.. a Dog’s Perspective for Humans As the “Top Dog” here at the Retriever Barn I am not only an authority on hunting but also I thoroughly understand the problems you humans have. You know, all my children and I want to do is get a retrieve in now and then. We get real tired of showing up day after day during hunting season only to see our supposedly human partners miss another bird. Sometimes I feel we are better off back at the kennel retrieving dummies from Mr. Maxey.

Speaking of dummies, I have hunted with more than a few in my day. Back to this whole thing on retrieving. You know, that’s what life is all about to me and the kids. I am not interested in seeing my children turned into “lap dogs” or “lard hounds”. Our reward is to be with you humans and just make a retrieve. I hear Mr. Maxey telling my kids’ owners all the time, “The retrieve is the reward.” He is right this time.

It’s that other stuff he talks about sometimes that I wonder about. The bottom line is we don’t need treats to be coaxed into retrieving, our reward is just making the retrieve. While I am on this whole business of food, I am concerned that some of you humans are fattening up my kids. If you don’t eat it, I am not interested. Why should I eat those table scraps when you humans are eating the steak? I think you can do better than that.

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Just give us some good old dog food. We don’t need that $30 or $40 a bag kind. Save your money and take us hunting with the savings. If you need a new gun, use it for that. We are working class dogs. Speaking of treatment, one of my kids just got a new dog house.

This thing is cedar lined, insulated and specially treated. What a pad! The thing weighs over 600 pounds and, of course, has a built in self feeder. Just after getting his new dog house, my son wanted to put one over on his owner. When the outside temperature got to a comfortable 20F he decided to sleep outside for the night on the hay. He told me it was such a beautiful night he didn’t want to miss watching the stars.

That really freaked out his owner. I just told him it takes time to train you humans on our ways.Sometimes I think you will never learn. You sign up my kids for a two or three month training course each year with Mr. Maxey, then my kids are given the unfortunate task of trying to train you for months after they get home. Once in a while we have some excitement over here at the Retriever Barn when Mr. Maxey introduces me to one of his special gals.

Not only do I have a great time, but a few months from then you humans have the opportunity to buy my puppies. You need to encourage Mr. Maxey to increase these visits. Overall I enjoy being in the field with my children as Mr. Maxey and I teach them the fundamentals of retrieving. My best days are when Mr.

Maxey and I get out by ourselves, away from the pack and get a little hunting in together. That Mr. Maxey is quite a guy. I always look forward to being outside with my master by my side and being able to make another retrieve. At the end of the day I just want to lay down and take a good snooze and dream of another day of hunting. 1995 Duck and Goose Season Comes to a Close This year’s duck and goose season has provided plenty of action for retrievers and their owners. The 1995 duck and goose hunting season has come to a close.

Those hunters taking advantage of the late season found December’s snow and cold temperatures a challenge. The hunting proved to be inconsistent for many who went afield. Some days only the morning hours produced. On other days, only the afternoons were the time flocks were active. The cold temperatures and snow locked in most areas leaving little open water for this year’s waterfowl.

Near record snowfalls blanketed many areas in northern Ohio. The birds took to the corn fields where the grain left from the Fall harvest would provide a much needed food supply. This left hunters and dogs with few options. Laying in cornfields and area ditches proved to be a challenge. Some hunters were fortunate to have blinds in fields, while others would be forced to face the elements.

On top of the weather conditions, many birds were decoy shy. To overcome this, the decoy patterns had to be carefully set. Taking special care in setting sentry decoy locations became a must. Nothing could be taken for granted. The number of decoys needed to attract and maintain the interest of passing flocks was high. The addition of black flags was added by some hunters to add motion to their spread.

In the northern sections of Ohio, along the Lake Erie shoreline, high winds had moved ice in areas and left open water for birds to congregate. Rivers and lakes in inland areas were frozen solid. Some hunters moved boats and blinds out onto the ice in hopes of attracting more birds. In some cases this proved to achieve the desired result. However, as temperatures remained in the 20s, the hunt proved to be a cold one for many hunters while their retrievers welcomed the cold weather.

With the duck and goose populations up in 1995, both hunters and retrievers experienced a challenging waterfowl season. If things go well, 1996 should prove to be even better. Mr. Retriever Insights from Jim Maxey The Retriever Barn is now entering a new year. 1995 was an exciting year for all of us, but we look forward to the year ahead.

I want to thank each one of you for being a part of our family. It has been a pleasure to watch our dogs and owners grow. For the new year, we will continue to provide you with dog training services you can depend on. It’s not too early to begin to think about your dog’s training needs for the 1996 season. For younger dogs (ages one to two years old) we offer training in fundamental obedience skills and in the basics of field and waterfowl hunting. This course of study usually runs three months.

If you are planning on hunting with your dog this coming Fall, we offer refresher courses to sharpen your dog’s skills just before hunting season. This course of study usually lasts a month and helps to assure you that your dog is ready to go. We are now booking training for dogs for 1996. Be sure to reserve your dog’s training early. Unfortunately we are often unable to take all the dogs that need training, so reserve your dog’s training time today.

If you need a dog that is already trained and ready to hunt, we do offer a limited number of started dogs. Check with us on their availability. We expect to have a limited number of puppies available in 1996. You might say we already have a good number on backorder. If you would like to reserve a puppy let us know early. With an increasing number of dogs with poor hunting traits, Retriever Barn puppies are being sought after by more hunters because of their excellent hunting characteristics.

If you have a dog you are thinking of breeding, let us know. We will be glad to work with you to obtain good hunting bloodlines. We do offer stud services. Be sure to check your vaccination records for your dog. Mark your 1996 calendar with the dates and vaccinations your dog will need.

Be sure to contact your veterinarian to schedule the appropriate vaccinations. The health of your dog is important. With the close of 1995 and the promise of a new year, we at the Retriever Barn look forward to working with you and your dog in 1996. Always Think of Your Dog’s Safety When Hunting When you’re in the field it’s easy to get caught up in hunting and forget the safety of your dog. We all know the muzzel of the gun should never be pointed towards man nor beast. That is the obvious.

But the not so obvious is what could lead to serious injury or even loss of your hunting partner, your dog. Always be aware of your hunting surroundings. Are there roads near by? Are there railroad tracks in the area? In the field you are hunting, are there deep holes that become invisible when snow covered? In the heat of the hunt both you and your dog will be concentrating on one thing, getting the bird. The adrenaline will be pumping. At that time it will be too late to be concerned about the things you should have been concerned with before the hunt began. This is when accidents can occur to your dog.

Coming home with a dead dog rather than harvested game will more than ruin your day. Here are some tips to help keep your dog safe. Survey the area you plan to hunt before you hunt the area. If you can, examine the area before it becomes snow covered. Note the location of dangers such as deep holes, the location of ditches, near by roads, railroad tracks, old fence and any other dangerous objects. After you have selected your hunting area, use caution while in the field. If you shoot a bird and it falls into a dangerous area, your dog will naturally want to retrieve it. In this case, your dog must be restrained with a leash or a shock collar.

Wounded birds can cause great harm to your dog. The bite of a Canadian goose might not only injure your dog, but in the case of a younder dog, a goose bite might cause the dog to be bird shy for the rest of his life. Don’t take any chances. Be sure the bird is dead. Going to and returning from your hunt is often the most dangerous time for your dog. Keep your dog on a leash until you get well into your hunting area. More dogs are killed near the road while hunters are coming and going from the hunt than any other time. Always keep your dog leashed.

Training Tips The tendancy to over command your dog is a trap all of us fall into from time to time. All too often we start repeating the verbal commands, hand signals and whistle blows. Not only can this visual and verbal barrage confuse your dog, but, in a hunting situation, the dog will be more concerned with figuring out what you are saying than finding the birds. This only adds further frustration to you and the dog. When you are in the field keep things simple.

Remember, you and your dog are in the field to hunt. You are not there to conduct an obedience school. Give clear commands. Use your whistle to direct the dog. Be sure to praise your dog for his performance.

Take your time and enjoy being outdoors with your dog. Use this time to build hunting memories for a lifetime.