BRACCO ITALIANO CLUB OF AMERICA
STUD DOGS



2008 Smartville, CA Bracco Bash

On September 21st & 22nd 2008, Mike Bollinger & Sue Watkins hosted a “bracco bash” located in Smartville, Ca.  

In attendance were:

Mike & Sue Bollinger with Gulia from www.mybraccos.com


Craig Ferrari with Isolina from www.mybraccos.com
Brian & Katie Driggs with Copper from www.mybraccos.com

 

John Bardo with Angie from www.bracco.pbwiki.com
Ralph & Barrie Minnitte with Paolo, Alena, Sadie & Romeo
from their kennel www.mybraccos.com
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Brian Bollinger with his lab puppy, Bruce Wayne

Keith & Valerie Kessler with Izzy from www.braccousa.com
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Harry Bunfil with his lab puppy Jilli
Brian & Katie Driggs with Gracie from www.mybraccos.com
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Everyone gathered at the hunting lodge Saturday morning for coffee and to get acquainted.
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We then walked down the hill and gathered around a grassy area with professional trainer Brad Higgins of www.gundogwhisperer.com.  There was a very informative question and answer period on how to introduce puppies to birds, gunfire and water, understanding the e-collar and how to find the right level for each dog, teaching dogs to handle (range, here command, stop/stand), how to get started on steady to wing & shot, retrieving and problem dogs and problem solving (I don’t think there are any problem braccos!).      bash11
The puppies were exposed to live pigeons for training.  The puppies were worked on check cords and showed no fear or shyness towards the guns or the birds!    It is still amazing to me to see how hard wired the braccos are for birds.  The puppy braccos, Gulia & Copper really showed off their natural instinct and working ability!!  Gulia has been working with trainer Brad Higgins for a very short time and did a fantastic job of holding steady and picking up and retrieving the birds.  Copper, had no exposure to birds prior to this
event and showed such enthusiasm and had an amazing drive and desire for the birds.                                                     
After a break for lunch up at the lodge we went back to the grassy area to do training work with the adult dogs.  We learned a lot about teaching your dog to “hold” the bird, how to “stand” and remain “steady on point”.  Brad also spent a good deal of time teaching “owners” how to properly handle the dogs in the field without unnecessary verbal commands or pressure. 


Copper - owned by Brian & Katie Driggs
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Gulia – owned by Mike & Sue Bollinger
   
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Gracie – owned by Brian & Katie Driggs
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Izzy – owned by Keith & Valerie Kessler

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Paolo – owned by Ralph & Barrie Minnitte

In the afternoon we walked to the lake where the adult dogs enjoyed retrieving bumpers from a launcher, swimming in the deep lake and doing water retrieves using live birds.   Seeing the big dogs having so much fun inspired the puppies and got them very excited about being in the water.  The puppies were eager to retrieve the bumpers and birds.  As you can see, bracco puppies, Copper & Gulia did not hesitate to get into the water after the birds and both of them retrieved the birds back to shore!


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Paolo, Gracie & Izzy swimming


Late Saturday afternoon, Mike, Keith, Brian B, Ralph, Brian D, John, & Craig enjoyed a round of sporting clays on a 10 station course surrounding the lake.  Saturday night was spent at the lodge where a wonderful prime rib dinner was prepared by Mike & Karen (caretakers). 
The ladies vs. gentlemen enjoyed a lively game of Catch Phrase……..and the girls won!!!!!  It was a night of great conversation, good wine, cold beer and a lot of fun!
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Sunday morning started with a delicious breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, fresh fruit, homemade biscuits, juice and coffee, again, prepared by Mike & Karen. 
The morning & afternoon was spent hunting chukar.  The chukars were housed in silent release cages as seen on Brad’s website www.gundogwhisperer.com.  The cages were hidden in the grass which allowed the dogs to hunt for the birds and allowed us to work on steadying the dogs etc.  The silent releaser makes NO noise when releasing the bird, thus the dogs are not startled and they can remain steady on point.   bash19 We learned how to approach a dog on point so not to compete with the dog or push the dog towards the bird.  The puppies were working on approaching so they would not bump the bird and how to remain steady after the shot.    The birds were shot and the dogs worked on retrieving. 
The best way to spend a weekend is out in the field with our dogs and meeting new friends!  It is very satisfying to watch your dog do what they were born and bred to do – hunt.  The reward of seeing your dog point and hold the bird after many training hours is priceless.  The flush is exciting but not nearly as exciting as watching your dog return with the bird.  And a tired dog from a day in the field is a happy day and an even happier dog! bash20
Thank you to Mike & Karen for preparing all the delicious food.   We were treated like royalty.  Thank you to Brad Higgins’s for all of your patience and answering all of our questions!  You showed much kindness towards our dogs……..and to all of us!  Most importantly, a very special thank you to Mike & Sue Bollinger for their gracious hospitality and for hosting this event! 
I hope this encourages bracco owners to reach out and meet & greet other bracco owners who live closest to you!   We all share a common interest in this very special breed and I have met some wonderful people and good friends thru our bracco.  I hope we can have many more of these gatherings in the near future!
Sincerely,
Valerie Kessler    

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Romeo, Paolo, Alena, Sadie & Isolina



 

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