We all have expectations to different degrees. Our expectations at Craney Hill Kennel are extremely high for our dogs. The theory is that if we set our standard to an almost unattainable level, when we fall short our dogs will still be very talented animals. I cannot express to you how difficult it is to keep a high standard. This is not because we are kennel blind…quite the opposite. It is hard to keep such a high standard because the standard of the public is so low that it becomes difficult to continually explain why you can or cannot do something.
We received this interesting email regarding our recent Podcast and obtained permission to share it. It goes to show that we are all dealing with some similar issues we need to pay attention to in an effort to protect our spaniels. We have left the writer anonymous as a courtesy.
Dear Mr Agnew
I hope you don’t mind me contacting you. I listened to your comments on the Hunting Dog podcast and agree with much of what you said. I am one of a rare and increasingly small group of people in the UK who actually rough shoot over our dogs, expecting them to hunt hard all day irrespective of scent but equally don’t expect the almost frantic hunting style exhibited in some UK trial dogs which seems to be promoted by some (fortunately not all) of our trial judges, running very hard and fast but covering a beat of about 10 yards maximum. I have nothing against the J Regs (The Kennel Club Trial Rules) as if read these specify exactly what I want in a shooting dog but it is the interpretation by some of exactly what hunting and style means, to me it is a dog actively seeking game not necessarily running at breakneck speed for 10 minutes over a narrow strip that won’t find you much game if hunting wild birds.
I heard recently of some younger trial competitors actually laughing at one old school trial handler (who I knew personally and always loved a hard hunting dog and had won the championship at least once) who let his dog hunt in a trial rather than having it running around his feet as they thought it was out of control !!
I believe we are reaching a point where a dog’s ability to find game with their nose may be ousted by a desire not to miss game with their feet due to the practice of rearing large numbers of pheasants and the different way they behave to wild game. A number of our dogs appear in trials not to give any indication of knowing the game was present for which they are credited as flushing and so the emphasis is going away from game finding and into short term pace and an ability to handle well on retrieves, you don’t get credited for a dog positively indicating it knew the game was there but will be put out for missing it. There is a belief by some who trial that if a dog is good enough it will be trialled rather than spend its life hunting quietly for its owner and anyone who argues otherwise is merely not good enough to do what they do. As you said the best dog in the country probably never ran in a trial. That does not mean that there are not some very good dogs running in trials or that many of those could be good hunting dogs if allowed to hunt but ultimately good hunting may no longer being selected for in the breeding by some people, merely a furious and frenetic running style which I believe can lead to temperament issues with some pups not merely being not good enough to run in trials but not even able to be the lowest grade of gundog.
Many thanks for the podcast I found it very interesting and we have nothing comparable over here as hunting anything is very contentious, as is gun ownership and eating something you have shot yourself is at best mildly eccentric or at worst the behavior of a potential serial killer!!
Thanks for reading this.
Your girl Winnie is precious and off to a great season. Couple great hunts in the books and she gets better every time out (despite me!)
And my strongest recommendation on your training. Winnie still responds as taught! We kid all the time about her “Todd” behavior 😄. Winnie knows when it’s game time!
Winnie is a Dudley x Anna pup..
Enjoy the video of Julio running Georgia in a hunting situation for the first time and Whaley finds, flushes and retrieves his first wild pheasant.
The puppies had such a long run in the grasses they needed a drink. It was so great to see all of them have so much fun somewhere in Iowa.
This was an awesome run for the puppies and Dixie. The puppies were-Alice, The Ferg, Bonnie, Clover, Trigger and Maggie. Todd was walking to me and Dixie was up front pushing a pheasant with the puppies right behind her. Watch the video and listen to what Todd is saying. Many more photos and videos to come. #spanielsinthefield #uplandhunting
No photos as Christina organized the house after we did food shopping this morning, and it was low 40s today. There is a lot of water and a lot of crops in the fields but we still pounded cover today and found some birds.
Here are a couple of highlights…
Gracie worked a moving bird in the grasses for about 25 yards and then the bird lined out. I saw her in a dead run about 80 yards away going over a hill. She returned in about two minutes soaking wet but I never saw the the bird.
Georgia worked a bird in the canary grass for about 25 yards before it ran into some woods for about 25 more yards. She pressured it back into the canary grass and put up a rooster another 25 yards out…pretty cool.
Dexter ran tight in canary grass through some woods and brush along a water way. He put up a woodcock and gave good chase until it finally flew across the water.
Whaley, Bailee, and Gunner ran well in various cover but the birds won.
Alice, Maggie, The Ferg, Trigger, Bonnie and Clover all ran together and missed out on pheasants but did jump about a dozen ducks!
Old dogs get to work tomorrow.
The Hunting Dog Podcast!!!
Springers!!! Finally Some Flushers!!!