July 2015 Newsletter

President:  Donald Flanagan

1st VP:      Rafael Aguilar

2nd VP:     Trevor Niarchos

Treasurer: Colleen Scruggs

Secretary: Steve Looser

Board Members:

Pam Felgenhauer
Ed Marr
Kenn Scruggs
Mary Sarmiento

From the archives: Mike Moran's crew in Oregon, circa October 2011

Calendar of Events

General Membership and Board Meeting
Wednesday, August 12, 7:00 PM
Animal Medical Center
600 Broadway, El Cajon

August Training Day
Saturday, August 22, 7:30 AM
Prado Recreation Dog Park, Chino Hills, CA

News and Notes

The Changes Made to the Fall Classic, the Reasons Why the Changes Were Made, and Plans for the Future

The 29th Fall Classic was held November 1st and 2nd 2014, outside Holtville in the Imperial Valley.  The event was coordinated by Randy Domingos and Joel Vexler who, combined, volunteered over 40 hours in preparation for the event. Pat Harris secured an excellent location, an alfalfa field far from traffic with a spot for camping on Baja Farms property. The event was promoted by several emails, and all members were encouraged to enter. One of the things that members have enjoyed over the years is camping overnight, and everyone was welcome to do so.

The historical date for the Fall Classic is around the first week of November, and the event was held on that same weekend this past Fall. In the early days there were two similar events: the Fall Classic in November, and the Spring Fling. As interest waned, the Spring Fling became a Shoot to Retrieve. 

The Fall Classic is the San Diego Sporting Dog Club's most important event. Itís the only event in which a dog is judged and graded on its abilities and performance.  Itís also the most expensive event we put on.  We honor our winners with trophies at our Banquet; a porta potty is rented; other expenses related to the event total several hundred dollars.  The entry fee is based on our bird costs, which does not cover expenses.  We lowered the entry fee for 2014 from $45 to $40 to encourage entry. The club covered the additional costs to encourage members to enter.  Thus, the importance of our fund raising activities such as the snake clinic and raffles to counter the financial loss.

A Shoot to Retrieve typically draws 17 to 20 members running up to 25 dogs. The 2014 Fall Classic had 9 members enter 15 dogs. We presented awards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in all stakes. The 2014 entries consisted of 3 dogs in Companion Pointer, 2 dogs in Companion Flusher, 3 dogs in the Flushing Dog Stake, 4 dogs in the Pointing Dog Stake, 2 Pointing Puppies and 1 Flushing Puppy.  We actually had an above average puppy turn out for the event. 

Member interest in the event has been a problem for a long time. There was no event between 2003 and 2007.  Credit goes to Mary Sarmiento, who, as President in 2008, resurrected the event.  We had no event in 2009, a well-attended overnight event in Holtville in 2011, and our one-day event in 2013 at the now-closed La Posta training area had a decent turn out. 

At the December 2014 SDSDC meeting, the Fall Classic was discussed in detail and the Board of Directors determined that because of the importance of the event, changes should be made to improve the event and improve participation. The considerations were as follows:

The end-of-October/first-of-November timeframe brings with it a bunch of scheduling problems. We live in a desert, and the weather in September and October can be the hottest of the year. It was 96 in the Imperial Valley the week prior to the 2014 event. We had nice but very windy conditions on Saturday, Sunday got into the 80ís so we actually got lucky. Due to heat, rattlesnakes, and foxtails, training is limited over the summer months. And even though the DFW properties open in Jamul mid-September, most members donít tend to start really working their dogs until October or later, when conditions are safer.  Since the Fall Classic is a judged event, many members feel their dogs are rusty (and sometimes they are), and because they may not feel the dog will show its true talent, they tend not to enter. 

Conflicts of hunting interests are a big issue.  In California, duck, quail and chukar seasons open in October and go until the end of January. Turkey season is mid-November until mid-December.  Many members also hunt deer. Many members also travel out of state in October and November with their dogs for pheasant. Our retriever turnout for the Fall Classic has been limited due to duck hunting, because our duck hunters have to commit to the Fall Classic or give up an opportunity on being selected to hunt that day.

The club has attempted in the past to coordinate with members going out of state or to Mexico in order to find a free date to do the Fall Classic, but itís very difficult to make that happen with all the conflicting hunt schedules.  We also have members that belong to other clubs, and just like the SDSDC, they need to schedule events while the weather is good and bird season is in full swing.  Halloween is a major holiday and has had an effect on entries, depending upon which weekend works best for the event.

So, because of weather, conflicts of interest with the date, lack of turn out, and judging our dogs when they wonít be their best, it was felt that the judged event should be the final event of the season, and not the first event. 

Last year, the Board of Directors moved the Banquet from January to April.  There were lots of reasons to do this, but one of the main reasons was event scheduling. We have so few useable months due to the weather and limitations on the use of land that our season runs November through March. 

By opening up January to a fourth event, the Bird Dog Challenge, we felt we were able to add benefit to the club.  With that in mind it was felt that the best way to schedule the events would be to make them progressively more demanding, with the dogs being judged at the final event of the season, the "Fall" Classic (or SDSDC Classic, or Spring Fling, whichever name ended up being used).  

The preliminary thought on next yearís schedule was to hold a major training day in the Imperial Valley around the time of the historical Fall Classic date.  Those wishing to do a pheasant tune up will be able to sharpen up the dogs before the season opens.  Our first Shoot to Retrieve will be early December. The second Shoot to Retrieve will be in January, followed by the Bird Dog Challenge will be in February.  The Classic event would be in March, followed by the Banquet in April. No final dates have been selected though.  We feel that the new schedule will give everyone a chance to have their dog at its best, and since hunting season will be over, we hope that there will be fewer conflicts of interest, and thus, more participation.

The Board of Directors has for over a year been looking forward to 2017, the club's 50th anniversary.  With that in mind, and since next year is the 30th Fall Classic (with the 50th year approaching fast), we thought we would try to make the best of it for the club and its members by addressing the problems with the event, but respecting its tradition and spirit- and keeping the Classic as our marque event.

With this in mind, we have sent out a request to the membership asking for volunteers to organize the event, or to contribute ideas to make it better.  There have been some concerns raised by the date change. Some wonder if the club is abandoning the Fall Classic, or worry that the club is turning into something different.  Those who volunteer on the board want the Fall Classic to succeed and grow.  Thatís why we want you to know what has led to these changes.

Some things will NOT change- for example, the prohibition on the use of e-collars during the Classic. The fundamental rule of the Classic is dog control without the use of a collar.  The collar is a tool to get to this level.  This is an advanced level event.  You will not shoot over your dog; itís a dog control event, not a shooting event.  We have a great pool of talent at our training days to help members achieve this.  All dogs are encouraged to enter.  With the level of talent in the club to help you, all members have something to gain by entering.

There are several issues that we wish to resolve before the next Classic.  There have been suggestions that a review of the Retriever Stake rules is in order.  We hope the retriever members can come up with some suggestions to improve the rules, if indeed this is needed.

We run pointing dogs in a brace to judge backing.  We want to continue to do this, but how heavily should the scoring be weighted for backing? Often, the second dog is nowhere near the first, making it hard to judge this aspect of a pointer's ability.

Itís hard to find judges: we work them all day and itís a tough bit of work.  Itís also difficult to find a judge versed in both pointers and retrievers.  Should judges work both pointers and retrievers, or should we have separate judges for the pointer and retriever stakes?
The location is always an issue.  Itís nice to do it in San Diego County, but we lost the use of La Posta. DWF land in Jamul is problematic, with the DFWís fee issues and the upcoming lead ban.  Prado would work, but you have an additional gate fee, and itís just as far as the Imperial Valley for many.  The Imperial Valley is nice- we have real fields, but it is a drive.

We need to have the fairest rules possible, have the event at a time of year that most members will be able to attend and enter their dogs.  If the members feel that the event should still be held at the historical time of year, then we can discuss that. But we would also need creative, constructive input as to how to resolve the other issues mentioned above. Additionally, last year, all of our participants were volunteering when not running their dogs. More volunteers are needed in order to make it a more enjoyable event for all.

So we need input. Do you agree with the Board's decision to move this event to the Spring? Do you disagree? If so, what creative solutions can you think of to help offset some of the difficulties (especially low attendance) that we have encountered?

Who would like to coordinate the next event? Without volunteers to coordinate it, the event will not be possible, no matter what time of year it occurs!

If you have a constructive opinion please share it! If youíd like to volunteer to work on the event committee please let us know. We will discuss your feedback at our next meeting. It's not too late to reverse the decision to move the event to Spring, but we need to hear from you!

-Randy Domingos and Donald Flanagan

Club-Themed Swag

San Diego Sporting Dog Club tee shirts, hoodies and stickers with the new logo are still available.

Short sleeve shirts sizes Med. - XL are $17 each.  Currently we have;
Medium in black and in blaze orange.
Large in blaze orange.
XL in black and in blaze orange.

Short sleeve shirts sizes XXL - XXXL are $19 each.  Currently we have;
XXL in black, blue and blaze orange.
XXXL in blaze orange and in blue.

Long sleeve shirts sizes Med. - XL are $20 each. Currently we have;
Medium in sand and in blaze orange.
Large in sand and in ash grey.

Long sleeve shirts sizes XXL - XXXL are $22 each.  Currently we have;
XXL in sand.
XXXL in black.

Pull over hoodies are $26 each, sizes Med. - XL,
Medium in ash grey.
Large in ash grey.
XL in blaze orange.

Sizes 2XL and up are $30.
XXL in blaze orange, ash grey and in navy blue.
XXXl in navy blue.

Stickers are $2.50 each.

The Board of Directors and General Meeting Reports

Click here to view the minutes of the June meeting.

In the Field

The Many Benefits of Canine Warm Water Swimming!

Submitted by Mary Sarmiento

Swimming is not only fun for your dog it also does great things for him. The resistance of water makes your dog work harder while swimming than he has to work on land to walk or run. He will show improved muscular strength and tone, while working the cardio-vascular and respiratory systems. It may surprise you to know that for a dog, 1 minute of swimming is equivalent to about 4 minutes of running according to Dr. Arleigh Reynolds, a Veterinary Surgeon and Canine Physiologist.

Stronger, toned muscles help protect a dog against injuries sustained during normal exercise, such as running, chasing a ball or during more demanding exercise such as agility and flyball. In healthy dogs, swimming should be used in conjunction with other exercise on land to ensure the dogsí bones are kept strong by sustaining good bone density.

You should start slowly and increase the exercise over time. Donít be surprised if your dog only swims for a few minutes or has a few short bursts to begin with. Gradually, as their fitness improves, they will be able to swim longer with fewer rests.

When pool water is heated the dogsí muscles wonít take as long to ďwarm upĒ which helps relaxation and assists blood flow. The more they enjoy it, the harder they tend to work, and the more benefit they get from it.

Dogs with medical conditions that restrict or prohibit concussive exercise, swimming is very important to the dogs overall health and recovery. For example, in the case of any orthopedic surgery, itís important to build up the supporting muscles prior to the operation. However, walking and running are unsuitable forms of exercise, whereas swimming enables supported, non-concussive exercise to build the muscles.

After surgery, swimming provides weightless exercise to improve joint movement, increase circulation and build supporting muscle, where concussive exercise such as walking can possibly cause damage to the newly reconstructed area.

Many veterinarians recommend swimming in warm water as an ideal form of therapeutic exercise for dogs. Research indicates that swimming in warm water can help dogs significantly decrease recovery time from injuries and decreases pain.

Now, swimming is widely used in the rehabilitation of various dog issues such as arthritis, hip and elbow dysplasia, cruciate ligament tears, orthopedic surgery, stroke, muscles degeneration and pre/post-surgical conditioning.

Whether your dog is healthy and you would like him to have fun while exercising or your dog has physical health issues where swimming will help him improve range of motion, mobility, over-all body condition and lift his spirits, you will feel at home at K-9 Aquatics and Wellness Center!

A Good Dove Hunt!

Kenny and Joel Vexler did well during an Imperial Valley Scouting Trip and Eurasian Hunt.

The Fishing Was Good
By Brad Fenton

The Flanagan Brothers in the Western Sierras

Lots of rainbow and brook trout between eight and fifteen inches to be caught. We spent four days in the backcountry.

Do you know how hard it is to capture a group photo on an iPhone, when you only have a stomp and some rocks for a tripod? This was taken just before we hiked 13 miles out. We didn't look so cheery at the end of our trek!

Rae Lake is located in the Red Mountain Basin in the Western Sierras (can you tell how it got its name?).

A beautiful morning view of the lake.

Around the Fire Hydrant

For Sale: 

  • Two manual bird launchers 10$ each
  • PMC 40 cal.,165 grain 50 cart. 15$ each, must buy all three (free new box of snap caps with bullets)
  • Glock clip 40 cal. 10$
Call Joel Vexler at 760-751-9935 for more details.

Newsletter Submissions:
To submit an article, brag, recipe or want ad to the SDSDC Newsletter please send an E-Mail to Donald Flanagan.

Dog Portraits and other Art
Have your best friend and hunting partner immortalized in a commissioned painting. Visit the website of SDSDC member Ron Dotson. His work is now in private collections both nationally and internationally. If you are interested in any of his works or commissioning a painting, please contact him by e-mail or by phone at (619) 925-2606. 

Denise Rich is also an accomplished artist and club member.  Denise is also known as "The Official Happy Cow" artist. In 2006 she was commissioned by the California Milk Advisory Board to paint their famous Happy Cows of the Real California Milk campaign. In addition to cows, Denise paints dogs, pets, or really anything.  If you are interested in any of her works or commissioning a painting, please contact her at her studio at (619) 933-5935.  Or send her an e-mail.  Please visit her website to see some of her work.

Health Supplements for You and Your Dog!
Donna Sarmiento has a new business endeavor called Nature's Tails, distributing quality health products for the care, comfort, and well being of both you and your pets! These include calming, healing, and joint products for humans and dogs, as well as other edibles for your pets. Visit for more information.

Training Opportunities:
Pam is holding basic obedience classes for puppies and adults, behavior issues, rescued dogs, AKC Canine Good Citizen classes and Puppy Star classes. Also available for private in home lessons. Email Pam for details.

© 2015 San Diego Sporting Dog Club, Inc. All Rights Reserved