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Versatile Hunting Dog – The Griffon

Idaho Outback Griffons
Outback’s Towser Augustus

While my brother was hunting along an icy river, a duck popped up, and they smartly shot him. The duck, in a hail mary, headed for the river, sailing past the edge, dropped into the water, and then the current pulled him under the lip of the ice. Towser saw the whole thing too and before the incident unfolded, he leapt into the icy river. It all happened so quickly, and no amount of whistles and calls turned him around because he had marked the downed duck. He was thinking, “Give me a minute, this’ll be quick.”

Not gonna lie, everyone was holding their breath as Towser disappeared where the duck had just been. Up he pops again and then again. My brother, a very calm and non-frantic sort of being, was not so calm now, whistling and cajoling across the cold morning air. Towser pops up with the duck safely in his mouth, smiling the whole way.

Towser held his own against any Chesapeake’s water skills. They are what you want them to be.

Do they Hunt?

Yes, they do! Our first female, Outback’s Briar Rose, was getting long in the tooth, but full well knew when the boys were going hunting. However, she was getting arthritic and slowing down, so she would mournfully howl if left at home. So my husband thought he would take her along but just kennel her at the truck while they took the other dogs out for their hunting jaunts.

They were hunting Chukar in Hell’s Canyon and had reached a peak when they saw Rose working her way up the mountain behind them. She had not only managed to bust out of a clearly now compromised Vari-Kennel but was steadily moving up the mountain after her boys. Everyone went down to meet her. When they reached her, she was clearly exhausted. The boys gave her water and wetted her coat. And then they just sat while she slowly recovered. It was a beautiful day. The landscape, God’s Art, no rush here. What a glorious day, what a glorious dog.

Prey drive is an integral component of a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon’s makeup. I am asked, must the Griffon hunt to be happy? Of course not. This is not a popular answer in some of my dog circles, but hear me out. I am clear with all new Griffon owners to explain PREY DRIVE.

The term “prey drive” refers to a dog’s eagerness or desire, related to chasing and capturing prey. They were bred to hunt things down. That does not disappear, but it can be managed quite well. If you have no stomach for your dog catching and killing a squirrel, this is definitely not the dog for you… get yourself a nice Yorkshire Terrier.

We have plenty of dogs that live an active lifestyle, with tons of extracurricular activities that manage to engage the spirit of their Griffon. Hiking, boating, traveling, you name it. Puppies can be taught at an early age to leave some animals alone. Chickens… that is hard … for any bird dog. But start young and YouTube some methods. I have to say we have done it, but it is a battle of wills, and mine always wins.

Cats, small dogs, old dogs, and kids are kings in my house. It is made clear from day 1, yes your 7-week-old puppy, that they are below the pecking order. Think LION KING, and you are Mufasa, no one touches your kid, and that includes 7-week-old Griffon Puppies. Keep in mind that it is tempting to let your newest little 10# member of the household grab the old cocker’s ears or chew the cat’s tail.

That puppy will soon be 55#, and old habits die hard. SO my rule is NO PLAYING WITH THEM AT ALL. Now how does this play out? If the cat wants to approach said puppy and engage, great. The puppy must lay there sweet like and ever so gently raise a foot. That is OK.

How about your Toddler? First off, Heaven help you with 2 babies under 3. The child should not pinch, grab, and drag your puppy around, so teach him or her better, but they are little, so it may happen. Your puppy is swiftly reprimanded when they jump, nibble, or bite said child. I am not nice at all. I get big and angry… unreasonably so.

Seriously, I lose my mind, and that is just the impression I want to leave in that busy little mind. He should be thinking “just look away” or “think I will go somewhere else”. The key with all training is timing and consistency. So don’t leave your child alone with your puppy until you have ground rules in place. No chewing on the kids, and no chewing or biting on any human for that matter. That is the rule.

This isn’t Prey drive, but chasing anything can feed that inborn prey drive.

Skunk 3 Griffon 1:

OK, truthfully, the skunk didn’t look like he had had that great of a day. I heard a commotion and poked my head out into the dusk evening, with an acrid twang already wafting towards the house. Twister, our sweetest Griffon ever, shakes and drops the trespasser. Meanwhile, I had whistled. The 3 Griffons in unison swivel away from the quiet lump and, in a joyous group, race towards me. This is Griffon Land after all; they want to share their merry experience with me.

Here is what I am thinking: “Does skunk perfume wear out in 3 weeks?” I swiftly head back into the house and shut all the windows and doors. Twister, heavy with pups, just 3 weeks short of the due date. Just another day in Griff paradise.

Chrome and Elliott were on a hunting excursion, once again hunting those nasty ol’ Chukar in Hell’s Canyon. A bird busted, took the shot, locked its wings, and headed for the Snake River far below. Chrome left in an all-out run, headed straight down the mountain. It took him only 45 minutes to meet back up with Elliott, bird in mouth. What a great dog, what a grand moment. NAVDA, yes, a wonderful group. It improves your skills, gives you a chance to meet like-minded folks, and can be super fun, time-consuming, and a hunter’s outlet. Loads of my bloodlines come from hunt-tested proven dogs. Our pups are earning prizes as well. We decided a long while ago to devote our hunting time to hunting, not trialing. I always tell people we only raise hunting dogs here.

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