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  • July 30, 2010

    Had a Lazy Summer? Here’s How to Jump Start Your Gun Dog Training

    By David DiBenedetto

    I hate to admit it, but Pritch and I have slid backwards this summer. In Charleston, we’ve had a month of record-breaking temperatures with heat indexes climbing well into the one hundreds on a daily basis. The gators are thicker than ever in the ponds. (Click here to read about the 500-pound alligator that was captured yesterday in nearby Hilton Head.) And, as evidenced by the above photo, we’ve spent entirely too much time fishing and goofing around in the boat.

    This reality hit me hard when I realized that I have a little over a month until the September 5th opener of dove season in South Carolina. It hit me even harder when I took Pritch out to do some serious training this week. She looked—and performed—like she’d rather be sunning at the beach. So I made a quick call to my crisis manager, otherwise known as Pam Kadlec of Just Ducky Kennels, and I asked for some advice on how to get on track quick. Here what she had to say:

  • July 28, 2010

    What is the Ultimate Use for Duct Tape?

    By David DiBenedetto

    Like many of you, I’m guessing, I always have a roll of duct tape nearby. I carry a roll in my vehicle, training bag, and on the boat. I’ve used it to do everything from secure a pheasant wing on a bumper to patch a leaky wader during a duck hunt to cover a blister on my big toe in the backcountry. But while on vacation recently my older brother, Christian, showed me a new use for duct tape.

  • July 23, 2010

    Man's Best Friend Caption Contest: And the Winner Is ...

    By David DiBenedetto

    It’s time to announce the winner of the “What Pritch Did on Summer Vacation” caption contest. As usual, we had a load of entries. Many of them were top notch. Before I announce the winner I’d like to thank our friends at Skyhorse Publishing for donating the prize: a copy of the new book, Afield: American Writers on Bird Dogs. Click here to read the MBF review.

    Now, let’s get to the fun stuff. As usual, perennial caption all-star, MLH, had a good one:

  • July 21, 2010

    Has My Gun Dog Become Coyote Bait?

    By David DiBenedetto

    Ever since Pritchard was a wee pup I’ve taken her to train on a nearby park that includes a golf course, a decent chunk of woods, a walking trail, and a playground for kids. I’ve never sent her into any of the ponds because here in the South Carolina Lowcountry there’s a constant threat of alligators during the warm months. But we’ve worked many marks on the fields and wood line. Today, however, I noticed the below sign posted near our training area. In fact, when I looked closely these signs were just about everywhere.

  • July 16, 2010

    How Much Would You Pay to Cure a Sick Dog?

    By David DiBenedetto

    Earlier in the summer, I asked you to guess them amount of Pritchard’s Vet bill after a visit for a skin reaction. Many of you overestimated, which made it clear that we all pay good money to get them right when they’re ill. Thankfully, Pritchard has been healthy, but I know I’d drop some serious change if she were to need it. According to recent survey from, I’m not alone.

    Sixty-two percent of all pet owners (yes, the cat people have been included) would spend $500 on a sick animal. Thirty-five percent of the crowd would drop $2,000, and 22 percent were willing to spend $5,000 for their pet.

  • July 12, 2010

    Write a Caption. Win a Free Dog Book.

    By David DiBenedetto

    Team Pritchard is on a short family vacation this week at the beach. And as you can tell from the attached image, the dog is enjoying it immensely. (Obviously the rest of us are, too.) No marks today, but we’ll still enforce obedience.

  • July 9, 2010

    Video: A Dog That Goes Scuba Diving

    By David DiBenedetto

    I’ve bragged before on this blog that Pritchard is natural boat dog, but yesterday morning while surrounded by a school of blitzing Spanish mackerel and diving birds I had to restrain her from going overboard. It seems the excitement was too much for her. She wanted to be in the water amongst the fray. (Time for an obedience refresher. Sit means Sit—not sit and get up when you want.)

  • July 8, 2010

    Reader Gun Dog of the Week

    By David DiBenedetto

    This week we’re headed north to Saskatchewan to check out a GSP owned by Rodney Zoerb. The dog, a male named Willow (It’s a long story. You’ll have to ask Rodney.), is apparently a bird-finding fiend.

    Rodney lives by a good gun dog philosophy. In his words, “Owning one of these animals (GSP or likewise) is like owning a Ferrari—it is no fun if you don't get out and use it.”

  • July 6, 2010

    How Did You Choose Your Pup?

    By David DiBenedetto

    You could fill a book with all of the available tips and tricks to pick a good pup from a litter. And the truth is there’s nothing harder than staring at a wiggling mass of puppies and saying, “I do,” with conviction.

    When my wife, Jenny, and I chose Pritchard it was meant to be a group decision. I tossed puppy bumpers to see which of the youngsters had solid retrieving drive, and I rolled them over and gently pinched between their toes to see who reacted and who didn’t.