Here's a quick interlude to encourage folks who might not be checking out either of these sites on a regular basis. The picture is of Momo and a rather surprised bobwhite up in NH.
1) Kim Sampson, contributor to Upland Equations, has recently joined the team at the excellent field-trialing site, Strideaway, too. She has a great post on some of the great teachers and the lessons she's learned from talking with folks like Bill Gibbons and Maurice Lindley as she went through her own immersion process in the high speed world of field-trialing. Kim has a great writing style -- and this article is a great illustration of how, I think, we would all prefer to learn as trainers and handlers.
2) Dale Hernden at LoBank has another article from his 'Great Dogs and Good Men' series -- this time on Jack Stuart. Jack invented one of the first remote releasers and authored Bird Dogs and Upland Game Birds in 1983. But as Dale says, and as I think is obvious in all the genuinely great training books, "Jack may have thought his effort was a training book, but anyone who reads it will know it’s a window into Jacks heart." The book is now out-of-print, but I found a used copy on Abebooks.com which I'm looking forward to reading when it gets to me.
I wanted to alert folks to articles like this because, in so many ways, I am a bird-dog novice. I came into all of this backwards. I feel very lucky to have found a good breeder, a great breed club, and some great hunting companions -- all of whom I plunder for information and opinions. So much of our success with our dogs is a result of the relationships we establish which is why I encourage folks to shop around when it comes to breeders and trainers -- just because someone is an 'expert' of some kind (or a dog has an alphabet of titles) doesn't mean you should have to put up with someone with marginal social skills. I've met professionals who were allegedly great with dogs -- but couldn't hold a conversation worth a damn. This is not someone I want to be working with my dogs, if for no other reason than if there's a problem down the line, I want to have the option to call them.