Porter Ventures Abroad

By Nathan Dudney and Danielle Drewrey

Experience stories of Adventure Dogs along with tips on training for your next adventure. 

IMG_7377An adventure dog is prepared to go anywhere.  Wildrose Whistling Teal “Porter” embodies what an adventure dog is and more.  In the summer of 2018 Porter was to embark on a trip most people will never get the opportunity to experience; he would tour Europe! Here is a glimpse into his European Vacation.

Before this European Vacation could begin there was a lot of preparation. Porter’s parents, Nathan and Hannah Dudney began the process months in advance.

Preparation for the trip was extensive, but that was only a result of going above and IMG_8617beyond on research. There are many sites offering information about traveling internationally with an animal, and even sites that provide services where they collect all required paperwork for you, but ultimately it is a very simple process that anyone can do with limited prep. The main key is to have your paperwork in order for customs. The location for that information can be found though the USDA   https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/. Although it may seem like a large undertaking and a lot of information to sort through, the key comes down to 3 things that are all explained on the intuitive USDA website.

  1. Where are you coming from and traveling to? This is important in case the country of origin has things like screwworm or Foot and Mouth Disease.These countries have stricter requirements for paperwork and quarantine.
  2. Have an appropriate ID microchip. It is a requirement in most EU countries that your pet be implanted with an ISO compliant microchip, which consists of 15 digits. Porter’s microchip was not compliant so we had to implant him with an additional microchip. It is very important to have the microchip implanted with the required lead time before trip.
  3. Have a USDA accredited veterinarian complete, sign and issue you an EU Health certificate that then needs to be endorsed (counter-signed and embossed/stamped) by APHIS/USDA within 10 days prior to entering the EU.

In addition to the paperwork required to enter a foreign country with your dog, the travel itself provides a challenge.  Flying with your dog, especially underneath a plane in a travel crate can be worrisome. Luckily, Porter is trained as a light mobility dog and registered with the airlines through ADA regulations.  We were able to pursue this due to some major injuries I sustained and as a result have reduced mobility.  Porter began Screen Shot 2019-04-01 at 7.22.43 PMflying in small single engine planes as a puppy and he holds a Wildrose Adventure Dog certification for Aircraft as a result. We began flying on commercial planes, under Porter’s Service Dog status about two years ago, but this was his first international flight and of course this was his longest journey.  Checking in is a breeze as we are already registered with the airlines.  While going through security, I do carry an extra slip lead that has no metal in it so that Porter doesn’t set off the metal detector.  While going through the metal detector alone I use the “through” command and follow behind him.  While waiting to board, Porter always sits under my feet or next to them and we use the “Get Under” command which is essential for a service dog.  We do take the option to board early so we can go ahead and get Porter settled before everyone else boards.  Traditionally I choose a bulk head when available but lately we have flown with another row in front of us and I believe this gives Porter more room to get under the seat in front of us.  I do always choose the window on the left-hand side of the aircraft as Porter is trained to heel on the left. When we sit, I do lay a small blanket on the floor which is simply to define his “place” and it’s more of a token, so that he knows he is supposed to stay there. I then again use the “Get Under” command so that he knows to get small and use the under seat storage as his area.

The most nerve-racking thing was the idea of Porter going more than 10 hours from bathroom break to bathroom break.  He is on a very steady schedule for going big potty, so this didn’t prove a challenge.  He does have a different command for each with the Wildrose used “get it done” and “Hurry up.”  We did take a few potty pads just in case there was an accident.  On our layover in Philadelphia we took Porter outside to not only use the bathroom but burn off some energy with retrieves.  I did monitor his water intake before the flight and made sure it was at a level that he needed without making me too nervous he would need to use the restroom.  On the flight Porter slept, got bored, stretched his legs with a few flights to ‪the galley and ultimately stole the hearts of the flight attendants.  I did offer him water inflight, but he didn’t want any.  A note to those who haven’t flown with their dogs: Porter usually pants quite a bit. I do not know the reason but this used to alarm me.  Now I just know it to be normal for him. When I flew home with Porter alone and without my wife, the flight would force Porter to go over 12 hours bathroom to bathroom.  We prepped the same way and he did an amazing job.  A few leg stretches up and down the isles while inflight and a water drink when he was thirsty. The only difference on the return trip while being alone was Porter and his great “place” while on the plane.  When I needed to personally use the bathroom, I simply left Porter in his spot, told him to “Place” and he stayed.  I personally think this is asking a lot for a dog to do in an environment like an airplane with lots of people, food and distractions going on, but he was amazing.

Porter accompanied us to Spain, France, and Italy. We were most excited for Porter to experience playing in the surf and doing beach retrieves. Which of course turned into Porter’s favorite moment of the trip, retrieving out of Lake Como in Italy. He could swim all day! Porter’s first retrieves in Lake Como were in front of the Villa Olmo.  This area had people around, no swimming signs, but a perfect run down into the water in an area that boats used to dock at while visiting Villa Olmo.  We did spend a day on a boat in Como where Porter swam and even found some ducks.  Lastly, we went to the northern part of the lake via car to Bellagio where there were many people swimming, other dogs, and lots of boats.

Porter flew into Madrid, Spain, and we drove in a rental car to San Sebastian, Spain, where we had an apartment for a month.  During that month we took mini trips via rental car to Haro, Spain, in the La Rioja wine Region, Bilbao, Spain, where the Guggenheim is, Urbasas y Andía National Park near Pamplona, Spain, Saint Jean De Luz, France, and then flew to Milan, Italy, (San Sebastian to Madrid to Milan) where we rented a car and drove to Lake Como Italy.

Dogs seem to be much more accepted in Europe when it comes to sanitation/public access.  Dogs are frequently allowed in bars, restaurants, and stores, especially in the Northern Spanish Basque region where we spent much time.  The Basque region, especially San Sebastian, is know for amazing food and wine. Porter was allowed at vineyards and even on winery tours. Most places offered water and we even had a waitress at a bar/restaurant ask if she could give Porter an entire baguette. Dogs are so welcome in Northern Spain that the assumption is dogs are allowed unless there is a no dog sign.  This is the opposite of the US, I feel.  Some bars/restaurants had no dog signs but many of them allowed Porter anyways. At a minimum, most places have some outdoor seating and it is common culture in Spain to order a drink at the bar and stand outside on the sidewalk enjoying with friends.

During the vacation we were sure to keep Porter’s Instagram @porter.pup followers up to date on the daily events.


Every Adventure Dog is equipped with a set of skills that gives them the ability to take on many situations. A few of Porter’s learned skills include but were not limited to:

Get Under is a command you give the dog to go under a table, bench, chair, etc.  The best way to teach this skill is to first make the dog comfortable going under a table.  When the dog is doing the motion of going under the table, that is when you give the “get under” command.  This skill is best paired with the down command after the dog has gone under the place you want them to go.
We use this command all the time in service/public access environments.  No matter how small the area, and even if it is impossible to actually get under or get in, Porter will try when given the command.

Being calm is a skill that is beneficial to any dog.  The best way to form calm behaviors is to reward the dog when they are in a calm state of mind.  Do not praise your dog unless they are doing the action you are looking for.  Through repetition and desensitization to environments your dog will be calm in any setting.

Get it done vs hurry up understanding the difference between “get it done” and “hurry up” for potty breaks is huge.  When your dog is using the bathroom give a command to differentiate between the two.   Not every environment is right for big potty and some situations you need it to happen, especially before boarding a plane! Practicing using the bathroom on leash will come in handy when your in a situation where your dog needs to be kept under control.

Nathan Dudeny

Danielle Drewrey

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By Mike Stewart, Wildrose International

Ticks have never been popular creatures with people or their dogs.  In fact, I can only think of a couple of species that enjoy ticks… free-range guineas and chickens.  Yum!

We all struggle in warmer months keeping ticks off our dogs.  They are annoying for sure but actually quite dangerous.  In humans, they are responsible for transmitting up to 17 diseases including Lyme and Rocky Mountain Spotted Tick Fever. Their bite, at a minimum, is annoying producing itchy sores in dogs as well as humans which can easily become infected.  If allowed to remain in large numbers on dogs, they can actually lead to paralysis.

There is a wide variety of ticks that prey upon us, even the dreaded tick bomb which is a massive cluster of yearling “deer” ticks (very small) that explode upon contact with an animal or human.  Tick bites contribute to quite a few nasty health problems.  It would be interesting to compare annual deaths in humans to venomous snake bites to tick-related illnesses and deaths.  Our fears may be misplaced.

There are many medical products on the market to terminate ticks should they attach to your dog, but what about those on your dog that are unattached?  These are subject to not only attach themselves but they can also infest your vehicle and home spreading about by your dog.  Here we need a topical that keeps ticks off, a repellent. Many of the repellent shampoo and spray products for fleas and ticks contain dangerous chemicals that should not be ingested by the dog (licking) or exposed to humans (touching).  After research, we suggest using natural repellent products disliked by ticks but not harmful to animals.  Combine a product that repels like Vet’s Best Flea & Tick Spray, available at wildrosetradingcompany.com, with a scheduled flea and tick prevention program, either topical or oral. The repellent is simply prevention, keeping the tick off.  The scheduled treatment takes care of those that attach.

Protection from ticks is important during warm weather field training and adventures in the woods or on trails.  Enjoy a well-protected journey.







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Group Work Wednesdays

Every Wednesday, at any given Wildrose location, you can find trainers and owners working together. Group-work Wednesday is a staple in the Wildrose way of training. It encourages dogs, and trainers, of all ages and skill levels to develop steadiness, patience, and socialization skills that are necessary when working with others.group work

There are many bad habits that dogs can develop that are annoying to hunters in field or blind and that are undesirable to a family in the home. Repetition and consistency are the key to creating a predictable habit. Several desirable habits can be created through group work, just as bad habits can be addressed and corrected.  The purpose of group work is to create good habits that are predictable.  We believe this is much more effective than trying to break bad habits.  As the saying goes, old habits die hard and it can be very frustrating for dogs and handlers.

Training scenarios are varied every week and are adjusted to suit the needs of the subjects in training and their skill level.  It is important to remember that we train dogs and not test them. In addition to utilizing group work to train with other dogs and handlers, it provides access to a different environment, which is important to develop a well-rounded dog.


Wildrose Carolinas has a tremendous variety of training environments and habitat in one place. The site consists of 250 acres of timber and open fields and 12 unique water sources. The Wildrose Way is to teach new skills by completing it successfully 5 times in 5 different locations while you “train the way you play” (pg 37). Mike refers to this principle quite often in his book.

Wildrose Carolinas has been open since June of 2018. We encourage you to join us for Group-work Wednesdays. For more information, please contact Kim at info@wildrosecarolinas.comor 919-500-8797. We’re looking forward to seeing you at Group-work!

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By Tom Smith, Wildrose Oxford
Wildrose Aithness Allie, call name Mattis, is a true Wildrose Heritage Dog. Whelped on September 24, 2018, his sire was Hamish (2001-2015), who was a long-time stud here in Oxford, and his dam, Wildrose Bombshell Ginger, was a second generation dam from Big Red and Mara. My personal dog, Dixie, is Hamish’s daughter and I wanted to continue the Hamish line for Wildrose. I was privileged to adopt Hamish when he retired and he turned into the consummate retired companion, gentle and calm in the house, but still retained that desire to retrieve. Mattis is a broad-chested, dark fox-red pup who is smart, calm in the house and bold on the retrieve. Mattis has big shoes to fill with his lineage from Hamish, Big Red, and Mara, but I am confident he will make his own gigantic paw print on the future of Wildrose. Follow Mattis as he goes through puppy and basic Gundog training on:
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Snake Avoidance

By Guy Billups, Wildrose Texas

Our dogs face many dangers afield, from barbwire and thorns, to more dangerous situations such as venomous snakes. While many of us will not face snakes during our hunting seasons, summer months across the United States are filled with the possibility of running into a venomous snake.

dog sniffing ground

Photo by Katie Behnke

First aid kits handy, vaccinations, and good obedience on the trail so that we can be well prepared for possible snakes are all good precautions we can take. One more step that many take is actual snake avoidance training.

This process involves bringing in live snakes such as rattlesnakes, moccasins and copperheads, whose fangs have been removed and mouths taped shut. This ensures the dogs safety but live snakes are key to identify the specific sight, smell and sound of a dangerous snake.

Dogs are brought into the area by a trained professional and immediately after the dog alerts and or shows an interests through sight, sound, or smell of the snake pressure is applied using an e-collar. This pressure is let off as soon as the dog turns away from the snake. Through precise and intentional timing the dog develops an association between the snake and the e-collar correction, resulting in an avoidance behavior.

With so many snakes around Texas and many pack members coming to us for advice wesnake texas_edited-1 have booked Wayne Lain of Snake Breakers to come in and provide this training. The snake breakers clinic is $100/dog. It is open to all dogs, we recommend sporting breeds. There is no hard set minimum age but we would suggest 6 months. Dogs are introduced to 4 types of snakes (Western Diamondback, Eastern Diamondback, Copperhead, and a Moccasin) and allowed to approach each type of snake. They complete the training when they demonstrate avoidance behavior as a response to the snake, such as backing away or running around the snake instead of approaching it. This is negative reinforcement training which has been proved as the best way to produce an avoidance response to the smell or sight of a snake.

Wildrose Texas

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Falconry with the Gentleman’s Gundog

By Dr. Ben W. McClelland

Man has emerged from the shadows of antiquity with a peregrine on his wrist. Its dispassionate brown eyes, more than any other bird, have been witness to the struggle for civilization, from squalid tents on the steppes of Asia to the marbled halls of European Kings in the seventeenth century. —Roger Tory Peterson

Falconry is the sport of hunting game with a trained bird of prey. Federal and state regulations guide the sport in the United States to protect the birds and to ensure high standards for practicing the sport.

Longtime local Falconer Harvey Leslie enjoys duck hunting with his falcon and a strike dog. At a recent Wildrose Handler’s Workshop Leslie and his falcon, Hata, gave an action-packed demonstration of the sport. This article discusses the history of falconry, falcon training and hunting, and dogs as prey flushers.



Ancient peoples trained birds of prey for hunting.  While the dog and the horse bonded with our ancestors, becoming domesticated companions, no such sentiment mollified the fierce heart of the hawk. The savage bird was trained to hunt for humans without impairing the fierce spirit that made the hawk a useful hunter.


Some experts place falconry’s origins between 4,000 and 6,000 BC in the steppes of Mongolia. Other historians believe that the practice could be even older, with its beginnings in Arabia or the Middle East; in Iran, records have been found of a king using birds of prey who may have lived as much as 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. Wherever it began, falconry, which was originally used for subsistence and not sport, was well established in both Asia and the Middle East by 2,000 BC, and gradually migrated westward to Greece, Italy, and the rest of Europe. (www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/raptor-force-history-of-falconry/110)

During the middle ages and up through the Renaissance period, falconry flourished in

king frederick II

King Frederick II

nearly all cultures of the old world. Known as the sport of Kings, falconry’s history is peopled with royal bird handlers, including Ghengis Khan (1162-1227) and Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II (1194-1250). The Emperor Frederick was an expert falconer and a gifted naturalist. His comprehensive book-length study on the birds and the sport of falconry became the definitive guide for centuries.


Using innovative scientific methods of experimentation, Frederick is credited with discovering that the hawk finds prey through sight not smell. Moreover, he developed many training innovations, such as using a hood rather than suturing the bird’s eyelids shut.  An enthusiast for Arabic culture, Frederick maintained widespread contacts to develop a collection of African and Asiatic hawks.



harvey and hata

Leslie and Hata

Harvey Leslie, a dentist and resident of Grenada, MS, is one of Mississippi’s few hunters licensed to employ a bird of prey to hunt wild game. In a recent conversation he provided a number of insights about obtaining, training, and hunting with a falcon.

During his college years at Ole Miss, Leslie flew hawks after rabbits as a diversion from his rigorous studies in organic chemistry. One day, as he was studying in the University library’s book stacks, Leslie came upon an informative reference book on falconry with an impressive picture of a falcon and a bird dog. That moment began his earnest study of the sport. He apprenticed under a mentor from Memphis, TN, to develop his hunting and training techniques. After completing dental school, Leslie captured a red-tailed hawk, with which he hunted rabbits and squirrels for several years.

Today, after several years of working with hawks, Leslie flies Hata, a Tundra Falcon that he snared as a yearling on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Falcons migrate seasonally between countries in and around the Arctic Circle and countries in Central and South America, using a primary flyway that passes through our Gulf Coast.

Training a captive hawk involves keeping it in the dark, hooded and/or in a mew, hooded hata.jpgregulating its weight so that it’s hungry for hunting, and beginning to initiate flight—first flying to a lure of raw meat, then in low semi-circles, later in full circles, and finally high flight. Throughout this weeks-long process the hungry bird returns to the handler to feed, is hooded, and returned to its resting place.

Falcon handling requires special equipment, including a hood and leg bells for the bird, a handler’s whistle, and weight scales.


To control the falcon the handler hoods its eyes and attaches a jess and a leash to the bird’s leg to move it or keep it on a perch. The hood is essential from the beginning. Even a trained falcon has such an excitable temperament that it must be hooded to give it rest from any sights or sounds while it is being transported, handled, or perched prior to a hunt.


The sound from the bird’s leg bells enables the handler to locate it in flight, just as the handler’s whistling calls the hungry bird to a place for food.

Weighing the bird from the first day and throughout its life is an essential practice. Only a hungry hawk will hunt. So, a handler works to reduce the bird’s weight by ten percent prior to a hunt.

When the falconer takes a hawk hunting, he locates some ducks on local ponds. Releasing the bird in the vicinity of the pond, the falconer hides below a levee until the bird is circling high overhead, and then he runs over the levee towards the ducks, flushing them into the air. Alternatively, the falconer will send a dog to flush the ducks. The falcon dives and hits one of the ducks in flight, carrying it several yards. Because hawks don’t return prey to hand, as a gundog would, the falconer follows his bird to where it begins eating the downed duck. If he wants to harvest the duck breasts, the falconer occupies the bird with eating parts of the duck, including the heart. Then, he takes the rest of the prey for harvesting. The falcon will eat all parts of the prey, later regurgitating pellets of indigestible matter. When the hawk is full, the falconer hoods it and returns home.


Because a falcon will not strike a bird that is hidden in cover or is sitting on the water, the prey must be flushed. A falconer can flush the birds off the water or use a trained gundog as a strike dog to push the prey airborne for the falcon to hit.

In late January of this year a filming crew from “Mississippi Outdoors,” joined Leslie and Hata to film a falcon hunt. “Mississippi Outdoors” is a television show sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, aired on Mississippi Public Broadcasting or online at www.youtube.com/c/mdwfponline. Mike Stewart accompanied the TV crew, along with Wildrose Deke, the Ducks Unlimited mascot. When Hata was at the right height and position above the pond, Stewart sent Deke over the levee to flush the ducks off the water. Hata followed through and dispatched one of the ducks. The falcon’s take of the prey was so fast and furious that the cameraman may have to return to catch a complete picture.


Training a dog to work with a hawk, as Deke did, is akin—with modifications—to training a strike dog for upland hunting and training a dog to run a cold unseen (lining for a blind), as Mike Stewart describes in Sporting Dog and Retriever Training The Wildrose Way.  The dogs job is to flush the bird into the air, making it a target for the falcon.

Hunting ducks with a Falcon:

  • As the falconer releases the falcon near the duck pond, stay a short distance behind the falconer, keeping the dog at heel.
hunt 2

Releasing Hata

  • As the falcon flies in a circle and gains altitude over the duck pond, keep the dog at heel as you walk with the falconer to a point near the ducks on the water, all the while staying out of the ducks’ sight. (A good vantage point is below a pond levee or in a thicket nearby.)
hunt 3

Waving Hata back in

  • The falconer will signal when the falcon is in the optimum hunt position. Upon his signal send the dog into the water to flush the ducks in the air.


After the ducks take flight, call the dog in and bring it back to heel.

The falcon will strike a duck, carry it a few yards, land with it, and begin feeding on the prey. The falconer will approach the falcon, and divide up the quarry, giving the heart and other parts of the quarry to the falcon, and taking the rest of the duck to harvest.

Deke and bird

Hata with her catch

Two major differences for the dog as it hunts with a falcon are, first, there is no gunfire and, second, the dog does not routinely retrieve the downed duck. That’s the falconer’s job. So, it is essential that the handler keep the dog steady at heel after the dog has flushed the ducks and the falcon strikes one. However, in some instances the dog may need to retrieve the duck. If, for instance, the falcon’s hit puts the duck back in the water, the dog may be sent to retrieve it.   Or, if the duck gets knocked down in tall cover or grass, the dog may be sent to find and retrieve it.

Working with a falcon will be a new hunting experience for your gentleman’s gundog, one that’s sure to bring ample opportunities to exhibit its skills afield, including heeling, staying steady, flushing birds, and—perhaps—an occasional retrieve.

Ben W. McClelland

Harvey Leslie



American Hawkeye’s School of Falconry (www.americanhawkeye.com)


Bruce A. Haak, The Hunting Falcon.Blaine, WA: Hancock House Publishers, 1992.


Harvey Leslie. Personal Interview. Oxford, MS.  March 21, 2019.


Nature (www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/raptor-force-history-of-falconry/1108)


Mike Stewart, Sporting Dog and Retriever Training The Wildrose Way: Raising a Gentleman’s gundog for Home and Field. New York: Universe Publishing, 2012.


Robert K. Burns. Book review of Stupor Mundi et Immutator Mirabilis The Art of Falconry  of Frederick II Hohenstaufen. Casey A. Wood, F. Marjorie Fyfe (trans. and ed.) in The Quarterly Review of Biology. Pp. 144-146. June 1,1944.


Roger Tory Peterson, Birds Over America. New York: Dodd Mead, 1948.


The Falcronry School (http://thefalconryschool.com)


The Ohio School of Falcronry (www.ohioschooloffalconry.com)


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Pheasant Fricassee on Savory Waffles


Pheasant Fricassee on Savory Waffles

As a frequent visitor and sometime participant in tower shoots, I find my freezer full of frozen pheasant breasts and looking for ways to turn them into easy, delicious meals. With an inspiration from Kirk Parker, I have developed this recipe for pheasant breasts in a slow cooker. 

A fricassee is “a method of cooking meat in which it is cut up and braised, and served with its sauce, traditionally a white sauce.” Julia Child says a fricassee is “halfway between a saute and a stew”. This fricassee includes my secret ingredient veggie, leeks.

scot roxy and dogs

Scott, Roxy, WR Cora, WR Suzy and WR Roxy


1 qt water

¼ cup sea salt

1/8 cup sugar


6 whole pheasant breasts, on the bone

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large or 2 small leeks, chopped and rinsed well to remove sand

1 medium onion

1 bunch scallions

3 celery stalks, plus leaves

2 large or 4 small carrots

4 sweet red mini-peppers

4 cloves garlic

1/3 chopped fresh parsley

1 can Healthy Choice cream of chicken soup

1 can Healthy Choice cream of mushroom soup

1 packet chicken gravy mix

1 packet ranch dressing mix

½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

½ tsp dried thyme


1 recipe Bisquick waffles, olive oil substituted for vegetable oil

½ cup grated parmesan cheese (hand-grated parmesan regiano is best)

3 tbsp chopped fresh chives (or 2 tbsp dried chives)



  1. To prepare the brine, heat about 2 cups water to almost boiling, dissolve salt and sugar, and dilute to 1 quart with ice cubes and cold water. Pour cool brine over pheasant breasts to cover. Use more brine as needed to cover the pheasant. Thaw the pheasant ahead of time or in the brine. Brine the meat about 4 hours or until thawed. Remove pheasant from the brine and drain while preparing the slow cooker.

brining pheasnt

  1. Clean and chop vegetables and garlic. A reliable method to clean leeks is to chop, wash in a bowl of cool water and drain. To make the sauce, whisk together the canned soups, gravy and dressing mixes, crushed red pepper, chopped garlic, and dried thyme.
    Place the olive oil in the bottom of a 6 qt slow cooker. (My slow cooker is round, but oblong might work better for this recipe.) If you have olive oil infused with a flavor such as rosemary, this adds a depth of flavor to the finished dish. Add a little more than half of the chopped vegetables and toss to coat with oil. Place the drained pheasant breasts on the bed of vegetables; cover with a little more than half the sauce. Add the remaining vegetables, sprinkle with more olive oil, and top with the remaining sauce. Set the slow cooker to high and cook for 4 hours, stirring and moving the pheasant breasts occasionally. After about 3 hours of cooking, incorporate chopped parsley into the sauce and finish cooking.

When very soft but not quite falling off the bone, remove the pheasant breasts from the sauce.Allow to cool, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the bones.

Prepare the waffle batter with olive oil (flavored if you want). Add parmesan cheese and chives and whisk to combine. Bake the waffles in a waffle iron.

To serve, arrange 2 pieces of waffle on a plate, add lots of pulled pheasant breast, and top with sauce. Add chopped chives and parsley to garnish, if desired. Yumo!


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Transitional Training

Guy Billups, Wildrose Texas

Transitional training is the practice of utilizing specific training exercises designed to bridge the gap between field training activities and actual hunting conditions; the Wildrose Way is to train as you hunt, hunt as you train.

There are multiple steps to training a gundog that will receive a recurring invitation after each and every hunt. The first is yard work. Any skill that you wish your dog to perform must first be perfected in a mowed flat area with no distractions. The goal here is to set your dog up for success. Then there is field work, where the same skills are now repeated in an assortment of terrain and situations:  tall grass, water, woods, etc. Sequentially, the last step many may consider is to go hunt, that is if you want all your training to go out the window. For the training of a proper Gentleman’s Gundog there is another step in the process before going afield on opening day.

Transitional work is most often the quickest to be overlooked. The key is mimicking realistic hunting scenarios in a controlled environment to entrench the skills you have been teaching. For instance, in the video above we are shooting several clays before ever launching a bumper to ensure that the clays and gunfire have not unsteadied the dog. Having already set out decoys and set up in the blind, all we need is a simple mark or a couple of memories. Most often all of the confusion of broken clays and gunfire will be enough to challenge a young dog. Keep the retrieves successful, and make haste slowly to adding complexity.

If you are not lucky enough to have all of the facilities and assistance needed for a challenging transitional setup at your disposal, don’t be discouraged. A simple hand-thrown clay thrower, decoys, gunfire and maybe even waders or duck calls can be enough to add to a training session to get your dog focused as if it’s a real hunt. I had a long-time Wildrose dog owner suggest getting to the training ground before daylight and beginning the train at sunrise for an added environmental factor to more closely mimic a hunt. Be sure that the real hunt is mimicked, but don’t hesitate to stop and train where your dog is struggling.  First hunts are actually extensions of training.

Transitional training transfers basic lessons to practical field situations similar to a football team scrimmaging, war games to infantry men.  Lessons learned in training are transferred to realistic field/marsh situations.


Sporting Dog and Retriever Training: The Wildrose Way, pp. 37, 143, 155, 255

Guy Billups

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Mark Donohoo’s Ears, Eyes, and Nose: Combining a Passion and a Profession in Using His Dog and His Hearing Device 

By Dr. Ben W. McClelland  


Mark and Thor

Mark Donohoo owns, travels with, and hunts with Wildrose Thor (Indian X Pippa). While we refer to Thor as a dog of duality (gundog and diabetic alert dog), he also accompanies Mark to trade shows as the mascot of Grizzly Ears. Thor is precocious in that not only can he multi-task, but he began showing unusual prowess at a very young age.

In this article Mark tells how he came to acquire Thor and how they have become trusted companions. As Mark tells it, his interest in hunting began when he was a youngster and his interest in hunting dogs came much later. Here’s the story in Mark’s words: 

My passion for the outdoors began as a young boy when my father gave me my first gun and taught me how to shoot a .22 caliber, single-bolt action rifle. Growing up, I loved exploring the great outdoors from camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, white water rafting, or just shooting targets. 

Hunting became a passion for me many years ago. I’ve enjoyed bow hunting in the early fall season and rifle hunts through some of the harshest winters in search of elk, bear, mule deer, and whitetail throughout the USA. I have spent many hours wading in icy waters in the Northern and Southern flyways in search of waterfowl with my Labradors. I’ve traveled to the beautiful New Zealand mountains in search of Chamois, Red Stag, Tar, and have traveled to the far reaches of the Arctic circle in search of Caribou. In all my travels, I have come to appreciate and love the outdoors and all that Mother Nature has to offer. 

When I moved to Nashville in 1998, I was introduced to waterfowl and upland hunting with friends. I had always hunted deer, elk, and bear in the West, but never waterfowl and upland birds. I loved watching the Ducks Unlimited show and Mike Stewart’s tips with Drake, and then years later Deke.

Twenty years ago I first found a passion for hunting dogs. My first two labradors were trained for hunting water fowl. Unfortunately, dogs can’t live forever and after they passed it took me 4 years to be ready for a new Labrador. As I researched the best breeding and training facilities in the country, I found Wildrose Kennels, and immediately my wife and I knew we needed to journey to Oxford, Mississippi, to find out more about their breeding and training programs.  

After spending time with the owners, trainers, and dogs we were extremely impressed. Not only with the trainers, management, and facilities, but also the impeccable blood lines of their dogs. We didn’t need to take any more time to think or discuss the next steps. We put down a deposit that day for a puppy! 

IMG_6345On July 21, 2017, when we returned to Wildrose puppy picking, we selected a yellow male pup, from Indian and Pippa, and we named him Thor.

Thor was very easy to crate train in the house and understood to do his potty outside. We introduced him immediately to place and, although Thor would stay in my home office with me on place, he would rather play or go outside. Within a couple of weeks he began staying outside in his doghouse. He adjusted quickly to enjoying the outdoors and appreciated when he could come inside the house.

We knew quickly Thor was exceptionally smart. Within hours of coming home with us he already knew how to retrieve small balls, rolled socks, or puppy bumpers. Thor demonstrated a great hunting ability from the beginning. I would hide bumpers and balls and use the command “find it,” and he would always come back with the bumper or ball.

Thor learned very quickly the commands “sit,” “stay,” and “here.” He would respond to my voice as well as to a whistle. It was shocking to see how fast he picked those commands up. We knew he would be special and we wanted Thor trained the Wildrose way. So, eleven months after we picked Thor up, we returned to Wildrose for training in waterfowl, upland, and shed, hunting, and to be my diabetic alert dog.   

When Thor and I arrived at Wildrose, Trainer Ryan Alderman had a sheet to check off

ryan and thor

Ryan and Thor

what Thor could do. Thor had completed most of the commands on the basic checklist. Ryan was very impressed with how well Thor performed during his intake test. Thor could do all the basic commands, voice or whistle. He could also do denial of bumpers thrown around him. He could heel to my side without a leash and sit when I stopped. During the intake session, I told Trainer Danielle Drewrey and Ryan that Thor was going to do Shed, Waterfowl, Upland, and be my diabetic service dog.

During Thor’s training program Ryan was very good about sending me videos of Thor’s progress as the months went along. Every six-to-seven weeks I would visit Thor to observe his progress. When I would visit Wildrose for Thor’s training, Ryan was great at showing me how to handle Thor on various scenarios of training on land or in the water, hunting memories, marks, or blind retrieves. Ryan showed me how to handle Thor in the field with voice, whistle, or hand signals.

The idea for my new product, Grizzly Ears, came about in December, 2017, while I was duck hunting in Arkansas with my grandson. I knew there had to be a better way to protect my hearing while still having the convenience of answering my phone.  Grizzly Grizzly EarsEars combines Bluetooth  technology with amplified shot compression earbuds that allows you to listen to your favorite music, answer your phone with a touch of a button, all while providing you with amplified shot compression that protects you from loud sounds 85 decibels and above.   

After I returned home with Thor from his training regimen at WildroseI  decided to make him the Grizzly Ears Mascot to travel with me as I promote Grizzly Ears. 

So far, Thor and I have been on waterfowl and upland hunts, promoting Grizzly Ears. On one upland hunt in North Dakota with Josh Gardner, who has a WR Gus, I realized that the amplification was set too high. The wind conditions were around 25-30 mph, with really strong gusts. The sound of the wind was too strong coming through the earbuds. So, I decided to make the adjustment to lower the amplification down to levels where the wind is not overpowering. Experiencing, firsthand, these field conditions with Josh made this correction possible.

Thor revealed his versatility as a multitasking dog with an exceptional skill set when we


Thor alerting low blood sugar

were on the road, traveling to Arkansas for a duck hunt. I was trying to get to my destination by a certain time. Unfortunately, I let the time for eating pass by and that is the kiss of death for a diabetic. Thor kept putting his head on my shoulder and licking my neck while I was driving. Then he took his paw and pressed it on the side of my face. I knew at that moment that I was very low. I immediately rewarded Thor with touch of peanut butter for the alert. I pulled over at the next rest area and tested my blood sugars and they were very low.

About a week later Thor alerted me again when we were on an upland hunt in North Dakota. We were doing a lot of pushing, just three of us and four dogs. It got late in the afternoon where I had run out of snacks and Thor and I were pushing across the field for pheasant. I stopped to take a break after hunting in thick cover and expending lots of energy on this last push. Thor was at my side and I could feel him pushing on me and then he put his paw up on my leg alerting me that my levels were low. He did this a few times before I recognized his alert. Once again he was correct because my levels were at 48.

Recently, Thor made another alert when we attended the Wildrose Cajan event in Louisiana for dog training tips, and upland and quail hunting. While I was on the quail hunt, I had made the mistake of leaving my snacks behind at the Lodge. We had been hunting for a couple hours when I noticed Thor kept tapping my hand while we were walking for quail. I stopped and then he put his paw on my leg alerting me a third time. Thor has already become a lifesaver at such a young age. I take it for granted how easy it is to slip into dangerous blood sugar levels.

After I wrap up my trade show traveling in February, Thor and I will  begin our six-state journey across the US. We will be shed hunting for Elk and Deer with professionals from the Rocky Mountains to Alberta Canada.  As I attend trade shows and stay busy on hunts, Thor is by my side, giving me a sense of comfort and confidence knowing he will alert me whenever my blood sugar reaches dangerous levels.  Thor is everything we wanted in a Lab: he is smart, well trained, obedient, and my co-pilot while traveling around the country. Yes, Thor is a very special dog and I’m very grateful we decided to get a pup from Wildrose Kennels.  


Ben W. McClelland

Mark Donohoo

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Dogs of Duality

By Mike Stewart, Wildrose International


Photo by Katie Behnke

The dual-purpose gundog is a distinction that Wildrose Kennels is known to produce, The Gentleman’s Gundog:  The Versatile Lab that is equally effective on upland game birds and waterfowl. Also, of course, one that is compatible in the home and on the road.

The Wildrose Way emphasizes that versatility is not accomplished in a single training cycle as often one set of skills required does not necessary complement another. For instance, the close-range work required of quartering to flush pheasant within gun range versus taking a long, straight line for an unseen mallard dropped across open water.  The different expectations are obvious. How is a balance achieved when realizing that dogs learn through consistent repetition and that confusing them must be avoided?

Back to Basics

The reality is that contrary skills sets are not trained simultaneously.  Rather, we want to focus on developing the skills necessary for our primary hunting expectations first, then after field experiences, we add the second level of training for other hunting situations, thereby, avoiding confusion.

If our primary purpose for our hunting companion is waterfowling, we will concentrate our initial training efforts on:

Water work


Photo by Katie Behnke

Distance lining

Working from blinds, hides, water stands

Handling at distances on land and water

Cross-training for upland will begin also as long as it does not compromise the primary training progression.  We could develop:

Hunting cover on command

Steadiness at heel

Marking in cover

Negotiating barriers

We avoid the counterintuitive skills of sweeping and quartering, which requires the dog to work a zigzag pattern within 15 yards of the handler.

If our primary choice is an upland flushing retriever with a bit of waterfowling, then our focus becomes close handling to keep our gundog within shot range and dealing with multiple falls in thick cover. So, we could develop:

Handling close within 15 yards


Photo by Katie Behnke

Hunting cover on command

Staying steady to flush and shot

Marking by sound

For this upland gundog we would do some exposure to close-in waterfowl work such as multiple falls on water at shorter distances, falls across creeks and channels, decoys, blinds, water stands, etc., all within a reasonable range so as to not de-rail our efforts in training quartering.  After a successful first season where the dog worked well within gun range, cross training for waterfowl may be completed adding distant lining and handling.

Different Commands
As presented in The Wildrose Way Upland DVD and in our book, Sporting Dogs and sportoing_dog_training_wildrose_way_1024x1024@2xRetriever Training, The Wildrose Way, (both available at wildrosetradingcompany.com), different behaviors require distinctive commands for the dog to avoid confusion.

  1. Hunt Cover Close– Remain still, give a waist-high cast with the hunt command. Hold the dog in close range to locate a down bird.  It’s a search command “Dead Bird” or “Hi Loss,” etc.
  2. Strike– To flush pointed birds holding in front of Pointers. Line with the command, “Put them up.” The dog should make the flush and then remain steady.
  3. Quarter– Stand with the dog to your side, step to the side away from the dog and give a low cast with the arm/hand at waist height with a verbal cue like “Find them,” different from other commands.
  4. Marks– Simply say the dog’s name if he/she saw the bird drop.
  5. Line Long– Take two steps forward to align the dog in the desired direction of travel. Turn into the dog placing your body parallel to the dog.  Reach forward indicating the line. Provide a lining command like, “dead bird” or “go long,” a distinct cue different from hunting cover or quartering. Release by name.

Photo by Chip Laughton

With field training and practical experience, the gundog learns to distinguish the individual commands and the desirable behaviors.

Cross-training a talented gundog is quite possible:  upland, waterfowl, blood trailing, shed hunting.  The main thing to keep in mind is to avoid confusing the dog by exposing it to counterintuitive behaviors too quickly.  Train in progression with success in one area before adding another and develop a consistent understanding of commands for each desired behavior.

Mike Stewart

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