ones were packing too many animals in close confinement.
Potemkin... my dog. My german shorthair pointer. Such a great, great dog. Best dog. Best dog ever.
Gone ahead now. And now he knows he's the good boy.
I am on my third French Brittany, and they are simply incomparable companions and hunting dogs. Soft, loving, and reasonably calm.
You do have to use a side by side when hunting over them - they demand a bit of class.
Yes, GREAT dogs. I'll be getting another after my present one passes on.
Has anybody seen the website for the Key Underwood International Coon Dog Cemetery? No other dog allowed to be buried there, only coon dogs.
Happy Birthday Bird Dog, good luck with your decision. I really must strenuously dispute your first two commenters, German Shorthaired Pointers are almost always wonderful dogs, especially those from the more dedicated breeders. We have had two, still have the younger dog and miss the older one terribly.
However, at your age, think hard about GSPs. They are highly energetic dogs, very smart, with a need to be kept focused and exercised consistently. Ours gets four to six hours daily in the farm fields surrounding us, it keeps us fit and active as well. Your training approach is a must if you get an especially alpha Shorthair, many others are more mellow and respond to a less firm upbringing. The dogs the other commenters cautioned about I am certain must not have had clear, consistent training and constant exercise to have developed bad habits.
We showed our first GSP to his championship, the second one is taller than the breed standard and hasn't been shown. But we have met many, many GSP owners and their dogs, have yet to encounter one troublesome or nasty Shorthair.
I am a few years younger than you, and not sure I would get another GSP pup because I may not be physically able to keep up the pace over the pup's expected lifespan. But I love this breed, and Viszla as well. Spinone are mostly nice, but in North America there are too few breeders resulting in some poorly bred dogs. Wirehaired Pointing Griffon might be just the ticket.
My last dog died a while ago. she lived for 16 years and was a great dog. When she was young we went to obedience school sponsored by 4-H where owners are taught how to train their dogs. My dog was very smart and learned every command but one faster than I did. It took me a long time to realize that the command I trained her to come here was "Bad dog"