Tag Archives: Gun Dog

Boykin Fun Day

Last weekend we had the awesome opportunity to truck it down to Gainesville, Florida to visit my brother-in-law and his wonderful girlfriend as well as combine the trip with a Boykin Fun Day being sponsored at the wonderful Watermelon Pond Plantation in Archer, Florida—about 20 minutes west of Gainesville.

While Boykins are South Carolina’s state dog, they’re growing in popularity out of state with their ability to hunt both waterfowl (Samson’s job) and upland. So it was pleasantly odd to be outnumbered by Floridian Boykin owners! Kate Boulos, owner of Watermelon Pond Planatation and lifelong English Setter breeder/trainer, offered such a wonderful day and use of her land. Over 400 acres set aside just for hunting—it was the most beautiful quail hunting land I’ve seen. Being the granddaughter of a pointer/setter trainer and avid upland bird hunter, it was a wonderful place to draw on memories and scenes of my granddad growing up.

Samson hit so many milestones this day! We started the day’s events on his check cord because my little guy will NOT leave a body of water once he has entered. As witnessed when he ran straight for the pond and delayed the clay shoot/bumber retrieve event until we finally had to set out in a row boat to retreive my dog! However, the beauty of the day was it was for fun. So once we completed the clay shoot/bumber retrieve times, you could spend the rest of the day at that pond if desired—or continue on to time the other events. We opted to spend some decent time at the pond.

If I can backtrack a minute, Samson’s recent stubborness in training, mostly from  boredom because the breed is so smart, led me to regroup with clicker training and goldfish. However, we’d only just charged him on a clicker the day before we left. So intermittently we’d been using it as it made sense but we were also traveling and out of his routine so not too worried if he wasn’t responding.

Back to our pond training. He fell in love on his check cord with his water retreives. He’d get a slight tug at point of retrieval to prompt his turn back on the whistle blow and by 4 retreives in, no more tugs were needed. He’d spin around and start coming back, holding his bumper all the way in. Remembering I had extra goldfish in my pocket just incase, the next two retreives in—still on cord—I’d lure in his return and hold with a goldfish. Much interest gained. The next mark and retreive thereafter was succesfully completed with no check cord. Completely responded on whistle (and some goldfish).

And he stayed so hungry for more. All the light bulbs went off for my little Samson in Florida on Saturday. He finally understood what all those yard drills were about and how much fun the end product can be. I can’t wait to see his excitement when he’s pulling ducks in instead of bumpers.

With us both working dogs, very few pictures if any were taken Saturday by us—but we should be getting some soon from a photographer that was on hand that day to capture some great moments. I’ll post anymore if I get these. But here is Samson flat worn out after his big retreives.

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A Boykin’s Journey (and mine)

While we finish our kitchen cabinet project—final pictures coming very soon—we also recognized our big-hearted, little brown Boykin, Samson passed a new milestone this week seeing his 6 month birthday.

I know 6 months sounds silly but as a new Boykin owner, I’ve been just amazed at his personality and progress. Only being able to compare to Labs before this—and my Beaufort was even such a laid back Lab—but Samson’s ability to listen and roll with the punches at his early age impresses me. Maybe that’s just a common Boykin trait, and if so, I’m a fan.

I started his training Richard Wolters style at 7 weeks and he took to his obedience commands and whistle training like a champ. But as time came to start working on basic retrieve concepts, it coincided with his awful teething. I never noticed teething as much with my Lab—partly because I was younger, maybe even because they’re larger dogs, also I didn’t work my Lab like I am Samson. But his teeth were bad and really put a hold on his overall training. I opted to not push the issue and give a break on his training rather than risk bad training experiences for him—especially at the retrieving portion.

As we rounded out the duck season and have now begun a solid month of serious house renovations, this all kinda timed itself well. We have an official countdown for Samson—27 more days—and training will get ramped up for him. After a good week or so of confidence building and reminding him what he knows, I’m going to set him up a fetch table to work on his holds. He loves to retrieve and he’s birdy as all get out but needs to learn in the bigger picture, it’s not a game of keep away. He’ll only be retrieving what I grant him and must return it to me. So hopefully with some focused but simple work in this department, we can make that connection before going back to retrieving work.

Any other Boykin owners experience a similar reaction at this point?

Here are some pictures of him growing up since coming home last September.

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Samson!

Our next big piece of news, that’s we’ve been patiently awaiting, is the arrival of our newest family member Samson!

Samson comes from Dovewood Kennel—a wonderful Boykin breeder and gun dog trainer who has been exclusively working with the breed for over 20 years. I’ve never bred dogs, nor do I plan too, but while growing up as a child and watching my grandfather, his brothers, and close friends work and train Pointers, I’ve certainly come to appreciate and respect the hard—and proper work—that goes into well-bred, healthy, hunting dogs.

So we welcome Samson home at 6 weeks with a fantastic personality full of curiosity, independence, and drive as he prepares to start school next week. I hope to bring you some updates on how he progresses with his training and retrieving! And for all of you that know our Moultrie—he has become an excellent big brother over night!