There are certain things you will want to have if you are field trialing your pointing dog. Below are some of the items I have with me at every contest we go to.
O-Ring Dog Collar – As opposed to a D-ring Collar there is nothing hanging down or protruding from an O-Ring collar. This for me is just a simple safety issue that can prevent my dog from being caught by a collar ring on a fence or brush for some undetermined amount of time. I personally get mine from Lion Country Supply because they can be bought with a nice brass name plate already installed. Click here for the collars I use.
Reflective Neck Band or Field Trial Collar – A dog in a field trial may only have on 2 collars. For most one is a GPS collar. The other is either a reflective collar of red or green or a red or green field trial collar. Each dog is assigned a color or red or green depending on draw position in the brace. And short of running against a different breed dog the collar is usually how they are distinguished. For me the reflective band is easiest to see, but there are a host of options.
Blank Pistol – Birds are not normally killed on course and not often in training either. So a blank pistol is needed. They come in a variety of prices from $80 to $300 but be sure NOT to buy a .22 crimp. These pistols are usually around $30 and NOT allowed in AKC field trials. Full .22 like those used for nail guns are allowed.
GPS Collar – This is an expensive item but I would say a must. Fortunately I have not been to a field trial where someone was not willing to loan me one for my brace. Second the newer the dog is the more likely I would say that they have an very good opportunity to get “lost.” The grounds may not be familiar to the dog, and game or other distraction can send them running a great adventure rather than the field trial. The GPS Collar is good insurance.
Crate – Dog crates come from under $100 to custom trailers worth tens of thousands. This is all personal preference, but I would say a crate is a must if only for transportation. There are also lots of manufacturers of the nicer aluminum crates/dog boxes like Owens, Deer Skin, and others.
Stake Out – This metal stake with its swivel and chain allows you not have to keep your dog in a crate or on a leash securely. They are driven in with a hammer so bring one of those, but pull up fairly easily with only your hands.
Bowls – It goes without saying bring your dog’s food and/or water bowl(s)
Lead – This is a personal preference in terms of how you bring your dog to the line, and whether they will heal or not. And believe it or not there are a lot of dogs that drag their handlers to the line. A second long lead will be needed in case your dog is picked up (disqualified). At that point you will need to “collar” your dog and take him back to camp. So unless you want to walk along side your horse with your dog on a lease you will need a 15’ – 20’ lead to bring them back. NEVER TIE THIS OFF TO THE HORSE IN ANY WAY. Always hold it in your hand so that you can let go if the dog and/or horse get into trouble.
Roading Harness – Many handlers use a roading harness when their dogs are picked up. They carry it with them attached to their saddle for this event. The roading harness keeps the dog from being attached at the neck and is another safety precaution as man, dog, and horses interact.
Training is not allowed on field trial grounds so we will cover some training gear in another post. In the meantime below are some links of just a few of the places I shop for gear for me and my dog. Please add any places you like to the comments below.
Gun Dog Supply
Deer Skin Dog Boxes
Owens Dog Boxes