Bob St. Pierre

Bob St. Pierre is director of marketing and public relations for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. A lifelong bird hunter, he chases upland birds each fall from Michigan to Montana with his German shorthaired pointer. He's often on the FAN Outdoors show, 6 to 8 a.m. Saturdays on 1130 AM.

My New Bird Dog and Puppy Potty Training

Posted by: Bob St. Pierre under Environment, Weather, Recreation, Birding, Fishing Updated: July 10, 2014 - 9:36 PM

I am proud to introduce Top Gun Escanaba v. St.Pierre, my new 10-week-old female German shorthaired pointer. My new bird dog pup, call name “Esky,” comes from the same bloodlines as my previous two shorthairs, Izzy and Trammell. If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you may remember my young shorthair Izzy died tragically last October. Izzy and Esky share the same dam, Top Gun Hope

Esky joined our family last Thursday after a trip to Top Gun Kennels in Iowa where we met a few of her siblings. The breeder, Steve and Jodie Ries, made my pup selection for me in advance. Steve and Jodie know me well, know my hunting style and know what attributes I was looking for in my new pup. There was no flipping over pups on their back to see which one fought me, or didn’t. There was no walking around the yard to see which one followed me, or didn’t. There was no chance of a pup having a good day or a bad one when I met them. I simply communicated my preferences and trusted them. This strategy of trust worked seven years ago with my first pup and I’ve kept returning to the same breeder ever since. 

Tip: I’ve found most gun dog breeders to be similarly dedicated to their client’s needs.  If you’re looking for a pup, ask prospective breeders for the contact info from some of their clients and make a few calls.  Speaking to owners from the same bloodlines you’re interested in will provide a tremendous amount of insight into both the breeder and the line.  It’s well worth the effort.

The Name Game

While I named my previous two bird dogs after Detroit sports heroes of my childhood (Alan Trammell and Steve Yzerman), I went a different direction with my new pup. “Esky” is the nickname of my hometown of Escanaba in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I selected the name for a couple of different reasons. First, I’ve never met another bird dog named Esky and a unique name in the field is important to me. Second, Esky sounds similar to Izzy, which I like considering the circumstances of losing Izzy at such a young age. Lastly, growing up in Escanaba translated into my love for the great outdoors and bird hunting in particular, so naming my dog “Esky” seemed a fitting tribute to a place I love. 

Puppy Potty Training

Life with a puppy is a shock to the system and our normal daily structure. In fact, I spent my Fourth of July holiday weekend not sleeping. Ten-week-old puppies want bathroom breaks at 2AM and 4:30AM, and you’d best move quickly to avoid accidents.

Tip: Puppies need to go to the bathroom as soon as they wake up. Carry your puppy outside as soon as they awake to avoid an indoor accident. Put that puppy where you want them to learn “going potty” is acceptable. Say “go potty” until they go to the bathroom. Jump up and down like you won the Stanley Cup after the pup successfully goes to the bathroom.

And it begins again; the process of training a puppy and adapting to life with a new member of the family. Stay tuned for more posts as I go through the process of training my third bird dog.

Note: I’m hoping to contact the gentleman from the Maplewood/White Bear Lake, Minnesota area who has named his new shorthair puppy, Izzy, in tribute to my pup. I’d like to express my gratitude. Please email me at stpete@pheasantsforever.org. Thank you!

Related Posts:

Our Busy Izzy Rests

Updates: Izzy, Trammell & a Thank You

Birth of a Bird Dog Litter

Bird Dog Names, From A to Z

Wolters’ Gun Dog: A Great Place to Start for New Bird Dog Puppy Owners

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre and listen to Bob and Billy Hildebrand every Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN FM100.3.

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