Vom Speicher Lane; A Site For Pudelpointers
Pudelpointer, pudelpointer Big Boy Atze
Big Boy Atze, the Original - November 27, 2007 - February 20, 2012

Atze was know as our "big boy," big in boy and even bigger in personality.
He was one of those "Special Dogs." Well, Atze passed his Btr. VJP and HZP in that order. There were some trials and tribulations along the way, more it seemed than is usual with dogs. The Btr. went well, Atze was the Suchensieger! He had the fastest time, though it was much slower than he was doing it during training. We think it had something to do with the hare that ran in front of him and broke his concentration. But he finished in 5 minutes.Then he ran his VJP with a shattered toe and under some pretty heavy medication from the Vet.
Yes, if anything is going to happen, it is going to happen to Atze. It turned out his toe had been broken since he was 10 weeks old but would heal and re-break. Conditioning training for the VJP succeeded in totally shattering the toe. It was amputated the Monday after his VJP.
And now a word about one of our favourite people in Germany, Dr. Hartmann, our Vet. She is an amazing resource for us about hunting dogs and dog health in general. She and her Veterinary Staff did an incredible job on the toe. You can’t even see which foot it was and they took the time to remove the toe totally, all the way back and to create a web for swimming. Dr. Hartmann has the most spectacular art collection and a heart as big as Atze’s, which is saying a ton.
And speaking of Atze and his tendency to end up in the Vet’s office, at the VJP there was also some discussion about the scars around his eyes. Fortunately, we had the certificate from the Vet who did the surgery explaining that the surgery was to repair extreme damage done to Atze’s eyes from his encounter with a fisher (a large member of the weasel family). We also had photos of the fisher. Atze came within 2 mm of losing his left eye. You can still see the scars under it. I guess it’s a sort of badge of honour, but one we could have done without.
So then it was time to prepare for the HZP. We missed testing in Germany because we didn’t have enough training time. How can that be when there were 6 months between the two tests? There was 8 weeks recovery time after the amputation. That’s 2 months of prime training gone. Then Atze suffered through various and assorted mishaps which severely limited his training time. There was the episode where Atze, retrieving fool that he was, he tried to retrieve a porcupine. Then there was an episode where Atze suffered a severe puncture to the chest that kept him out of the water for over two weeks. And there was a incident with a barbed-wire fence that kept him housebound for a stretch as well. So we ended up testing Atze with VDD-GC in Newfoundland with his DD girlfriend Anna vom Noble Spirit. They hunted together in a way that brought tears to our eyes. Anna and her owner Mickey Ristic joined to test with us and we had an awesome road trip. All in all, Atze had just under 2 weeks of training.

So there we were, finally, to training for the VGP.

We had been spending the time between the HZP and the test just enjoying our dogs, going hunting and working on the all important Obedience. In reality, that’s what we see the VGP as being all about. Our interpretation of the goal of the test is to finish the dog so that anyone should be able to handle it in a hunting environment. Yes, there are hunting skills which need to be honed and polished, all leading to a well-trained, well behaved dog. Distractions are not an excuse.

Sit means sit, stay means stay and down means down. The dog must be steady to wing and shot. And there is the blood track. The dog must be trained to follow the trail of blood left by a wounded animal so that should the need ever arise, game will be retrieved and not wasted. It also involves honing the blood track. That means that everything you’ve been encouraging your dog to do over the last few years of its life is NOT what you want to dog to do now. You do not want your dog to search for game as you have had it do in the fields, or in the water. 

He was strong and healthy and healed. After evaluating Atze on some training tracks, our mentor, Michaela Tölle took Jeremy and dog in hand to show them what they needed to do and to learn. Really, it’s not about the blood. It’s all about the track. Atze had to learn that when his tracking collar goes on, he was to put his nose to the ground and to track. It must be methodical and deliberate. 

The fun began when Jeremy and Atze returned to Germany at the end of the summer. We don’t have hare and wild boars and “Reh" deer running all over the place in our forest here in Muskoka. After 5 weeks of intensive training and desensitizing Atze to all the wild game scent found there, he passed his VGP with 312/III UF. Atze showed his true heart by running it as he ran his VJP, on three legs. He had 18 staples in his right front foot. He was distracted on his blood track by mushrooms pickers in the forest calling him, and by 2 young girls on ponies holding him with their reins when he tried retunrning from the hare drag. But Atze never dropped the hare. Jer and he passed with honour.
Pudelpointer Atze II at his VGP with his boot
Now, the story of his namesake will carry on the "Atze Tradition."

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