Canine Flu CIV

By: Mike Stewart

There are multiple strains of CIV known as canine flu.  The two currently experienced in the US are H3N5 and H3N2.  The H3N2 has been seen in 40 states, most common in Colorado, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania.  The states of Georgia and Texas have reported frequent cases as well. Numbers infected across the country have been in the thousands.

Ghillie (Behnke) (1)

Vaccinations on the market currently do not completely prevent the virus but can reduce the severity and duration of the infection thereby reducing the spread of CIV.  Veterinarians can help you identify the strains in your area and suggest vaccines.  Wildrose has required inoculations for all dogs traveling across state lines for the last year as a precaution and presently all dogs on premises are inoculated.  Our greatest risk is dogs arriving in for training or attending workshops so the inoculation is required.

Signs and Symptoms

The infected dog will experience coughing, sneezing, fever, lethargy, nasal discharge and possibly reduced appetite.  Interestingly, about 20% of the dogs infected with the virus show no signs but they may still spread the virus.


CIV is transmitted through respiratory droplets discharged when the infected dog coughs, sneezes or even breathes.  The infected range of transmission is only a few feet but it may remain contagious on surfaces, bowls, bumpers, drinking water buckets, grooming equipment, leashes or even on your hands, body, or trousers.  This risk may exist for up to 48 hours. The good news is that the virus is easy to kill with common disinfectants and thorough cleaning.


The best prevention is the CIV vaccine.  The vaccine is a killed virus so it will not give ok indian nose in grass coloredyour dog the flu and humans cannot catch this type of flu.  Antibiotics will not help as they are only effective against bacterial infections.  The vaccine will build your dog’s immune system to lessen the effects.


The Vaccine inoculations are given in two doses three to four weeks apart followed by a booster annually.  The type of vaccine is dependent upon the area your dog resides and where you travel.  Consult a veterinarian for details.



Puppies are certainly susceptible to the dangers of CIV.  Inoculations are not given to pups less than 4 months of age so preventing contact with effected dogs is the only measure that can be taken.  Avoid public areas where dogs frequent and contact with unknown dogs.  Be careful to clean and sterilize commonly used items between dogs.



Information obtained from the AKC Breeder written by Sue M. Copeland and Greater Swiss Dog Club of America.



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Wildrose Trainer Profile Series: Steven Lucius, Senior Trainer

By: Dr. Ben McClelland

In his comprehensive training book, Sporting Dog and Retriever Training The Wildrose 


Way, Mike Stewart discusses the art of canine leadership, pointing out “three parts to becoming an effective, positive leader: communication with the dog, understanding canine behavior, and becoming a problem solver” (39-40). The trainers on the Wildrose staff embody those essential elements, and no one more so than Steven Lucius.

Senior trainer at Wildrose, Steven Lucius, began as a part-time kennel assistant in 2008 when he was an undergraduate student at Ole Miss. He got his first dog when he was a junior and, after work, followed Mike around, observing how he trained dogs. Then he would apply those techniques to training his dog. Steven wasn’t the first Lucius to work at the kennel. His brother, Charlie, worked at Wildrose during his college years. The Lucius brothers hail from Marietta, Georgia, and both earned degrees in marketing from the University.

In 2010 Steven was promoted to training apprentice, shadowing Mike and working directly with Mike’s string of started and finished dogs. At the time Mike remarked that he would invest a great deal of time developing Steven’s training skills and he hoped that Steven would stay at least five years on the job. On June 1, 2011, Steven was promoted to assistant trainer working with the gundog and adventure dog training programs. Today—more than seven years after his apprenticeship began—senior trainer Steven coordinates all training operations at the Oxford facility, which includes gundogs, adventurers, and obedience dogs. Therefore, over these years, not only has Steven returned a remarkable dividend on Mike’s investment, but he has also has made an enviable transition from holding a job as a dog trainer to developing it as a career.

Steven recalls a day about five years ago, as he realized that his work was evolving, he called his father and said, “I enjoy getting up every day and going to work.” His father replied that ninety percent of American workers wished that they could say the same and that Steven was fortunate to have found such meaningful work.

On June 3, 2017, Steven added even more meaning to his life by marrying his lifelong partner, Schuyler Corderman, in Fredericksburg, Virginia. They live in Oxford, near Wildrose Kennels. Schulyer is completing a second undergraduate degree in education at the University of Mississippi. The couple enjoys watching collegiate sports and has an active home life.

Moreover, Steven has kennels at home and, in addition to housing his personal dogs, he is able to bring problem dogs to a quieter environment, enabling him to address their needs. Of course, Steven is an avid hunter, so his avocation is closely related to his vocation.

I began my trainer apprenticeship at Wildrose in 2011, just as Steven was working with Mike, and even after that year, I have continued to participate weekly with Steven and the other trainers in Group Work activities. Every Wednesday a trainer sets up a specific, multiple-step, training activity and, working alongside each other, the trainers work each of their client dogs through the activity. Local members of the Wildrose family, as well as anyone visiting with a dog, are welcome to join in the group activity. For me, of course, working in a group of trainers and dogs has given me many opportunities over the years to challenge my dogs’ skills in novel training scenarios with various stimuli and distractions. I also enjoy the camaraderie, much as anyone who attends a Wildrose workshop does.

Steven, of course, uses the group work similarly, judging his client dogs’ progress as developing gundogs and comparing them to other dogs’ work. However, as senior trainer, he finds another value in the group work activity. He and the other trainers can view each other’s handling skills and make constructive observations to each other. The perspective of an outside observer enables one to gain new insight for skill development.

Fellow Trainer Danielle Drewrey has been the beneficiary of Steven’s observations. She said, “Steven is always willing to help a trainer who is having an issue with a dog in training and can lighten things up because he can find humor in a situation. He helped me a lot when I was learning to train. Because he is a patient and methodical trainer, Steven doesn’t try to find a ‘quick fix.’ He takes time to really get to know the dog find a balanced way to resolve an issue.”

From her observations Trainer Bess Bruton agrees. “As a trainer, Steven is considerate, patient, quiet, composed, and successfully reads the dog. . .  its personality, its sensitivity level, and its knowledge level. This keenness lets Steven adjust his training program to fit each individual dog.” Bess says that she emulates the qualities that she has observed in and learned from Steven, concluding, “his success in turning out well-trained dogs is proof of his quiet demeanor, consistency dedication, and love for our canine companions.”

By attending group training, I observed another aspect of Steven’s training technique. As we begin a round of group work, the trainers gather with their dogs in the parking lot near the client-dog kennel. Each dog sits at heel as we wait for everyone to join in. On several occasions while waiting, I observed Steven focusing intently on developing and maintaining eye contact with his dog. When I asked him about this practice, he said, “It’s how we can both read each other,” mentioning the popular metaphor of “the eyes being the window of the soul,” meaning that a trainer can really connect emotionally and physically with the essence of the dog through sustained eye contact.

Mike’s maxim, “Own the Eyes,” enabling direct communication with the dog correlates with this (Stewart 75). Steven added that dogs’ attention span and eye contact vary; some take readily to making eye contact and giving full attention to the trainer, while others require more time and repeated practice to be able to hold eye contact for as long as three to ten seconds. Every command from the handler begins with establishing eye contact and saying the dog’s name, so this practice is an essential foundation to training success. Being consistent in this practice lets the dog understand that it doesn’t go anywhere to begin fun activities in the field until it exhibits good eye contact. Danielle Drewrey also noted that this practice was part of Steven’s ability to connect and really build a relationship with each dog that he trains.

Associate Trainer Erin Davis concurs with Danielle, calling Steven “a true asset to the Wildrose training team.” One of Erin’s favorite things about working alongside Steven, she said, “is watching his gift for reading dogs and his ability to capture their individual motivators. Additionally, I appreciate his insight on troubleshooting and willingness towards idea sharing. While he doesn’t always say much, what he does say has weight. He may not converse at a loud volume, but his choice of words is filled with honesty, realism, and encouragement.”

To succeed as a trainer Steven believes that one must have a balance, must maintain flexibility between dedication and patience. The trainer must consistently come to work every day with his dogs. And a trainer must be patient because the skill level and pace at which each dog learns differ. Moreover, dogs have varying levels of energy. Some are upbeat and others are lethargic, so the trainer must adapt his energy level accordingly.

Steven finds satisfaction in seeing young dogs grow and improve, and in seeing older, trained dogs return, so that he can see what they have retained from their previous training.

Routinely, Steven trains twelve client dogs at a time. In addition, he has three personal dogs: Archer (Widgeon x Purdy), Ivy (Murphy x Pinny), and Moe a descendant of Archer. Six-year-old Archer, who comes from Angus’ lineage, hunts ducks and upland birds, including going on the annual Wildrose pheasant stint in North Dakota. Steven also keeps pups from Archer to train and send out as started dogs.

Even as he consistently works through all steps in the gundog program, Steven views two points of development as crucial. The first is a decisive moment and the second is a harbinger of the dog’s future effectiveness in the field. First, the steps in the process from hold conditioning through back casting is a crunch time for the dog, with the later steps in the training process rolling on more easily from then on. Casting exercises require time and patience. Mike writes, “You need to run back casts, pull/push, rotational backs, and stop-to-the-whistle backs for quite some time—a minimum of 30 days—to ensure that the dog fully understands the back command before introducing left and right hand signals (Stewart 142).

Second, Steven most enjoys when a dog reaches a level of skill where Steven is able to work with birds, shooting over dog, and engaging in transitional drills so that he can see how the dog is prepared to handle important aspects of hunting situations. Here again, Steven takes the time for the dog to run these exercises successfully. Erin Davis said, “Steven typically works alone with an individual dog in areas off the beaten path. This tactic allows him to clearly focus on the dog and provide quick appreciation for the dog’s successes. His dedication to controlling the dog’s environment through decreased distractions undoubtedly allows him to provide dogs with more complexity in training scenarios leading to his positive outcomes in training.”

Steven builds lasting relationships with clients. He begins by communicating with owners every month through two phone calls and photo, plus text messages. Moreover, he asks each client dog’s owner to visit with him and the dog midway during the seven-month training period and at the end. Both visits give the owner a chance to work with the dog, going beyond basic obedience training to retrieving and handling the dog in the field. The midway visit enables to owner to see what progress the dog has made. By that point most likely the dog has completed hold conditioning and is engaged in casting work. The final visit lets the owner see the finished product: the dog’s development from a pup to a started gundog.

Erin Davis expresses the sentiments of many who know Steven as a trainer, “His wealth of practical field experience is evident in the way he prepares his pups correctly from the start. The relationship he forms with each pup allows each one to freely look to him with trust as a leader and teammate. He’s a quiet handler who gives clear direction, fair redirection, and sufficient praise from the yard to the field. These leadership features are evident in his consistent production of confident dogs who are biddable, athletic, and critical thinkers.”

Work Cited

Mike Stewart, Sporting Dog and Retriever Training The Wildrose Way, New York: Universe Publishing, 2012.

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Wildrose Carolinas

Wildrose CarolinasWildrose Carolinas is excited to have its first entry in the Wildrose Journal.  Plans are being finalized for our official opening and once they are final, we will be sure to share them with all of the Wildrose Pack.  We expect to be open in early June and look forward to hosting as many of you as possible to our location for what we think will be another unique experience for you and your dogs.  Stay tuned for more soon!!!
Wildrose Carolinas is teaming up with the Orvis retail location in Charlotte for an “Orivs Day” focused on dogs.  Mark your calendars and plan to come to the Orvis store in Charlotte (address below) and bring your dogs along.  The date is Sunday, April 22, 2018 from 12 pm EST until 6 pm, EST.  Wildrose Carolinas will be on site from 12 until 6 pm with several pups and dogs of all ages.  We will have many training items on display and for sale.  Kirk Parker along with Shawn Yates, Head trainer and manager of Wildrose Carolinas and Kim Yates, retail and healthcare associate will be demonstrating some foundational aspects of the Wildrose Way.  At 3 pm, Shawn Yates will give a presentation on key tenets and training

Shawn Yates

tips of the Wildrose Way and the Gentleman’s Gundog and Adventure Dog. Kim Yates will share some healthcare tips for your dogs as well.  We will also have a site plan for the Wildrose Carolinas facility.

Save the date and plan to come by for a visit, learn more about the Wildrose Carolinas facility plans and pick up training supplies you might need. Bring your dog along as well and help us illustrate some “pack leadership.”  According to the folks at the Orvis store, “the more the merrier.”  If we have not had the pleasure of meeting you, we look forward to meeting you and discussing all of our exciting plans for extending the Wildrose experience to the East Coast.
Sunday, April 22, 2018
12 PM until 6 PM
Orvis Charlotte
To register for Orvis event –
We hope to see you there.  Until next time….
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Bacon Brown Sugar Brussel Sprouts

Recipe submitted by Mindy Ladner: Wildrose Retail Associate



  • 16oz brussel sprouts
  • 4-6 slices applewood smoked bacon
  • 1-2 Tbsp butter
  • 2-3 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • salt & pepper


Trim stems on brussel sprouts and remove any damaged outer leaves, then slice them in half. If sprouts are larger in size, they can be quartered. Set aside.

In a large non-stick skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and leave enough rendered fat to coat the bottom of skillet.

mindy-2016With the skillet over medium heat, place your sprouts in with the flat, cut side down. Season with salt and pepper. Let them cook undisturbed until they get browned and caramelized.  Then stir them and continue to cook med-low heat until cooked through.

Add butter to skillet and let melt.  Stir the butter to coat brussel sprouts.

Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top and stir to distribute.  Let the sugar melt then stir again.

Taste to check salt and pepper.  Add accordingly.


Note from the chef: These make a fantastic side that pairs with almost any protein.  If you aren’t a big fan of Brussel sprouts, try them this way. I didn’t care for them until I started cooking them like this. Now they are one of my favorite sides.

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Bacon Wrapped Pheasant

Recipe by: Steven Lucius
Senior Trainer

Pheasant breastsIMG_2550
Thick cut bacon (2 slices per pheasant breast)

Once the meat is cleaned, filet the meat off the breast bone

Cute the breast into 1” portions (clean & rinse meat one last time)

Wrap each portion in one piece of uncooked thick cut bacon – insert toothpick if needed

Heat Green Egg to 350 degrees

Place pheasant wrapped bacon on grill

After 3 minutes flip the pheasant (flip a total of 5 times for 15 minutes)

When bacon is cooked, your meal is ready!

Serve with greens

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The New Arrival

By: Danielle Drewrey
Wildrose Trainer II

At Wildrose we strive to properly prepare our clients for the integration of their puppy to their current family lifestyle.  The list of what to do and perhaps what not to do is rather extensive. Similarly let’s consider how to properly introduce a newborn or toddler to our canine pack. After attending the Wildrose puppy seminar, some say they feel more prepared to bring their puppy home than they were when they brought their newborn home.  What about grandparents or friends expecting visitation from a newborn or a toddler, the same circumstances exist…an odd intrusion on your dog’s stable family pack.  Expecting my own human “puppy” very soon, I reached out to other Wildrose pack members and gathered a list of ‘What To Do’s’ when introducing a baby to meet and coexist with our canine companion(s).

Bringing home a baby will not only rock your world but Fido’s as well.  It is your responsibility to properly prepare Fido for the new addition.  Your pack is growing and all members need to know their place in the pack order. Dogs thrive in an environment with structure, routine, stability and consistency, all of which will be rattled once the baby arrives.

sadie and baby

WR Sadie (Murphy X Brooke)   Owners: The Youngs

The preparation of getting Fido ready for the baby to come home begins long before the baby arrives.  Teaching Fido basic obedience will be the best giftyou can give yourself and your dog in the future months and years to come.  A tip from Anna Swinney, Retail Manager of Wildrose Oxford is to carry around a baby doll a few weeks
before the baby comes home in order for Fido to get used to the new routine and presence of a smaller person.  Something you might notice is Fido’s awareness of the pregnancy, this will aid in the transition of the new addition as well.

Skills like place, crate training, tie out and a proper exercise routine are going to be your saving grace.  Place training is essential to avoid mishaps such as knocking the child over, retrieving the child’s toys or even steeling the pacifier.  Establish a special place to feed the dog where the child has no access, in the unlikely event the dog becomes possessive of their food.  Wildrose never recommends chew toys, but if the dog does have possessions or is given treats for dental care ensure the child has no opportunity to interfere. When traveling with the infant and the dog(s) as always, we recommend the

storm and baby adventure

WR Storm (Deke X Jet) Owners: The Armisteads

dog being secured to prevent the animal becoming a flying object in case of an impact. A harness attached to a seat belt or having the dog in a travel crate is always recommended, especially with a child on board.

For more information on obedience training, see our You Tube and Facebook training videos (search “Wildrose Kennels”) on the specifics of teaching your pup these skills.  Consistency and routine are a huge factor that will help ease the transition for Fido once the baby arrives.  For example, if you have been working Fido in the morning, continue working him in the morning once the baby arrives. Feeding and relief schedules should be maintained as always.

Now that you have equipped Fido with the necessary skills of obedience, you are ready for the baby to come.  Once the newborn arrives the most common piece of advice new parents are given is to bring a blanket or hat home that the baby has been wearing so Fido can become familiar with the new scent.

Jen Magnusson of Blixt & Co., owner of four Wildrose labs, recently brought Baby Em home to her pack, and provided valuable tips about the experience:

The best way to integrate the newest pack member was to:

1st Bring a blanket home with the baby’s scent on it for all the pups in the home to become familiar with.

2nd One at a time, introduce the baby in a quiet setting to each dog in the home.

3rd Take a pack walk with the baby and all pack members living in the home.

4th After the walk, let each dog come over and sit with you and the baby.

During this process of introducing the newborn to the pack Jen notes that the most important skill to practice is for you (the handler and pack leader) to be relaxed and remain under control during the introduction. If you are stressed and nervous during the introductions, your pack members will be as well.

Jen has experienced that as the baby grows, she will learn to steer clear of wagging tails along with learning how to be gentle with the dogs.  She explains, “The hardest part is that she is so comfortable with our dogs that I worry she will run into a dog that needs more space than she is accustomed to.”

The path to introducing a baby to the pack may be varied depending on your dog’s personality.  Just remember YOU are the pack leader and it is your responsibility to set the tone of introducing the newest addition in the best way possible.  Have a plan and remember Wildrose Law number 18, “Train, don’t test- If the fundamental skills are not present the dog will fail.”

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When Dogs Help Teach: Whitney Drewrey’s Therapy Dog Project at Lafayette Upper Elementary School, Oxford, MS 

By Drs. Ben W. McClelland and Susan S. McClelland

At 8:00 a.m. on a recent Monday, I visited Whitney Drewrey’s self-contained, special education 3rd-5th-grade classroom at Lafayette County Upper Elementary School, where seventeen students eagerly wait for reading circle to begin. As in most elementary classrooms, the students are moving about, chatting with classmates, and some sit quietly. Unlike the typical classroom, these students present various academic, social, and behavioral challenges that can coincide with severe and cognitive disabilities. Thus, two full-time and one part-time teaching assistants help out.

reading to foxy with danielleEntering the classroom, I had company, because twice monthly on Monday mornings Whitney’s daughter-in-law, Danielle Drewrey, brings a Wildrose Therapy Dog or two to the reading circle. On this day Foxy, two-year-old yellow Labrador, accompanied Danielle. And Dr. Scott Wilson joined in with his dog, Sterling, also Wildrose Therapy Dog.

Danielle, a Wildrose Kennels trainer, is also the training coordinator for Wildrose Service Companions. Scott is the Wildrose Service Companions Director. They have been spearheading the use of service dog companions in a number of settings, including nursing homes, courtrooms, and schools.

Teacher Whitney Drewrey began at Lafayette Schools this year and, having had prior experience with therapy dogs in a school setting, she initiated this therapy dog project at the beginning of the school year. So, when I visited the classroom, everyone—students, teachers, trainers, and dogs—knew the routine for the reading circle, where the students sat on overstuffed chairs facing the teacher and Danielle, as well as Foxy, who was lying down intently watching the students. Scott and Sterling stood directly behind Danielle and Foxy. Whitney began by reading a page of The Berenstain Bears to the class. Then, she turned to a student to continue the reading. The student read to Foxy, who listened attentively.

As the reading circle activity continued, Whitney would read another page from the book and then call on another student to read another page to Foxy, who continued to remain patient and still, no distraction whatsoever. Quite the contrary, Foxy was attentive and focused throughout the activity until everyone had a chance to read to her. Because the focus of the activity was so limited to the task of one person reading aloud at a time and because it shifted from person to person, all of the students listened with rapt attention, too. Everyone was engaged in reading and listening.

“Why,” I asked Whitney, “did each student read to Foxy?”

Whitney explained “Students, who lack confidence because they are behind a grade level or more in reading fluency and comprehension, feel at ease as they read to a dog that listens attentively without judgment. The dog is not going to make fun of them for reading a “baby” book as some of their peers might call it.”  This reading success, she said, builds the students’ confidence in reading out loud. If a child will find a love for reading, they will want to read more, and ultimately increase the fluency and comprehension component of their reading.

Educational research concurs with Whitney’s assessment of the value of her students’ reading to Foxy. A study revealed that the activity of students reading to a dog “targeted the students’ intrinsic motivation (i.e., the students wanted to read to the dog) and their self-efficacy (i.e., belief they could perform better each time they read). . . [which] can increase pride (Shernoff, Knauth, & Makris, 2000).

After Whitney and her students had finished reading the book, the students got their reward: taking turns, each one walked Foxy or Sterling down the school hallway. During this part of the activity, students lined up for their turn. Their excitement bubbled over in smiles and giggles.

Danielle held Foxy on a lead and when a student approached, Danielle reminded her or him to greet Foxy and pet her under her chin. Then, Danielle helped the student get into the correct position to walk the dog, handing the student walker another lead. Each student walker first gave Foxy the command, “sit,” followed by the command “heel” and off all three went walking down the school hallway. Scott and Sterling did the same, helping student walkers lead Sterling down another hallway. Both dogs, having been trained for this exercise, responded calmly with wagging tails to the commands and heeled alongside the student walker and the handler. The looks on the student walkers’ faces indicated joy, anxiety, giddiness, or serene task mastery, depending on the various students’ experiences. Regardless, at the end of the walk, each student told the dog to sit, thanked the dog, and appeared to me to have had a good experience—and for many a challenging one.

Meanwhile, back in the classroom, the awaiting students watched the dogs, handlers, and classmate walkers go down the hallway and disappear, soon to return again for a new walker’s turn.

walking in hall with foxy

After the visit Danielle said, “This activity gives the students life lessons, learning how to approach a dog, pet it under the neck, and give it commands, such as ‘sit’ and ‘heel.’ Doing this activity, the students learn patience and feel the empowerment and responsibility of directing the dog.” Educational research supports this observation. From their study Harris and Sholtis report, “close relationships with companion animals may increase children’s self-esteem, encourage self-control and autonomy, and reduce alienation” (Harris & Sholtis).

Danielle and Whitney plan to incorporate incentive plans into the program in the next stage and also incorporate other subject areas, like math. For example, to incorporate money, Whitney already has an activity where she draws a circle on a student’s desk with a dry erase marker and pours a pile of coins on their desk. She calls out coins to identify first then begins to call out amounts of money for the students to make using the available coins and drag into the circle on their desk to be checked before moving on. Danielle can use Foxy as an incentive in this lesson. If a student can first identify all of their coins they will get to walk Foxy. If they can get 3 of the 5 questions correct they can do a retrieve with Foxy. If they can write their own question, present it to a peer and help them answer it they can walk Foxy independently. Because, Whitney knows that money identification is a skill they can all perform, she knows they will all get to, at the very least, walk Foxy. As more objectives are mastered in class more lessons with Foxy are gained.

IMG_4199Whitney also pointed out that Danielle’s presence is another significant part of the classroom social environment. She is another teacher to whom the children can relate. Because Danielle has been expecting a baby this year, the students have been eager to keep up with her and her baby’s development. The students are comfortable with her and feel she is an important  part of their class. Last fall a boy called her from class on a phone and invited her to the class’s Pumpkin Patch activity, where


Whitney had set up activities on the school’s practice football field, including a four-wheeler pulling a hay wagon, with kids, Danielle, and dog aboard. Afterwards, Danielle, Fawn, and some parents watched as the students picked pumpkins and painted them. This day built up the social relations of the class with Danielle and the service dogs.

In Whitney’s classroom two students within the autism spectrum have experienced petting fawnsubstantial benefits this year from engaging with Wildrose Therapy Dogs, Fawn and Foxy. As an example, Whitney said, “At the beginning of the school year one student paid no attention to the dog’s presence.  Over time, he began to acknowledge the dog. Now he focuses on the dog and is eager to walk the dog, with a trainer helping. This activity is calming, enabling him to slow down and give commands, such as ‘heel,’ to the dog.” As Harris and Sholtis report, “For the most part, children with autism are accustomed to having others take care of them; the role switch that occurs as they care for their dog is educational and has the potential to develop empathy, a trait often in need of strengthening in children with autism because they have difficulty keeping other perspectives in mind” (Harris & Sholtis).

For Whitney Drewrey’s students with multiple disabilities and areas of need, the therapy dog project for the reading circle produced many and varied benefits. In the book-reading process the dog’s presence focuses the students’ attention and motivates them to engage in the academic activity. Walking the dog enables students’ physical, tactile stimulation and motivates them to move around, thus improving muscle development. Moreover, students practiced new social skill development and engaged differently in learning activities in an emotionally receptive environment. Finally, in interacting with the therapy dog, students felt ownership and responsibility, developing their self-confidence and social skills.


Harris, Kathleen I. & Stephanie D. Sholtis, “Companion Angels on a Leash: Welcoming Service Dogs Into Classroom Communities for Children With Autism.” Childhood Education, Volume 92, 2016 – Issue 4.


Shernoff, D. J., Knauth, S., & Makris, E. (2000). The quality of classroom experiences. In M. Csikszentmihalyi & B. Schneider, Becoming adult: How teenagers prepare for the world of work. New York: Basic Books, as cited in: Analysis of an Animal-Assisted Reading Intervention for Young Adolescents with Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities. By: Bassette, Laura A., Taber-Doughty, Teresa, Research in Middle Level Education Online, 19404476, 2016, Vol. 39, Issue 3.


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Wild Recipes: Pheasant with Mushroom Sauce

Recipe by:
Kelly Hargrove
6-8 breasts
1/2cup chicken broth
1 Tbs worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 4oz can sliced mushrooms
1 small can green chilies
Place breasts in crock pot.  Mix remaining ingredients together and pour over breasts.  Cook on low for 6-7 hours. Serve over brown rice.
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A Boy and His Dog

A Boy and His Dog: Nathan Swinney and Wildrose Kim

By: Dr. Ben McClelland

Photo by Katie Behnke

Popular literature is filled with poignant stories featuring an adventurous boy and his faithful four-legged companion. Wildrose has its own version of this tale involving two members of our family: Nathan and Kim. Our story begins a while ago.

Kim (Silversnipe Reformer) came to Wildrose as a British field trial winner, possessing a calm demeanor to go with her excellent gundog skill set. As a dam, she produced several outstanding litters of pups. During her productive time here, she also stayed sharp as a gundog, going afield with staff members, as do all of our sires and dams.

When Facilities Manager Clint Swinney hired on the staff, he began hunting with Kim, taking her to his home for each season, where his wife, Anna, and their three-year-old son, Nathan got well acquainted with her. Precocious Nathan took a special interest in Kim on these visits, hanging out with her as much as he could. Their bonding began here, even though he was just a tadpole and Kim was his dad’s hunting dog.

Anna Swinney, Wildrose Retail Manager, often brought Nathan with her to our onsite retail store, whereupon he would seek out Kim, walking her around the grounds and bringing her into the store to cuddle with. Everyone could see something special developing in their relationship together. Nathan became excited every time he could come to the kennel and Kim perked up each time he came for her. Joyful in their companionship, they were a joy to behold.

After Kim’s final litter in June, the Swinneys brought Kim home to stay. Always when Wildrose sires or dams retire, Mike and Cathy Stewart carefully select loving homes for their retirement. The Swinney home was the obvious choice for Kim. As Nathan embraced Kim, his parents told him that she would be his dog—his very own dog. Instinctively, Nathan, who was six years old, assumed the role of pack leader. Not only did he issue commands, which she obeyed to a tee, but he also took over the daily chores of feeding and caring for her, including giving her meds. What’s even better is that now Kim is his hunting dog. On his outdoor adventures Nathan has his BB gun in hand and Kim heeling at his side.

Photo by Katie Behnke

Nathan underscores the benefit of having a companion, saying, “Now that Kim is my dog, I have someone to go hunting with me.” If ever a father’s pride shows, it’s in the look on Clint’s face as he tells about this keen relationship that his son has developed with his dog.

Not only did Nathan take immediately to Kim, but she naturally found in him her favorite human. In the Swinney home and out, Kim looks to Nathan as the pack leader. No matter who gives her a command, she looks to Nathan for affirmation before obeying. If Nathan leaves her sight, she watches till he returns again.

Anna says, “Nathan finds joy and purpose in the mundane tasks of feeding and caring for Kim, and he spends his days seeking out more adventures for them to have, be it bird hunting in the yard with his BB gun, or performing retrieves with her to keep her in shape. Every day with Kim is an adventure to him.”

Anna was raised in a home where dog-human relationships are special—her mother is Rachel Thorton, DAD dog trainer extraordinaire—and she’s read a lot of stories of beloved boy-dog duos, such as Travis and Ol’ Yeller, Billy Coleman and his redbones, and Timmy and Lassie. Highlighting the special love story that she witnesses daily in her own home, Anna says, “Somewhere, right near the top of that list, you’d see Nathan and Kim.”

Anna sums up the meaning of their relationship for Kim this way, “Kim found joy and fulfillment in running field trials in the U.K., and loved her life at Wildrose, but the life of retirement where she plays the role of Nathan’s companion has proved to be her greatest adventure of all.”

When Nathan and Kim cozy up on the floor and he reads to her, their contentment is evident. What could be more fulfilling for a boy than to live in a loving family and have a dog of his own—a dog who has found her forever home and her heart’s content.

Gallery: Nathan and Kim (photos by Katie Behnke)

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Delivery to Hand

By: Mike Stewart

Photo by Chris Dickinson

The skill of bringing a bird back, preferably uneaten, delivering it to hand, is a core expectation for any well-trained retriever.  Mouthing a bird, plucking feathers, repeatedly dropping the bird on the return, blinking (refusing to pick up the bird momentarily) or running about, frolicking with the bird are all behaviors indicative of a dog inadequately trained for delivery to hand.

Developing natural delivery to hand is not difficult with patience and following the structure of the Wildrose Way of hold conditioning without the use of force-fetch techniques.  These steps are clearly described in our training book, Sporting Dogs and Retriever Training, the Wildrose Way ( and on our Basic Gundog Training DVD.  Our discussion in this issue centers on how to avoid problems associated with poor delivers.  “An ounce of prevention” so to speak!

Contributors to Poor Delivery

  1. Obviously allowing young dogs or pups to play with bumpers or birds is out of the question. Chew toys, fiber bones, chewing balls or any non-consumable item that may promote mouthing should be avoided.  Remember, your pup is always in training.  Think about what’s being reinforced.
  2. The antiquated practice of providing the dog with body parts of birds (heads, intestines, slivers of flesh, wings) as a reward and to build birdiness should not be adopted if you expect clean delivery of an undamaged bird.
  3. Hunting a pup too early and allowing him/her to encounter fresh game in an uncontrolled environment provides too many opportunities for things to go wrong with too little potential benefit. Live birds may intimidate the pup.  The pup gets overstimulated and excited resulting in mouthing, plucking, frolicking or even consuming a small bird like a dove or quail.  The young dog’s exposure to birds should occur after hold conditioning and in a controlled situation.  No hunting prior to 12 to 14 months of age and before completing an entire basic gundog training program.  Wildrose Law #4:  Don’t condition in a problem that must be trained out later.
  4. In training, randomly incorporate feather-laced bumpers to introduce feathers.  If the pup blinks or picks the feathers, discontinue the lesson and return to plain firehose or canvas bumpers.  Wait until the hold process is complete to revisit introducing feathers.  (Note:  Feathered bumpers and cold game are included in the hold conditioning process).
  5. Never chase a pup with an object in his mouth. The practice will promote possessiveness and awaken dysfunctional prey instincts.  If a pup initiates a game of keep away on a retrieve, quietly walk away (low stimulus) and call the pup to heel.  The human tendency is to loudly yell commands that will be ignored and move toward the youngster… wrong!  That will surely be perceived as “game on” and the adolescent will win.
  6. If a pup persists on mouthing smaller training bumpers, do not continue the lessons. Think about what you are conditioning.  Repeating any behavior with a dog can result in entrenching that very behavior to the point of habit, good or bad. If signs of mouthing present themselves:
    1. Use canvas or firehose bumpers. Avoid plastic.
    2. Enlarge the size of the bumpers.
    3. Remove feathers.
    4. Avoid small balls commonly used in training.
    5. Do not expose the dog to cold game until the problem is corrected.
    6. Large bumpers or deadfowl training dummies can be used in deep water. In some cases the dog swimming reduces their tendency to chew.
    7. Reduce stimuli in training.
  7. As mentioned, mouthing and dropping can be a result of too much stimuli in training promoting over excitement, competitiveness, or impatience.  To correct delivery problems, slow the training sessions.  Work alone with no other dogs about.  Pace the tempo of the sessions and don’t repeat failures.  Revisit a known behavior where success may be achieved.  Simplify and repeat success.

    Steven demonstrating Hold Conditioning.






    1. Do not begin hold conditioning too early. The youngster should have all adult teeth in, be enthusiastic about retrieving and be mentally developed to the point of understanding the process.  That puts the dog at 7 months plus. At Wildrose we are usually working on hold when the dog is about 8 months of age.  Make a mistake at this point and our prospect could lose interest and enthusiasm in picking anything up.  The restart then becomes a challenge.  We want to see a passion for the retrieve
      before the hold process begins.
    2. If there is a problem in delivery before this point in the pup’s progression, stop retrieving. Don’t reinforce a problem. When working on retrieves with a young pup, do not allow them to drop at delivery. Get the bumper in hand. Sitting and presenting the bumper to hand will be developed later during hold conditioning.
    3. Once hold begins, stop all retrieving until the process is complete.
    4. Do not skip steps in the process. Once the sequence begins, complete every step.  Don’t just “assume” that the skill is mastered
  8. After hold conditioning, use only medium-size, clean birds. Avoid dove and quail—too small.  Geese, rooster pheasants or large mallards—too large.  The best birds for beginners:
    1. Pigeon
    2. Teal
    3. Wood duck
    4. Diver ducks
    5. Spoonbill ducks
    6. Chukkar partridge
    7. Hen pheasant

There will be time for the big birds. Initially, we want to condition in a fast, clean pick of the bird and a prompt return without dropping.  Remember Wildrose Law #5 – Make haste slowly.

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