Thursday, July 30, 2009

Puppies' night out at the local concert - a rabbit in attendence

Today Theo and Keena's pups are four months old. Paika and Poppy have grown and they must be around 14 lbs now. They are a handful. Poppy will be leaving us in two weeks for her new home in Texas. We will certainly miss her!

Tonight we went to a local concert - the Georgie Wonders Orchestra was playing at the Guilderland Performing Arts Center (GPAC) at Tawasentha Park. The orchestra plays the music from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, including Glenn Miller, Jimmy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra and others. We thought it was a great opportunity to take pups along and let them socialize. Oh boy, we were for a big surprise!

Ten minutes into the concert a woman came with a RABBIT on the leash. The rabbit was wearing a harness, and it looked like it was not its first time on the town. John and I just could not believe our eyes. Luckily, we did not have any other dogs, besides pups, with us. I know how they would have reacted to the rabbit.

Paika and Poppy were not too close to the rabbit and did not realize its presence. And it was a good thing!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Summer days and puppies

The last few days have been busy. Dean Davenport came to breed his dachshund Elka to Billy. Elka is our Sabina's granddaughter. Just when Dean and Bruce were leaving, Beth and Gentian Shero from Deer Search came to visit with their two young dachshunds, Mae and Mariel, two sisters, who also are Sabina's granddaughters. Paika and Poppy had a chance to socialize and play. Mae loves to swim and Poppy and Paika joined her in the pond.

Also our neighbors, Paula and Kevin with their kids Logan and Mackenzie, tried to fish in our pond. Logan got a nice catfish, which you can see in the picture.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Paika, the wunderkind

It does not happen too often but every few years or so a puppy comes along that is so full of promise at a very young age. Paika, the wunderkind, has a right conformation, great temperament and tracking potential. We are happy... at least for now.

Ginie from Georgia

We heard from Wayne Varnadore from Georgia, who has Ginie, a Billy/Gilda daughter:

Just wanted to give you and update on Ginie. We have been working her twice a week and she has been doing a good job. We have got up to doing the lines about 250 yards and we let it sit for about two hours. I am very pleased with her. I purchased a set of deer scent shoes from Alan Wade and looking forward to using them with her. She is growing so fast.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Patti and her sisters, Poppy and Paika

We got a nice update on Patti from Dan Davis from Wisconsin:

"Just checking in to let you know how things are going with Patti. Today we ran a 200 yard bloodline that aged 4 hours. This is the second one of these we have done. Last week when we tried the same set up, she struggled staying focused after the first 50 yards or so. She drifted pretty severely and eventually got to the end, but was not at all precise. Today she did much better. I believe the weather played a part as it was much cooler today than it was during last week's track. I put some treats on the line and offered more encouragement. That might have helped some too. She went past the one turn in the line, but corrected herself and picked the line back up. Just for fun I took the very end of the line across a paved walking path with a lot of blood all of the way across. She was unable to make it across the path and it seemed to break her concentration because I had a little trouble getting her focused once we picked the trail up on the other side. I realize what I was asking her to do, but just wanted to see how it would go. Overall I was very satisfied with the track.

We're still not doing great with the house training, but we're trying. We can tell when she has gone in the house based on her body language when she comes around us so we are hopeful that is a step in the right direction. Guess we need to watch her closer even though several times we have taken her out only to have her go shortly after we bring her back in.

We feel like you did a great job fitting her with our family. Basic obedience is going well and she has been very easy to care for. Bow season is only 7 weeks away, we should be able to get her out on some real "tracks" and are excited for that!"

Yesterday we worked a blood line with Poppy, and the video clip showing it is posted here. Few days ago, when Joeri dispatched the woodchuck we trapped in John's garden, we used it for doing a drag for Paika. It was a long drag, over 200 yards, and we worked her on it 12 hours later (overnight). She had problems with picking up the scent at the beginning, but once she recognized it, she followed the drag without any problems. Today P-pups are 16 weeks old.

Poppy with a dead pigeon placed at the end of blood trail.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Billy von Moosbach-Zuzelek

Billy is related to all our pups that were born in 2009. He is an uncle of O-litter, grand sire of P-litter and sire of G-litter.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Few pictures of Poppy

Today I snapped few pictures of Poppy. The first one shows her with her mom Keena.

Poppy is getting better with every day so we probably just should assume that she has not been as precocious as her littermates. We will hold on to her for a while longer as we are really enjoying her, but there is no way that can keep her permanently as Paika is the one who is going to stay here. Decisions...decisions...decisions...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Update on Petrus (now Sam)

Last night we received a nice e-mail from Licoln Anderson, owner of Petrus, whose new name is Sam.

I just thought I’d give you an update on Sam. I ran two blood lines from 60 and 100 meters with two turns in each blood line. My third and fourth line were liver drags, one at 120 meters and tonight close to 200 meters. I have to say that Sam is right on the button. When he comes to a sharp turn in the blood trail he will circle around for a second and when he picks up the sent he looks back at me as if to say - let's go I’m back on track. Today I dragged the liver through a fresh deer bedding to see how he would react. So far Sam does not lose his concentration on a blood line but I’m sure there will days he’ll be distracted by fresh rabbits, deer, moose tracks.

We were in Sudbury, Ontario on the 4th of July for a family reunion and he loves the water and gets along great with young kids, other dogs and the adults. As I mentioned the other day on the phone he loves to dig holes, eat my flowers, lettuce and cucumber plants, munch on water bottles. Here are a few pictures of the blood line I did today and some pictures of Sam in a swim meet.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Swimming puppies -- dachshunds who love water

Today we have a gorgeous summer day, warm and sunny, without even one cloud. It was a great opportunity to take our two pups to the pond. Paika and Poppy are natural swimmers, and they love water. Not only they swim but actually they play in the pond. But then, they are just puppies after all.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Breeders' perspective - a tough decision about Olana

Being a dog breeder of hunting dachshunds is tough. Our goal is to breed blood tracking dachshunds who can do a good job for hunters and handlers. At the same time they should be healthy and have nice, outgoing and stable temperaments. Conformation is important too but certainly for us it is not a number one priority. We take our responsibility seriously, and there is no room in our decision making process for being enamored with cuteness or sweetness of puppies.

The most important parts of the breeding process is evaluation and selection of the breeding stock. If we keep a puppy for ourselves, it is never because of emotional sentiments but because we see desirable working and temperament qualities in the pup, which are needed in our breeding. By no means this is easy or pleasant.

We bred three litters this year because we needed to keep a female or two for ourselves. Our youngest brood bitch, Keena, is four years old. The oldest, Elli, is eight, and she just got spayed. We were planning to keep two female puppies from the Joeri/Emma and Theo/Keena litters. It was very disappointing to have only two females in Emma's litter, and we have kept Olana long enough to evaluate her. Now she is almost six months old, and today we said good-bye to her. She has many very good qualities but she also has serious weaknesses from our (breeders') point of view. Her coat is soft, and this factor would be a serious liability in breeding her, limiting our choice of a breeding partner. Also she comes from a litter where two males ended up with undescendend testicle, and there is a good chance that she might be a carrier for this trait. Her interest in blood tracking is not as intense as we like to see, especially in a prospect for brood bitch. So when a very good pet home came along, we decided to let Ola go.

Today Jeffrey Murray and his friend Carol from Kingston, NY came to pick Ola up. We are going to miss her as she was a delightful puppy, but we know that as breeders we have made a right decision. We hope that Ola gets along with Jeff and Carol's cat.

Good bye Ola - we know that you will have a great life with your new owners. We'll see you from time to time as you'll be just over an hour drive from us.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Update on Gwen (Gerti)

We received the four pictures from Chris Barr from Indiana, a new owner of Gwen aka Gerti. The first picture shows Ross, 13, holding Gerti, and Shelby 15. Obviously, Gertie is getting a lot of attention. Chris wrote: "She’s had 2 liver drags and 1 blood track. The liver drags seemed to be too easy for her even though she drifted a bit. The blood line was a little different. It was about 125 yds on some two-tracks and a cut through the woods. I could definitely see her nose on the ground digging scent but sometimes she just looked like she was just walking, not really scenting. I’m going to try the whippy branch next."

Grock has left for a new bloodtracking home in Florida/Georgia

Today we had a pleasure of meeting Larry and Kelsey Surtees from Pensacola, Florida. They flew last night to Albany to pick up Grock, who is going to be a blood tracking partner for Chris Surtees, Larry's son and Kelsey's father. Chris is serving in Iraq, but he will be coming home at the end of July, and afterwards, he will be relocating to Georgia.

Grock's new name is Koa, which is of Hawaiian origin and means brave, bold, fearless. Let's hope that Grock will grow up to be Koa. He has shown a lot of talent for blood tracking and you can see a short video of his tracking here

Chris, be safe, and best of luck with Koa!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Saying good-bye to Pushkin

Today we said good-bye to Pushkin who left with Stanley and Clarice Thrasher for his new home in Luverne, Alabama. Initially Stanley wanted a female but in his priorities he put dog's performance over gender. So instead of taking Poppy, he chose Pushkin, who right now is doing better in tracking than Poppy.

We like Pushkin (his new name is going to be Doc) a lot and believe that Stanley's decision is a right one.

Good luck Stanley - stay in touch!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Four Pound Woodchuck with a Death Wish

These are two versions of the same story:

Jolanta’s version

I did not have a chance to get my second cup of coffee today when an unexpected visitor caused some disturbance. While washing dishes in the kitchen I heard the four puppies who were louder than usually. I can see their large yard from the kitchen window so I called them but nobody came to the gate. I knew that something was up.

John was pulling weeds in the garden nearby but he did not seem to pay attention to what was going on in the puppy pen. I had to go to investigate. There is a wooden platform in the puppy yard where they can lie in the sun, but all the pups were underneath the platform barking. Some pups were coming out but they would go under the platform right back. There was a lot of commotion and noise. I started to lift the heavy platform and called John at the same time. I peered under the platform and could see that pups had something there. As it turned out a young woodchuck must have gotten into the pups’ pen, got chased under the platform where he was cornered by the pups.

It was really surprising how ferocious these three month old pups were. I could not see as I was holding the platform but John swears that he saw Paika with her teeth in the woodchuck. Actually all the pups were very aggressive towards the chuck and towards one another once the chuck was removed. They were really fired up. Watch the video clip to see their excitement.

John’s version

The puppies (there are four of them left now) were barking, barking, barking. Clearly it was more than a puppy disagreement. Then Jolanta began to yelp too. “There’s something under the wooden platform! The puppies are going after it. They are going to get hurt!”

We lifted up the platform in the big puppy pen, and there was a young woodchuck with the puppies swarming around him. Attached to the chest of the woodchuck was 14 week Paika, oblivious to the dangers that Jolanta was foreseeing. With so much good puppy help it was an easy matter to tail the chuck and lift him above the fray.

The chuck was somewhat the worse for his uninvited venture into the puppy pup, so we asked Tom vom Linteler Forst to finish things off. He had never seen a chuck before, but he knew what to do. These German dogs have a lot in their ancestral memory.

Not wanting to waste the dead chuck, we used him later as an a dragged alternative to liver drags and blood trails that we had been using to train and evaluate puppies.

Paika is following John after a successful completion of the woodchuck scent trail.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Puppies work a deer liver drag

Today our forecast called for more rain, and indeed we got several thunderstorms and huge downpours throughout the day. As I am writing this post at 9 pm, we have standing water in our garage, mudroom and my office. However, in the morning there was a short window of opportunity to work the pups so we did.

This time I did a liver drag for the pups in our 12 acre enclosure. The pups are very familiar with other places around our house, and the field in the enclosure gave us fresh ground to work them. The line was long, around 170 yards, which is at least double of what they have done on blood so far. There were four turns, and a big chunk of liver was placed at the end. The temperature in shade was in the low 70s and rising. Parts of the line were exposed to the sun.

I ran Poppy first on the drag, when the scent line was an hour old. Poppy knew where the line was and never overshot it or lost it. Her work was quite slow and precise. However, her problem was weak motivation and desire - she needed a lot of encouragement to make progress. The good news was that she went nuts over the liver, and was extremely possessive of it. This is going to be a good motivational tool for Poppy.

The second pup was Grock. His desire was excellent and he was very fast. One time he was distracted when I praised him but was able to go back to the line by himself. The second problem he encountered when he was just 15 yards from the liver. He turned left instead of going straight. It did not look like he was going to correct himself and I had to bring him back. His loved the liver but was not as possessive of it as Poppy was.

The third pup running the line was Paika. On the last two lines she got the lowest scores but this time she aced it. She was a bit sloppy, but her desire was strong, and she never needed to be encouraged or corrected.

The last pup was Pushkin who did the best of all the pups on the last two lines. By now the scent line was two hours old. He started very well; he was precise, slow, methodical. But he lost his focus on the last leg of the line (last 1/3rd) and needed a lot of help there. He liked the liver but it was not too difficult to take it from him. He looked tired at the end of the line.

Since Poppy seemed to be so motivated by the liver at the end, we ran her on the same line second time. This time scenting conditions were more difficult. The line was trampled by other pups, was much older, around 2.5 hours old, and it was getting hot. As I suspected her desire to track was much stronger this time. Her work was not as clean as the first time around, she veered off the line some but she was able to correct herself and did not need any help. Several times she stopped for a moment and looked at us but this time we did not say anything and ignored her. She resumed her tracking right away. Again, once she got to the liver she wanted to devour it. When we tried to take it from her, she growled and snapped. This kind of behavior can be corrected but this possessiveness provides a good foundation for motivating Poppy to track.

All the pictures included show Poppy on her first track.

Observations from the field - puppies are starting to hunt

We are down to four puppies - Grock, Paika, Poppy and Pushkin. It is hard to believe that just three weeks ago there were 15 of them! As you can see the last three weeks have been very, very busy meeting pups' new owners. Within next 12 days two more pups will be leaving.

Yesterday was the first time in a while when I could spend quite a bit of time with the pups. Unfortunately, the weather has not been cooperating. It was way too wet for blood tracking, but I managed to take pups to the pond. They have not been there for a while, and I was surprised at their reaction. It looks like P-pups love the water! Pushkin went in right away in a spot where water is quite deep; he swam away and after a while started to have problems. I had to get into the pond and help him some. Luckily, I did not have camera with me so there was no damage done. Pushkin did not get traumatized, but now he may have second thoughts about swimming so far on his own. Poppy and Paika were swimming too; Grock did not mind to wet his feet but I did not see him going into the deeper water.

In the afternoon we had a huge loud thunderstorm, just when puppies were snoozing in their crates. When the rain stopped and it started to dry, I took them out for a long walk. Once they hit our freshly mowed lawn in front of the house, they put their noses to the ground and started to hunt. There must have been a lot of fresh scent left there by rabbits because the pups clearly were following some scent lines. They are precocious little hunters, that's for sure. When we went to our 11-acre enclosure, it was still very wet and water was dripping. Pups did not mind running into the thick brush, where they got completely wet. Their noses were glued to the ground and if the scent let into dense cover, they were not concerned. This is a good experience for them. All in all a good day in spite of the bad weather.

After the walk we came to the house, where pups dried in the kitchen. I cut two apples for them, which they devoured, and then gave them two more to play with. Grock claimed one of them and almost ate the whole thing.