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Laura and Mary
The Making of a Dual Champion
by Frank Luksa
The AKC regiments for a dog to be recorded as a dual champion are as follows...the said dog must have earned a show championship as well as a field championship. The two can be done in either order .
Beginning of a Dream
It has always been a dream of ours to own a dog with those two titles, so in 2013 when we co bred & whelped a litter , I decided to carefully monitor the pups as they developed. At about the 6 week mark we began taking them out for short play sessions and that's when I tried them all on the wing on the string just to see if any would give a puppy point. Now I know not all pups hunting instincts develop at the same time, so all this tells me is if any pups have a strong desire to point on sight. But more importantly it can show their future style on point.
Well to my pleasure almost all the pups did indeed point, but the orange bitch almost immediately locked up on a very stylish point! Now I had already began to like this pups confirmation and her boldness. So from that point on she became my pick of the litter and we named her Tessa ( which means HARVESTER ).
I felt that at the least she had the potential to become a show champion like her sire & master hunter like her dam, but I hoped that maybe with the right exposure she could go father.
I felt it would be better to go for the field titles first and do the showing later. So the early training began her first spring /summer . At first just taking her for walks in the cool mornings and afternoons and just letting her explore & gain confidence in the uplands. It wasn't long before she began running edges, so instead of pulling her in I hopped on my 4 wheeler to keep up and let her develop the run a dog needs to compete in all breed field trials .
Her first fall I felt she was ready to run in puppy stakes so I began entering her in all breed field trials. She ran well and earned placements in all most every trial we entered, but we soon learned that the competition was tough. Most of the dogs competing in field trials are bred just strictly for that purpose . But we kept at it, and with more summer training Tessa began to put it all together and by her second fall she won her first derby stake .
Having earned all derby points needed ,it made no sense to run in derby even though she was still only 1 1/2 . So two months after the derby win she ran in her first Gundog stake ,and placed 2nd out of 9# adult dogs .
By the end of Tessa's second season I could see she truly loved the game, and in the spring of her third season she won her first horseback open Gundog major.
Amateur Field Championship
We had a very exciting fall in 2015 , first winning the ESAA 's amateur gundog stake in Ohio, and then just 4 days later she placed first again in a Amateur limited gundog stake. Held on the historic English Setter Club of America's field trial grounds, that win finished her amateur field championship.
This was a real mile stone ,and it gave me the confidence to keep at it with this pretty bird dog. (yeah I got that a lot from judges and spectators alike).
At this point Tessa still needed 4 points to finish the open side of the field championship . In November of 2015 she won another open gundog stake for three points, leaving just a single point to finish the open field championship.
One open gundog point sounds easy. Well not so much considering that at most trials there are pro handlers entering from 10 to 20 dogs each looking to earn those points also . But Tessa deserved this title so we kept entering & competing and on a bright fall day in 2016 she won the open gun dog stake at the Hudson English setter clubs field trial ! It was a 2 point win.
At the ripe old age of 3 1/2 Tessa was a Field champion as well as a amateur field champion. I entered her in one more field trial in 2016 just for fun. It was in Michigan and I was beyond thrilled ,when she won the open gundog stake for another 3 point major .
At this point Tessa had earned 34 field trial placements in 8 different states, so we felt it was a good time to temporarily retire her from the field and begin concentrating on her show career. Tessa was shown on a limited basis in between the field trailing and earned her first show major on May 6 2016 for 4 points under a breeder judge at the Hudson English Setter Clubs spring specialty. We were beyond thrilled!
This is when we started to get excited about the real possibility of this setter becoming the next dual champion! So as hard as it was for me to do, I kept her out of the field to avoid any injuries and grow a little more coat. We did a few more local shows during the summer and picked up more points. This brought her up to 8 show points at the end of 2016 .
In February of 2017 Tessa was eligible to enter the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club dog show and already being a field champion, we felt she would represent the breeds dual qualities. It was experience not to be soon forgotten.
Following Westminster we entered her in the big apple sporting society specialty show . In the ring amongst top specials , Tessa was awarded the Best of Breed from the bred by class, giving her another 3 point major .
On May 7 of 2017, needing just 3 points to finish her show championship, we entered the Bucks County Kennel Club show in PA. The show had a large supported entry with majors in both dogs and bitches. The weather that day wasn't what most hope for at a outdoor show, but it didn't stop Tessa from giving her best showing to date. So I loosened the lead and gave her the ring. When the judge gave her winners bitch, I was overcome with a feeling of pride, and all I could do to contain myself was to carry her out of the ring. The support we received ring side was overwhelming.
DC. AFC. WINDSOR'S FIELD HARVESTER JH
It seemed surreal to me at the time, but our goal had been reached . Tessa is now and forever will be DC. AFC. WINDSOR'S FIELD HARVESTER JH. The 13th Dual champion in the English Setter breed, and the first DC. AFC since 1997.
~ Frank J Luksa Jr
Jewelry by Cindi Gredys
Passion Captured in Art
Cindi Gredys entertained us in PureDogTalk #62 with the fun of lure coursing. Her other talent is the creation of custom dog jewelry.
Please enjoy the gallery of her work!
Stud Dog Mishaps
Stud Dog in prime condition but collection shows low sperm count or morphological defects? What happened?
Did You Know ?
Causes of low sperm count or morphological defects could be the result of:
- Swims in cold water
- Top Physical/Athletic Condition
- Wrong Teaser Bitch
- Drinking Swimming Pool Water
- "Grass Saver"
- Infrequent collections or "Clean Outs"
Pick Your Breed or Breedings for Reproductive Soundness
Some breeds are difficult to reproduce. Select breeding's that include fertile lines and larger litters.
Train Stud Dog and Schedule Routine Collections
Don't wait until it's time to ship internationally to collect your stud dog. Stud Dogs need to have their "head in the game". Take the dog in and collect every six months. Routinely run semen analysis and get the dog comfortable with the process. Some dogs need to be collected outside of the vet's office. Some are temperamental about the teaser bitch. Caution on reprimanding stud dogs for stud dog behavior. Consider training the dog to a bathmat or a particular room where "stud" behavior is encouraged.
Environmental Conditions -Testicles are on the outside of the body and semen production is sensitive to heat and cold. Field dogs in cold water or laying on hot concrete can cause morphological defects in semen. Do a clean out and remove the environmental factor for a month or so and the semen should recover.
Brucellosis is not only sexually transmitted. Routinely test for brucellosis with each semen evaluation. Freezing does not kill brucellosis.
Stress and Athletic Dogs
Just as top Olympic athletes may have decreased sperm counts or stop menstrual cycles, top dog athletes or stress of campaigning and travel may have the same effect.
Breeding Males around the Girls
Prostate flare-ups may occur with stud dogs housed around breeding females resulting in blood in the semen. Good practice is to collect the dog to relieve the prostate and frustration. Some breeders will even collect a dog at a show to settle them down around in season bitches.
Placing Your Stud Dog
Collect them FIRST! Ownership of semen does not transfer with the dog. Also, the stress of removing a dog from his "couch" environment, to a kennel, or to the vet can lower the semen quantity or quality.
Simple Tips from Myra Savant Harris when Whelping Puppies
Myra Savant Harris, RN has "whelped" more than her share of babies and puppies as a NICU and Labor and Delivery nurse. Author of several books and speaker, Myra's number one tip for whelping puppies is "Don't Panic".
In Episode 52:
- The Green Discharge
- Stuck Puppy Solutions
- Don't Swing the Puppies
- Gurgling Puppies
- Watch Mom - Don't Rush the C-Section.
What's Lurking in your Dog's DNA?
Every breed has something lurking in it's DNA. Some are good, some can be fatal.
Pat Fendley's sacrifice to "save" her breed is a lesson for all breeders.
Pat Fendley tells her story of working with the Animal Health Trust in Great Britain by breeding a carrier test litter to develop a genetic test to identify carrier dogs. This test litter made it possible for many other dogs and owners to suffer the disease. While a cure has not been found as of yet, the ability to "prevent" a disease through the genetic test is a blessing.
Cerebellar Ataxia is a horrific disease that affect puppies. They start with wobbling or stumbling. Within months, the disease rapidly progresses until the young dog can not even stand on it's own and is euthanized.
For many years, the existence of Cerebellar Ataxia was denied or ignored by some breeders. In 1998, Great Britain publicly acknowledged the disease in the Spinone Italiano. Lack of knowledge of it's genetic origin caused many unaffected dogs to be removed from the gene pool. Some even believed it was a communicable disease, rather than genetic.
Share with your buyers. Share with other breeders. With the rapid development of genetic tests and testing, bringing problems forward actually helps PRESERVE the remaining gene pool, and create healthier dogs.
Seriously...Let's Get Sirius about Stud Dog Management
Part 1: Progesterone
Progesterone timing is the basis of successful reproduction.
Bridgett Higginbotham, RVT and Shannon Stone talk with Laura Reeves in Part 1 0f 4 episodes on understanding progesterone timing, stud dog management, international shipping, stabilizers and extenders, and choices by the vet and breeder for healthy litters.
LEE WHITTIER: Dog Show Mentor
- Don't have the time to be a handler's assistant?
- Not winning consistently as an owner-handler?
- Willing to learn and change habits?
3 Simple Tips
Before you gloss over these three simple tips, with "yeah, I've heard this before".
STOP AND THINK
Maybe you heard them before for good reason... and should reconsider them again.
- Set goals. Dog Shows should be a road trip with a destination.
- Evaluate your dog using your breed standard. Judges are trained to evaluate according to the standard. So know your standard and how your dog stacks ups to it.
- Good sportsmanship is sexy. alluring and attractive. Smile and and say thank you. You might not have won this time, but good behavior builds good relationships, and is more fun.
From the Judges Perspective
As an AKC Judge, Lee Whittier often saw quality, but untrained dogs with exhibitors that could use some help. Digging a little deeper, Lee realized that the exhibitors that really needed a mentor were not just the beginners, but the Owner-Handlers that have been showing for 5-15 years.
Owner Handlers - Help from the Judge's Perspective
Many owner-handlers have ring experience, but have also developed habits, attitudes, or beliefs about their breed, dog, or ring procedures that actually keep them from succeeding.
What is the Dog Show Judge Thinking?
Ever walk out of the ring wondering what the dog show judge was thinking? Many exhibitors lay "blame" on the professional handler in the ring, rather than examine other reasons?
Dog Show Mentor is a program developed by Lee Whittier to mentor owner-handlers from the judge's perspective.
Enjoy listening to Lee Whittier as she gives 3 tips and a few suggestions to help you improve today.
From Apprentice to Master Handler to Mentoring the Next Generation
Mike Pitts, along with his wife Linda, are among the top tier handlers in the country, having run multiple top dogs over the years. Most recently, Linda piloted the Puli, Preston, to number one all breeds all systems in 2016.
Back in the day, they studied under top handlers, including Linda’s time working for Houston and Toddie Clark, now well-known and respected AKC judges, and Mike’s apprenticeship with top Cocker handlers of the day.
But they also carried their knowledge forward to the next generation, mentoring other aspiring young dog people. One of those folks you heard from last week when we talked to Jason Lynn about his second win at Crufts in the last few years.
Mike and Linda live in Knoxville, Tenn. Mike’s recommendation for new and hopeful dog people (handlers or breeders) is to bring your passion, your determination to succeed and a willingness to embrace brutally hard work. And, most importantly, to ask for help. “We will help anyone who has a legitimate desire to learn,” he said.
The operative phrase there is “desire to learn”… Mike expresses frustration with folks who don’t want to put in the effort to get ahead. “We had a kid, he was always on his phone…. With my dog on the table…” His expression spoke volumes about this lack of attention and focus on the number one priority… The dogs.
“It isn’t about politics, it isn’t about who you know…. It’s about doing the work, putting in the time, paying your dues,” Mike says.