The Arrival of Young Bert, the not-right dog.

Discussion in 'Fiddleback Forge Knives' started by Kismet, Sep 21, 2020.

  1. Kismet

    Kismet Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 30, 2002
    Many years ago , I moved to Wisconsin from Chicago. The following January, I found and bought Button, a German Wire-haired Pointer. She was easily the best dog I've ever had, and, I was the most mature I'd ever been in training a dog. A great companion.

    She died after 11 years, and I spent a year dog-less. I would visit the breeders while meandering on a motorcycle. One Sunday I dropped by, and we chatted. They exchanged looks and said..."Uh, we sold a dog a couple of years ago and they were going to put him down, so we took him back, refunded most of their money even though they neutered him and he can't be shown or bred. You should meet him."

    uh-oh.

    So "El Cazador" (jaysus) was let into the house, bounded around, sniffed a bit, messed with some of the other dogs, and finally came to me when the interesting stuff was done.

    He was a chronic barker and the wife would let him loose at night, hoping he'd get run over by some car in their Chicago suburb. One night he walked into a Walgreens through the electric doors, and made new friends. He was shaved to the skin and the vet stuff they got with him included a monthly prescription for tranquilizers and a history which included treatment of all four feet for blisters when the previous owner had taken him out on a asphalt parking lot during the summer and kept him there for four hours.

    I took him outside and he fetched a frisbee, sort of. He was healthy and at the upper limit of breed standards. But he'd been tied to a tree in a suburban backyard most of his life.

    I said, "I'll think about it. I'm on a motorcycle so I couldn't take him now, anyway." I was thinking "No. You don't need other folks' problems and you've gotten used to life without a dog."

    They happily replied, "We'll follow you home."

    #look

    So.

    I started with teaching him to "speak" on command. Then, from there, I taught him to be quiet the rest of the time. I got a training collar from a friend and we walked through herds of cows. Any slightest sign of interest was met with a screamed " NO" and a shock. Cow-chasing dogs live short lives around dairy farms. We did crate training immediately. Not a problem.

    From there, we wandered. I let him teach himself about rabbits and squirrels, and some pheasants, as he could find them. He loved the crik and literally would run a full half-mile in shoulder-high water as I walked along. He lost weight, gained muscle, and came to view the outside the way a four-year-old kid views ToysR Us. Each time out was (still is) a dash to the greatest adventure a creature has ever experienced.

    I did a lot of kitchen training. Fetch, sit, stay, whoa, come. I teased him with pheasant wings. I got some quail, frozen, and went about teaching him to fetch WITHOUT chewing--that took a while. In the kitchen the dog was catch-able, I sat on the floor so there would be no chasing, and we just went through stuff over and over and over and.... He had great drive, good instincts, and a reluctant awareness of obedience.

    I started shooting .22s outside when he was in the house. Then, when he was on a lead on the other side of the house. Then when he was chasing down a training dummy. Praise, praise, praise. Repeated the program with a .410, then a 20 gauge. No gun shyness. Just a noise at first, then a noise with which he associated hunting, and finally pheasants and rabbits. Took time, but no set-backs.

    But...I think early on he got hard-wired to kill cats, maybe raccoons, certainly oppossum. I imagine he scented and was tormented by them in the back yard, just outside the range of the chain. Dunno. I do know he has a huge prey drive.

    The pointing came naturally. I reinforced each point with "Whoa" and praised him and then went in to flush...gun or not. I would "whoa" him again as he went to chase the flushing birds. I personally WANT my bird dog to break on flush, it gives them an advantage on the retrieve, as long as they stop when I yell "No," and come back to the hunt.

    His retrieving is phenomenal. As good as, or maybe better, than Button's. I wing shoot some birds and pheasants are runners. YB has run down pheasants that had virtually no damage to them. He's retrieved a bird I didn't shoot at (I missed my shot, he went after it, and came back with a hen he stumbled over. #frown ) He has gone back after I winged a bird the day before, tracked it the following day from the high ground it landed on, and (in spite of my cursing him for disobedience) kept on the trail until he found and brought back the still-alive bird. A very pissed, still-alive bird.

    He pretty much ignores other dogs when we hunt, but does do some dominant-humping at times. Dunno why. We talk about it.

    But, he ain't "right." He refuses to give up adolescence. He is adamant that THAT CAT NEEDS TO BE KILLED. He took on a raccoon without a second's hesitation. If I let him, he will rough-house, mouthing, but not biting my hands. If I laugh, and I often do, he will bark and look for something to play with. If I bend down when he is in this mode, he will snatch my knit cap off my head and play "keep-away." A friend (a VETERINARIAN, fercrisakes) sent a squeeky toy. I have heard that damned squeek one billion times. Often, I make him stay in one room and hide it in another, then command "fetch." He will stay at it forever, although he's learning to look inside my boots in the kitchen. I may try the cutlery drawers next. #smile

    He's a 70 pound dog. If I sit in the rocker in front of the TV, drape a sleeping bag over my legs and put my feet up on the foot-stool, I will have all 70 pounds of him lying on my lap and legs, with his head strategically positioned to block the television.

    And...sigh...he sleeps with me. I resisted for a long time, but hell's bells, that's a 70 pound bed warmer in an old farm house.

    He is my companion.

    But...

    he ain't right.

    cornstack aYB tongue.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2020
  2. fishface5

    fishface5 Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 3, 2001
    This awesome post needs pics!!
     
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  3. schmittie

    schmittie Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 28, 2009
    I think you have to be a dog owner to fully appreciate this. I love it! :) @Kismet
     
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  4. M B

    M B Basic Member Basic Member

    209
    Jun 10, 2020
    you are a good man Kismet
     
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  5. Aardvark

    Aardvark Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Great story, Kis.

    Umm, was he "not right" when you got him, or...?
     
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  6. Fiddleback

    Fiddleback Knifemaker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Dealer / Materials Provider

    Oct 19, 2005
    I definitely miss posts about ole Bert! Great story.
     
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  7. Rufus Magnus

    Rufus Magnus Gold Member Gold Member

    146
    Nov 8, 2019
    Great photo looks Happy in his elements .., lucky Doggie to find the Right Owner !!!
     
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  8. Aardvark

    Aardvark Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    He loved you, Kis, and heard every word you ever said.
    His heeding of those words is probably 107 other stories.
     
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  9. M B

    M B Basic Member Basic Member

    209
    Jun 10, 2020
    perhaps Bert's title should actually be "Bert Doggo, The Right Not-Right"
     
    Kismet likes this.
  10. darsk20

    darsk20 Gold Member Gold Member

    274
    Feb 24, 2016
    Awesome and thanks for this bright spot in the day.
     
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