It's cutting them loose and having the pack run the rabbit until it gives up and goes in a hole or gets caught. And although the dogs usually don't catch it, they run like they want to. Just me and my pack of hounds, in any condition, on any day, in the roughest places I can find . . .

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Last Night Proved It

Displaying IMG_0488.JPGI was thinking about this conversation with Delbert Erb last night. He said, "it appears you're a little bit frustrated right now with your kennel." I guess it probably seems that way, but the frustration is gone. It went down the road. Tonight's running was proof positive.

There's this place that I run. I haven't been able to have good chases there for the last year. I talked to the Old Man about it and I explained that the rabbits there just wouldn't stay up. It seems like races only last for a circle or so and then they end.

I run the spot about once a week because it's close to the house. It's not my best spot but it's a nice spot to run where you can have several rabbits and run for at least three or four hours. There seems like there are always plenty of rabbits. It is surrounded by crop fields so every year there's a new batch of rabbits that gets put into a weed and brushy field in the middle.

This night was different though. I was running four dogs. They were all young dogs with the oldest less than two years old. As any beagler knows when you run four young dogs you don't expect them to run great. Add that to the fact that this is the spot that usually the running doesn't last that long, where chases are short. Needless to say, I had pretty minimal expectations.

Imagine my surprise tonight when I had long chases with a few checks and long periods of steady running. The dogs ran good and accounted for their rabbits. They work together to have good races and ran as a pack.

The big-name brag little pack dogs may be gone, but the chases are better and last much longer. I am running a pack and they account for the rabbits. The move towards smoother better running dogs is paying off. And frustration?  Naaahhh, not a bit.

I ran Deal, Gibbs, Dal, and Stacy.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Tale of Two Dogs

Race after race was blown up and the culprits were my top two dogs. They were great ARHA Little Pack competition dogs. Both were capable of winning any hunt. BUT, together they couldn't circle a rabbit. Jump after jump ended in a lost rabbit. When they did run it was from check to check to check to loss.
Image result for lost rabbit signLast winter I finally had enough. I needed to do something because I couldn't stand to run my dogs. Plus, my trial dogs needed to get in the groove. The World Hunt was just months away. I decided the only solution was to focus only on them. So for six weeks, I spent all my time bracing my two "best" dogs. The only pressure they faced was from each other.

Both dogs were really good jump dogs, so every time I ran a chase started quickly with a jump. They would run as hard as they could physically run for 100 yards. Then there would be a long check. Somewhere between 30 and 100 yards from the check area, one would grab the check and fly. Within seconds, he would overrun and there would be another check. This went on for another check or two and then rabbit would be lost.

No problem though--within minutes another rabbit would be jumped and away they would go. Then there would be a check. One would grab the check and fire away, until the rabbit turned. Then there would be another check. And then after a check or two there would be another loss. And on and on and on and neither dog would ever honor his bracemate and run behind.

After an hour or two of this the two dogs would get sick of each other. They would not even hark in to the other dog. Each would run their own rabbit. When they did this, each would run and run and run, hardly ever having checks. Eventually they would get back together which led to another lost rabbit. Then they would find their own rabbit and run again.

After a while, I got so fed up with lost rabbits and short chases that I sold one of the dogs. I thought if the one I liked the best could be the alpha male he would do better. Unfortunately this didn't work out like I planned. No matter what I ran him with, as soon as a dog put pressure on him, he would just run to stay on the front. After a while I sold him too. Both are good Little Pack competition dogs. Neither are worth a nickel if you put pressure on them.

My intention in writing this isn't to slam these dogs or ARHA Little Pack. However, in my mind LP really isn't looking for the best pack dog. It really isn't trying to find the best gundog. Too many people think fast or front means better. To me, the chases I am having now without long checks and lost rabbits are so much better. I still plan to compete in LP and think my dogs will be competitive. Regardless though, I don't miss my two "best" dogs.

Image from http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-search/Lost-Rabbit_Madison_MS

Monday, June 19, 2017

No I'm Not Quitting

Every time I talk to someone lately, I hear the same thing, "So you're quitting Little Pack?" The answer is NO, NO, and NO! I'm still running dogs and I am still going to run in ARHA Little Pack Hunts. In fact, our club, OHBC has hunt on July 22 & 23 and I will be there. I have run Little Pack for over 20 years and have no plans to quit. I'm just sorting my dogs a little different.

Displaying IMG_0487.JPG

This guy I ride horses with has to always be first on the trail. If he doesn't ride on the front, his horses go crazy. They get all upset and nervous, act up, and won't gait right. Now you might wonder what this has to do with dogs, but for me, it sent a real message the other day. As I was watching one on the trail last week, I started thinking about some of the dogs I got rid of lately that blow up every race just to be on front.

Back when I first started running Little Pack, I really liked my dogs. I was running dogs like Boadie, Nada, Hobo and others just like them. They could flat run a rabbit. Lately, the dogs I had been running are more concerned with outrunning their packmates rather than run a rabbit. I just got sick of rough, slashing dogs blowing up races. 

Basically, what it means is I have to do a better job of sorting through pups and choosing the right crosses. I think we all know how it is, sometimes I have to trip and fall on my face before I realize I need to watch my step. Luckily, I am well on my way to recovery and the lesson hasn't been too painful. In fact, in a way it is just the opposite.

Anyone who aspires to be a houndsman must have a vision. Winning trials isn't a vision. There have been thousands of junky dogs that have won hunts (For example, every brace dog bred in the last 40 years.)  I just need to breed, raise, and train dogs that fit into my idea of the ideal rabbit hound. I want dogs that hunt hard, don't quit, and run a rabbit with brains and determination. AND, no junk that has to run the front or die.

See you at the hunts!

Today I ran Deal, Stacy, Dal, and Gibbs. It was 76° and sunny.

To see more posts, just click on www.loganelmbeagles.com.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Drive Them to the Outside

I used to have the dogs that made dogs cheat to compete. It wasn't on purpose. They just ran a lot of rabbit and ran hard. Most of these dogs were successful in competition, but more than that, they were rabbit dogs. They ran the rabbit first and foremost. Although they wanted the front, they would get in behind other dogs when they should.

As I brought outcrosses into the kennel, a lot from stud fee pups, the stars changed. The dogs that were most successful in ARHA Little Pack were the roughest, swingingest, wouldn't run second no matter what, kind of dogs. With each one of these powerhouses I started to see a pattern in the kennel. The chases just weren't as good.

There were times when the chases would be amazing. These dogs could drive a rabbit. They would scream through the clearcuts, up hill and down. Until they didn't. Then there would be checks. Often there would be long checks, one after another. After a bit, the dogs would lose the rabbit. 

Eventually I would get sick of this and start to cull some dogs. Some were sold for lots of dollars, others just went down the road. These dogs were competitive in Little Pack, winning hunts, big and small. As each dog left, the chases got better for a while. An then another slasher would start to disrupt.

This winter it finally reached the breaking point. A couple of the most dominate dogs were so competitive that they couldn't even circle a rabbit. Chases rarely last more than 5 -10 minutes. Dogs that could run circle after circle by themselves couldn't run a rabbit with any pressure at all. 

So these dogs are gone and with that came the commitment to dogs that can stand pressure from bloodlines that can stand pressure. If you can't take the heat, you can't stay here. No excuses.

What Happened to All the Blog Posts?

Image result for guy on computerI haven't written many blog post lately. I have had a few people ask why and even tell me they miss reading them. I really appreciate that someone would take the time to read this beagle blog and find it worthwhile. So why so few blog posts?

The easy answer is I got out of the mood. The more difficult answer is that it just isn't as much fun when you don't like your dogs much. 

When Jeff Allen and I went to our second winter trip to Wisconsin for the Hunted Hare Weekend, Jim Matuszewski commented on this black dog I was running. He said, half the time he's really good, almost great, but the other half he's a pile of .....     And the bad thing was, he was right.  This dog from Ohio came up to the swamps of Wisconsin and was blowing up races and dragging a pack of hare hounds all over the place.

Here these guys were, kind enough to invite us up to stay with them and run, and I brought this dog that made it impossible to have a good chase. Then, to top it off, I was too stubborn to put him in the truck. How different from the trip we made just two years before when Chip and Gypsy ran like they had run hare their whole life in two feet of snow.

This is just one story from many in the last few years. It is a perfect example though of when things go wrong in a kennel. When crosses don't work and pups don't fit into the type of hound a kennel is built on, it is easy to snowball into an avalanche of mediocrity.

Are more blog posts on the way? We'll see how the summer goes.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Different Kind of Jump Dog

There are a lot of beagles that people call jump dogs. They hunt pretty hard, hit the cover, and come up with more than their share of rabbits. I've been lucky to have more than my share. Dogs like Neal, Boadie, Nada, Hobo, and Gypsy come to mind. But what I am talking about is different than this. I've never owned a dog that can jump rabbits like Logan Elm DK.

I'm talking about the kind of jump dog that finds joy in the jump. One that actually looks for rabbits. Most beagles look for scent. They want to run a track. That is what they are bred to do. A true jump dog though isn't like that. He hits the brush, living to invade a rabbit's home in the briars and chase him out. He doesn't bark before the jump. His bark is the joyful sound he makes when he flushes the rabbit from his "safe" place.

This kind of jump dog is seldom seen. The dogs I have seen like this make forever impression. Jim and Cody Hughes had a yellow dog named Bernard and he was this kind of dog. Bernard's son, a dog named Duke that the Old Man got from the Hughes was like that. Tony Upton's Grizz had jumps in every cast he was in. My brother Gregg's Bailey can jump a rabbit in any woods. John Queen got at least one jump in very cast when he ran his old Turbo dog. But this kind of beagle just isn't often found.

In a lifetime of beagling I have only seen a few dogs like this. They are wired different. Some people call them meat dogs or say they hunt like a cur or feist. When you have one though, every time you run it's a celebration. As soon as you hear him bark, you know without a doubt the race is on. No tracking it up. No striking a track. We are talking about jumping a rabbit out of his bed. Sight chase and getting with it. I'm talking about a different kind of dog and man is it fun. 

DK makes running so easy. A chase ends and the dogs come in from the hole. I think, well now we have to jump another rabbit. But before I can even start to get the ugly face, usually within a few minutes, another jump and away we go. I feel fortunate to have a dog that makes running so easy and enjoyable. Want to guess what I am breeding to?

Saturday, January 14, 2017

You Gotta Love the Weatherman

Ok, so the forecast for this morning scared me from even thinking about running dogs. There was so much freezing rain on its way that I wouldn't even think about getting out and driving. I was even afraid to walk out in front of the house because it was going to be so treacherous. Imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning.  I looked out and saw a bit of rain, but nothing at all that seemed the least bit scary.

So, I loaded the dogs and headed out to run. Even as I headed down the road to run, I was still a little worried about the day. I had been hearing about ice for the last couple of days and feared getting caught or sliding off the road. Boy was I surprised.
You know those perfect conditions? Temperature about 37° with a light rain, moisture hanging in the air, and no wind? That was today. It was as perfect as a day for running beagles can possibly be. The scent was hanging in the air and the dogs were jumping at the chance to run.

For the last three days, the forecast had me upset and disappointed thinking about today. What a great gift to get the chance to run on a day when the weather was PERFECT! And the dogs made the most of it. They hunted hard, jumped rabbits, and sounded great. Thank goodness the weatherman was wrong and thank goodness for a great day.

I ran DK (5 jumps), Fender (2 jumps), Dancer, Digger, and Dailey,

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Talk with DK

Me:  Welcome to the big leagues.

DK:  What?

Me:  You are Dennis's replacement.

DK:  Seriously?

Me:  Yep. Dennis is in Kentucky with a guy named Ryan.

DK:  So?

Me:  So all the pressure is on you.

DK:  I'm prettier. I'm louder. I'm faster. I jump more rabbits. And you know you like me better.

Me:  You know I really liked Dennis.

DK:  My litter is the best ever. There's Shine and Birdie and that UKC champion and Steve Ety's buddy has a great jump dog and that guy from Alabama or somewhere down south called you. That's why you let me have pups with Martha.

Me:  Yeah yeah.  Well, you have a lot to live up to.

DK:  Seriously? Just shut up and give me a couple of scoops of dog food. We got this.

Me:  You aren't worried about Dennis being gone?

DK:  The door is open. I'm busting through. Step back and enjoy the ride. I heard you tell the Old Man I was the best young jump dog you've ever owned.

Me:  You still have a lot to prove.

DK:  Shut up already. We've got this. You would never have sold Dennis if you were worried. I know you. You have a plan.

Me:  Why is it that every time I talk to a dog it makes me crazy?  Here, have some Pride and don't let this go to your head.

DK:  Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Mike Made my Day

I saw one of my favorite beaglers Saturday and he made my day. I was at Chillicothe's ARHA Little Pack hunt and saw Mike Myers. He and his son, Daron have a female out of Logan Elm Neal. They raised a litter of pups out of her last summer.  

It sounds like the pups have crazy hunt. Mike told stories about the pup just taking off totally on their own. One time the pups got out of their pen and headed across the field and down the road. A neighbor called and they got them back. Rather than hang around the yard, every pup just had mad hunt and went looking for something. Whenever the pups are loose, they hit the weeds and don't look back.

Logan Elm Neal is one of my all time favorite dogs. The thing I loved the most out of him was his crazy desire and endless hunt. When I heard these stories about his grandsons and granddaughters and they have this inner desire to search for game, it makes me smile. 

I don't know how Mike's pups will turn out, but they have the most important trait. With this inner desire to go hunt, all things are possible. Mike made my day today telling me that my all time favorite dog passed on the trait that made him my best dog ever.

Will He Reproduce?

I get asked a lot, will he be a reproducer? Do you have any pups? How do his pups look? This weekend that question was answered.

I took two of Logan Elm Dennis's pups to their first hunts at Chillicothe. On Saturday, Logan Elm Defender placed 4th. On Sunday Logan Elm Dancer placed 2nd. These pups are 17 months old at their first hunt, running in the snow with single digit temperatures.

On top of that, Dennis won the champion class Saturday and Logan Elm DK won on Sunday. I think it's safe to say that Dennis is going to be like his parents, Reproducer HOF GR R CH Logan Elm Neal and HOF GR R CH Big Meadows Breezy.

Thanks to Dennis Kennedy for making the cross that produced Dennis and helped continue the tradition of reproducing rabbit hounds at Logan Elm Beagles.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Terrorist Pack

I ran a terrorist pack yesterday for the first hour. I had a bunch of fanatics that just wanted to blow stuff up. And they sure blew it up. Even when Cole and Meg kept trying to straighten things out they made it hard for them. They sure believed in what they were doing though. No one could deny their passion.

Luckily for me (and for them) as the day progressed they decided to try a little harder to run the rabbit at a slightly more reasonable speed. They actually decided to try running by turning somewhere close to where the rabbit turned. 

On the last chase of the day they sounded like they were running a fox. I didn't think the older dogs would trash, but I was starting to wonder. When the rabbit finally crossed in front of me, I breathed a little sigh of relief and then my chest really puffed out. 

Scenting conditions were good with a bit of rain as I ran. I am sure this helped the young dogs get a nose full and tune in. It also helped Cole and Meg keep stuff together. When you head out with three pups under a year old and another dog under two that haven't been run in a few days, you can expect a few issues. I'm just glad my dogs got it together in the end and actually ran like they should.

I ran Cole, Meg, Dancer, DK, Defender, and Dina.

Monday, April 25, 2016

A Difference of Opinion

At the end of the cast, two dogs are tied. It's up to the judge to pick the winner based on hunting and handling. Anyone that has ever run in ARHA Little Pack has been involved in this situation. There is no explanation in the rule book to help the judge. This is entirely his opinion. Some of the time the decision is obvious. Most of the time you could easily find reason to pick either dog.

I was recently involved in a situation like this. It was in a cast that had a lot of barking with two dogs minusing out and being removed from the cast. A third dog (blue collar) was just about to get a minus when my dog and another dog jumped a rabbit and they finally had a chase. Going into this final chase the score was Yellow = 50, Red = 25, Blue = 0.

The chase started off really hard with the dogs pounding. My dog (red collar) had the first three checks. The dogs had a long breakdown but we had a marked line. There was a lot of barking around with dogs starting to get the check, then turning around and coming back. There was no clear forward progress for a few minutes but a lot of barking.  Finally, the yellow collar dog made some progress and was awarded a check. The chase ended at a loss as time expired so we caught the dogs and headed for the trucks.

When the judge read off the score, he had two dogs (yellow and red collar) tied with 75 points/three checks each. Here are the different perspectives from the cast.

The judge picked the yellow collar dog. He said both dogs hunted the same but towards the end, the red collar stood around for a little bit on the checks. He picked the yellow collar dog as the winner based on that.

The handler for the yellow collar dog was upset because he felt he should have been awarded two more checks. He felt like his dog should have been scored checks each time it made any progress. According to the rule book, this is technically right, the question is what is forward progress.

The handler of the blue collar dog was upset because he felt his dog should have been awarded at least two checks on the last race. He definitely barked the most, and his owner felt he should have been scored for what he did.

As the handler of the red collar I was fairly confident that I had won. As a judge, I would have minused the blue collar at least once for pulling dogs out of the check area and probably the yellow collar as well. I will admit though, I am biased. I hate mouthy dogs so I am especially critical when dogs are barking and not making forward progress. I did appreciate the fact that the judge took his time scoring and made dogs earn their checks. I saw my dog stop in a path once on a check and just look at the other two dogs when they were barking. I know he was wondering what in the heck all that barking was about.

I think this cast shows what makes beagle field trials so difficult for participants. 

The judge is a good judge, was fair to everyone in the cast, and made a decision based on what he felt was right. 

The handler for the blue collar is very inexperienced with dogs and field trials. He knew when he heard his dog and he wanted scored. 

The handler for the yellow collar has a nice dog and I really think all the barking in the cast had her a little scattered. He knows from running her that usually when she opens up, she has the rabbit. Ironically, he scores less checks than any judge I have ever run under, but expected his dog to get scored in this chase.

In no way do I mean this to be critical. I hope it shows the challenges that judges and handlers face in so many casts. We all have different opinions. We all have different likes and dislikes. We all view situations based on our own preferences. Field trialing is tough.

I still think I should have won though.  :)