I recently sent a Standing Stone Kennels YouTube channel video link to my current list of clients. In general, Ethan and Kat do a nice job of video production, and demonstrate effective methods of training. Just as important, their method would easily work on any Drent. Low stress conditioning equals more fun, which in turn generates more positive responses. Once a dog knows what the command is you can begin to apply consequences for non-compliance. As the dog improves, the consequences for non-compliance can be increased, but only if done with care and full knowledge that the dog clearly knew what it was supposed to do and chose to not do it. Their video for teaching a recall is a nice example of this, see below, and if you take the time to review the video, they do a nice job of only rewarding and acknowledging the pup’s correct behaviors to their desired action and more or less ignoring sloppiness and/or when she gets it wrong. This is a critical step in the development in a young pup! It teaches them to learn, explore, and to look to you – their boss – for leadership. The dog must want to look to you for leadership and guidance, otherwise you are likely in for a difficult time. This Old School "yard work" applied with modern training principles and techniques is your start to building the all important relationship of trust and respect with your pup.
Do I use a clicker like Ethan and Kat? No, I don’t. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it. When you are rewarding or correcting your dog you have 1/3 of a second to get that done in order to have the best chance for the dog to associate the reward/correction with the action. Using a clicker can help you to get the timing of reinforcing a “good job” within that small window of time. It can also be easier for the dog to discriminate as a positive stroke, in particular, if you are very conversational with your dog. Clicker use has a few down sides, and for me, remembering to have one with me is generally the one that gets me. There are lots of great resources out there, and if you are thinking to use a clicker in your training efforts, now is the time to start learning and practicing the technique – it does take some learning, but it may be well worth the investment of your time.
In the field I use a whistle. I love it and find the whistle to be a valuable and powerful tool. I dislike hollering a dog’s name anywhere, and in the field isn’t any different. Plus, it is very likely that conditions will seriously limit how far your voice carries. A whistle will save your vocal cords, keep you from looking like a raving lunatic, and generally the tweet of a whistle will carry further in more conditions than your voice ever will. The only trick is to not be the person who is constantly bleating their whistle like a maniac, like I said it is a powerful tool, and so it must be used with judgement. So, when to start with the whistle? We will begin tweeting a whistle at feeding time shortly after the pup’s ears have opened. They will soon associate that glorious tweet with meal time and this with a little reinforcement from you, will help cement this foundational Pavlovian conditioning as something as strong and irresistible as the Siren’s song is to a sailor.
Breeding Powder to a Dutch dog in the Netherlands was always the plan. However, for her first litter I chickened out. The commitment level for that litter was extremely high, but still much less than traveling internationally. It has been said, traveling to Europe for breeding is not a trivial matter. Despite this being my fifteenth occasion of flying a pet internationally, this was another level for a couple of reasons.
Months in advance I registered the stud I was approved to use with the AKC Foundation Stock Service and ordered the required DNA kit, then carefully setting all of this paperwork aside to be packed later. Naturally, Powder flew with me in-cabin as my Service Dog, which required a few extra forms to be completed by my veterinarian for the airline; this was easy, but a step to be taken never the less. Then we waited for Mother Nature to do her job. Once things got started, we scheduled her first progesterone test and all of the appointments to get her veterinary paperwork in order: State health certificate, European Union/USDA paperwork, official rabies certificate and of course full vaccination summary.
Purchasing plane tickets before it’s “go time” is pure folly and this occasion was no different. Powder pulled Tule into heat six weeks early, and Tule slowed Powder down by two weeks. The results of Powder’s progesterone tests confirm what we knew to be true. Ovulation will be right at her day fifteen and I had a few days to buy tickets, execute the veterinary paperwork, get a reservation at a B&B, hire a car, and so on. Flying a pet internationally is quite involved on its own accord, but now with a time sensitivity and no room for error.
Checking in was quite simple with all of Powder’s paperwork in order, with no small thanks to Jenna for this! Getting Powder through Security was an interesting process, and she endured her first TSA “pat down” with aplomb. With a Service Dog you train to pass the Assistance Dogs International (ADI) Public Access Test, amongst other oddities you expect your dog to encounter in addition to the actual service they provide for you. Still here in Spokane there just aren’t many places with escalators, crazy tram cars, giant voices and so on – so you just never quite know until you do. But you do hope the things you have worked on were close enough and that those training events would effectively generalize for the dog. Powder was a champ! She handled the crush of people, the whirring of service carts zipping by, riding escalators and tram cars, rotating doors, and crazy voices like a seasoned pro.
Discerning a real Service Dog from a “service dog” can generally be accomplished by observing the handler and how the dog carries itself. For example, if the dog is being carried or in a cart (there may be a couple of exceptions here), not on a leash or some form of bridging handle (the leash is used to protect the dog), the dog is pulling on the leash (although it should be like the leash isn’t needed), the dog may be barking and/or whining (unless it is prompting their boss to do something), it is sniffing everything (dogs are going to sniff, but a dog without a focus on his boss will have his mind elsewhere), having potty accidents (speaks for itself), stealing food (or snatching stuff off the ground – it’s all about self-control and focus), seeking attention (be focused on the job at hand), looking nervous or being aggressive (they should be alert but not reactive). The absolute Number One sign is, the owner probably has a cleverly designed identification card from one of at least twenty different companies easily found on the internet – those are all just scams, each and every one of them.
In the U.S. there is no formally recognized certification for Service Dogs. The ADI is the standard we are moving towards, and it is likely there will be a codified certification process and licensing process in the near future. But fake Service Dogs are illegal. The dog should be required due to a disability (you can’t legally ask) and the dog has to be specifically trained to mitigate a disability (you can ask the animals purpose e.g. Medial Alert). Powder’s vest has a pair of pockets, and inside one is the documentation which covers my disabilities in a Privacy Act compliant way. A service dog’s training is always in the works and being finetuned. The flight process from check-in to ground transport was Powder’s biggest “on duty” shift times two. She really did an impressive job of staying focused and she surprised her fellow passengers as well as the aircrews based off of the comments we got from everyone before, during and after both flights. I am very proud of her.
Bastiaan and Sandra den Haan are the owners of Joeri, the handsome stud used for this litter, and they were amazingly helpful in addition to being incredibly kind, friendly and generous hosts! Sandra made a delightful Dutch specialty for dinner one evening, white asparagus with all of the traditional fixings – oh, buddy that is good living right there! She also helped nail down a dog friendly B&B for Powder and me. As it turns out “De Wijnberg” is owned and operated by a fellow Drent enthusiast Inez de Baar-Le Grand. Sadly, despite several invitations, I didn’t get to go walking with Inez, but I was able to enjoy the lovely surroundings of the Hazerwoude-Dorp area. During the short and quickly paced visit, Joeri made three successful covers, and the two dogs got along like peas and carrots as I had hoped. Joeri is handsome to behold, a real gentleman and a really sweet boy. He is a Drent I could add to my own household without a second thought. It was a real pleasure to make his acquaintance. Moreover, it was fantastic making new friends with Bas & Sandra. I can’t thank them enough for opening their home to me and being so accommodating and helpful.
Now we wait…
There are, I suppose, three primary ways to breed a female. 1) Put a female in heat and a male together and just let Mother Nature run it's course. This works pretty well for strays, I am assuming here, and many "backyard breeders". 2) The Old School way: put them together on days 10, 12, and 14. This too has worked for many breeders for many years, but not all females ovulate at this point in their cycle and using this method can result in small litters or missed breedings all together. 3) Use progesterone testing. This is the only method which scientifically quantifies when and what is actually happening in the female's body, which tells the breeder what to expect and when to expect it. As you may have guessed, we use option three: Progesterone Testing.
Why is this important? We have two main factors involved. Egg and Sperm viability. Some females "run fast" and ovulate before day 10. Some "run slow" and ovulate well after day 10. The canine egg takes forty-eight to sixty hours after ovulation to be ready for conception, and remains viable for up to three days. In all from ovulation you have about five days. So knowing when this window of opportunity is open is key. In particular when you know it takes Sperm time to capacitate and have they a finite window of viability. Generally, sperm can be expected to be viable in the female up to seven days for a live mating. For chilled and frozen semen the timeline is much tighter with sperm viability being around 24 hours for chilled and only 12 hours for frozen.
Like two ships at sea wishing to exchange passengers while remaining in motion, there is an optimal time for this to happen, the further we get away from the optimal window of opportunity the lower the odds of success. As you might imagine, just like the passenger exchange. Too early, not all of them will make it, too late you get the same effect, but for different reasons. In the sweet spot as many that could make it will. So having everything in place at the right time really matters.
Finally its Game On! Tule surprised us by coming into heat this past Monday and Powder followed suit today :) So we will be VERY busy this summer with hopefully 2 healthy litters of puppies. These due dates are approximate, but both litters should be here the first week in June. For more information, just give us a ring.
When you shoot lots of game birds, you get to eat lots of game birds. This is a twist on a New Mexican staple, Posole, a hearty and comforting soup which is a personal favorite. I am guessing it will become a favorite of yours as well.
SERVINGS: 4 - 8
- 4 cups canned whole hominy (from three 15-ounce cans); may use 1 1/2 cups dried hominy, soaked in water overnight
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or use fat renderings from 3 or 4 strips of bacon which you use to make bacon bits)
- 1 1/4 pounds quail (pheasant or chicken)
- 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 4 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
- 1 Chipotle medium/fine chop (1-4 spoons of adobo sauce to taste)
- 1 cup Hatch (New Mexico green) chili peppers, stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 4 cups homemade or no-salt-added chicken broth
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Garnish with some shredded cheddar blend, Monterrey Jack, crumbled Queso Fresco, a few chopped green onions and some freshly made bacon bits
If using canned hominy, pour it into a colander, rinse it with water and allow it to drain. If using dried hominy, place it in a 6-quart pot and cover with water by 3 inches. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook for about 2 hours, adjusting the heat to keep the water barely bubbling around the edges and adding water as needed. The hominy is done when the kernels have softened and begun to burst.
Heat the peppercorns, cumin seeds and coriander seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently and watching carefully to prevent burning. When the mixture is fragrant and lightly browned, after 1 to 2 minutes, transfer it to a spice grinder and grind into a coarse powder. If you must, use pre-ground spices and toast with care.
Make some homemade bacon bits using 3 or 4 strips of bacon chopped and carefully rendered. Reserve a few tablespoons of the fat, or heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the quail pieces in batches and cook on all sides until browned, transferring the finished pieces to a plate or bowl as you go.
When all of the quail has browned, add the onion, garlic and chilies to the stock pot. Cook until the vegetables are softened and begin to brown slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the ground spices and the chicken pieces (along with any accumulated juices); cook for 1 minute, to heat through and to make the spices fragrant.
Add the cooked posole and broth. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce the heat so that the liquid is barely bubbling around the edges. If using canned hominy, cook for 10 to 15 minutes; if using dried hominy, cook for about 1 hour. The soup is done when the hominy is completely cooked through. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with shredded cheese.
Serve with warmed, lightly toasted, fresh tortillas on the side.
When you spend fifty to eighty days afield hunting upland birds, your freezer will eventually be filled with the delicious and tender meat of wild game birds. You can substitute any kind of game bird for this recipe, but I prefer to use quail, Mearns Quail to be exact. Their breasts require only a light thump from the heal of your hand to ensure perfect and uniform thickness throughout.
- 2 to 3 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts or about about 1 pound of game bird meat
- All-purpose flour, for dredging
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces crimini or porcini mushrooms, stemmed and halved
- 1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Fettuccine noodles (optional)
1. Over a sheet of plastic wrap, place the breast meat side by side then lay a second piece of plastic wrap over them; gently "pound" quail meat with the heal of your hand, do not "pound out" quail tenderloins, Pheasant and chicken will likely need the use of the flat side of a meat mallet, until they are uniform in thickness (about 1/4-inch thick for chicken or Phez).
2. Cut your prosciutto slices into narrow strips, cutting from short side to short side.
3. Prepare your chicken stock, it is perfectly okay to have extra stock on hand, in particular if you would like to have some extra sauce.
4. Now might be a good time to put your fettuccine noodles on so they are ready if you are so inclined to serve your Marsala on a bed of noodles.
5. Put some flour in a shallow platter and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly.
6. Heat your oil over medium-high flame in a large skillet. When the oil is nice and hot, dredge both sides of the cutlets in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess. Slip the cutlets into the pan and fry on each side until golden about 2 or 3 minutes per side, turning once – do this in batches if the pieces don't fit comfortably in the pan. Remove the cutlets to a large platter in a single layer to keep warm.
7. Lower the heat to medium and add the prosciutto to the drippings in the pan, saute for 1 minute to render out some of the fat. Then, add the mushrooms and saute until they are nicely browned and their moisture has evaporated, this will take about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper.
8. Carefully pour the Marsala in the pan, it can flame up, and boil down for a few seconds to cook out the alcohol. Add the chicken stock and simmer to reduce the sauce slightly.
9. Once reduced, stir in the butter and return your cutlets to the pan; simmer gently for 1 minute to heat the cutlet through.
10. Serve over a bed of al dente fettuccine. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.
Need to clear out your fridge? Or just want to feed a group of people some quail? Look no further, but beware, you’ll never want to look at a chicken nugget again and you may not be able to look at a quail without thinking of your deep fryer...
- A limit of quail, breasted, cleaned and with the tenderloin separated.
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 cup of buttermilk
- 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 quart of oil for frying / whatever your deep fat fryer needs
- 2 Large resealable bags
Trim your quail breasts so that your nuggets are roughly bite and equally sized. This will ensure they all fry at the same rate, and ensure maximum tenderness. Place your prepared quail into a large resealable bag. In a bowl mix the egg, buttermilk, and garlic powder. Pour the mixture in with the quail, seal and refrigerate an hour or so. In a second reseal-able bag mix the flour bread crumbs, salt, and baking powder. When you are ready to go, drain the quail, discarding the wet mixture, then place the quail into the dry ingredient mixture bag. Shake. Find your quail nugget and fry until GB&D (Golden Brown and Delicious).
Still not good enough for you? Then pick up some Idaho fry sauce for dipping. So your corner store doesn't carry the stuff, then whip up a batch of your own, I don’t think you’ll regret it.
Kick butt dipping sauce:
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1/8 cup ketchup
- ¼ TB (Tablespoon) plus ¼ TS (Teaspoon) Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ TS garlic powder
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ TS black pepper
For the sauce: Gather ingredients and mix them in a small bowl.
P.S. Beware: this recipe may cause you to become a compulsive quail hunter!
My Answer: No need to send any crates in advance, we have so many crates it would boggle your mind. Literally, we have a stack of them consuming a corner of our basement. We will begin acclimatizing the pups to crates shortly after they get under their own power. Primarily we will use plastic airline kennels to get the pups started. They will be more likely to chew wire crates, and this isn’t a behavior we want to get ingrained at the start.
That Orvis crate looks to be a nice one, but with a pup, and a boy Drent at that...I couldn't recommend it as an initial investment. He could get lucky and It could be just right, or it could end up being a bit small, or maybe even a bit small for an at home sleeping crate… All on our adult dogs have quite large wire crates so they can lay comfortably when we are away, but when they are pups, they aren’t given such luxury. I did recommend recommend looking on Facebook marketplace, or any other comparable source, for used crates, in particular "life-stages" crates which have a movable panel which will help with potty training. You can make the puppies space smaller when they are tiny and move it to make their space larger as their needs evolve and their bladders strengthen. Then you can either fold it up or sell it once you are done with it.
As I have mentioned in my book, Drents will be really close to full size at around 11-13 months of age. Boys, in particular, will still be filling out: gaining bone and muscle mass up until possibly 3 years of age, and his coat will continue to develop pretty much his whole life, but his adult coat could take until he is 3 or 4 years of age. Females will be done much closer to 18 months but will also likely see some coat development as they age, but to a much smaller extent than the boys. With Drents, it is important to realize Sexual Dimorphism is common in the breed, with the boys being larger. Also, boys can take longer to mature physically (mostly the "finishing out" phase).
With the Powder X Joeri litter my best guess would be most of the litter will be close to the size of the parents as I have posted. But with the Drent, there is a lot of variety, and some bloodlines have more than others and in this case on the father's side of the family, there is a greater amount of uniformity in size 23"-24" at the shoulder. On the mother’s side there are some really big boys. So, while it is unlikely, it may be possible we could see a 25" boy.
So for the home, in short, I think buying an adjustable kennel, or a series of the plastic bodied kennels is your best option for his first year. Clean, used, but well-maintained kennels are the best way to go until you know for sure how big he is going to be.
In writing this, I see where I totally failed John. I didn’t even touch on the travel part of kenneling your dog. When it comes to airlines, really, these requirements have become a moving target, and so checking with your airline of choice several months in advance is critical. What I will touch upon is crating for overland/highway travel. I am a huge fan of having my dogs crated while rolling down the road, it just solves so many problems before they even have a chance to rear their heads to become one! For travel with Drents I am not in favor of wire, or folding wire crates. I have a friend and mentor who uses them, his dogs are small, so he has never had a problem. I used them and stopped after having the crates collapse at the least opportune time. I use Intermediate Ruff Tough kennels, now called Ruff Land, kennels. They are a bit small for our larger boys, and about right-ish for the girls and they are strapped down to the “Hell for Stout” Carty Vault with 2,500# cargo straps. You can buy tougher kennels these days, but I’ve never had a problem or heard of a problem with a “Ruff Tough” – they are tough as wood pecker lips. The small size isn’t great for long road trips but does keep the dogs from being tossed around in the back country. Everything is a compromise, and I went a bit towards safety over comfort.
Paxson will soon be thirteen years old. He is surprisingly healthy, but his rear-end just isn't really with the program so much. So we took Paxson Double Barrel Ranch so he could get some action, and Booker was brought along for back up - as we were pretty much counting on the fact Paxson couldn't make the whole hunt. Also, we brought young Robert, my four and a half year old son, for his first pheasant hunt. All in all, a good time was had.
Who knew I left it there? Well, Erik, a Dutch Ex-Pat, got to have his first upland hunt today at Miller Ranch hunting over Team Double Dutch, Powder and Fowler. We put ten birds in the field, and found all ten - one did get lucky and make an escape. The dogs worked together pointing, honoring one another, and retrieving like champs as we have come to expect, despite the cold and wet conditions. As people who know me know, my shooting is Amazing (Amazingly bad, or Amazingly good) and today I got to wear my shooting mojo like Hugh Hefner wore his silk PJ's. Erik managed to punch birds out of the sky like a boss as well. Unless you were a pheasant in field #2 it was a good day.
Just so we are all on the same sheet of music, I found the classic graphic I believe most "pointer people" can agree on to define the various "levels" of steadiness.. The further to the right, the "higher" the level of steadiness.
In the world of pointing dogs this can be quite the debate. In Real World hunting situations, with all of the people I have hunted with and all the different dogs I have had the opportunity to hunt over I have heard a lot of things, mostly yelling, cussing, copious whistle bleating and even witnessed a tantrum or two over dog performance for one thing or another. The one thing I never heard a peep over is a guy complaining his dog was too steady.. Let that soak in for a quick minute. Hell, I'm guilty of this. Please allow me to digress...it is my blog after all...In fact my first real bird dog from puppy is Paxson. I thought knew a lot about dog training already, read a half dozen books on Bird Dog training - man I got this, I thought. I was living in New Mexico at the time, and The Poof was about eighteen months old. He spent his first year and change living in Amstenrade, The Netherlands and had only seen a few pheasant and Grey Partridge when I took him out for walks in the South Limburger countryside.... Back to New Mexico. It was a banner year for Scaled quail, the coveys out on the mesa where epic - hundreds of birds, just in a single covey! It didn't take long and Paxson began to point naturally, doing an amazing job really. People have paid more to trainers and got less - just saying and since I thought I knew so much I allowed Paxson to be hunted with my dear friend's yellow Lab, Drake. I love Jim, and I really thought the world of Drake, but he was no pointing dog! True to type, he'd blaze on in and the quail would fly. Soon this became a competition for Paxson and turned into a behavior I have never been able to completely rein in. I learned I couldn't hunt him with another dog and so Paxson, despite being an amazing bird dog, has never had his talents showcased to anyone wanting to run their own dog during the same hunt.
Overall, the birds are down. In fact the past several years have seen a steady decline. Each year a step down from the year before. This year was supposed to be a good year, the monsoon rains were on time, and in good quantity, reality is, they were spotty. Still, some reports allege a violent mid-Sept storm decimated the young bird population... I can confirm the spotty monsoon reports, the rain was absolutely right in a handful of areas, and those ares where a tremendous amount of fun to hunt. Overall we had some nice dog work which made the whole trip well worth the time, energy and effort. Meanwhile, just to the North, Arizona wine country continues to deliver pleasant surprises: Like newcomer: Deep Sky vineyard, and places I've made threats to visit for years only to just now make the visit happen Rune Wines made for some nice tasting opportunities. While tried and true stalwarts Callaghan Wines, and Dos Cabezas delivered to expectation. Good times.
It is no secret, the birds have been slow this season. However, if you aren't faint of heart, willing to do some serious research and hard hiking there are a few pockets in this rough country holding nice quantities of birds. We shared one of these finds with our trusted friend the other day. Naturally, he was blindfolded, dizzied, and the batteries to his GPS were confiscated. I mean we don't trust anyone that much ;-) In areas like this, you can always wish for easier and/or better shooting but only a crazy person could have asked more more birds, or better work from the dogs. #DoubleDutch #PowderPower #FowlerTheDrent
I'm just a guy suffering with an infatuation with gundogs since childhood. Forty some odd years later this is what you get.