Tougher than metal…..

Every bird hunter has that one dog. The one that every other dog gets compared to. The one dog that no other dog will ever live up to.

I am lucky. I have had two of them.

Dee was my first bird dog, but Em is the reason I still bird hunt.

I grew up hunting with Brittanys when they were still classified as Spaniels.

My father preferred a closer working foot dog and he also wanted to have dogs that were different from everyone else’s. I always wanted pointers. Once we started hunting in Texas, I just could not get it out of my head.

Around 1999 my dad picked up my first pointer from the pro trainer in Kansas that he had known for a few years. Her name was Emerald but we went with Em. She was black and white with lots of leg. Em was about 18 months old and was pretty much trained and ready to hunt.

She was also one of the reasons we started running tracking collars. She liked to go until she found birds. She really didn’t care how far of a trip that would be for me or my dad. She was going to birds no matter how far she had to run. Warner was not a giant fan of Em but I loved her.

Em is the kind of dog that required that I ran her first. She would throw a fit if she didn’t get to go on the first round. She always found birds so it was a pretty easy issue for me. We always would run Em first. No questions asked.

This became an issue over time. As I started adding dogs to my string, I had to make sure everyone was getting ground time, especially the young dogs. I ran into an issue that if I didn’t plan accordingly, some of the younger, less experienced dogs were either not getting enough ground time or were only getting time in the heat of the day.

One trip in Texas, I realized that one of my younger dogs had not been run in two days. I was hunting with a buddy that had several dogs and I had just messed up my rotation.

I really needed to make sure this dog got some ground time so I left Em in the truck on the first round and ran Patch instead. This was not taken well by Em and she proceeded to throw a out of control bird dog tantrum. The barking, howling and scratching was a bit much but I figured that she would get over it or I would get out of hearing range soon enough and she would get over it. It didn’t take long to get out of hearing range but she never stopped her ruckus.

We had three dogs on the ground, all pointers. About 1 hour into the hunt I looked up and counted four long tails in the tall grass. Em had showed up out of no where and was happily hunting along. I called her in to check her out. She had a small cut on her but no other damage.

I assumed I must have forgotten to latch her door and she figured out how to open it herself and decided to join us. I took Patch’s tracking collar off her and put it on Em. That way I had a tracking collar on the bigger running dog and a training collar on the other. We worked our way back to the truck.

When we got there, I found quite the mess. My dog box at that time was a lite, aluminum truck bed box. We had used them for 10 plus years with never an issue. Em had ripped a small hole in the aliuminum door of her dog box.

I expect it took her most of the hour to punch it in and pull it apart with her teeth. I was lucky that she didn’t cut herself on the sharp metal edges that she squeezed through and bleed to death as she made her escape.

I have never seen a pointing dog that had as much drive and desire as Em. Needless to say, I purchased a stronger dog box and Em got to go first the rest of her career.

Steve Snell

Gun Dog Supply


Dog Houses that I use in my Kennels



Good dog houses are an important part of protecting your dog from the weather. It’s a long term investment. You will need spend some money to get ones that will holdup to the damage that some dogs inflict on their homes.

Here are the two that I use right now.

Impact Dog Condo

The Impact Dog Condo is the best dog house I have ever owned. It’s also the most expensive. The design is very similar of the K9 Kondo Dog Dens that are no longer being made. The aluminum construction has held up well for me even with my most destructive dogs.

They are well insulated and will protect dogs in extreme weather. The lift up roof allows you easy access to clean the insides and add litter, bedding or other inserts if you prefer. The door design can be locked in the open or lowered position depending on the temps. My dogs enjoy spending time on the flat roof year round. You can easily add a hound heater if you live in a sub zero climate. It never gets cold enough here for that to be an issue for me.

I expect I’ll eventually move all my dogs to these as other houses wear out and my budget allows the expense.

K9 Kondo Barrel Kit

Still one of my favorites especially for those of us that live in warmer climates or have situations where you can bring dogs inside if it gets freaky cold.

The K9 Kondo kits allow you to turn a 55 gallon plastic barrel into a dog house that is light and comfortable but solid and very difficult for dogs to damage. Barrel kits are a super affordable dog house option especially if you can find free or inexpensive barrels.

It requires that you provide the plastic barrel and some basic assembly is required. If you can handle a saw and a screwdriver, you can put this kit together in a couple of hours.

You can buy it in two options

Door Only


Full Kit


The door only option is good for folks that want to hang their barrels on chains attached to their kennel runs or the rafters of their roof. I’ve seen it done well but it’s never worked out for me.

I prefer the full kits for the legs and the plywood deck option for dogs to lay on. (The plywood is not included)

I recommend that you find your plastic barrels before you order. They are pretty easy to come by if you look around. I want to know what has been in my barrels and prefer food grade and unused when I can find them. I also prefer my barrels to have an open top with the ring closure.

When I set up a K9 Kondo with this style barrel, I’ll put the door on the “bottom” of the barrel and the use the lid as access to the inside of the barrel for easy cleaning and to add and remove bedding. They are also much easier to add a Hound Heater if needed.

You will also find the kit much easier to install with a barrel that has a lid. After doing a few barrel kits without the lid, I’ll never go back.

If you can’t find local barrels or prefer to buy new barrels, Uline is a great company to use

Plastic Drum with Lid – 55 Gallon

Other options for finding good barrels From the K9 Kondo website


We regret that we can no longer provide barrels with our K-9 Kondo doghouse kits. The cost of shipping has become very expensive, with some barrels costing as much as $100 to ship to some locations. Good quality used 55-gallon plastic barrels cans be routinely obtained from local car wash businesses, bottling plants, or found in the Yellow Pages under “Drums & Barrels.” Barrels with a minimum bottom diameter of 21 inches are required and can have a maximum diameter of up to 24 inches for the K-9 Kondo doghouse kit. Barrels smaller than 55 gallons or of steel construction will not work with the K-9 Kondo kit. A little bit of searching will save you a lot of money while still providing your dog with a comfortable, yet indestructible animal shelter. New barrels can be purchased from Rural King farm stores.

Also, used food grade barrels can be found at a number of locations nation wide by contacting Blue Barrel Systems

Barrel Pickup Locations – BlueBarrel Rainwater

Overall, I have enjoyed using these houses and my dogs love the design especially the rounded bottoms of the barrel. It’s like a dugout den that appeals to the wolf in them.

The only issue that I run into is that I have not found a good deck option that some dogs can’t chew up. I expect there is some thing I could add to the edge but it’s just never worked out for my tough chewers. I eventually have to replace the top decks.

Steve Snell
Gun Dog Supply
GPS Dog Tracking Collars

How to clean your dog, Ecollars and GPS electronics after a spraying from a skunk

Skunks are pretty common in most of the country and especially where a good many of us hunt. If you have never experienced the smell after a skunk encounter, consider yourself lucky.

At some point, your dog is going to run across one of them. I find that my bird dogs like to point them but you can tell that something is off. They have a look in their eye that warns you that it isn’t a covey of quail that’s about to explode up from the grass.

If you can get your dog out of the way before the skunk sprays that’s great. If you don’t, there are things you can do to get the smell off him.

I carry a skunk kit with me in the truck. It’s especially handy to have with you if your dog rides in your SUV or car. You don’t want to make the drive to town with him inside your vehicle if you can help it.

The combination that I use is 1 quart Hydrogen Peroxide, 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of a grease cutting liquid soap.

I carry a jug that I use to mix up the solution when I need it. You can not mix it up early or store it. The effects will wear off quickly so just bring the 3 parts and mix it up when needed.

A good pair of rubber gloves is also recommended.

Scrub the solution into the dog and cover him in it. Be sure to keep it out of his nose and eyes. Let it sit on him for five minutes and then rinse with tap water. I recommend repeating these steps a second time just to be sure.

To give you a feel for how fast it works, I have had dogs get sprayed and after washing them and giving them time to dry, they have slept in the house, on my bed that night.

While cleaning the dog is easy, getting the smell out of your remote training collars and your tracking collars can be a bit trickier.

You can try these techniques with the collar straps attached but I remove and throw away the nylon collar straps. You are unlikely to pull the smell out of them and replacement collars are inexpensive.

First wash with the same mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dish soap. The grease cutter in it will help remove the smell. A good scrubbing is required and get in all the nooks and crannies. Wash off with water and let it dry. Repeat if needed.

If that doesn’t remove the smell, then move to a 24 hour soak in isopropyl alcohol – the regular rubbing alcohol that you get at the pharmacy.

Get a bowl with a lid that is large enough to completely cover the electronics. Submerge the collar in the alcohol and let it soak 24 hours.

Remove it and wash it clean with water.

I’ve had to do this a couple of times myself and have cleared the process with engineering at Garmin and SportDog.

I have since learned of another technique that I will test the next time we get sprayed. I can’t guarantee it since I have not tried it but it sounds like it should work. Take your electronics and put them in a ziplock style plastic bag. Fill the bag full of unused coffee grounds. Let it sit for a week.

If you can avoid the experience you should but a run in with a skunk should not ruin your hunt. Having the right products to clean it up will help make your day much more pleasant.


Noise Sensitivity and your pup

I continue to be amazed at the lack of understanding when it comes to fireworks and dogs. The bright lights, screaming sounds and loud explosions are not something that most dogs are going to enjoy.


Questions to ask before you hunt over another persons puppy

Tilley in West Texas 2020

I hunt with a small group of folks. I know their dogs and I keep up with their training but I still ask a couple of quick questions when anyone gets a young dog out when we are hunting. I never mind if a “hunt” turns into a “training session.” The only way to make wild bird dogs is to train them on wild birds.

The first question is always “has the dog been shot over / gun conditioned?”

It’s generally always been done but you must ask. There’s more than one stage of gun conditioning and there’s a difference between comfortable with gunfire around birds and comfortable with multiple shots when you are not the dog on point. It’s not hard to take a young dog from ok with gunfire to not ok in certain situations.

If the dog is at the point where we are comfortable running him with older dogs, it needs to have had a lot of gun conditioning. If not then we can run the pup alone and only shoot when the pup is on birds or we can leave the guns at the truck and take along a blank pistol to do more conditioning. Dog training is an on going job.

The next question is going to be “what are you comfortable with on this particular dog when it comes to shooting birds?”

This is going to be different for everyone and different for every dog.

Some folks are going to only want birds shot if everything is perfect. Some are going to be ok with shooting birds that are safe shots no matter what the dog does. I’m not saying one is right, wrong or better, it just depends on what the handler wants and what stage the dog is in his training.

Some folks get few chances to run on wild birds so they rush their pups or they put them in situations that the dog isn’t ready for at this time. Don’t do it.

You can mess one up real fast and fixing problems is a lot harder than avoiding them. Take your time.