The Natural Dog

Back in the the late 1990s Bill McFadden introduced me to Earl Crangle and helped us publish Earl’s book Pointing Dogs: Their Training and Handling.  One of the chapters in the book is titled “The Mexico Method” in which Earl describes his program of running young dogs on the abundant wild quail in Central Mexico where he lived for a number of years.  In the chapter he talks about letting a dog bump birds and chase them until it finally realizes that they always get away and starts standing them.  It’s a method that most trainers are unlikely to have the opportunity to use.  But it’s something I always thought made sense and have used with the young dogs here at the kennel.  We have genetically programed our modern bird dogs to point game birds and if given enough opportunities they will do it on their own.

Maggie had obviously had a lot of work on planted birds when she got here and was very dependable as long as I was on the other end of the checkcord.  But it can be dangerous letting a dog drag a cord in the woods unless you use a harness.  So, I decided that I would let the birds teach her.  At first she put every woodcock and grouse she found into the air with hardly a pause to the point that I was beginning to loose faith in what I’d learned from Earl.  But I hung in there with her and in the last few workouts it’s starting to pay off.  Her first good day she pointed and let us get to her on 2 out of 6 woodcock and it has improved with every workout and has pointed some grouse as well.  Today she pointed 7 woodcock the furthest one away was almost 90 yards and held it until I got to her. Had it been October we would have had good shots at most of them.  Brandy is making the same sort of natural progress and even stood the other day while one of the older dogs came in behind her and backed.  Both of them are starting to stop on their own when there is a backing opportunity.  Jagger is another one who bumped a lot of birds earlier in the summer and will hopefully make the same kind of progress before he heads home in a month.

The little puppies are on the same basic program.  I work to control their range and spend a little time on planted birds but they all want to and have pointed wild birds.  They are still puppies though as Peanut proved today when she pointed what appeared to be a baby thrush on the ground in the woods today.  I lead her away and the baby bird was unharmed although probably pretty traumatized.
Earl introduced field trials to Mexico and is still remember fondly by those he mentored.  He trained on the grounds where the Mexican Shooting Dog Championship is run.  I still have copies of his book if anyone wants one.  They originally sold for $15.95 plus shipping.  Send me a check for $15.00 and I’ll take care of the postage.
Craig Doherty
Wild Apple Kennel
1500 East Side River Rd
Dummer, NH 03588
Posted in Current News.

One Comment

  1. Hi, Mr. Craig,

    My name is Ezra Crangle and I’m the grandson of Earl C. Crangle. I’m Mexican and our family would like to research more on my grandpa. If you know people who have met my grandpa -or you as well, please send me an email.

    Thank you.

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