Sunday, August 28, 2011

Basic obedience

WE started our "basic training" this week with Duke, and I have to say, its been pretty easy (don't want to jinx myself). in true British fashion the first 9 months of his life will be NOTHING but obedience, no live birds, no gunshots, etc etc.
they place stability and calm assertiveness as their top values in a gun dog, and so do I. I'm sure Ill have a lot of hiccups along the way, but he sure is off to an AMAZING start. Its sure hard not to start treating him like an adult or adolescent dog, as hes has progressed so quickly, but I know his brain can only comprehend so much before the next butterfly, wasp, or rock that needs to be picked up crosses his path.
He's starting to get very attached and "needy" to Kelly and I, that is good to see as just a week ago he was a bit head in the clouds.
he has an overall large will to please, and seems to have above average dog intelligence, so i hope i don't mess him up!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cool as a Scaups bill

Sometimes you just get lucky.
There's really no explanation for it, nor evidence on "WHY" I deserve it, but somebody upstairs must have been looking out for me, or thought I deserved a break.
My buddy Randy and I were chatting about the upcoming Wisconsin waterfowl season, and how excited I was to actually get after the divers that frequent Green Bay from about mid October until freeze up. Randy said "you know what, i had a buddy from Pennsylvania who gave me a bunch of Bluebill dekes back before I got married,(which I think equates to at least 15 years ago) I have no idea the maker and their condition is probably terrible, but you can have em if you want." I told him about my idea to flip at least three dozen of my old diver to old squaw, ("longtail duck" if your a politically correct puke) and that it would be much appreciated.
As every good military man should be, he was right on time with his delivery to my house, and my already grateful demeanor turned to outright shock.These weren't just Herters old foam decoys, these were homemade, and no expense was spared in their assembly.
Sporting such luxurious features as real glass eyes, wooden keels with weights attached to them, and the vast majority of them having what I can only describe as some sort of restle type coat on them, my plans immediately changed.
There was no way I could crucify all the hard work some guy on lake Erie (we later found the origin of the original maker and owner) by turning these birds to some dumb sea duck. These were going to remain bluebills, and I was going to give them a little makeover. thanks to my buddy Mark at Parker paints,  i loaded them up with Uvision white (ultraviolet), some flat back, and a plethora of greys found in the lesser and greater Scaup.
the neatest thing about these dekes is the pellet holes and pellets that still reside in some of them.  No doubt from the days when lead shot was the norm , and and the gold standard.
I'm proud to add another chapter in the long lives of these blocks, man the stories they could tell, and maybe someday will, when I pass them on.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Welcome home Duke!

With great sacrifice comes great reward, or so I have been told.

After driving a total a 19 hours this past weekend, I hope that statement rings true. After countless research done on my part trying to find the right "BRIT" lab breeder, and line, I decided to purchase my next dog from Tallgrass Kennels, near DeSmet, South Dakota.
I was so pleasantly surprised by every aspect of this kennel, that I would highly recommend them to anyone in search of dog for ANY reason. The setting of this kennel could best be described by painting a mental picture of the opening scene of the television show "Little House on the Prairie", (oddly enough, the ACTUAL home of Laura Engels Wilder is less than 8 miles down the road) complete with rolling hills , wild pheasants and ducks, and the kind of remote location that can't help but make you pause and admire it's beauty.
Upon arrival on the long gravel driveway to the elegant remodeled homestead of over 100 years old, Robert and Kipley Claire greet you with waves and welcomes. A short time later their two boys come running out of the house eagerly awaiting the meeting of "their" puppies new owners.
A immaculate kennel, with calm, obedient, labs is a beautiful thing to witness, and they certainly have managed to create just that.
it only took us about 10 minutes to pick out "Duke", In some sort of weird way, I almost felt like he was picking me, and after I picked him up to get a much closer look at him, he sealed the deal with a lick of my face while staring in my eyes.
He did fantastic on the 9 hour ride home, no accidents, whining, or horseplay. he only whined twice all night and that was to go outside and take a bathroom break. He seems to be coming on command already, which ( I know will be tested very soon ), but all in all, couldn't be happier. Here is a link to their kennel if you're interested.