Very early on, I realized how easy training these dogs was. The have the temperament to deal with anything and hunting drive that I've never seen on any other breed. Against good advice from those with a lot more handling experience than I, all three of our DD's have been hunting around the "orange army" of the east from a very young age. Each of them acts as if there isn't another hunter or dog in the field with them and gave every appearance of being dogs with several seasons of experience. They've successfully hunted pheasant and quail, grouse and woodcock, ducks and geese, rabbits and have been on many rewarding blood trails of deer, bear and turkeys. One thing is for sure...if a bird hits the ground or water...they're going to come back with it!
Greta and her pup, Allie, will each circle a cottontail scent loud for several hundred
yards. This was very amusing to me since I'd grown up to believe it wasn't possible
for a good bird dog to successfully deal with both birds and fur. On one of Greta's
early rabbit excursions in the snow, she caught and delivered my limit of four
cottontails in thirty minutes of work without a shot being fired.
It's quite a show to watch a dog that has never been exposed to geese learn in
one attempt that she can't catch a crippled goose that can still fly for several
hundred yards. One wasted chase and they learned to crouch and wait for the bird
to hit the ground then close in and catch it before it gets enough strength to get off
the ground again. Or, the dog's first kayak jump shooting trip where they
immediately figure out they need to keep their head low for us to get any shooting!
Two of our dogs are State Certified as blood trackers and both have done many
successful tracks, some of which were twenty-four hours old. Greta was taken on
my daughter's first bear hunt in 2012. While in camp, we were asked to help track
a hunter's bear that had been shot the previous night. It had rained all night and it
was feared the bear would be lost to the swamps of Maine. She made short work of the blood track and we had the recovery in several minutes time.
One of the most amazing things I've learned in handling these dogs is their ability to understand their task simply by recognizing the type of collar/equipment being utilized or a single word command. When a small cow bell comes out of the bag, they instantly know they're going on an independent forest search. When the padded collar comes out it's blood tracking time. Show them a slip lead and they know a live or dead track is involved. Simple words such as "seek", "fetch" or "search" have been permanently etched in their brain.
I've become very active in the Atlantic Chapter of the VDD-GNA and can typically be
found at all the training days trying to lend a hand. I've gotten a tremendous amount
of enjoyment in watching everyone train their dogs with a common purpose and it
also provided me with much more handling and training experience than I would
ever get training dogs on my own. Since becoming involved with the Deutsch
Drahthaar, I've also met many individuals that have become very good friends and
hunting partners sharing a common bond.
The end result of my experiences with the Deutsch Drahthaar is that there is no
game out there which can't be successfully hunted with the DD. They truly are "The
World's Most Versatile Hunting Dog!"