The British Field Lab
Fourteen years ago I encountered the British Field Lab. I was awestruck at how well-rounded this breed was (and is): willing to learn, wanting to please, and still exhibit great hunting desire and instincts.
I began researching breeders of British Field Labs and kept finding this ‘well-roundedness’ was appreciated and recognized by other breeders.
My wife, Beth, and I began to breed British Field Labs in 2003. I truly believe after training every type of dog for 30 years, British Field Labs are the best of both worlds: gamey in the field and peaceful in the family room.
I hope all is well with you and your family. Things have been very busy at my house. We just completed a season of pheasant and duck hunting. Tucker continues to perform well. In addition to being a gentle family companion, he is skilled in the field and in the water. It’s hard to believe but the training you provided over six years ago has allowed Tucker to develop into a fine hunting dog. While upland hunting Tucker quarters well and uses his nose to find and flush birds. I’m not sure if all dogs enjoy bird hunting as much as Tucker. It seems to give him so much energy when he is able to locate, flush and retrieve birds.
In the swamp and river Tucker remains steady in the blind and does a great job retrieving downed ducks and geese in all types of weather conditions. It’s funny how many people have complimented me on his hunting skills and obedience. To be honest, I’d love to take credit for this but most times I defer to your baseline training. As I have said to you before, it was amazing for me to see the transformation of my dog after a few months of your training and conditioning program.
The other big news is the development of our new puppy “Emerson”. From the day my wife and I picked her up from your house, we believed we had purchased a very special dog. Her personality reminds me of her mother, caring, quiet and loving. But when she sees the bumper in my hand, the switch is turned on and her passion for hunting and retrieving begins to flow. It’s somewhat amazing. At five months old she’ll retrieve and hunt for hours (I’m not kidding). I have never owned a lab with this much retrieving spirit and energy, yet when we get into the house she settles down and becomes the perfect house dog. I’m not sure how you were able to find the breeding combinations that work so well but I really think you hit the bulls-eye. I am anxious to bring Emerson back to you this summer for training. I think her skill level will exceed my other dog by a wide margin, particularly on difficult duck hunts in thick swamp and cover. My only concern is my wife, who has really bonded with the puppy and does not want to see her go. Get ready for some summer visitors, I think we may be up to see you often.
I’ll stay in touch as we get closer to the time to begin Emerson’s training. Please say hello to your wife and daughter and thanks for providing my family with such a wonderful dog.
Just a little note to tell you how much my family and I have been enjoying Juno! Not only has she become the ideal family dog but, has also become a very important part of my business.
As you know I have my own applied animal behavior practice. Juno is such a great judge of character I have been able to incorporate her into my evaluations of dogs that come to me for treatment. I have also been able to use her to calm very anxious dogs that come to stay with me for my boarded training program. She is the type of dog that has the ability to get along with and engage almost any dog in play! This has been very helpful.
Probably the thing I like most about Juno has been her intuitiveness. While I am a professional trainer I really haven’t needed to do much in terms of training. She has pretty much trained herself. She is very people oriented and really wants to please humans. I think this is a wonderful attribute.
She is excellent with our boys who are ages 3 and 6. She is very gentle and always willing to play. Whether we are playing basketball, catch or driving golf balls out into our field she is always willing to retrieve the ball! She definitely has a very strong drive to retrieve.
I have owned a few labs before Juno and trained countless more. I feel Juno is the nicest lab I have seen to date. Maybe because she is mine and I am a little biased. But, she is an all-around good dog. I searched for two years looking to find a breeder that not only produced nice dogs but, that had a similar mindset to me in what we expect them to be. I feel very fortunate that you and I crossed paths.
As you know I am an avid hunter. I can’t tell you how excited I am to get her out in the grouse woods this year and see what she’s got. I am sure she will take to it just like everything else….naturally.
SongDog LLC Training & Behavioral Services
Owner/Applied Animal Behaviorist
Well a little more than a year has passed since we left your home with our new addition to our family and I am happy to say, all of us couldn’t be more happy. Pearl has found her way into our hearts in every way possible. In addition to being a superb hunting retriever she is a great pet and loyal companion. A.J. (my son), at times like most teenagers puts her second on the list of things to pay attention to, but with a little reminding finds ample time to spend with pearl. Living on a wide open farm in northern Michigan has its benefits and raising a hunting dog is one.
Last spring and throughout the summer Pearl started her training with by limited knowledge and a Wolters book in my hand. Come early goose season I could barely stand the anticipation to get out and see she had learned. I won’t go in to all the details but as soon as the first bird hit the ground, Pearl’s instincts kicked in. The bird was a clean kill, but Pearl didn’t see it hit the ground, so I had to send her on about 80 yard blind retrieve. This was allot longer of a blind than I had been training with but like a eager pup she took of in the direction of the downed bird. What happened next was a proud and exhilarating moment as I have ever experienced. Pearl ran right to the bird and when she noticed it she jumped straight into the air with the surprise one would get if they step on a skunk. She then proceeded to try and figure out how to carry this 12# Canadian in her mouth. Now, one thing to remember, when we trained we used dummy rubber birds, wings from pheasants, pigeons and any other fowl I could find, but not once did I use a whole bird. So needless to say Pearl would not carry the bird by the neck, instead she rolls everything over and carries them by the feet, butcher shop style. Well that’s the next thing we can work on but I didn’t get to excited because after all she did return the large bird back to me and rightly assumed her place upon the retrieving thrown at the Morse home. After that first bird she figured out why we were out in this big field before sun up putting these paper geese into the ground, because every time we shot now, she never missed a bird and when it fell had it marked perfectly and only released when I sent her. The rest of the season brought many more big honkers and several ducks. Another proud moment I can recall is when A.J. and I dropped a mallard each at the same time in a pond and pearl retrieved both birds as a double. Oh boy….is it fall yet….I don’t think I can stand this waiting…..oh well, summer first and more advanced training.
I barely have a clue when I’m working with her but she has the basics down and she retrieves well and most of all she’s having fun and I make it fun and I think that the key. Anyway you cut it I don’t think I’m doing any harm. The only harm I might being doing her is she is the queen and gets treated like it. She sleeps most night in her kennel but once in while we let her sleep in our bedroom or next to A.J’s bed but she always goes to her crate when we leave the house. I have been feeding her a brand of dog food that Tim introduced me to called, Momentum. Sled dog mushers use it for their dogs because it’s made up of 27% crude protein and no corn filler, it also has allot of omega 3’s. It’s specially for high-energy or athletic dogs.
Well anyway, I hope you have enjoyed my letter and some of Pearl’s stories. I want you to know that your generosity was very appreciated and has changed the lives of many people for the better. My father, who is a goose hunting fanatic, absolutely loves Pearl. When were at work and school he’ll come over and take pearl out hunting or just go for a walk in woods with her.
Remember, you and your family have an open invitation to visit our home if you are ever in the Traverse City area. Again thanks and god bless.