Thursday, July 31, 2008

I've been thinking of all the new folks we have in the beagle world. I for one am very thank full for them. We sure can't have enough new blood in the sport. One of the byproducts of such rapid growth is just the proliferation of inexperience. It's no ones fault. People get involved and they are excited, eager for knowledge and information. The easiest place to get that is the internet. If you look around you will find plenty of folks telling all about how to do this or that. How a dog is supposed to do this or that. You've seen them. The problem is in many instances the person doing the telling don't know any more than those he is trying to tell. This is especially true if you look on the message boards. Sure you can find some nuggets of information but you have to really look.
What do I want to do about it? I want to help educate those who really want to learn. I plan to start holding weekend seminars right here at Five Forks Kennels. These will be at NO COST to the participants. All you'll need to do is find your way here.
I'd like to go over the things you want to talk about. It'll really be up to the folks attending. We can discuss what ever subjects you like, from kennel set-up, medicines, shotgun choices, and of course field performance of hounds. I'd even like to eventually get to the point where we can start training judges. Not the rules seminar type of training but actually following dogs. Maybe watch groups of dogs run, video the action and then come back inside and discuss what we saw and watch the video. I believe something like this will even be help full to many of our current judges as the trend has become to simply count picked checks and determine the winner by adding up which hound picked the most checks. The fact is, there's just more to determining quality than that. That's not to say judging dogs in this manner will not result in a judge getting pretty close to calling it right.
I'm also planning on a new section for the web site. I have one beagling's best studies of the AKC rule book working on a monthly column where he will discuss the particulars of some of the rules and concepts that give people the most trouble. We can also have him answer and discuss questions you send it.
So let me know what you think. I will start a list of those interested in the seminars and will get that in the works. Also, send in your rules questions and we can get the new section going as well.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

You can tell dog running season is just around the corner. I'm thinking more and more about getting out with the dogs. I've been terribly busy this summer working on our new home. We've had the good fortune to be able to buy a piece of land large enough to build a twenty acre running enclosure as well as build a new home large enough for our family and the ocassional beagle guests. I'm becoming quite the carpenter. LOL
I did come in last week early enough to get out to the kennels with my 19 month old daughter Anna. We spent the whole afternoon at the kennel together. We gave shots, wormed dogs, cut toe nails, pretty much all the thing you have to do every so often. Anna of course had to handle every pup in the kennel. She's just drawn to the dogs. I wonder if it's b/c Amy spent so much time at the kennel when she was carrying Anna. Any way, it was fun to watch Anna sitting outside the kennels feeding dogs one morsel at a time. I can tell it's only a matter of time before she will be letting dogs out of their cages. It was great just me and my daughter sharing time with the beagles. How rewarding it is to see her enjoying something that has brought me so much peace and stability in a world that can put so many obstacles in our way.

This reminds me of another great time I had with my oldest daughter, Ashlyn. It was when Ashlyn was only six years old and we were running Daisy in the trials. Daisy had two wins and was good and ready to have win number 3 in the trophy case. I got Ashlyn up at 4:30 AM for the drive down to Poplar Branch Beagle Club. Ashlyn was way to small to keep up in the field so she just rode on my shoulders most of the day. We ran dogs all day. Daisy was really hot at this time and had looked like a million bucks all day. We finally got to the winners pack and Daisy was sure doing her thing. (I was mostly as I knew Ashlyn would get to accept a trophy. You see Ashlyn had never been to a trial before and I wanted her to like it.) The Gallery around me was already congratulating me on her third win when the Marhsal called out "yellow collar" and Daisy was eliminated sixth. To say the least I was disappointed but I never let on with Ashlyn. We got back to the club house and Ashlyn asked, 'Daddy did we win,"
"No, I told her, "we didn't win today, we got sixth." I felt terrible. We drove back home and had a great time together. We explored dirt roads and looked for potential hunting ground, all along I was wondering what went wrong with that winners pack. I know the other dogs were deserving and in no way want to take away from their accomplishments.
Later the next week Ashlyn brought home a paper she had written at school. It was a story about going to the field trial with her daddy! It was all about the fun she had and how she got to see the dogs run and ride on my shoulders. At the end the story read " And we even won sixth place!"
I couldn't help but cry when I read it. It really helped me see what was important. If your not including your children or grandchildren in your beagle life, give it a try. The very next week daisy got her 3rd win and became a champion. Which trial do you think I remember best?