The Power of Genetics….

One never knows where inspiration will come from. It could be a fleeting glance at something that brings back a distance memory, or it could be found in an unlikely place when you aren’t even looking. Recently, I have found some inspiration in what I feel like is an unlikely place. It’s a very short video by a man that no one has ever heard of in Ireland. It’s not very often that I can agree totally with someone’s views on dog breeding, but in this case, I can find no fault in what the man has to say. It’s a very short video and if you watch it, you’ll probably think, “She’s crazy….this old man is saying nothing of note and it was a waste of a perfectly good minuet.” But let’s sit down and really look at what he’s saying.

I was very fortunate to get to photograph this nice puppy at a field trial a few weeks ago. She had such a natural ability to retrieve and drive for the work. It was a pleasure to watch her work.

I was very fortunate to get to photograph this nice puppy at a field trial a few weeks ago. She had such a natural ability to retrieve and drive for the work. It was a pleasure to watch her work.

So you’ve watched the video, but are still wondering, “Why does this crazy girl think so much of a crazy old Irish farmer who is droning on about Border Collies training themselves?”.  Let me set up the scenario for you…….You go out, buy a dog and have every intention of working that dog every day and making him the best possible dog on the planet. The first day, you get the dog, your training equipment, and your training book out, and go to work. Perfect day. The next day, maybe it’s the same. The third day comes around and your significant other wants to go out for dinner, it is a Friday night after all,

This is Norton, he's obviously a lab. Has never once willingly picked up anything but food in his entire life. He hangs out in the field when I'm working other dogs and I have no fear of him interfering with the training, because he is usually under the nearest tree. However, you can't beat him when it comes to being a Therapy Dog! He's loved by many because we placed him in a program where he can excel at being himself.

This is Norton, he’s obviously a lab. Has never once willingly picked up anything but food in his entire life. He hangs out in the field when I’m working other dogs and I have no fear of him interfering with the training, because he is usually under the nearest tree. However, you can’t beat him when it comes to being a Therapy Dog! He’s loved by many because we placed him in a program where he can excel at being himself.

and you only do a little training. That’s alright, tomorrow is Saturday and you can make up the time then. Saturday comes and friends want to go to the movies. You go, promising yourself that Sunday will be your day with the dog. You wake up with the best of intentions, but your hangover convinces you that Monday is the day for training and you give him a quick exercise session, so he won’t bother you while you chill on the couch for the rest of the afternoon. During the next week, you get in a few good training sessions, but work and life get in the way and you never get to train as much as you had originally intended. I’m not saying that you are a bad dog owner. Your dog is well exercised, well fed, and well loved. He is just not “training” as much as you would like.

Time goes by, you work with him when you have a chance, but not nearly as much as you had originally planned.  One day, during hunting season, a buddy calls you up and wants you to bring your dog over and spend the day hunting with him and his dog. Now this buddy brags on his dog and how much time he spends training, and maybe he does spend that much time working with the dog. Unlikely, but he’s your friend, so we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. You’re a little nervous, because you know your dog is good, but hell, you buddy spends every weekend working drills and obedience with his dog, so he must be perfect.

This is Deacon, who many of you will know from my previous posts, and the MANY pictures I take of him. When I went to look at him as a puppy, my choice was between him and his brother (read my previous article about my experience picking him up...it's pretty funny :) ). Both pups where about the same on land. They both fetched everything the old man threw out for them and both barked when someone new showed up. They were basically identical in appearance and both impressed me enough that I wanted to leave with ONE of them. At that point it didn't really matter which one. The tie breaker was when Deacon threw himself headfirst into the pond, at eight weeks old, chasing after his Dad for a retrieve. His brother went in, but not with the same enthusiasm. While he wasn't perfect, he was a little skeptical of new people, he had enough of the qualities that I was looking for, that I was willing to take the time to work through his skepticism. I chose what battle I wanted to fight. I could have chosen a dog who didn't retrieve with his natural ability, but was perfect around people. If I had made that choice, I would have to force fetch and collar condition. I chose what was an easier route for me....socialization for the dog. I knew it would be a pretty easy fix, because he loved food and loved to fetch. I paired those things with being polite when in public. Now he's not perfect, the cracks show occasionally, but I expected this, because like I've said over and over in this article, genetics beat out training every time.

This is Deacon, who many of you will know from my previous posts, and the MANY pictures I take of him. When I went to look at him as a puppy, my choice was between him and his brother (read my previous article about my experience picking him up…it’s pretty funny 🙂 ). Both pups where about the same on land. They both fetched everything the old man threw out for them and both barked when someone new showed up. They were basically identical in appearance and both impressed me enough that I wanted to leave with ONE of them. At that point it didn’t really matter which one. The tie breaker was when Deacon threw himself headfirst into the pond, at eight weeks old, chasing after his Dad for a retrieve. His brother went in, but not with the same enthusiasm. While he wasn’t perfect, he was a little skeptical of new people, he had enough of the qualities that I was looking for, that I was willing to take the time to work through his skepticism. I chose what battle I wanted to fight. I could have chosen a dog who didn’t retrieve with his natural ability, but was perfect around people. If I had made that choice, I would have to force fetch and collar condition. I chose what was an easier route for me….socialization for the dog. I knew it would be a pretty easy fix, because he loved food and loved to fetch. I paired those things with being polite when in public. Now he’s not perfect, the cracks show occasionally, but I expected this, because like I’ve said over and over in this article, genetics beat out training every time.

You get to the pit blind, dove field, or whatever your poison is that morning and you unload your dog and your gear. Your dog is kind of hanging out, checking out the situation, and your buddies dog is running around while he’s screaming his name and blowing on his whistle that’s as big as your hand. You guys get going and it’s obvious that his dog is not going to make for a fun day. His whistle sounds like a damn freight train and the dog whines so much that it’s numbing. Your dog, on the other hand is in tune to your quiet whistle and doesn’t hunt perfectly close, but he’s within gun range and is steady on the flush, so you aren’t constantly after him to calm down. Your dog retrieves what you shoot with a soft mouth, while his dog will occasionally pick up a bird, maybe, and bring it within a ten yard radius of the handler, hopefully. If he does happen to pick one up, his mouth is so hard that there is nothing left of the bird when your buddy finally chases down the dog and picks it up from wherever it was dropped.

Environmental obstacles have no effect on Deacon. This is something that can be trained, but it's so much easier when it comes naturally!

Environmental obstacles have no effect on Deacon. This is something that can be trained, but it’s so much easier when it comes naturally!

As the day progresses, you have to be wondering, “What in the world is going on here? I hardly work with my dog and he works with his all the time. My dog is making his look really bad.” Don’t lie, we’ve all had those thoughts!

He's a bit of a show off....

He’s a bit of a show off….

There are two possible answers and more than likely it a combination of the two. Your buddy probably isn’t working with his dog as often as he says that he is, and the more likely answer is that, your dog has better genetics than his dog. One rule you can always live by, genetics beats out training every single time. You can cover a lot up, on the surface, with training, but if the breeding isn’t there, no amount of training can fix that and the cracks will show at the most inopportune time; like when you are trying to show off to your friend who doesn’t work his dog as often as you do.

Now force fetch needed. Inductive retrieves with a variety of objects at a young age have made this dog capable of picking up anything, withing reason, that I ask for. Before we go shed hunting, I play a little fetch with him with an antler. Take him to the field and he's a shed hunting machine.

No force fetch needed. Inductive retrieves with a variety of objects at a young age have made this dog capable of picking up anything, withing reason, that I ask for. Before we go shed hunting, I play a little fetch with him with an antler. Take him to the field and he’s a shed hunting machine.

Now, some dogs may not reach their true potential, because of the owner, but if the dog doesn’t have breeding to support the traits that you are looking for in an ideal dog, then you will never get where you want to be with the dog.

This series of pictures are of a Malinois puppy named Tig. I love working with Tig. He has a drive that can't be beat. However, no amount of exercise could make him a house dog. He would tear a normal persons house apart in a matter of minuets. But he's fun to work with. He's a great sport dog and will hunt for anything at anytime for hours. He's a star in a lot of training videos, because he's flashy and will do anything you ask, as long as he gets to bite someone or chase a ball.

This series of pictures are of a Malinois puppy named Tig. I love working with Tig. He has a drive that can’t be beat. However, no amount of exercise could make him a house dog. He would tear a normal persons house apart in a matter of minuets. But he’s fun to work with. He’s a great sport dog and will hunt for anything at anytime for hours. He’s a star in a lot of training videos, because he’s flashy and will do anything you ask, as long as he gets to bite someone or chase a ball.

This little guy will make a great house dog, but there are a few in the litter who are much more suited to farm life, because they are constantly on the move. As evidence from this picture....there were 4 in the picture right before I snapped the button!

This little guy will make a great house dog, but there are a few in the litter who are much more suited to farm life, because they are constantly on the move. As evidence from this picture….there were 4 in the picture right before I snapped the button!

The man in the video is talking about herding dogs, but the same is true for any breed and discipline of dog. It’s even true for dogs that would be considered house dogs or lap dogs. No one wants a lap dog who would rather be running around, looking for something. They want a dog bred to sit in a lap and requires very little exercise. The opposite is true for a dog that needs to be active to earn his living. Dogs will either pick up their work or they won’t and you will have to “force” them into the job. Who really wants to be forced and who really wants to do the forcing?

Golden Doodle...a combination of a Poodle and Golden Retriever. Both historically good hunting dogs....you don't see many Doodles hunting, but they are quickly becoming one of the most popular house dogs around. Genetics....you breed  two historically hunting breeds together and get an amazing house dog.

Golden Doodle…a combination of a Poodle and Golden Retriever. Both historically good hunting dogs….you don’t see many Doodles hunting, but they are quickly becoming one of the most popular house dogs around. Genetics….you breed two historically hunting breeds together and get an amazing house dog.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t care what titles the parents of the puppy has, if they aren’t game to chase and pick things up, more than likely I’ll take a pass and look further for my next dog. Now many of you may go on the defensive here and say that some dogs mature slower than others, and I will agree with you on that point. However, if given my druthers, I want the quicker maturing dog, because I can get down to the real work of refining their desired traits and not have to wait and hope they mature into the dog that I want. I’m not saying that the slower maturing dog won’t become a great dog, I’m just pointing out that I’m going to get better work done at an earlier age with the one who picks up the work naturally and at a young age. So you may ask at this point, “Well how do you breed for desired traits? Do you go on what titles the possible parents have? Do you look at their breeding history and what their offspring have done?” These are good ways to look at it, but

This is my Malinois, Reba. Looks like a pretty high drive dog in this picture, doesn't she? You would think that she is the perfect protection dog for our home, but honestly the lab will probably deter more people that she ever will. She's high drive for a ball, tug, or Frisbee. Biting people, not so much. She looks like the perfect Malinois with great conformation and eagerness to work, but has exactly zero skepticism towards people. She is incredibly social, although a little dog aggressive. Now, she is perfect for me, because I love to play Frisbee, she travels well, and she's perfect in the house and with my new born (whom she really just ignores). If someone who wanted a protection dog or sport dog were to have bought her, they would be incredibly disappointed. She's not protecting your home from anything but the neighbors dog and rabbits. As far a sport dog goes, she's competed a little. She had perfect obedience, but her bite work is lacking. Again, she wasn't born with the perfect Malinois bite. We have tried a lot of training techniques to bring out a better bite, and she has improved, but hers will never be as nice as a dog who does it naturally, like the Dutch Shepherd who is trying to pull my Dad out of the tree in one of these pictures.

This is my Malinois, Reba. Looks like a pretty high drive dog in this picture, doesn’t she? You would think that she is the perfect protection dog for our home, but honestly the lab will probably deter more people that she ever will. She’s high drive for a ball, tug, or Frisbee. Biting people, not so much. She looks like the perfect Malinois with great conformation and eagerness to work, but has exactly zero skepticism towards people. She is incredibly social, although a little dog aggressive. Now, she is perfect for me, because I love to play Frisbee, she travels well, and she’s perfect in the house and with my new born (whom she really just ignores). If someone who wanted a protection dog or sport dog were to have bought her, they would be incredibly disappointed. She’s not protecting your home from anything but the neighbors dog and rabbits. As far a sport dog goes, she’s competed a little. She had perfect obedience, but her bite work is lacking. Again, she wasn’t born with the perfect Malinois bite. We have tried a lot of training techniques to bring out a better bite, and she has improved, but hers will never be as nice as a dog who does it naturally, like the Dutch Shepherd who is trying to pull my Dad out of the tree in one of these pictures.

honestly, any time you breed two of anything together, it’s a crap shoot as to what you’re going to get. You can take two of the most decorated field trial dogs out there and breed them together and get a littler of pups who would rather hang out under the shade tree than fetch. You could take two backyard dogs, breed them together and get national champions. It’s all up to where the good lord decided to give them their points, and we know that he only gives you so many points!

This is Ranger, my bosses Dutch Shepherd. This dog lives to play the game of biting the man in the suit. He came out of the womb like that and gets into it so much that he would rather get in trouble than let go. He is perfect for sport dog competitions and showing off to your buddies when they think they can out run a dog!

This is Ranger, my bosses Dutch Shepherd. This dog lives to play the game of biting the man in the suit. He came out of the womb like that and gets into it so much that he would rather get in trouble than let go. He is perfect for sport dog competitions and showing off to your buddies when they think they can out run a dog!

Honestly, if I were breeding dogs together to do field trial work, I would look at both dogs involved and look for traits that I desire. How sensitive are the dogs to the handler? I prefer a dog who is sensitive to me, so that I don’t have to raise my voice much or use much force while training. Do the possible parents look healthy and how are they around people? I don’t want a dog who looks like he will break down after an hour or work and I need a dog who is social around people. How are the potential parents with other dogs? Obviously, a dog with aggression towards other dogs would be hard to manage, unless that was a trait you were breeding for. Now, you’ll notice I didn’t say anything about whether or not the parents had any titles, or how well they hunted. These may be qualities that you look for, but as for me they aren’t that important. If I want a hunting dog, I’m looking at labs or pointers. If I want a personal protection dog, I’m looking at Malinois or Dutch Shepherds. If I want a lap dog or a small house dog, I’m looking at something else (honestly, I couldn’t even tell you what breed I would be looking at, because the thought of a small house dog has never crossed my mind!).

This is a great group of dogs, but they are all different. Notice the two Shelties in the front. They were both raised in the same house, under the same circumstances, but they couldn't be more different. The female on my right is so outgoing and loves everyone, the male on my left, only likes certain people. The male, will however do any sort of agility that you put in front of him and is a heck of a worker. He'll let a little kid drag him around the agility course for hours on end and never complain. The female likes to jump and go, but not with the same love that the male shows. Both are equally loved by their owner, because she understands their differences and accepts what some people would consider flaws.

This is a great group of dogs, but they are all different. Notice the two Shelties in the front. They were both raised in the same house, under the same circumstances, but they couldn’t be more different. The female on my right is so outgoing and loves everyone, the male on my left, only likes certain people. The male, will however do any sort of agility that you put in front of him and is a heck of a worker. He’ll let a little kid drag him around the agility course for hours on end and never complain. The female likes to jump and go, but not with the same love that the male shows. Both are equally loved by their owner, because she understands their differences and accepts what some people would consider flaws.

Within these breeds, I will look for lines bred to do the work that I want, so that automatically gets rid of many of the questions of what I’m looking for. I’m not looking at labs that come from American show lines to do field work. I would look at these lines if I wanted a dog to do therapy work or something more subdued. So I go out, ask my questions, and find what I think is the perfect breeding.

This is my boy Cain. He is one of my all time favorite dogs and I love him very much. I have a huge problem with him staying in my house in town. He is a lot of dog to handle and is very skeptical of people. It makes it difficult living in town without a lot of space for him to run on several times a day. He is a great personal protection dog and loves to go, you just have to be prepared to deal with his aggression. He's not a man fighter and most of his aggression comes from fear, so he would really rather go away from you, but is prepared to make you go away if you make him too uncomfortable. Now he is by parents who were both very successful sport dogs. Cain has competed a little bit, but structured events are not really his thing. I could train him to be a more competitive sport dog, but he would never be a really great one. I accepted this about him, and found him a place as a training video dog and personal protection dog when my husband is traveling for work.

This is my boy Cain. He is one of my all time favorite dogs and I love him very much. I have a huge problem with him staying in my house in town. He is a lot of dog to handle and is very skeptical of people. It makes it difficult living in town without a lot of space for him to run on several times a day. He is a great personal protection dog and loves to go, you just have to be prepared to deal with his aggression. He’s not a man fighter and most of his aggression comes from fear, so he would really rather go away from you, but is prepared to make you go away if you make him too uncomfortable. Now he is by parents who were both very successful sport dogs. Cain has competed a little bit, but structured events are not really his thing. I could train him to be a more competitive sport dog, but he would never be a really great one. I accepted this about him, and found him a place as a training video dog and personal protection dog when my husband is traveling for work.

The litter is born, and half the puppies run and chase feathers as soon as they can walk. The other half want nothing to do with it and would rather spend time sleeping or eating. So that eliminates them. Of the four that are left (I decided it was a litter of eight), two hide behind their mother any time a new person comes in the whelping room. That leaves me with two to choose from. Out of those two, I take the one who will pick up anything off the floor and play with it, and the one who appears to be more sensitive to his surroundings. This proves that even within a litter of puppies, all raised exactly the same way, you never know what you’re going to get.

I can tell you this is true from two puppies that I am working with right now. They are litter mates and were raised in exactly the same environment. The male puppy is a little more skeptical of new situations, while the female will gladly walk into any room and need no time for adjustment. On the flip side of that, the male puppy will pick up and retrieve

Here we have three dogs, all related. The father on the left, daughter in the center, and son on the right. You would think that they would be pretty similar, and while they are alike in appearance, you are looking at three totally different dogs. Deacon, on the left is becoming a great hunt test dog and is working on his CH this year and hopefully some AKC Field trials as well as other competitions. He hunts occasionally and travels with me all over the place. He has a few flaws, but is a great house dog and companion as well a field dog. Henry, on the right side, is almost the double of his Dad. Great field dog, a little skeptical, but all around a good dog to have around for the type of competing that I do. On the flip side, he's hard to have in the house. He doesn't "turn off" as easily has Deacon does. It's just who he is and I know that when he comes home with me, I'm going to have to exercise him within an inch of his life to be able to  get any sleep that night! Then comes Peanut in the center. Now you would think she would be pretty similar to her brother, but you couldn't be more wrong. She loves everyone in and situation. There is no skepticism in her at all. On the flip side, she's not as reliable of a retriever as her brother. She fetches and returns to hand with a perfectly soft mouth, but has moments of silliness and doesn't pick the bird up and chooses to hunt the field instead, as I described in the article. I've moved her into the environmental detection dog work instead, because she has a great work ethic and loves to go, she just doesn't always want to pick up ducks. Now, would you be surprised to know that these two puppies are out of a bitch who is even more lethargic than the yellow lab I reference in this article?

Here we have three dogs, all related. The father on the left, daughter in the center, and son on the right. You would think that they would be pretty similar, and while they are alike in appearance, you are looking at three totally different dogs. Deacon, on the left is becoming a great hunt test dog and is working on his CH this year and hopefully some AKC Field trials as well as other competitions. He hunts occasionally and travels with me all over the place. He has a few flaws, but is a great house dog and companion as well a field dog. Henry, on the right side, is almost the double of his Dad. Great field dog, a little skeptical, but all around a good dog to have around for the type of competing that I do. On the flip side, he’s hard to have in the house. He doesn’t “turn off” as easily has Deacon does. It’s just who he is and I know that when he comes home with me, I’m going to have to exercise him within an inch of his life to be able to get any sleep that night! Then comes Peanut in the center. Now you would think she would be pretty similar to her brother, but you couldn’t be more wrong. She loves everyone in and situation. There is no skepticism in her at all. On the flip side, she’s not as reliable of a retriever as her brother. She fetches and returns to hand with a perfectly soft mouth, but has moments of silliness and doesn’t pick the bird up and chooses to hunt the field instead, as I described in the article. I’ve moved her into the environmental detection dog work instead, because she has a great work ethic and loves to go, she just doesn’t always want to pick up ducks. Now, would you be surprised to know that these two puppies are out of a bitch who is even more lethargic than the yellow lab I reference in this article?

anything I set out for him, any time, no questions asked. He has never been force fetched or collar conditioned, but is more than happy to do any sort of retrieving work that I want to do that day. The female, not so much. She’ll run a perfect line to a mark, get to the duck, stop, sniff it, and continue to hunt like she never found the bird. Now, I know that she knows what she’s supposed to do, because she retrieved perfectly a dozen other times on different days, under exactly the same circumstances. You can come up with as many excuses as you want, as to why today is different, but none of them matter. The fact is, she chose not to do the work, for whatever reason. You can rethrow the bird, and more than likely she’ll retrieve it that time and bring it back perfectly. The fact remains, her brother is at 100% and she’s at 90%. Some champion dogs have come out of litters with mates who never desired to pick up a bird up in their life. You could ask me to force fetch the female puppy or collar condition her, so that she retrieves out of fear of getting in trouble, but why would I want to do that? She likes to hunt, she makes that apparent as she’s running around the field, looking for anything other than the bird she’s supposed to be bringing back! She needs a different job. Put her in the training program for detection dogs, she might like that work better. If not, maybe she’s suited as a rough gun dog, who spends most of her time living with a loving family, plays occasional fetch, and hunts for quail once a year. There are many techniques that you can use to increase a dogs drive for the work, and many of them work, but why add the extra steps into the training if you don’t have to. Pick the dog who naturally wants to do the work.

This is Miss Lula Belle, my Dad's Bloodhound. She came out of dogs who do tracking work for the Police Department. You would think that breeding would result in a litter of little tracking fanatics. Nope....all went to homes as pets. They would call her a washout, I call her my Dad's friend. She has her place hanging out and tracking the occasional rabbit, but my Dad's life wouldn't be the same without her. That's her job.

This is Miss Lula Belle, my Dad’s Bloodhound. She came out of dogs who do tracking work for the Police Department. You would think that breeding would result in a litter of little tracking fanatics. Nope….all went to homes as pets. They would call her a washout, I call her my Dad’s friend. She has her place hanging out and tracking the occasional rabbit, but my Dad’s life wouldn’t be the same without her. That’s her job.

The puppies in the litter who don’t want to pick up wings at a young age might be better suited as a pet or in a detection dog program. They aren’t washouts, just re-purposed. The fact remains though, if the dog didn’t get the genetics to do the work that you are looking for, you can cover up the flaws with training, but the cracks will show at some point.

This is Ruger, my Brother's German Shorthaired Pointer. Osco is not a hunter and has no desire to hunt his dog, he just like the breed personality, so Ruger has never done any sort of gun dog training in his life. He points like no other. It's amazing to watch him in the yard. One minuet he's running a muck chasing Lula Belle and then all of the sudden, he breaks into of the finest flash points you've ever seen. You can bet that there's a quail somewhere right in front of him. He'll hold his point steadier than dogs who have been in training for months. It just comes naturally to him. He's also a great house dog. A lot of the pointers are constant movers and make it almost impossible to keep them as a house pet. When Osco went to look at puppies, he had an idea of the qualities he was looking for and chose a dog that fit those parameters.  He got the dog that fit his lifestyle.

This is Ruger, my Brother’s German Shorthaired Pointer. Osco is not a hunter and has no desire to hunt his dog, he just like the breed personality, so Ruger has never done any sort of gun dog training in his life. He points like no other. It’s amazing to watch him in the yard. One minuet he’s running a muck chasing Lula Belle and then all of the sudden, he breaks into one of the finest flash points you’ve ever seen. You can bet that there’s a turtle somewhere right in front of him. (Yes, he points turtles of all kinds. Box, gopher, snapping! It doesn’t matter, he’ll point it!) He’ll hold his point steadier than dogs who have been in training for months. It just comes naturally to him. He’s also a great house dog. A lot of the pointers are constant movers and make it almost impossible to keep them as a house pet. When Osco went to look at puppies, he had an idea of the qualities he was looking for and chose a dog that fit those parameters. He got the dog that fit his lifestyle.

Obviously I’m not saying that we don’t need training for our dogs. That would defeat the purpose of many people’s jobs, and we would have a bunch of ill-mannered dogs running around. You still have to train your dog, like you train a kid. They need to know right from wrong and learn the consequences to the choices they make. That’s where your training comes in. You can’t train natural instinct. You can hone it, and bring out the best in the dog and help them to reach their true potential. However, if you need to force a dog to do something (my views on force fetching and collar conditioning are thoughts for another article), then they probably need to find a new occupation and you need to find a new dog to meet your needs. Like the man in the video says, the dogs basically train themselves to herd the sheep. Your dog either came out of the womb ready to retrieve ducks, or he didn’t. He’s not a bad dog because he’s not interested in the retriever work, he just needs to have a different job that serves his natural instincts. Just remember, genetics will beat out training every time.

There's a reason you don't see many Springers doing hunt tests and field trials. Most of them are born with the instinct to quarter within gun range and retrieve. This is not a desirable trait when you are wanting to do things that require him to be incredibly sensitive to the handler, like blind work. Their instincts tell them that they need to quarter the field to find the birds. Running in a straight line and waiting for you to help them find the bird never crossed their mind. In their brain, the whole reason you have them is to find the bird. They don't need your help to do their job. If you just let them do what comes naturally, they will get you the bird. I'm not saying it can't be done, but there's a reason why Springer people have their own trials. I love working with Springers, because there is nothing more beautiful than watching a well bred Springer quarter a field looking for a bird. Many of them also have fun and resilient personalities and they usually love to work. They are not my chosen breed when I am looking to do hunt tests, but I would hunt over a good one for Pheasant any day of the week.

There’s a reason you don’t see many Springers doing hunt tests and field trials. Most of them are born with the instinct to quarter within gun range and retrieve. This is not a desirable trait when you are wanting to do things that require him to be incredibly sensitive to the handler, like blind work. Their instincts tell them that they need to quarter the field to find the birds. Running in a straight line and waiting for you to help them find the bird never crossed their mind. In their brain, the whole reason you have them is to find the bird. They don’t need your help to do their job. If you just let them do what comes naturally, they will get you the bird. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but there’s a reason why Springer people have their own trials. I love working with Springers, because there is nothing more beautiful than watching a well bred Springer quarter a field looking for a bird. Many of them also have fun and resilient personalities and they usually love to work. They are not my chosen breed when I am looking to do hunt tests, but I would hunt over a good one for Pheasant any day of the week.

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