Sure the Washington pheasant opener is tomorrow morning and the place I wanna go is dictating a very early wake up. But it's been too long! We've made a few tweaks here and there, and over the coming weeks new imagery will begin to populate throughout. Our super cool coffee mugs are finally on the merch page after spending almost two years in seclusion and being coveted gifts to friends... Also, via a Facebook contact I managed to get a t-shirt source that is affordable in super small batches. You know it, an order is in the works! Until next time, keep it rubber-side down and take care of yourself and yours as best you can.
Earlier this year it was looking like father time had finally caught up with the Old Man. He was taken to a vet, one that gave us a terrible prognosis. Yet, he soldiered on. With moves, house shopping, a looming retirement, and a whole lot of life going on...sadly it took longer than desired or expected to get him to my vet. Urine & blood were run, and all the "shot from the hip" diagnoses he had been given were quickly dashed away. We did learn he had a raging UTI (urinary tract infection) and most likely he has arthritis in his lower back. So with some basic antibiotics, and a minimal dosage of carprofen it is as if Paxson has been bathed in the fountain of youth. Thanks Dr. Nick!
1. Remember that the animals you select for breeding today will have an impact on the breed for many years to come. Keep that thought firmly in mind when you choose breeding stock.
2. You can choose only two individuals per generation. Choose only the best, because you will have to wait for another generation to improve what you start with. Breed only if you expect the progeny to be better than both parents.
3. You cannot expect statistical predictions to hold true in a small number of animals (as in one litter of puppies). Statistics only apply to large populations.
4. A pedigree is a tool to help you learn the good and bad attributes that your dog is likely to exhibit or reproduce. A pedigree is only as good as the dog it represents.
5. Breed for a total dog, not just one or two characteristics. Don't follow fads in your breed, because they are usually meant to emphasize one or two features of the dog at the expense of the soundness and function of the whole.
6. Quality does not mean quantity. Quality is produced by careful study, having a good mental picture of what you are trying to achieve, having patience to wait until the right breeding stock is available and to evaluate what you have already produced, and above all, having a breeding plan that is at least three generations ahead of the breeding you do today.
7. Remember that skeletal defects are the most difficult to change.
8. Don't bother with a good dog that cannot produce well. Enjoy him (or her) for the beauty that he represents but don't use him in a breeding program.
9. Use out-crosses very sparingly. For each desirable characteristic you acquire, you will get many bad traits that you will have to eliminate in succeeding generations.
10. Inbreeding is a valuable tool, being the fastest method to set good characteristics and type. It brings to light hidden traits that need to be eliminated from the breed.
11. Breeding does not "create" anything. What you get is what was there to begin with. It may have been hidden for many generations, but it was there.
12. Discard the old cliché about the littermate of that great producer being just as good to breed to. Littermates seldom have the same genetic make-up.
13. Be honest with yourself. There are no perfect dogs (or bitches) nor are there perfect producers. You cannot do a competent job of breeding if you cannot recognize the faults and virtues of the dogs you plan to breed.
14. Hereditary traits are inherited equally from both parents. Do not expect to solve all of your problems in one generation.
15. If the worst puppy in your last litter is no better than the worst puppy in your first litter, you are not making progress. Your last litter should be your last litter.
16. If the best puppy in your last litter is no better than the best puppy in your first litter, you are not making progress. Your last litter should be your best litter.
17. Do not choose a breeding animal by either the best or the worst that he (or she) has produced. Evaluate the total get by the attributes of the majority.
18. Keep in mind that quality is a combination of soundness and function. It is not merely the lack of faults, but the positive presence of virtues. It is the whole dog that counts.
19. Don't allow personal feelings to influence your choice of breeding stock. The right dog for your breeding program is the right dog, whoever owns it. Don't ever decry a good dog; they are too rare and wonderful to be demeaned by pettiness.
20. Don't be satisfied with anything but the best. The second best is never good enough.
• Don't make use of indiscriminate outcrosses. A judicious outcross can be of great value, an injudicious one can produce an aggregation of every imaginable fault in in the breed.
• Don't line breed just for the sake of line breeding. Line breeding with complimentary types can bring great rewards, with unsuitable ones it will lead to immediate disaster.
• Don't take advice from those who have always been unsuccessful breeders if their opinion were worth having they would have proved it by their successes.
• Don't believe the popular cliché about the brother or the sister of the great Champion beingas good to breed from, for every one that is, there are hundreds that are not. It depends on the animal concerned.
• Don't credit your own dogs with virtues they do not possess. Self deceit is a stepping stone to failure. In other words don't be kennel blind.
• Don't breed from mediocrities, the absence of a fault does not in any way signify the presence of its corresponding virtue.
• Don't try to line breed two dogs at the same time; you will end by line breeding to neither.
• Don't assess the worth of a stud dog by his inferior progeny. All stud dogs sire rubbish at times; what matters are how good their best efforts are.
• Don't allow personal feelings to influence your choice of a stud dog. The right dog for your bitch is the right dog whoever owns it.
• Don't allow admiration of a stud dog to blind you to his faults. If you do you will soon be the victim of autointoxication.
• Don't mate together animals which share the same faults. You are asking for trouble if you do.
• Don't forget that it is the whole dog that counts. If you forget one virtue while searching for another you will pay for it.
• Don't search for the perfect dog as a mate for your bitch. The perfect dog (or bitch) doesn't exist, never has or never will!
• Don't be frightened of breeding from animals that have obvious faults so long as they have compensating virtues. A lack of virtue is far the greatest fault of all.
• Don't mate together non-complementary types. An ability to recognize type at a glance is a breeder's greatest gift; ask the successful breeders to explain this subject - there is no other way of learning. (I would define non-complementary types as ones which have the same faults and lack the same virtues.)
• Don't forget the necessity to preserve head quality. It will vanish like a dream if you do.
• Don't forget that substance plus quality should be one of your aims. Any fool can breed one without the other.
• Don't forget that a great head plus soundness should be one of your aims. Many people can never breed either!
• Don't ever try to decry a great dog. A thing of beauty is not only a joy forever but also a great price and pleasure to all true lovers of the breed
This was a "High-Stakes" members-only-event put on by the Spokane Bird Dog Association. Sadly, we missed last year, but there was no way we were missing this year! The stakes are very high at Bingopalooza, it may be possible if you are caught not having fun you may have to wear a ridiculous hat, a tiara, a tutu or even possibly all. With pressure like that, you can imagine what this does to both dog and handler. A perfect opportunity for Nik to debut her mad handling skills.
As the handful of you who frequent my little corner of the internet have likely figured out long ago, in addition to Dutch Dogs, and chasing birds, I really enjoy photography. Nik and I have had a Nikon D60 for the past nine years, and it has served us well. In fact about eighty-percent of the photos in my book where taken by that very camera, and much to the dismay of Craig, my publisher, none of the photos were shot "RAW" and many weren't even "fine JPG" either. I've lugged that camera around just about everywhere, even my buddy Dave had to use it to capture some photos for an article he was working on when he forgot his own rig. As my photography needs grew, it became apparent the D60's auto focus system wasn't fast or accurate enough, nor was it's frames per second adequate - 3fps, which we thought were blazing back in 2008. I've spent the past two years researching DSLR cameras and pounced on the new Nikon D7500 shortly after its release. This new body gives me much of what the D500 offers without the added expense: an amazing processor, a deep buffer, 8fps, yet still holds onto Point and Shoot capability for when that's all I want to do, and Snapbridge - which set up easily and has worked flawlessly for me. Pretty much all wins across the board for me - yay!
On the side, I've fooled around with various editors, most weren't that great either in their power or flexibility or cost. I've become a big fan of Google Photos over the years, and use it extensively - but still I wanted more, and I wanted it for free. Getting the new DSLR has put me to search, and I have gone with Tony Northrup's recommendation to use Photoscape X and Raw Therapee to meet my emergent needs. These programs don't adulterate the original file and are much, much more flexible and powerful than either MS Photos or Google Photos, and you don't have to fool around with adding an Andriod OS on your PC to use cool apps like Snapseed.
This photo was shot on the US-Mexico border, conditions were clear skies and bright sun light. Original un-edited from the camera on the left. a bit washed out, with deep shadows on Booker's face. MS Photos, was able to bring back back some more natural color, and manage a simple crop. Photoscape X helped bring up more natural color, and through masking I was able to ease (lighten) some of the deep shadows on the left side of his face and make his eye visible - pretty sweet.
Bird hunting is a surprisingly hazardous occupation for a bird dog, and it can be tough on people as well... without adding being careless to the mix. Don't worry, there is NOTHING graphic here, just some good ol' boys having fun.
A member of a forum I am a member of just recently posted this VIDEO of a group of gentlemen hunting one of my favorite game birds in areas I have hunted and by accounts, coveys I have hunted. Bird hunting can be much harder on dogs than most might think, in particular Southern Arizona where Mearns quail live. "Road hazards" abound, be it; barbed wire, hardscrabble, catclaw, cactus and the list goes on. We also need to add the hunter to that list, as a potential threat to the dog, and frankly to other hunters in the area. Sure there may be some camera angles at play here, but I'm willing to wager overzealous hunters coupled with a lack of full situational awareness is really what is mostly whats in play here. Enjoy the scenery, enjoy the quail footage - please try to ignore the dog "work" and count your blessing you weren't hunting with these guys.
I'm just a guy suffering with an infatuation with gundogs since childhood. Forty some odd years later this is what you get.