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      TO THOSE REGISTERING FOR MEMBERSHIP ON UJ   01/06/2018

      To the Guests who have decided to register for Membership. PLEASE add more info than just  "hunting" or "Upland hunting" or "birds" or "outdoors" or similar nebulous terms in the required INTERESTS field. Despite this Boards strong spam filtering it is not bullet proof, so Spam registrations do sneak through. I need an inkling that you are a warm blooded human being not a Spam Bot tagging onto key words. Thank you.
Bobonli

Adding a Dog to a Working Family

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Brad Eden

Grifish is onto something about maybe not demanding high octane or full field bred dog given your circumstances.

 

First, Welcome to the Board. Good to have you.

 

You need to decide on a Pointing or a flushing dog. If the dog pointing a bird is something that really stirs your soul, you will never be happy with even the best flushing dog. If the point is important I can't really help you. Others on Board have eons more experience than I do on that...and what breed would fit your needs.

 

As far as having a serviceable flushing retriever or Spaniel than that is in my wheelhouse. My dogs are my inhouse, underfoot, on the bed companions for nearly 10 months of the year, and my hunting partners for less than 3 months a year. 4-5 months are winter with a lot of housebound time, so it's important that they are good citizens around the house. I started out with a backyard bred Golden retriever, and although it took him a few years...and a fair amount of training by me, I'd have put him up against any other upland retriever on ruffed grouse and Woodcock. He basically raised my two daughters when they were little. The consummate family/hunting dog companion. After that I have had a string of Springer Spaniels. He's the rub...mine are not full field bred Spaniels. This is frowned upon in bird hunting dog circles, and a bit ironic given I own and run this long running Board filled with some of the most knowledgeable pointing and flushing dog people. Mine are a product of mixing bench or show with field by design. The result are big, good looking and laid back dogs with a strong on/off switch and plenty of hunting drive when needed. (Now, I also know full field bred, hunting and trial cocker and Springer Spaniels that are great house dogs as well, so the hyper reputation doesn't always hold true) I admit my dogs have it made, since I basically live in the woods of Maine with loads of room to run off leash, but I know others who own "hybrid" bench/field Spaniels who live in a more suburban setting and don't have neurotic dogs. I have also heard of some fun little American cockers that may not win any awards but still hunt and please their owners. My 2 cents.

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Urban_Redneck

The running joke with my family is "when does the reported "couch potato" phase kick in? If anyone tells you a certain breed is a couch potato, walk the other way :D

 

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homelessadam

Every kid should have a dog growing up. Nobody can argue that. 

 

Focus on a dog that's going to make a good family pet and still be able to flush birds on the weekends you can get away. The right lab can be as good of family pet as any dog and still hunt just fine. No reason to get a dog bred to be a high energy bird finding fool if it's not going to get on enough birds to devolop they. You're just going to have a headache. 

 

I can't imagine letting a stranger care for my drahthaar. He's always hunting and can't turn it off. He killed a cat while tied up in a front yard this last summer. Wasn't the first dead cat Either. Just be careful and don't buy a dog that's going to be a gangster living in suburbia. 

 

 

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Ray Gubernat

I grew up in Scotch Plains, NJ and we had bird  dogs on a 75 X 100 piece of property.   The dogs were always in a kennel...outside.

 

When I married we moved in to a house on a 100 X 125 property in South Plainfield, NJ.  I raised and trained my own dogs there...again, bird dogs...again outside dogs. 

 

A couple of those dogs were walking and horseback field trial competitors.  Dogs don't get much more high energy than that and we did fine.  My back yard was about 35 X50 and fenced.  The dogs (I usually had 2) would race around the perimeter for exercise when I let them out in the morning and evening.  The rest of the time they were in a 5 X12 kennel run.    The interior edge of the back yard looked like a motocross track, but  they were always in decent enough shape. 

 

I currently have a slightly bigger property and my back yard is approximately 1/3 of an acre, fenced.  Again the dogs stay in fairly good shape., by just cruising the back yard. 

 

Bottom line is that if you have a 5 X12 outside kennel, you don't need a lot of help.  You can do all of what you need yourself.  If you want to have the dog inside when you are home...fine. But when you are not home, the dog is outside in a closed kennel run , out of trouble.  Just kleep it clean and keep it locked.  You never know when some  nut job will trespass on your property and try to set your dog free or to kidnap it because it is a hunting dog or because it is caged.  Locks on both the back yard gates and the kennel itself are good things. 

 

You do not need a huge amount of room for dogs, but they do need regular exercise.  I would let the dogs run every morning while I was scooping poop and making sure they have adequate water, before I went to work.    I also let them run in the evening after work,  again while cleaning up after them. 

 

As far as training is concerned, I did my yardwork in the morning and in the evening during the week.  On weekends I would go to either a club or a WMA training area to let the dog(s) run.   

 

My dogs have NEVER been to a dog park and they only have a leash on them when going to or from the car or truck.    When they run...they RUN and run free.  If I need a dog to heel... it heels...or we have a little talk. 

 

It can be done, if you have a mind to do it.    I did it with field trial bred pointers, so it can be done with pretty much any bird dog breed. 

 

I do suggest that, given your situation, you look at a trained dog if you are leaning toward a pointing breed.  An adult dog that is past the puppy cheing stages is also usually much more of a pleasure to be around. 

 

Good luck to you and your family, whichever way you go.  Going afield with a dog is one of the things that makes me truly happy to be alive.

 

RayG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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salmontogue

Ray has nailed it.  I would suggest that video surveillance would be, as Martha Stewart might say, a good thing.  Depending on how that is set up, you can get notifications and also live view via cell and/or laptop.  It is well worth the reasonable expenditure for peace of mind.

 

Perk

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Grifish

One other thing that you might want to do, go to different field trials, hunt test and training events. I am also pretty sure the board can point you in the right direction as far as breeders are concerned.

 

Our first cocker was an adoption/rehome. We talked to the owner before we adopted and still had a couple of surprises. But she turned out to be a wonderful hunting dog that everyone who hunts with loves. She is great around the house, but you would never mistake her for a trial dog. A puppy is an option, but not the only option.

 

oops just saw Ray said that.

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Ray Gubernat

Bobonli -

 

I cannot comment on cockers or other spaniels, as I have no experience with them... but Brittanys are awesome dogs on a number of levels.  You could do a lot worse. 

 

They generally have plenty of drive in the field, at least the ones I've seen do, and their personalities are great. 

Every single Britt I have ever been around reacted the same way when one of their family showed up.... 

 

They would invariably  bound up to them, their expression and  demeanor clearly saying "WHERE"S THE PARTY???  I'M READY IF YOU ARE!!

 

Britts can make a nice family dog.

 

RayG

 

 

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terrym

My first bird dog was/is a Brittany. Perfect size for indoor living. Mine came with a heavy to field trial pedigree so up until he blew out both ACL's he was a dog with a definite turbo switch. I now have added an English Setter and also heavy to NASTRA breeding but a much mellower house guest. I would suggest looking for a started dog @ 1 yr old. The training is worth paying more for and often they will be kennel dogs who aren't as needy. There will be a house breaking period but so will a puppy. If you have a walking service every weekday and can run the dog off leash after work it is doable. Many people do it. 

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Scar

Vizsla or French Brittany.  For a larger dog the V is great in the home.  Find a breeder with hunting lines before you buy though the show lines make poor hunting dogs.

 

 

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Speedgoat44

I haven't read all of the posts, but my thought is to maybe consider a started dog or even an older dog to pilot how things might work into your lifestyle.  It might be a higher percentage play in terms of temperament and fit with your family.  Our first gsp was a little older when we got her and she bonded very strongly with the whole family and was a good hunter as well.

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Scott Berg
18 hours ago, Curt said:

There's a world of difference between having a working birddog and having some fluffy house dog.  I can primarily speak to the needs of brittanies because I've owned them for over forty years.  They require a significant amount of free running exercise per day if you expect them to behave in any type of civilized manner in your home.  Leashed dog walks and back yard play sessions won't cut it, they need to run loose.  During my working years my dogs went to work with me nearly everyday, slept on the couch in my office, and ran most days at lunch time in the woods behind my office.

Training is another aspect that requires a fair amount of time and or money if you want the dog to perform in the field.  Birddogs, particularly pointing breeds have a lot to learn to develop into a dog you'll enjoy hunting with.  If this is your first birddog you'll want to get some help with the training.

 

Not trying to throw a monkey wrench into your plans, just trying to point out a couple of the issues you'll face when owning a birddog. 

 

 

 

I hear the assumption often that high desire / drive means high energy in the house.  They are two different traits.  Some high drive dogs are hyper and some are some absolutely shut it off.  The high energy premise (in the house) is not universally true.  Most of my dogs are in the kennel but we always have one or two in the house.  Our current dog is a Red Setter.  Her sire was the Kansas Horseback Shooting Dog of the year.  Anyone who doubts this kind of dog can have an off-switch or be a couch potato is welcome to come to my home and see for yourself.  We had another with her that has passed on now.  She placed in grouse trials and US Compete trials.  She was an even bigger couch potato then our current dog.  

 

My brother sometimes run out of spacing for boarding dogs.  He has a lounge and kitchen area in the kennel.  There are a number of regulars guests that are so well behaved he literally puts them on the couch in the lounge area.  They chill all day even with the activity at the kennel they just chill other than to great people who stop by the kennel. 

 

She does sometimes point a bird through the sliding door.

 

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caleb
19 hours ago, Bobonli said:

my interest in having a dog for hunting, hiking etc. I want my family to have that dog that goes to the park, comes on vacation and goes with me to hunt.

 

Without a convenient place to let a bird dog run and hunt regularly, it's going to be tough to keep one content in the house.  It's not just a matter of exercise, it's that 

 

I suspect a field bred golden or lab would work out pretty well in your circumstances.  If you decide the dog thing is working out well for the family and want more octane, you can always get a brit in a few years.

 

 

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Deuce

I'll offer a similar story to Ray's. 

 

I have 3 bird dogs, 2 GSP's and a DD. We started in an apartment, then a small neighborhood home in a suburb, now live in a bit bigger home in a different suburb. They run on the weekends when I go train or can get them out on week nights, otherwise, I get up in the morning and walk them .5 - 1 mile first thing in the morning, then .5-2 miles at night on lead in the neighborhood. It's our routine, they know it, and in the morning if I try to sleep late or afternoon if I'm trying to finish something they get antsy, but that's all it takes to manage them. They know in the house they can't be nuts, they go to their spots and lay down (the DD sits on the couch and stairs out the window), but they aren't flying around crazy. If I miss a weekend run they get a little more amped, but if my wife or I take them for a run or I do some yard work it takes the edge off. 

 

It can be done, and done easily, but it takes effort and consistency. I don't believe most people walk their dogs as I mentioned above, they let them out and let them back in and wonder why they are bouncing off the walls. The added benefit is the walking is good for me too. 

 

When we're at work the dogs are in kennels. They're so routined that I take them out before I leave for work, they do their business one more time and once I let them in they fly to their kennels (that could be the treat they get ;) ). 

 

Don't let anyone tell you it can't be done. Just takes management. 

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Curt
1 hour ago, Scott Berg said:

 

I hear the assumption often that high desire / drive means high energy in the house.  They are two different traits.  Some high drive dogs are hyper and some are some absolutely shut it off.  The high energy premise (in the house) is not universally true.  Most of my dogs are in the kennel but we always have one or two in the house.  Our current dog is a Red Setter.  Her sire was the Kansas Horseback Shooting Dog of the year.  Anyone who doubts this kind of dog can have an off-switch or be a couch potato is welcome to come to my home and see for yourself.  We had another with her that has passed on now.  She placed in grouse trials and US Compete trials.  She was an even bigger couch potato then our current dog.  

 

My brother sometimes run out of spacing for boarding dogs.  He has a lounge and kitchen area in the kennel.  There are a number of regulars guests that are so well behaved he literally puts them on the couch in the lounge area.  They chill all day even with the activity at the kennel they just chill other than to great people who stop by the kennel. 

 

She does sometimes point a bird through the sliding door.

 

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Yep, there are no absolutes, especially where dogs are involved.  I have a little female now who could be the poster child for the 'couch potato' label but still a terror in the field.  No doubt it happens but it hasn't been the rule for most of the dogs I've had.  Most of mine have needed exercise to be happy/tired dogs.

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Ray Gubernat

Scott -

 

Your experience with this is much greater than mine, but I have experienced the same thing. 

 

I had a dog years ago(a dropper) that was pure he!! on wheels in the field.  At about 7 or 8 my mom allowed him in the house(for reasons I never knew).  He stayed in the finished basement on a hunk of foam that was covered with fabric until we had to put him down at 17.   He was never formally housebroken and he went in the house exactly twice.  both those times, my dad and I missed our signals and failed to let the dog out for a period of almost 24 hours. At the end I had to carry him up the cellar stairs to let him out and he still did not mess. 

 

In more recent times I gave my son an adult dog when he moved in to his home.  This dog had NEVER been in the house, except for when it was a puppy in a snowstorm and when it was recuperating from an injury and wearing an Elizabethan.    This dog, a 60 # pointer male,  who has walking and horseback field trial wins(about a dozen or so) and, in his day was as big a running dog as there was in my neck of the woods...  regularly spends the night in the house, when it is cold or miserable and is a welcome guest.  He checks on the kids during the night periodically(ticky tacky, ticky tacky, nails on hardwood) and the rest of the time lays on the rug on my son's side of the bed.

 

My son recently bought another pointer and this pup is most definitely not house dog material.  Waaay too hyper and she is 2.  She might settle down and settle in, but I'm not so sure.  I have a littermate to this new pup. He has a somewhat mellower disposition but is still pretty fired up most of the time.    All the dogs I have are very good with my grandchildren and fun to play with when they are not hunting.  Most of them even listen pretty well.

 

I have witnessed several field trial dogs that were dropouts because they could not cut it in competition and several successful dogs that were retired from competition.  In most cases, these dogs got to live in the house and they seemed to understand and  appreciate the fact that they had  hit the doggie lottery, going from a kennel  and vari-kennel existence to sitting on a pillow in a climate controlled environment. 

 

Again, most of my experience has been  with pointers and field trial bred pointers at that.  Most of them do indeed have an "off" switch.

 

My brother-in- law raised Britts for many years, and, as adults,  they were always in the house.  The females in in heat were separated from the stud dog, but other than that, they had the run of the place. They left a lot of hair everywhere, but that was about it.

 

RayG

 

 

 

 

 

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