The exposure to everyday life is an important part of developing a proper Spaniel.
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.
Todd returns to the show, and we talk Spaniels. Springers, Cockers and more.A bit about field trialing, hunting, training and why these little powerhouses can make you smile. and why some make you cry. Just like all things in the dog world. Todd brings real common sense to training dogs. Click here to listen.
It was a very rainy day but Ryker and Tim passed their first junior hunt test. Tim has been working hard with Ryker in training. Ryker is a Dudley pup and he is really coming along in training. Congratulations Tim & Ryker!!
Happy Ella & Ryker!!
This past October Ella and her family picked up Ryker at our kennel and ever since then Ella & Ryker are joined at the hip. She tells her family that she is going to do all of the training with Ryker. I believe there are talks of running some hunt tests.
Here is a recent note from her Dad to us at Christmas time. “Someone got a brand new play set for Christmas but would rather be with her dog! She love him so much!”
We are so happy for this wonderful family & Ryker! We love getting notes and photos..
Happy New Year to all!
HI, Christina and Todd,
Minnie had her first hunt of the season at RRC two weeks ago. She flushed 35 birds, she found and returned them all. We were in sorghum, corn stalks….all kinds of cover. What a joy to watch her work as she remembered how to do it with precision.
Ella is loving her new English Springer Spaniel Ryker. We have heard that she wakes up early to train her dog and plans on doing more training with Todd once we get back to GA. We are really looking forward to seeing Ryker and his new family again down at the farm. Thank you for the updates and photos.
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.