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  • January 31, 2011

    Where Does Your Dog Rank on the AKC's New Popularity List?

    By Chad Love

    Two years ago at this time I wrote a Field Notes blog post on the American Kennel Club's annual list of the nation's most popular dogs and how it relates to the sorry state of hunting dogs in this country. In that post I asked the question of why, at a time when dogs have never been more popular, the sporting breeds (barring labs) continue to sink into obscurity. Well, the AKC just released its list of the 20 most popular dog breeds for 2010.

  • January 28, 2011

    Using Video Cameras as Dog Training Tools

    By Chad Love

    It's common for athletes to use video cameras as training tools. Watching yourself is a great way to improve your casting, your shotgunning skills or even your golf swing (if you're into that sort of thing), but how many dog owners use video cameras to improve their training? There are a ton of retriever, flusher and pointing dog training clips on YouTube, so obviously someone out there's doing it. Taping and then reviewing your training sessions and hunts I think it would be a fantastic way to identify problem areas not only for the dog, but you as well.

  • January 27, 2011

    MBF Reader Awards: Did You Make the Cut?

    By David DiBenedetto

    One of the great—and not always so great—aspects of blogging is the immediate response a writer gets from his readers in the form of comments. And as I’m winding down my time as a Man’s Best Friend blogger I decided to recognize some of you who have made it memorable. So herewith, the first—and probably last—Man’s Best Friend Reader Awards.

    Most Valuable Commenter: There have been a number of great, thoughtful commenters on MBF, but none could compete with the reliability and enthusiasm of Kelmitch. Day after day, Kelmitch was right with Pritch and I following the ups and downs of our training. And always with an encouraging word…unlike the next award winner…

    Best Take Down: A few readers decided I wasn’t worth the pixels this blog is posted on, but none did so as colorfully as BeardogRed. After a post where I complained that that the sporting dogs in the Westminster show looked nothing like the Goldens and Labs you see in the field, BeardogRed got a little upset. Delivering the coup to grace with this statement: “Son, you are like a Baby Bird, All Mouth and Ass.” We apparently have our differences Beardog, but I applaud your creativity!

  • January 26, 2011

    Public Service Announcement: Avoid Those Meth Labs

    By Chad Love

    This one's been making the gundog forums for a few weeks now, but I felt it was my duty to bring you this important public service announcement about the scourge of meth labs. I've stumbled across a few meth labs while out in the field and I'll be honest: it was frightening. However, being able to recognize a meth lab is the first step in avoiding them...

  • January 24, 2011

    First Bird, Check. Now Let's Get You a Dog

    By Chad Love

    This is what happens when one of Field & Stream's FlyTalk bloggers puts down the rod and picks up a shotgun. That's Tim Romano in the photo with a nice rooster in one hand and a super-cool old-school Browning Superposed in the other. It was Tim's first bird, taken with his first shot, and it was on his first bird hunt. How can you top that?

  • January 21, 2011

    Good Dog Gear: The Whoa Dog Check Cord

    By Chad Love

    "When you've got a check cord to fit you, you'll request it accompany you to the grave. And for the rest of your life, it'll never be out of hand's reach when you're training or running dogs." -- Bill Tarrant

    Check cords are one of those training items you simply can’t do without. After all, it's the primary point of contact between you and your pup. In his book "Best Way To Train Your Gun Dog: The Delmar Smith Method," Bill Tarrant recommends tightly-woven 5/16 or 3/8 nylon, tossed in a mud puddle and left to soak overnight for stiffness. And since that was one of the first dog training books I ever read, that's what I've always used. But I'm wavering lately.

  • January 20, 2011

    When Hunting Gets Too Dangerous For Your Dog

    By Chad Love

    Last year at about this time David wrote an excellent post about the dangers of late-season ice. I'd like to revisit the topic because it touches on an issue and a question of responsibility that - if you hunt ducks with a dog - you will at some point be confronted with: when is it too dangerous for your dog to hunt?

  • January 18, 2011

    Can You Help Me Find My Perfect Duck Boat?

    By Chad Love

    Duck season closed this past weekend, which means I've already started thinking about next year's season. And one of my primary goals is the acquisition of a duck-hunting boat. Not a big boat, but a sneaky little boat to slip into isolated backwater areas I can't reach by walking. But here's the rub: I need one big enough for myself, the dog and decoys, but small enough so I can load and unload it by myself. I need it stable enough to get in and out in waders and let the dog load up, but easy enough to paddle a couple miles if need be.

  • January 14, 2011

    Pheasant Fest Is The Place To Be

    By Chad Love

    by Chad Love

    Name an event where you can see - at one time - upwards of 40 different sporting dog breeds. The winner gets nothing...

    If you replied "Westminster" you will be beaten about the head with a cyber-bumper. I mean real sporting dogs; wet, muddy, hard-muscled hell-for-leather hunting machines, not those overstuffed sausages and blow-dried travesties you see prancing about the show ring.

    But if you replied "The 2011 Pheasants Forever Pheasant Fest, held January 28-30 in beautiful Omaha, Nebraska, presented by Cabela's," you would be right.

    If you love upland bird hunting and sporting dogs, Pheasant Fest is the place to be. It is the largest upland hunting/conservation and sporting dog trade show in the nation, sort of a SHOT Show for gundogs, except these Booth Babes have four legs and would probably lick you for free. Try finding that in Vegas...

    The bird dog parade alone  is worth the trip, but there are hundreds of dog and hunting-related exhibitors, youth events, conservation seminars and of course, dog training seminars.

  • January 13, 2011

    Good Dog Gear: DuraFlex Little Giant Bowls & Pails

    By Chad Love

    I’ve historically used stainless-steel bowls or five-gallon buckets for feeding and watering my dogs. The steel pans, while indestructible, are annoyingly loud against kennel concrete. The buckets work, but, much like Congress, not very well. The dogs chew them and if you break ice in them, you will replace cracked buckets weekly. Enter the DuraFlex Little Giant food bowls and water pails.

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