Friday, May 31, 2013

Curiosity

So far it's been nothing but fun learning what the outdoors is all about for Jake. He has become more daring with each trip out and is now searching every nook and cranny looking for the smell of birds. But with that urge to find birds he is also finding many new smells that grab his curiosity. He's at a point where he needs to learn the difference between good smells and bad smells as well as movements in the brush that could get him in trouble.
Jake is doing a great job of finding birds, especially for a four and a half month old pup, but he sometimes get's right on top of the bird before he scents them. The way he sticks his nose into the brush and down rock cracks and holes is making him a prime candidate for a snake bite. Although I don't think Jake has seen a snake yet, he has stepped over several that have scared the crap out of me. Just yesterday, he was pointing some quail, and when I moved in to flush the birds a huge bull snake hissed from under my feet just one step from the dog. I don't know how Jake didn't see it, but it sure made me move fast.
Although Jake has not felt any stimulus from the collar yet he is always wearing it in the field. He is mature enough to get a dose on unwanted situations. A prime example was yesterday when he found this elk calf.
At first he wasn't sure what he was pointing and soon had to creep a little.
 Jake held real good due to his curiosity until I moved around him and finally decided to get nose to nose with the calf. The calf and Jake looked to be about the same size as they were nose to nose and probably could have had a good time playing but that probably wouldn't be a good practice to start.
  I took Jake by the collar and led him away with the elk watching our departure. Jake wanted to return but I encouraged him to find birds. Had he started chasing I had the shock collar on to let him know that would be unacceptable. 
 The day will come when he feels the sensation of the collar and if done right he will associate the shock with the bad source. Chasing unwanted animals such as porcupines , deer, skunks, coyotes, and many other things. On the 15th of June there is a snake avoidance class in Boise and Jake will be there to get his first dose of  bad things to stay clear of.
 With the amount of snakes I have already seen this year I'm excited to get this part of his education done. As I mentioned He needs to associate the pain in his neck with the snake so that he always wants to stay clear of the sight, smell and sound of snakes.
On a side note, another problem we are facing with abundance are tick's. This has been a huge tick year and it seems no matter where we go we find tick's. Barb and I pulled these tick's off Jake after one of our training hunts. This was only about two thirds of what we really got off him.
 Barb is the best. Most women would have kicked both Jake and me out of the house. She finds a tick crawling on her and just responds with "here's another one." I'm a blessed man. Now if I can only keep Jake from getting snake bit or hurt until we get Riley's bills paid off.  By the way, Riley has been a real trooper through all of this. He get's a little disappointed when I load Jake up in the truck without him but seems to know he hasn't been forgotten.                                                                                                                                                                      

Friday, May 24, 2013

Bragging a little on Jake

With Riley out of commission for a while I'm going to have to rely more on Jake to entertain me. Jake and I took a good hike this morning and I have to admit to being like a kid opening presents on Christmas day. The excitement just kept coming. I took a frozen chukar and blank gun for retrieving practice and hoped Jake would put things together. After his first point on a chukar I fired the blank pistol at the flush.

He looked back and I threw the frozen chukar down the hill yelling dead bird. Just like at home he sprinted for the bird rolling down the hill. Once he got to the bird, he picked it up and sprinted back up the  hill with bird in mouth.

That was the first of over a dozen retrieves today and the first of thousands I hope. Already, at four months and ten days of age, he's pretty much got the hunting thing figured out. He had a couple more points today also but they were on birds that he almost stepped on. The only thing Jake is lacking at this time is his ability to use his nose at a distance. The only way to improve that is lot's of field work. While Riley is on the mend, Jake will be getting plenty of that.
Just a couple more pictures of my proud pup.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Riley's Saga continues

Sometimes it seems like the bad news just keeps on coming. This looks like one of those cases, but believe me, the good things Riley and I have had happen in his 6 and 1/2 years with me far outweigh the mishaps. Today, I have to report one of those disappointing times. Sadly, this may keep Riley off the chukar mountains for up to 8 months. This weekend, while running, Riley broke his front leg. As soon as I got home I called Riley's vets, Dr. Koob and Katie Wright. They both said it sounded like it needed to be dealt with soon. They both recommended a good surgeon. It's so great to have such great people to rely on with just a phone call.  It was a serious break in three places which required plates, screws, and a bone graph. Because of Riley's conditioning, Dr. Warner, Riley's surgeon, said it took a lot longer to get Riley's muscles to relax so they could realign everything. He actually had to cut off a portion of the elbow bone in order to get to the break and then replace it. Because Riley is not young, they had to do a bone graph from his thigh to enhance the healing progress. It was quite an extensive surgery and I really appreciate Dr. Warner and his staff at All Pet complex for working late last night to get my best hunting companion on the road to recovery. After viewing Riley's xrays  it became obvious why he whined with pain and wouldn't move when he broke the leg. It just hung there limp. Luckily it happened close to the truck and I didn't have to carry my 90 pound companion too far. It is amazing how he and some of my other hunting dogs give there full trust in me and remained steady in my arms as I packed them off the hill. They show a lot of trust knowing I'm trying to help them. As Alan in Alaska mentioned, Riley is becoming the bionic dog. One more leg and he'll be balanced out with metal in the legs. I hope that never happens. I believe Riley has been so injury prone because of his size. He is like a tall basketball player. In great condition he weighs in between 85 and 90 lbs. He is not the dog you would pick for hunting chukars. No one knew he would be this big, but it doesn't matter. The day he entered my home he was family. He has carried on the traits that Tucker taught him when it comes to chukar hunting and has become more than a good chukar dog. In fact I would have to give him a ten out of ten if there was a rating. There isn't a dog out there that can do it any better and with the enthusiasm and love that he has for it. But he would get the same treatment whether or not he had greatness because he is my dog.   The 4th of next month I am having a scope done on my left knee. I tore my meniscus and have a one inch chunk floating under my knee cap. It hurts like hell on the steep hills but feels fine on flat ground. If it wasn't for chukar hunting I would probably let it go. But I won't give up what I love just as I wouldn't give any less to Riley. Last, I have to thank Riley for doing such a great job with Jake. He already points and holds birds, fetches dead birds, and honors. He is only four months and 1 week old and Riley has got him to the point where I can't screw him up too bad. Riley made sure I have a companion to fill in for him while he heals.