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 . . .

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

But You've Got Dogs Out of Him

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Well, it sure it confusing. I got rid of dogs because I didn't like the way they ran. Look in my kennel though and there are all kinds of pups and young dogs out of them. So which is it? I keep getting this question, you hate the dogs but half your kennel is out of them? Yessir, that's right.

Some guys like blondes. Some guys like brunettes. Some guys like gingers. Some guys like skinny women. Some guys like women a little thick. It's not right or wrong. It's personal preference. It doesn't make a woman good or bad. It's just what a guy likes.

Just because I don't like the way a dog runs doesn't mean it's not a good dog. When I sold Logan Elm Black Butcher to Jamey Damron, I told him he would win hunts. This year, he won the Grand Champion class at the World Hunt. He is a good dog. He isn't my style. BUT, he is a good dog.

Logan Elm DK is the best jump dog I have ever seen at his age. He will absolutely win ARHA Little Pack hunts. He is also way rougher than I like. That doesn't make him a bad dog. It just means he is not my style. 

When making a cross, I try to look at all of the traits of both parents. I think about what I like about each and what I don't. I think about what the pups will look like and how they will act. I imagine them at a year old considering how they will hunt and how they will run.

I always try to breed for the future. I plan for years ahead. If a dog has good traits that I like, I will raise pups out of him/her. If they come from a family of reproducers, I definitely try to get pups from them. I consider good traits and bad. It's not black and white makes gray. There are so many shades that I just try to get as much good as I can and minimize the bad.

Is it easy? NO! Do I make mistakes? YES! YES! YES! Do I keep trying hoping to improve my kennel? Of course! Does it always work? NO! Am I addicted to the thought of raising better rabbit hounds?  Yyyyyyeeeessss!  :)

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.

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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.