Maybe it is too far to give our best dog beds the credit for the working dogs’ success in the field, but I will still try. No, only joking, but I am sure that a good night’s sleep and a comfortable journey to the hills does have a positive effect on the dogs’ performances. It is now four weeks into the hunting season and the dogs have worked eleven days on the grouse moors. It is quite staggering to see them run and run and run. As I take guests out to shoot over the pointers, there are always comments about how incredible the dogs’ conditions are. You can only say that they put very good engines into those German Wirehaired Pointers, they simply go on and on.
I also take great pride in the food I give my dogs. It is not all down to great dog beds, it is certainly mainly that I prepare their fitness by training them and letting them run along with my push bike and the feed. I give them a bit of kipple (Skinners mainly), but the bulk of their food consists of chunks of red meat that I get from the abattoir where they kill “fallen stock”, ie cows that have got into trouble somehow and can’t therefore be used in the human food chain, but otherwise are absolutely perfect. I also get cow tripe in whole chunks. These are good, basic foods to which I add boiled carrots, beet roots, cabbage, oats, cod liver oil and eggs. I am not ashamed of serving up top notch food like that because I am practically expecting the same as you would from a top Olympic athlete.
On the hill I bring water all the time and I always have short bread in case the dogs seem to need a boost of energy.
As we get off the hill the dogs can sometimes be very tired and I remember one day last year where Gollum had been working at a great, energetic pace for three days on the trot, never changing his pace or concentration or keenness to hunt. However, when we finished the third day and I asked him to jump in on his dog beds in the back of the car, he simply could not make that last jump in. I had to pick up the 32Kg lump of a dog and put him in. Needless to say, they are also grateful for getting their meal at night and be examined for ticks and cuts and then, finally, be put in their respective dog beds for a lovely rest.