Thursday, December 16, 2010
I recently had the pleasure of conducting an interview with Bryce Mann, another of the CANIDAE Special Achievers. The Special Achievers are an elite group of pets and pet owners sponsored by CANIDAE Natural Pet Food Company.
When your earliest memory of childhood is sitting between your brother’s feet on the floor of a cotton picker while your brother hunted and being lowered to the ground to go fetch the pheasants, what do you suppose you’d want to be when you grew up? One thing is for sure: you wouldn’t want to “be” the gun dog sent to fetch the prize.
Bryce Mann’s experience “being” the hunting dog for his brother and a lifetime of hunting and being around hunting dogs has led him to his current profession. How many of us can say that we love our jobs, that our work is fun and that it is almost like playing? Bryce Mann can say all that. His profession as a trainer and handler of gun dogs is something he has been working toward since he was small.
Bryce Mann offers guided hunts, dog training and the opportunity to see and be involved in gun dog competition. Bryce has written articles on various topics for Gun Dog Magazine, Pointing Dog Journal, and Gundogs Unlimited online magazine. He has also done interviews and articles for Western Outdoor News and Outdoor California magazine and for TV (Bird Dogs Forever), radio & newspapers. However, Bryce says he prefers presentations and speaking engagements to writing assignments. Bryce Mann’s Gun Dogs are sponsored by many well known companies in the world of hunting and dogs, including Tri-Tronics, Happy Jack and Hi-Viz Sights.
Bryce is the best kind of pet owner – he is a responsible pet owner who will go to any length to ensure that his dogs and the dogs he trains are healthy, happy and energetic. He works with each dog personally and understands the many personality traits dogs have that make them ideal for being gun dogs, which enables him to individualize the training to get the best out of each dog.
Bryce is also involved in providing specialized training for mobility impaired hunters and dog owners, and is the President of the California Wheelin’ Sportsman. He participates in guided hunts with hunters in wheelchairs and benefit hunts as well. This year is the 11th year for the Persons Dependent upon a Wheelchair Pheasant Hunt. It’s a benefit hunt where wounded hunters and veterans, trained dogs, handlers and enthusiastic hunters in adapted wheelchairs hit the great outdoors to hunt together.
While Bryce’s gun dogs are working dogs, they also are his pets. There are four German shorthairs that live in the home with Bryce. His dog Reno is not just a gun dog; she is also a breast cancer survivor and a service dog for mobility assistance, as well as his pet for 12 years. His dogs are treated like family members, and are usually found wherever Bryce is, whether that is indoors or out.
Some hunters feel that gun dogs or hunting dogs should be kept in a kennel unless they are hunting, but Bryce does not agree. His dogs and the dogs he trains are not just there to perform on command, they are pets and they are loved. Many times when in the puppy stage the dogs are hyper and a little out of control just as you would expect. Bryce says he has a two year old dog that is “wound up like an 8-day clock,” who spends a great deal of time outside until he calms down and mellows a bit.
The innate intelligence and exceptional natural ability of the breeds used as gun dogs makes them ideal for training and competing. Training begins at 3-4 months for basic obedience, hunting training and competition training.
Bryce Mann raises birds for training and trains dogs on private grounds; he also keeps a small rotation of dogs for training because he feels that the dogs he trains deserve as much time as possible and that won’t occur with several dogs training at the same time. One-on-one attention, socialization and well rounded training make for a solidly trained gun dog.
Bryce is part of the CANIDAE Special Achievers team, and feeds his dogs the CANIDAE All Life Stages grain free formula. Bryce had run into a problem several years ago with one of his dogs who would go off his feed when traveling, and the veterinarian told Bryce to supplement his dog food with proteins such as potatoes and eggs. So when they traveled Bryce had to cook food to feed to his dog. Once he found the CANIDAE grain free food he never looked back. The grain free formula is ideal for his hard working and very active dogs.
When his dogs are retired or not working in tournaments or guided hunts they are able to have the other CANIDAE ALS product because they don’t require as much protein and can even gain weight if fed the high energy food. Bryce also approves of the CANIDAE heritage of being made in the USA and their commitment to providing natural and beneficial foods for pets. Ironically, Diane from CANIDAE had approached Bryce several years ago about being a sponsored pet owner, after seeing him at a presentation. He turned her down at the time, but happily has seen the error in his judgment and is now proud to be a CANIDAE Special Achiever.
To learn more about Bryce Mann’s Gun Dogs or to arrange a guided tour or training for your dog, visit Bryce’s website. While there, take the time to watch the video from the Wheelchair Pheasant Hunt; it’s informative, touching and amazing. To learn more about the challenging competitions that his dogs participate in which are a celebration of the hunting heritage and a sport which has something for everyone in the family, visit the North American Gun Dog Association.
The men and women who work with gun dogs are dedicated to their pets, to the spirit of competition and often spend more time with their dogs than with their families. Bryce’s dogs go with him to presentations and showcases at places like Bass Pro Shops, and are friendly, energetic and they love photo ops!
Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie