Northwoods Chardonnay: January 2009 – July 2016

Photo by Chris Mathan

Photo by Chris Mathan

I knew when she was a pup that she was special. One of the best and nicest bird dogs I ever owned.
~ Paul Hauge

Even though Paul Hauge and Jerry conceived the idea together, Paul deserves all the credit. He bred Houston’s Belle’s Choice, daughter of his multiple grouse champion Houston’s Belle, to Blue Shaquille. Paul then hand-picked four—two males and two females—for us to buy, raise and train.

One of those puppies was a female we named Northwoods Chardonnay, call name Lucy.

Lucy was a tremendous bird finder whether in the grouse woods, the Georgia piney woods or on the prairies—but that wasn’t her greatest gift. Lucy’s gift was her style. She had unusual loftiness both in motion and on point. And her composure on point with nose pointed toward the sky made her look like she weighed 100 pounds. When I approached her points, she would always roll a sparkling eye at me that seemed to say, “Look at me and see what I found. Again. Pretty good, huh?”

Yeah, pretty damn good.
~ Jerry

Photo by Chris Mathan

Photo by Chris Mathan

Jerry and I often commented that Lucy was the prettiest setter female we’ve ever owned.

She was tricolor with distinctive markings. The mask on her left side was a perfect oval encompassing head, cheek and ear and, of course, a brown molly spot was just above the eye. On the right side, her ear was black but the mask was reduced to a small circle of color around the eye.

But Lucy was more than a pretty face. Her 40-lb.-body was perfectly proportioned and she had a long neck and high tail set. Her gait was spectacular—strong, fluid and graceful—and her front legs reached far forward on each stride. Lucy always seemed to be having fun for she bounded about with energy and enthusiasm.

blog lucy point field 460

Lucy was bred to some of the best setter males in the country including CH Shadow Oak Bo, CH Houston’s Blackjack, CH Ridge Creek Cody, RU-CH Erin’s Hidden Shamrock and our own Northwoods Blue Ox. No matter the sire, outstanding dogs were produced.

Here’s a short list:
Northwoods Nirvana, owned by Frank and Jean LaNasa, Minnesota
Northwoods Fuzzy Navel, owned by Don Freeman, North Carolina
Houston’s Bold N Fresh, owned by Jim Depolo, Pennsylvania
Northwoods Charles, owned by Bill Owen, California
Ridge Creek Piper, owned by Chuck Brandes, Minnesota
Northwoods Nickel, owned by Jerry and me

Lucy was one of those rare dogs that could consistently, with little experience, pin ruffed grouse. When she was only one-and-a-half years old, I took her hunting in northern Wisconsin with another guide. It was late season and the grouse were hard to find and even harder to shoot. Right in front of us, Lucy worked a running grouse and made that bird stop and hide behind a big log in wide open pole timber. We walked right in, the grouse flushed at our feet and we both missed!

That was one of the best pieces of work on grouse I’ve ever seen.
~ Jerry

Jerry and I kept Lucy until she was five years old when Paul bought her back.

Early in 2016, Paul repeated an earlier breeding to Erin’s Hidden Shamrock. When he got Lucy back from Illinois, home of Shamrock, something was clearly wrong. She was diagnosed with aggressive lymphoma. She was also pregnant.

Torn between concern for the dam and concern for the fetuses, Paul consulted with his vet and long-time friend Dr. Mark Nelson of Interstate Veterinary Hospital in Centauria, Wisconsin. They chose a course of action that focused on Lucy but with minimal harm to fetuses.

By late in her pregnancy, Lucy was gravely ill and Jerry and I desperately wanted to see her. We had planned to visit on a Sunday in early July. But on that Saturday, Lucy was failing and Paul brought her back to Mark.

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Lucy must have given the entire strength of her weakened body to her puppies for as she died, three live puppies were delivered.

And today, Lucy’s litter of two females and one male is seven weeks old and thriving. Amanda and Joyce, two amazing women who work for Dr. Nelson, dedicated their days and nights to feeding and caring for the puppies. Due to their loving ministration, Lucy’s gifts will live on.

Lucy was a great bird dog on all species of game birds and produced outstanding pups in every litter. She was very sweet and lovable. She is missed.
~ Paul Hauge

Dogs at work…and in training for our security

Photo courtesy of Ben Sklar/For The Washington Post

Photo courtesy of Ben Sklar/For The Washington Post

Dog lovers know that dogs are far smarter than most give them credit for.

So it won’t surprise some to read about their newest skills. A recent feature in The Washington Post by Andrea Sachs details how dogs are being trained for security purposes at facilities in Texas, Pennsylvania and Alabama.

“The dog—all wet nose and whiskers—is the new face of security,” writes Sachs.

A primary purpose is for use by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

“’There is no better overall detector of explosives than a dog’s nose,’ TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger said. ‘Dogs work an environment like no technology can. They are versatile, mobile and very accurate.’”

Besides offering detection, dogs can act as deterrents and “’…also calm the whole screening environment. Animals are inherently fascinating to watch,’” Neffenger said.

German shepherds and many retrievers have been used in the past. Now breeds such as Munsterlanders, Germain shorthaired pointers, Belgian Malinois, weimaraners and springer spaniels are being trained.

Your attention: a great training tool

The ultimate attention--and what the dog wants most--is our physical touch.

The ultimate attention–and what the dog wants most–is our physical touch.

Dogs constantly watch us. They’re trying to figure out what we’re doing. They watch us not because they adore us but to determine if something is about to happen that might benefit them. They even want to make that something happen.

But first, they need our attention.

How does a dog get our attention? One of the best examples is barking. Even though that attention may be a negative “Quiet,” it still got your attention. Other attention-seeking behaviors include nudging an arm or hand, mouthing, whining and sighing.

A key aspect to understand is that we control our attention. We can use our attention to communicate approval of what the dog is doing, or disapproval. A quick glance in the dog’s direction might be the approval it needs. A higher level is spoken words and the ultimate attention we can give a dog is physical touch.

Withholding attention is a high form of disapproval.

Giving attention for a behavior often leads to more of that behavior.
~  Turid Rugass, international dog trainer and author

To use your attention as a training tool, give the dog your attention for behavior you want to continue and withhold attention for behavior you don’t. Be patient and wait for the right behavior while ignoring others. And great timing produces quick, clear results. Bad timing could reward incorrect behavior.

Your attention is one of the best tools for training your dog. It’s always with you and doesn’t cost a thing. Even though using your attention properly will take some practice to master, it’s worth it.

PS  A recent piece in The Washington Post confirms my thoughts. Among other pithy comments and research results, Kimbriell Kelly writes “research shows that dogs are primarily motivated by praise.”

This is the time to withhold attention!

This is the time to withhold attention!

Northwoods Birds Dogs    53370 Duxbury Road, Sandstone, Minnesota 55072
Jerry: 651-492-7312     |      Betsy: 651-769-3159     |           |      Directions
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