Redundancy of Systems

My Dog Training Gear bag was getting a little out of control so I pulled everything out to rearrange it.  

Some people like to brag about the fact that they don’t use an e-collar or don’t believe in tracking devices.  For me they are all tools that have helped me have better dogs and more fun training and hunting.  I can remember my first big running setter, Stokely’s Diablo Buddy.  I lost him on point one day for over 45 minutes and kept thinking the worst as we were on an old farm that might have had an open well that I didn’t know about.  I finally found him and the woodcock he was pointing was still there.  All the latest electronics are great and I never turn a dog loose without an e-collar and a GPS and now that I have the Alpha it’s an all in one.  This morning we were in a relatively new cover that we don’t know very well and LJ went on point about 100 yards down hill from us.  With out the GPS it might have taken us too long to find a young dog that is close to being broke, but we went right to him and flushed a woodcock.  However, the problem with electronics is there are always certain reliability issues and sometimes people forget to charge units.  That’s when its important to have a redundancy of systems — at least two of everything.  As you can see from the picture above, I have at least that.  There’s my original Astro 220, the 320, and the Alpha.  There’s a DC-30, a DC-40, and one Alpha collar.  There’s a Tri-tronics Pro 500 and a Pro 200 with three G-3 collars.  There’s my Gun-x primer blank pistol and my old 32 that I only use in trials (It’s actually one I swapped for with Mike Flewelling when he agreed to plate mine.  I then one a couple of championships with it and Mike and I decided it would be appropriate for me to keep it).  There’s 2 orange reflector collars that I use in trials and now that I have the Alpha am using in training for a bell collar.  Then in the upper right corner of the picture are a few (actually 13) of my bells.  I have some others that are with Mike for repair as my dogs seem to be a little hard on the equipment.  In addition, there are pliers and two hemostats, scissors, gloves, a lead, surveyor’s tape, a stopwatch for judging, a flashlight (that proved invaluable when I had to crawl under Tony’s FORD and re-attach the transfer case linkage), blanks and primers, batteries, and finally there’s the plastic box with assorted parts and pieces from long gone gear as well as a few tools.

You may think this is kind of excessive but it’s amazing how often we need something from the bag.  Yesterday Tony’s Astro seemed to be getting confused so he grabbed one of my spares and I took his home to re-porgram it.  His spare DC-30 died last week and the replacement hasn’t come back yet so this morning when his Astro (actually he still has mine as his was sitting on my desk where I had attached it to my computer) beeped, and came up with one of those red warning boxes he realized his collar was about to run out of battery.  When we got back to the truck I lent him mine.  If you just have one dog and run in wide open country you probably never break anything.  We run anywhere from 6 to 10 dogs a day and our equipment takes a pounding from the cover.  Redundancy isn’t just good, it’s mandatory if you want to consistently get things done with the dogs.

Mike “Booker” Groy is up training with us for a few days and we’ve been showing him and his dogs a lot of birds.  This morning in three braces we moved 34 grouse and 10 woodcock.  His dog Shine started with a back (pictured below) and then went on to have a 2 grouse and 2 woodcock finds.
One of the dogs we ran today was Bertha (pictured below on the tailgate after a good work out).  She had a nice woodcock find and a couple of grouse contacts.
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