We hunt wild birds of the west. Chukar, quail, pheasant, sharptail grouse, Hungarian partridge and many more. Our pups spend their first season learning how to handle wild birds with birds being shot only for those pointed by our newest apprentice. I'm looking to see if the pup has range, biddability, desire to point, development of tracking skills, and natural retrieving desire. All of our dogs have passed these high expectations routinely and in their first 6-8 months of life.
We train all of our own dogs and we train them with the end in mind. From the moment they enter the house, they are being readied for testing. The North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association is my preferred test to evaluate all of my pups and those that we produce. The Natural Ability Test is the first evaluation to determine breedability. Second, the Utility test tells me what the dog is made of and whether is can handle the high demands of rigorous training. To pass this test, is a true accomplishment, but to achieve a Prize 1, well that's the pinnacle.
First and foremost, our dogs have to be healthy. We xray them to ensure they are free of arthritis or hip dysplasia and we like to do this at one year of age and we use the PENHIP method because it has statistical validity. They undergo thyroid tests to ensure that they have a long and healthy life as well. Our dogs are fed high performance Purina Pro Plan. The pros over at Upland Athlete have encapsulated my thoughts and beliefs on this topic. It's a great Read!
See this link! It is what we believe in!
The old adage is true here. LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO HUNT WITH AN UGLY DOG! We select all of our pups with their conformation in the forefront. These dogs don't have to be big winning show dogs but they have to possess good structure. The demands of hunting puts a lot of stress on ligaments, tendons, and the skeleton and without a good foundation, the building will crumble. For a long and healthy life in the field, look for good structure.
A solid temperament means your dog will be bold, confident, outgoing and friendly. Our dogs possess these qualities paired with a strong work ethic bred within. All of these qualities are a must but I INSIST upon an "off switch" with my dogs. My dogs live in the house and know how to unplug when the time is right.