Archive for May, 2012

Puppies gotta eat, and today they got their first taste of solid food. Take puppy food, mix with warm water, stir, and wait until the food is soft. Add more warm water and mash it up. Mix in a heaping helping of love. Serve.

I got the following pictures and commentary from Colleen. [I’ve added a few comments, in the brackets].

The first meal went VERY well. Really, there is a dish [under that pile of puppies]. What a bunch of gluttons.

[From the picture above, the puppies] move counter-clock wise around and around the dish. [Mr. Blue has made it almost 180 degrees around.]

Yummy! [In the following close-up, you can see the circle of the metal dish as well as the raised section in the middle that makes it kind of like a doughnut-shaped trough. Not that the food stays in the trough. Some is in the puppies, some is on the towel, some is all over the puppies’ faces and bodies. Adventures in puppy food, indeed.]

Crowded![How many heads are in the picture below anyway? 4?]

First round of clean up [Tooey gets a bit of the food, too, and keeps everything clean and tidy.]

Satisfied [cleaned up and happy puppies] Lights out, please. [It’s time for a group nap.]

[Tooey] is all smiles now that those little imps are going to be less demanding! [Relaxed, happy, and all by herself up on that platform bed. Wonder how long that will last?]

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In short, a Spaniel hunt test can consist of 8 hours of waiting, and less than 3 minutes of hunting. For a tightly wound dog, this is a formula for chaos. And in the world of tightly wound dogs, Cooper is at the upper end of the taut-scale. Waiting is not in his genes. (Which is one of the reasons he is a great hunting dog and a work-in-progress hunt-test dog.)

“I was born ready”

On Saturday, we ran 3rd in the running order and got to start at the beginning of the course. Norm was able to make these photographs at the starting line because Cooper flushed his first two birds while I was still within the first 20 feet.

Looking for bird #1

60 seconds later and 2 birds delivered, we were done while the judges consulted and compared notes.

By now it is only 8:30 in the morning (notice the early morning fog still hanging over the hunt test grounds at Scatter Creek, Washington), and it time to wait for the water series.

Waiting our turn for the water series

Now at 2:30 in the afternoon and after trying to keep Cooper relatively cool and collected for 5 hours, it is time to for a single water retrieve.

1 second into the water series

30 seconds later

. . . and we’re done

That took another 45 seconds.

Fortunately I got to spend the weekend with Norm (who took these photos) talking dogs, guns, and trains. If one isn’t content to be outdoors with your friends and dogs in the rain and sun, then hunt tests can be tedious except for the few moments of working. But if you like those things, then they are great activities.

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I was going to start out this post by saying that Cooper is now a Spaniel. But the more I thought about it, the more ridiculous that sounded. He’s always been a Spaniel, hunting up birds, even when the only available bird was a rubber toy I’d hidden in the living room.

So, I guess what Cooper really is, as of yesterday, is a titled Spaniel — Junior Hunter Upland (JHU). To celebrate, Russ did a portrait of the boy:

SHR CH Realta Rosario Cooper CD RN SH JHU WC CGC FdX

Somewhat less formally, a couple of shapshots also got taken this weekend after his 3rd and 4th pass in two junior-level Spaniel Hunting Tests, both held by the Western Washington English Springer Spaniel Association.

3rd pass — May 26, 2012 — WWESSC

4th pass and JHU title — May 27, 2012 — WWESSC

Cooper had the same successes and the same weaknesses as last weekend:

  • quick flushes of the birds (on Saturday, Cooper didn’t even get 20 yards down the course before he flushed both his birds),
  • laser-like retrieves to hand on the land,
  • over-enthusiam (read: out of control) going to the line at the water (fortunately, at the Junior level, you can hold them by the collar),
  • dramatic water entry (read: flying leap) — one judge on Sunday even said, “Water entry: 11!*,
  • quick swim and decisive grab of the chukar in the water,
  • and an embarrassing spit to foot (rather than a deliver to hand) of the soggy chukar on the water portion of the test.

Spaniel hunt tests are way more appropriate to Cooper’s talents and how we actually like to live. So, there is a possibility that we’ll keep working on the boy to get that enthusiasm under better control. Stay tuned. We’ll keep you posted.

* out of 10. In Spaniel Hunt Tests, a dog can earn 10 points for each area being scored: hunting ability, bird finding ability, flushing ability, trained abilities, retrieving abilities. These past two weekends, Cooper’s scores were strong on everything except trained abilities. This would not be a surprise to anyone who has been reading this blog. Sigh.

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The puppies are getting adventurous. It seems like almost every time I went down to the puppy room this weekend, at least one of the puppies was out of the whelping box. Looking somewhat befuddled, or whimpering slightly, or, in one case, just sitting there looking around.

So this morning I was not surprised to see some pictures from Colleen about puppies escaping the whelping box, one in a more direct manner than others.

Mr. Orange and Mr. Blue making a break for it

Mr. Orange figured it out and is heading toward Mom

Mr. Purple takes a short cut over Mom’s head

So far, it’s just boys escaping. Wonder what that means — the boys are braver? More impulsive? The girls want to think this whole thing through? Or they figure Mom will come to them, no need to worry?

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Puppies are wiggly! They don’t particularly care if I get a picture of them or not. But I care, so I wrangled up a volunteer to hold each and every sweet puppy for me. Even so, I couldn’t get them all to be still for the same profile. Oh, well!

Mr. Blue

Mr. Red

Mr. Purple

Mr. Green

Ms. Pink

Mr. Orange

Ms. Yellow

Ms. Rainbow

Mr. Gold

Mr. White

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Just a short video here of the Tooey x Cork puppies at 17 days. I think it nicely shows how they’re moving around their whelping box, and how they pile up when they all decide it’s time for a nap.

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I just got these pictures from Colleen of Cork, Tooey’s puppy daddy. They were all taken by Jeremy Kezer at the 2009 IWSCA National Specialty.

Cork in the show ring and at a working certificate test with bird — photos by Jeremy Kezer

Cork coming back with a bird and going out for another — photos by Jeremy Kezer

A previous post on this blog has a couple more recent pictures of Cork (with Tooey) just before they mated.

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