A new home

Thanks to some diligent technicians and customer service reps, we’re back online sooner than expected and I’m posting this article from our new home.

Our new house

We weren’t really planning on it but when everything fell into place, we sold our home and moved into town. It took 10 days to sell but 30 days to close, and now the stress is over and we’re settled in.

We discourage Dakota from unnecessarily following us up and down the stairs due to her heart condition, so she’s contented to wait for us.

The Spinone were confused and stressed during the month we were packing up to move, but only took them two days to become comfortable in the new house. They really enjoy the back deck and all the rooms they to explore.

The windows are the perfect height.

Several years ago I realized that, while our pasture was good for basic training, it was inadequate for more advanced training – the dogs were no longer training but simply going through a routine. Any real training they received was when we worked with my trainer, and our new home is located closer to the foothills where we can train.

The guys love our big deck.

Some of the neighbors have dogs that are unruly, but that’s what fences are for and we’re pleased how well our guys adjusted. We actually feel more out in the country here in town than when we lived 7 miles out of town. It’s quiet, there’s a farm next to us with horses and geese, and a herd of Texas Longhorns not far away that we can hear from time to time.

Checking out the back yard day 1.

With less land to take care of, we can hopefully do more playing and less maintaining.

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Mia’s training photos 8-19-17

Working the Irish Setter with Mia on point

Working with the Irish Setter. Mia established point and then the setter was brought in to work the bird.

Mia retrieving a pigeon

Mia on point while working her solo. She started out slow but was soon running big.

Mia and Maya on point

Mia honors Max, the English Pointer, while Chris moves in to flush

Doc’s training photos 8-5-17

setters, spaniels, and Spinoni

Working with Doc on a check cord. His only weakness is breaking on birds that flush wild and surprise him.

The Irish Setter on a check cord

Doc on point while working with one of the spaniels on honoring

Doc on point while the spaniel honors

Chris working with the Brittany/Springer cross

One of the Brittany Spaniels on point

Doc retrieving a pigeon. All of my dogs naturally have soft mouths and retrieve birds uninjured.

Sunrise training with Doc

Irish Setter, German Shorthair (GSP), Brittany Spaniel, and Doc made up our collection of dogs for Friday’s early morning training session.

Chris working Irish Setter pup on check chord

I wanted my trainer, Chris Colt of Cove Mountain Kennels, to evaluate Doc on his hunting since he scored low on that in his last hunt test. I’m not concerned with Doc’s steadiness since he is very solid on steady-to-shot-kill-and-retrieve.

Doc on point

We began by bracing Doc with a young Irish Setter pup. The Irish Setter was kept on a check cord while Doc hunted the field. When Doc went on point, Chris would bring in the setter and work with her. We were both very pleased with Doc’s field work.

Doc on point

After Doc and the setter, we worked the GSP on several birds just to reinforce a couple of areas, then went back and worked Doc on a blind retrieve and another planted bird. Doc occasionally confuses blind retrieves with pointing and will sometimes point a dead bird, but this time he handled it perfectly.

Doc quartering nicely, ears flying

Doc’s blind retrieve was about 75 yards and I was hoping that he would have to spend time searching for it. Instead, he found within a couple of minutes and retrieved it to hand.

Doc’s blind retrieve

The breeze was becoming fickle, sometimes dying and often shifting directions, which presented a real challenge in finding the planted bird. Although I marked the area where the carded pigeon landed, we were unable to find it.

German Shorthair Pointer on point

That was where the Brittany came in. Chris brought her out to help Doc and after extensive searching, she found the bird and went on point. Doc did a nice job of honoring even though he often looked back at me for direction.

Doc honors Brittany on point, but looks back at me

Following training, our oldest daughter and I drove to Spencer and hunted for opal in a “mini mine”, which is a fenced area containing tailings that are trucked in from the mine. For a fee, one can dig for opal and we found a couple of nice pieces. At one time the public could drive up to the mine and hunt the tailings – where I found all of my high quality opal. Regardless, one of the pieces of pinfire opal that I found would pay for the trip.

Pin fire Spencer Opal

Another successful rescue

Looked out the window Sunday morning to see a black Lab sleeping on our neighbor’s front porch so we took it in. He didn’t appear to be an old dog, but was very stiff and sore as if it had traveled a very long distance or perhaps been hit by a car.

The Lab was neutered, had at one time received rabies shots, and although dirty and smelling of skunk, was not neglected. We didn’t want to take a chance of exposing our guys to canine influenza, so we kept it in a crate in the garage, gave it food and water, and lots of blankets to lay on.

We immediately called the Humane Society, but nobody had reported a missing Lab so we decided to keep it until Monday when the animal shelter opened. It was very well mannered and I took it on short walks every 2 to 3 hours, then washing my hands after each walk.

By the time I took him for a walk on Monday morning, he had recuperated enough to be full of energy and howled his displeasure at being crated. Carrie took him to the animal shelter when it opened and luckily, he was microchipped and should be home safe and sound by the time I post this article.

The owners don’t live far from us so whatever his adventures or why he chose to spend the night on our neighbor’s porch, I guess only he knows.

Dakota’s heart

We took the guys in to the vet this week for their checkups etc. and she confirmed what we had suspected. Dakota is in the early stages of congestive heart failure.

Dakota’s lungs are congested and her heart is enlarged, and she does have some arthritis in her spine. What we didn’t realize is that dogs who live in higher altitudes such as here, are more prone to the early onset of heart disease than dogs living in lower elevations.

Dakota retrieving a duck in 2010

For now she’s on medication to help clear her lungs and help with her heart, and a followup appointment next week to see how she’s responding to the medication. We caught it at an early stage which will buy her more time, but as with Sophie before her, Dakota’s time is now limited.