Archive for the ‘friendship’ Category

Southeast Idaho has many opportunities for training dogs, but is lacking in an abundance of water. (An average year will have only 12″ of percipitation.) Plus, most ponds seem to be on private land, or on parks where dogs must be leashed. So we’ve had a hard time finding ponds where we can train our dogs for spaniel and retriever work.

And this is where an Idaho dog person steps in to assist. We have met an active trainer and handler in the world of retrievers. She is dedicated to the retriever sport, to the point that she lives on a nice spread (ranch) about an hour from Boise, so she can train dogs year round. She even hosts the occasional hunt test and field trial when other areas are flooded out. And as a ranch, she has her herds of cattle, horses, and even an abundance of bee hives for honey production.

She has really helped us out by inviting us to train with her in her pastures. A nearby river feeds numerous canals and irrigation ditches that supply her ponds, so that even with the limited rain and snow in this part of Idaho, she has year-round water.

We are getting ready to run Carlin in a Spaniel Hunt Test in a couple of weeks, and having an opportunity to do blind retrieves across some water might make all the difference in whether he passes or not. Patrice made this short video. It shows Carlin doing a blind retrieve of a pheasant hidden in the sage on the other side of a shallow pond.

If he passes and gets his Master Hunter Upland title later this month, it will be in large part to the training opportunities that our friend has provided us on her dog oasis in southeast Idaho.

Dog people are really good people.

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What is not to like about a blog put together by someone who is passionate about:

  • Hunting dogs
  • Hunting dog photography
  • Teaching photography

And someone who is an expert in their passion and is very competent at explaining and sharing their knowledge, photos, and insights.

(I know, another great dog blog besides The Cooper Project)

Craig Koshyk is a Canadian photographer, educator, author, and probably the world’s foremost expert on pointing dogs. In addition to authoring an amazing reference book on Pointing Dogs, Craig also maintains a blog on the topic that is eye candy for those who can’t get enough about gun dogs.

Craig Koshyk with one of his remarkable Weimaraners

Craig Koshyk with one of his Weimaraners

Check out this remarkable blog: Pointing Dog Blog

Craig has hunted and photographed over more breeds of dogs than I even knew existed (before I read his book). Every page reveals information about the real world hunting abilities of dozens of breeds. Warning: if you have dog hoarding tendencies, Do Not Read this book.


I have recently had an email dialog with Craig about the hunting style of Irish Water Spaniels. He has been researching the origins of the Pont-Audemer Spaniel, which may have some IWS in its DNA. He noticed a video of Tooey doing her hesitation flush while pursuing pheasants and was curious about that specific tendency. Hopefully, next hunting season, we can venture to Manitoba with Tooey and Carlin, and let Craig hunt over yet one more breed of dog. Tooey would love to add another Canadian Provence to her bucket list as well.

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Cooper was a tough puppy. Impulsive, not particularly affectionate, easily distracted from tasks we wanted him to learn, single-minded when it came to retrieving. He pestered us constantly to throw the ball, throw the toy, throw the whatever — that was all he wanted from us. He could not seem to learn to walk nicely on a leash, and he couldn’t be trusted without one.

We’d never had a dog like this. Our previous dogs, Kayak and Cleo, both mixed-breeds, had been mellow and sweet. We didn’t know how to handle high-drive, highly distractable Cooper, and sometimes we didn’t know if we even wanted to.

So I called Rosemary, Cooper’s breeder, and asked her about it. I told her I wished Cooper could be more mellow and affectionate like his litter brother Mowgli. After a pause, she asked me, “Do you want me to ask Tammy if she’d be willing to trade dogs?”

Russ and I thought about it for a week. Talked about it. Discussed it. Wondered what it would be like. Mowgli was a handsome puppy in a more masculine way than Cooper. And he was affectionate — in my opinion, one of the main attractions of having a dog. Puppy Cooper just wasn’t. He didn’t appear to even know I was there unless I was throwing something or tussling with him.


Mowgli — CH Realta’s Bear Necessities of Yo-Yo CD RE JH JHU WC WD CGC

But in the end, we said no. Talking to Rosemary again, we said that we’d decided the Cooper was ours. He was our responsibility, and we’d just have to figure out how to deal with it.

So we didn’t get Mowgli. But he has always had a special place in my heart.

His whole life, with only one exception (after I’d barked at him for something), Mowgli was sweet to me. When I went to visit Tammy and Steve, he’d come up onto the couch or the chair, and lean on me, asking to be petted. In this regard, he was a lot like his and Cooper’s daddy, Balloo. Mowgli and Cooper seemed to hate each other, so we had to keep those two separated, but in a way, that gave me a few minutes to spend with just Mowgli, which was a rest for the soul. When we were together, he didn’t ask for anything other than to be loved. If I happened to throw a toy, that was good, but not necessary. He just asked to be loved, and so, I love him.

Mowgli wasn’t mine — he was Tammy’s through and through. But I am so fortunate to have shared his life. I went to multiple dog shows, watching Mowgli in the conformation ring. He was a beautiful dog, justly earning his show championship before Cooper did.


Mowgli — Winner’s Dog — photo by Kit

I watched him succeed in the Obedience ring, and at the same time, heard stories of his leaving Tammy while doing the heeling exercises to go say hi to the judge. Cooper and I competed against Mowgli and Tammy in the Rally ring at the 2013 IWSCOPS Specialty, with Mowgli beating the pants off Cooper, taking High Combined.

Mowgli and Tammy joined Russ and me on a hunting trip, where Mowgli flushed and retrieved pheasants in the snow with style. And I had the great pleasure of watching Mowgli compete in retriever and spaniel hunting tests, and loving it.

Mowgli flush

Mowgli after a chukar


Mowgli retrieving a duck


Patrice, Tammy, and Mowgli after a hunting trip

Sharing our love of the two Realta brothers, Cooper and Mowgli, brought me the great good friendship I treasure now with Tammy.

A week and a half ago, it was discovered that Mowgli had developed a tumor in his nasal cavity, and it impinged on his brain. He had seizures and blocked breathing. And yesterday, his spirit left his body.

So now, like his brother Cooper, he is gone.

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On April 6th, 2007, this little guy came to join us in Portland, Oregon.

This look into the camera was an indicator of things to come.

The mighty Coop goes eye to eye with a camera

The mighty Coop goes eye to eye with a camera

8 years later, he still knows what to do when the camera comes out.

Patrice, Cooper, & Russ

Patrice, Cooper, & Russ

Photographer’s secret: how to get your pup to stare into the lens. “Where’s your duck?”

Cooper knows where his duck is at all times

Cooper knows where his duck is at all times

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The Internet is a wonderful thing sometimes. Today I was trying to find some corroboration of a news story a friend emailed me about, and what did I find? A news article that features Russ and his nameless Irish Water Spaniel, along with our friend Norm and his Boykin Spaniel, Scarlett.

Russ and Norm, along with Cooper (Irish Water Spaniel) and Scarlett (Boykin), helped teach a pheasant hunting workshop last September, and the article was written by one of the students.

Here’s a link to the article on TDN.com, the web outlet for The Daily News Online, a local publication for the people of the lower Columbia River.

But the Internet being what it is, I can’t guarantee that that article will always be available, so I’m posting a PDF of it here. Click the image below to access the full article in PDF format.


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If you do something 4 years in a row, is that a tradition?

It seems that taking Tooey on a holiday hunt should be such a tradition. Once again, we met up with our hunting partners, Norm and Scarlett plus Norm’s son Kent. The three of us and the two dogs have gone out together every holiday season for the last 4 years*, and it always seems to start the year right. In fact, this is the same combination of hunters and dogs that was so successful last fall in Kansas**.

Today’s Oregon weather was stunningly perfect (for hunting with dogs). It was chilly in the high 20s, but bright and sunny with a lot of radiant warmth in spite on the low angle winter sun at this latitude. But with some rigorous walking, everyone was quite comfy looking for pheasants as the layers kept being removed.

Tooey and Scarlett hunted in tandem the whole day. Being only 12 inches high, Scarlett could really get into some tight cover to push out the roosters. Between the two pups, we probably flushed around 15 birds and brought home 10.

As a Christmas present for Tooey, I got her a (another) new gun. And of course she was so excited to give it try. I fired 11 rounds today and brought down 5 birds, so Tooey said it was a keeper, but we should go out more often because I need the practice.

While she was off on her last retrieve of the day, I put the gun down in the milo, reached for my camera so I could get at least one photo of her with a bird and her new gun. She returned with the rooster and, with wet muddy feet, delivered the bird while standing on her new gun. But since she had specifically wanted a gun with a synthetic (water proof) stock, muddy feet wouldn’t be an issue. Now that it has her foot prints on it, it is officially approved for field use.

Tooey with her newest shotgun

Tooey with her newest shotgun (can you see it?)

Perfect weather for January in Oregon

Perfect weather for January in Oregon (Photo by Kent Koshkarian)

*previous Holiday hunts

**the Kansas hunts

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We got our boys back yesterday! Even though the truck was not fixed yet, Russ drove the loaner car four hours up to Marysville, WA, to pick up Cooper and Carlin, and bring them home. Here they are, with Jayme, almost ready to load up.


Cooper, Jayme, and Carlin

Carlin, as I predicted, wasn’t actually sure he wanted to come home. He had had such a wonderful time with Jayme and the Classy Canines pack, that he pretended that he didn’t know who Russ and I were for pretty much all last evening. This morning, he cuddled up to Russ on the bed, though, so perhaps he will soon remember us and our routine.

Cooper was thrilled to see Russ when he came to pick the boys up yesterday, and was so happy to be home, wagging his whole butt when he realized that all 5 of us were actually in the house at the same time. (Well… maybe the 4 of us. He doesn’t care so much whether puppy Carlin is there or not.)

I can’t thank Jayme enough. Russ came home with photos demonstrating Jayme’s doing a nice show stack with Carlin, and she also send me a video of her doing the 3 Steps Backwards exercise with Cooper. For the pre-scheduled 6 days, plus an emergency extra 5 days, my dogs got excellent care, training, and daily runs in the field. They both got baths, and Carlin even got trimmed for show. I got regular photos and reports, plus peace of mind. I wouldn’t hesitate to send my dogs back to Classy Canines.


The pups back together again — Carlin, Tooey, and Cooper

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