Setters Perspective

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Featherfinder
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Setters Perspective

Post by Featherfinder » Fri Aug 02, 2019 5:04 am

Now here is an interesting read! Just thought I'd share.
http://www.davidhancockondogs.com/archi ... 0/670.html

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Cicada
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Re: Setters Perspective

Post by Cicada » Fri Aug 02, 2019 7:49 am

Interesting
The photos did not show up maybe my browser
Always loved Gordon Setters. My fathers first bird dog, pretty sure my brother Gord was named for that dog. :roll:

Thanks
Grant

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Re: Setters Perspective

Post by shags » Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:52 am

Times, they are a-changin'....and always have been :D

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Re: Setters Perspective

Post by Steve007 » Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:13 pm

Worth noting that when the article says "KC", it refers to the English Kennel Club. We are all, I presume, aware that hunting conditions and attitudes/breeds in general are way different in the UK. As an example, the most popular dog in the UK is the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Fine breed, but I think we can say that is not the case here. In fact, they are ranked #82 in registrations, and, practically speaking, no one (outside of dog show/conformation people) has ever heard of them.

Many hunting setters, of course, are not AKC registered. Interesting historical article, and I am a big fan of hunting Gordon Setters, having had two wonderful ones, but the main point of the article certainly cannot be applied to the United States today.

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Re: Setters Perspective

Post by Trekmoor » Sat Aug 03, 2019 4:29 am

Thanks Featherfinder, that was an interesting read. I.M.O. our K.C. has not done our setter breeds OR any of our other working breeds any favours ! For example, when I was about 8 -9 years old I once took a show winning Yorkshire Terrier belonging to one of my fathers friends out rat hunting in some nearby pig styes and outbuildings. At that age all I really knew about terriers was that they were supposed to hunt and "kill fings !" :lol:

This particular dog had never hunted or killed anything in his life but in no time at all he turned into a raging little monster after encountering a few rats. The two of us rampaged through the mud and the pigsh*t of the tumbledown outbuildings and sheds and we were both soon liberally plastered in very fragrant poo !

We returned to my father's friend's house deliriously happy but not very pretty looking. My father, his friend and that mans wife , looked at us in horror and then the man and his wife both burst out laughing …..my father still looked thunderously at me though..... :roll:

Apparently the wee terrier was supposed to be competing in the showring later that day...... not in that condition he wasn't though ! I was given an immediate bath and then asked to explain what I'd done with the dog. His owners couldn't stop laughing and they remained very friendly with me for the rest of their lives.

When I think back on that incident now I always have to smile, me and that Yorkie must have made a very unattractive picture but somehow I do not think the Yorkies I see now would have been up for a mornings rat hunting. The breed has become a flimsy little shell of what it once was.

Something very similar has, I think, happened to the setters. The show types may look pretty but they are not what I would want as hunting/pointing dogs. I have seen and worked with one very good Gordon ….the exception that proves the rule maybe ?
I was never fortunate enough to see a really good English Setter either out working or at field trials but I'm told good ones do still exist. The examples of the breed I saw working lacked in pace and range …..my Brittany and my GSP's used to outrun them.

I have seen some excellent Irish Setters out working and at field trials …...but they did not look much like their show counterparts !
The working type was far less tall and not as heavily boned and they carried a lot less feathering.

About 20 years ago I was asked to take a training class and answer questions at a seminar for the Irish Red and White Setter Club. A group of people were trying to resuscitate this once proud breeds working instincts after many years of the breed only being seen in showrings . (Except for a few very good workers in Ireland apparently.)

There were two other trainers and seminar "experts" both very experienced F.T. men, we set off across the moors and up over the hills with about 8 dogs and their respective handlers in each group to hunt for red grouse. Of the eight dogs in my group I thought 4 were a "dead loss" and 2 were borderline dead loss. The remaining two were interesting to watch.....they sort of "developed" as they went along gaining in confidence and in pointing ability as they were given chances to hunt.

One of the two I would have liked to develop even further but time did not permit that. Those dogs and their owners all came from "show only" backgrounds …..there is still hope for this breed if a sufficient number of owners, keen to actually work their dogs, keep on trying to improve on what the years of show only breeding left them with.

The questions asked at that evenings seminar were interesting to say the least ! :lol: The three of us "experts" (I hate being called that) were bombarded with questions that served to show us the depths of ignorance among those show folk. It was a useful reminder to me not to just assume that people with gundog breeds already know the basics of gundog training and of field work in general.
At least those folk wanted to know more though.....they wanted to learn.

Bill T.

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Re: Setters Perspective

Post by shags » Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:36 pm

Bill,

I wish you could see some of the dogs trialing in my area. We have some dual types of all four setter breeds as well as the field bred (well, maybe not IRWS, I don't know if they have split in type over here, but the ones I see running are bench champions or contenders) The bench dogs give creditable performances for the most part; they have groundspeed, hunt, and handle birds. Comparing then, I would say the field bred dogs have overall better gaits and higher style on point. While the bench type dogs are in the ribbons fairly regularly in AKC trials, the lower style on point and perhaps their way of going (speedy, but not generally snappy/animated) would keep them out of contention in FDSB trials. But taste in style varies, so whatever floats one's boat as far as pleasing the owner/handler :)

All that aside, there is prejudice on both sides. Years ago, I ran a dual type Irish; at trials I heard a lot of "Holy cow, I didn't know an Irish could run like that!". Then when I got my first field ES, when I decided to join a local ES club with my eye on helping them to hold some trials and tests, I was asked if I had any photos of my dog. When I showed them, I was patted on the shoulder amd assured "Don't worry, dear, most of us have something like that in our closets too".

Gotta love it :D

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Re: Setters Perspective

Post by Trekmoor » Sun Aug 04, 2019 4:18 am

Hi Shags, I'd have loved to see American pointing dogs in action in real time and in real life. I can't even ride a horse but I'd give it a go just to spectate at the trials you have over there ! America has the land to do that on and we do not.

Your "culture" of working setters and pointers is far greater than ours is. We just do not have enough land to hunt these dogs over and so comparatively few setter and pointer people get any chances to work their dogs. Almost all of our pointer/setter trials are held on grouse moors so if you do not have access to a grouse moor or three that you can train your dog over you can pretty much forget about ever winning a field trial ! Very few people have such access and so very few people can, with any hope of success, trial or even work their dogs.

I was very lucky. I was a postman and certainly could not have afforded to rent, even for one day, a grouse moor to train and work my dogs over. I did a lot of work for the gamekeepers of some estates though and they "let me on." They also introduced me to their bosses , the land owners and they hired me and my dogs to work for them on the moors. It took a few years but word went around among the keepers and the landowners that I could be trusted and that my dogs were pretty good.
I ended up being the "Dogman" for a big estate and it's grouse moor and was entrusted with guiding it's shooting parties over the moors all on my own.

Doing that helped a lot when I ran dogs in trials …...my dogs had more experience than most of the others.


I also "found" a grouse moor less than 30 minutes from my house I could sneak onto to work my dogs on ….. it was an army firing range ! Now that really was an exciting place to hunt a dog over ! :lol: When the big guns were about to be fired, red flags were hoisted all over the moor and that was the signal to leave …….pronto ! :lol: This was about 35 years ago when I was still quite a good runner and I can remember the bit of poetry that sort of floated through my head as I fled off the moor ..... "Stormed at by shot and shell, bravely they charged and well .... gallant 600 !" I am not going to claim that I quoted the poem exactly but I did know exactly how the "gallant 600" felt ! :lol: You soon found out if your dog was gunshy or not if you went there ! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Bill T.

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Re: Setters Perspective

Post by Featherfinder » Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:32 am

Yet another common "thread" Bill - I too worked for Canada Post maintaining the then high tech electronics that read and sorted letters.
Your post is a both sad and funny. The running from the military range is hilarious simply because you are still here to share that. The land availability is an issue here as well. We have massive expanses of territory but aligning the demographics and the practical application for field trialing is another issue. Trials in general are no longer around here. Many of the grounds we used to use have been expropriated. What remains will not sustain a horseback trial. We still have a small number of walking hunt tests though. On the western prairies, there are literally miles of grounds available and they still host a number of very high quality events. That would be about 36 hours of actual driving time from where I live, by truck.
While I no longer drive out west, I do enjoy my annual western hunt but we fly our 2-3 dogs out with us. I no longer trial. In many ways I miss the competitive side. In other ways....I do not.
So, here is an interesting dynamic. I just prepared a couple of dogs for trials. The owners will go State-side to compete (NY, MI, OH). When I did trial, a great deal of my preparatory training was done on no more than 12 acres - without a horse even though we competed from horses. I had a reasonable amount of success doing so too. It was then that I realized that many aspects of developing a successful trial champion (as well as a competent gun dog) came from that preparatory work done on that 12 acres. Cardio conditioning is a HUGE part of that training and for that you do need more grounds, but I digress. That said, if Rory McElroy was to focus on say....his putting, would he do so at an event/championship? Would he need access to the grounds that host a championship OR could he do so at a (private) driving/putting range? Could any golfer not do the same, be it re putting, chipping, driving, etc. and still improve those areas needing attention?
We still need to have the trials grounds available obviously. But, if you know what it takes to win and you have a system, you should be competitive training near home then traveling to the trial grounds, if you are so inclined.
This applies as well to my personal dogs in terms of the widely diverse hunting environs we use to find a wide variety of game birds. Dogs need to understand the rules of engagement, clearly. Those rules then can transition into whatever species OR trials you run in, if you remain consistent in your expectation. Yes, there is a transitional period. It's nothing like what you might expect. The dogs can do it and do it well! It's the owner/handler that might struggle with this strategy a wee bit, I think Bill.
Last edited by Featherfinder on Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Setters Perspective

Post by Trekmoor » Mon Aug 05, 2019 6:54 am

Featherfinder, I shot fewer than 5 grouse in my entire life. I could not afford to shoot them ….but I could work my dogs to find and point them while more wealthy men than me did the shooting. I trained my dogs very thoroughly to retrieve and they retrieved the grouse those guns shot . The pups/dogs gained in experience as they went on and then I ran them in field trials. My pups won trials from an age where most other trainers pups were only partway through their training.

The really good thing about getting around my training problems in that way was that I was actually very well paid by those guns and by the estate ! They, in a sense, paid me to train my own dogs ! It's great work if you can get it ! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Bill T.

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bamanicksbd
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Re: Setters Perspective

Post by bamanicksbd » Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:11 pm

Well I love my English Setter! [IMG]//uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201908 ... 801f41.jpg[/IMG]


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Re: Setters Perspective

Post by bamanicksbd » Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:17 pm

I hit send before I meant to. When we take Nick places, yes he travels all over with us, I am very surprised how many people have no idea what breed of dog he is. He has been called a long haired Dalmatian, a cross between something and a blue tick hound and various types of spaniels. To someone who grew up with bird dogs it’s just second nature to me but I’m learning that in non bird dog circles I am in the minority. [IMG]//uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201908 ... 64834c.jpg[/IMG]


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Featherfinder
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Re: Setters Perspective

Post by Featherfinder » Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:17 am

That's funny "Bam"! I get a similar reaction when I walk my pointer. You should see folk scurry to give us a WIDE berth. She does look a bit Bull Terrier-ish. :)
They have no idea what a wonderful personality she has - wouldn't hurt a flea! She does look intimidating though.

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