This is a testimony from one of Iowa Pointing Labs customers, Steven Strahler from the Buckeye State Ohio.
I have always enjoyed training and working with dogs, and my history has been with beagles and rabbit hunting. My friend, Mike, knew I enjoyed the companionship of dogs and invited me to compete in a bird dog trial with him. Trial day was 5 degrees for the high with strong winds and a light snow. We competed with his chocolate lab and had an enjoyable time on the 6 pheasant run. As soon as this run was over, I knew I wanted to compete. It was against a clock and a score card, it wasn’t based on a judge’s opinion. I started by looking online and noticed there were plenty of dogs for sale. I didn’t want just any dog. I wanted a dog from a kennel that was invested in bettering the breed and stood by the dogs they were developing. The two associations I wanted to be involved in were the UFTA and BDC. Without any prior knowledge of the sport, I called a few of the board members of the UFTA to seek their opinion on what breed of dog. I also wanted more detailed information on the competition. From the discussions we had, I decided to go with a pointing lab- a great family dog, versatile, intelligent, kid-friendly etc. Now I needed to decide which breeder to start working with. I narrowed it down to two and they were both over 500 miles away. I started to communicate with Tim from Iowa Pointing Labs. Tim and I missed each other multiple times with phone calls because of our busy schedules. He had mentioned that he had a yellow female that would be out of bloodlines that would do well with the competitions.
On the morning of December 30th, 2015 my wife and I decided that we wanted to go and pick out a puppy or bring one home. Around midday, we left the house with our bags packed. We did not have a schedule or a plan, other than to go west where the pointing labs were mostly located. Shortly after leaving the house, Tim called and we made arrangements to meet him the following morning. When we arrived the next morning (650 miles later), we had the opportunity to meet Tim and the head pro trainer Jay. We discussed what a 26-month guarantee really meant, which made clear to me that they had complete confidence in their breeding program. Many kennels offered a guarantee, but it was for genetic defects. IPL’s guarantee was for complete satisfaction of the dog for 26 months. That meant a lot to us. The next thing that we discussed was the head start program that he offered. It was a 45 day period of early development and exposure for the puppy. Next, they brought out “Tex,” a well put together eye appealing dog and the sire of our dog. Once he was taken back into the kennel, we met the pup that Tim and I were discussing. Annie came into to the room unleashed and was well behaved. She had just completed the head start program and would sit, come, kennel and was quiet. Most puppies that age would have been vocal, missing their playmates. She was not. I could easily tell that the $600 for the head start program was valuable. If we decided to not purchase this puppy, our future puppy would be enrolled in his exclusive program. After further discussion between my wife and I, we decided to purchase Annie, Iowa Pointing Labs Strahler’s Annie. We completed all the documents with IPL, loaded our pup food samples and put Annie in the back of our Honda CRV to head home.
Shortly after leaving IPL, she started to be vocal. We said “no” and she was silent for the next 630 miles. It was a straight trip home and house training started immediately. My wife was on Christmas break from school and was home with her. In a very short time, she had her potty trained- much quicker than I ever recall a puppy being house broken prior. Our next step was to pick a trainer. We spoke with several trainers located throughout the U.S. and decided that since she was our first puppy together that we wanted to keep her close to home. There were several people that recommended Molly Boland including Matt Ellis, owner of Cherrybend Pheasant Farm in Wilmington, Ohio. I contacted Molly and we put together a plan for Annie to begin formal training at 6 months.
Five months after Molly started training, Annie came back home to us with her Junior Hunting title from the AKC and Started Hunting Retriever title from the UKC. Molly spoke very highly of her from the beginning, noticing that Annie had been exposed to a lot early on and had a great foundation to work from.
Now it was time for Annie and I to start learning about one another and utilize her training to compensate for my lack of knowledge. I purchased birds from Matt at Cherrybend Pheasant Farm and was able to obtain some land close to our home in order to have a dog training grounds. We practiced a few times and it was now time to start competing. Early one Saturday morning, we packed up and went to our first trial. When I arrived at the trial grounds, Collin Fowler, the host, greeted me and started to explain more about the trial. A few hours later, It was our turn to run and we completed it with a below average score. I was happy that we completed it within the time limitation. Several of the other competitors were standing around and offered friendly advice. When the trial was finished, I was loading up to go home. Collin came to me and presented our first awards- 1st Place Amateur Pointing and 3rd Place Open Pointing. There were several competitors that came up to me and asked who the breeder and trainer was. The next question was what titles she had.
At that time, I was educated on a potential problem with the UFTA rules. There were different interpretations of the rule for labs to compete in the Pointing Division. In the next two weeks, we did not compete while the UFTA Board of Directors discussed their rule regarding labs. Late one Thursday night, a board member contacted me to inform me that since she was not registered as a pointing breed and did not carry an APLA title, we could not compete in the pointing division. This brought us a new set of challenges because she was steady to wing, shot and fall. Over the next week, Annie and I worked on releasing to flush on command. She quickly started to release and would also remain steady if not released. Many dogs could not have the self-control to do this once they started flushing. We continued with our competitions and qualified for the UFTA National Run-Off at Rend Lake in Illinois. The following list is what she accomplished in a short period of time and transitioning from a dog that was trained to be steady to wing, shot and fall to a flusher.
1st Place Amateur Pointing UFTA
3rd Place Open Pointing UFTA
3rd Place Open Flushing UFTA
3rd Place Open Flushing UFTA
3rd Place Open Flushing Best of the Best UFTA
Runner Up BDC Players Championship Master Flushing
3rd Place Silver Pigeon Gun Dog UFTA Doubles Flushing
Along with many other top ten placements against the best dogs in the nation.
We are very pleased with our choice to purchase a puppy from Iowa Pointing Labs and will be picking up our next puppy from them on July 8, 2017. It is my strong belief that you will not be disappointed with the puppy you will receive from Tim and his team.