Categories
Dogs

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

Categories
Dogs

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

and

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

“NOTICE ON BARRELS

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
Categories
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.

Categories
Dogs

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.

Categories
Dogs

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.

Categories
GPS Dog Tracking Collars

Learning to Track with your GPS System

Learning to track a dog with any of the GPS systems that we sell is easy to do but learning how your system works while hunting or with the system on a moving dog is a bad idea.

The easiest way to learn how to track is to leave the collar at your house and drive away from it. That way you know exactly where it is and it’s stationary.

This also allows you the time to select the best screens and options for you to use with your new tracking system.

Using this method allows you the opportunity to see exactly how the system tracks and how the features work without some of the issues you are going to see with a running dog.

Once you are comfortable with the tracking features when the collar isn’t moving, you can move on to tracking something that moves but a dog isn’t always the best idea. I like to give the collar to one of my kids and give them a general idea of where I want them to go but not be so specific that I know exactly where they will be. If things go sideways or I get confused with what my system is showing, I can call them on their cell phone and see what’s going on.

Once you fully understand all the features of your new tracking system, you can then start tracking your dogs.

Categories
Dogs

One way to do it

Just because it works for me does mean it will work for you.

We train our dogs with the products we sell.

We use this product this way.

This is how we correct that problem.

This is how we recommend to do it because this method has been successful for us in this situation.

This is one way to do it. This is not THE only way to do it.

Categories
Dogs

If you are cold outside then so is your dog?

The thought behind this statement is based in wanting to do the right thing but it comes from a lack of understanding. It’s too broad to be based in fact.

First off – dogs are not people. I know some folks have a hard time with this idea but they ain’t little people in dog suits. They are designed differently and can deal with things that we can’t. This is especially true of certain breeds. It’s actually much crueler to have these dogs in the South with our summers than our mild winters.

Next – it’s about whether your dog has been conditioned to live outside. If you have one that’s been inside his entire life and then you stick him outside in this kind of weather, that’s going to be a problem. If he’s used to being outside then this is a different story.

Dogs require three things to stay warm.

They need to be dry, out of the wind and enough calories to generate the body heat that they need to stay warm.

The question should be – are your outside animals protected from the weather?

Mine are. They have insulated dog houses that are warm, dry and out of the wind. The funny part is that many of them still spend a large part of their time outside and on top of their houses.

They also get double the calories this time of year vs the summer. This allows them the ability to burn extra to stay warm.

The bigger issue is keeping open water. Making sure they can get to enough water can be a problem. I feed dry most the year but I add water to their food in these kinds of weather situations to help keep them hydrated.

We also sell dog house heaters and water bucket heaters. I don’t use them myself (well not for the dogs but our tortoise has one) since our winters are generally mild.

The question needs to be about protection more than anything. Having outside dogs is a year round thing and giving them what they need all year is important. This is also true in the summer when it’s 100 degrees. They need cool shade and plenty of water. We run fans that time of the year and have multiple checks on them daily to make sure everyone is safe.

If you don’t have this kind of setup than you either need to get it or you need to provide protection for them in this kind of weather.

If you are not willing to do these things for them, then maybe you don’t need to have a dog. You might just not be worthy of that kind of relationship.

I’m sure some of you won’t like these statements and I’m ok with that. Keep in mind that I love my dogs much more than I like most people.

Categories
Dogs

Using the Pro Bark collar as your ecollar back up

https://www.gundogsupply.com/garmin-pro-bark-collar-bundle.html

The Garmin Pro Bark collar is the regular Pro PT 10 training collar but you just put it in “Bark Mode” and it works as a stand alone bark collar.

This set up is the most expensive bark collar we sell but i prefer it for a couple of reasons.

For folks that have dogs that need to wear a bark collar on a regular basis, the Pro Bark comes with the “Extended Wear” plastic probes. These are perfect for dogs that get neck irritation from wearing a bark collar daily. I have found that these probes virtually eliminate pressure necrosis on even the most sensitive dogs that need a collar everyday.

The other reason that I use it as my bark collar is that it allows me to have a “back up” remote training collar system without carrying extra gear especially when I am traveling with my dogs. I also want to have bark collars with me when I’m staying at hotels with my dogs.

I use a Pro 550 3 dog as my back up ecollar system. The 3 collars double as bark collars. This way I have both if needed and the collars get used regularly which is better for the batteries.

You can do the same thing using the Sport Pro system and the Sport transmitter allows you the option to program the Bark collar to direct set levels. If you use the Pro 550, your bark collars can only be set in the rising stimulation mode.

If you already have a Pro system and want to add the “extended wear” probes click here

https://www.gundogsupply.com/garmin-bark-limiter-2-plastic-probes.html

An additional advantage for me using my 550 as my back up ecollar system / Pro Bark collars is that the Garmin Pro Bark uses the same chargers as the Garmin Alpha TT15 mini collars so I can carry less chargers for all my gear. It’s win, win, win!

The Garmin Pro Bark has these advantages over other bark collars but the options and combinations can be a bit confusing. If you are not sure which bark collar set up is better for your needs, do not hesitate to give us a call.

Categories
Dogs

When I use dog boots

Sage the German Shorthair Pointer in West Texas

I’m not a fan of booting dogs. It’s a pain in the butt and it takes time that I would rather spend hunting. You really can’t do it early on most dogs. If you try and boot them and then leave them in the dog box, you are going to end up with some chewed off boots. Best to boot them right before you run them.

I do carry dog boots with me everywhere I go. You never know when having boots will make the difference between a successful hunt and a completely ruined day.

I mainly use boots for Sand Spurs. Perhaps the most evil of plants, the sand spur’s only purpose in life is to crush a bird dog’s spirit. It’s a rare, rare dog that can hunt through the pain of sand spurs.

The thing about sand spurs that makes me carry dog boots is the unpredictable nature of when they will show up. It’s a combination of drought and soil disturbance. This means you might not have them on a piece of ground one year but they show up the next. I think this catches folks off guard. Best to have dog boots and not need them.

Another reason I carry boots is to prevent or to help a dog that blows out a pad. My experience has been that some dogs are worse about pad injuries early in the season than others from a genetic standpoint. Thin pads and lots of drive are a bad combination that can lead to a hunting dog on the injured

Pad toughness can be improved with off season running and the use of pad conditioners like Tuff Foot. It takes several weeks and you need to start slow and build up over time. If you have neglected to do this or you didn’t get enough of it done, boots can help.

I still run into issues with some dogs because I can’t replicate the ground conditions at home that we see out west. We just don’t have the sand and rocks. It can be rough the first few hunts.

For folks that travel places to hunt but don’t have a large number of dogs, I recommend booting your dog for the entire trip. Even if his feet are in good shape, using boots can extend his ability to hunt longer and over more days. This can make a difference in a successful hunting trip.