Griffith Land & Cattle Co.

Getting It Done!

The Team Work of Dogs and Men

Breeders of working dogs are often asked about their particular type of dog. For the breeders of the earth-working terriers it can be humorous to see the various reactions we get when people finally understand the reality of what these dogs are actually expected to do. For some reason it's difficult for these good people to understand that the dog is not alone in the effort. The dog (and man with him) is part of a team. They both have very important parts in the conduct and outcome of the earth-working scenario, as you'll plainly see in the story below!

 Thatís right folks, itís a team effort. The dog cannot be expected to do it all by himself. The man, (or men,) with him have the most important role in what's going on. The men must keep their minds focused on the task at hand so as to reduce the amount work required. There's plenty of work to be done and any help is always appreciated.

Work?!? Well, maybe not for everyone. Some folks claim they actually like digging to their dog. Not me! Iíve dug too many holes in my life to think of it as anything but hard work no matter what is thought to be in the ground. Iíd grumble and gripe all the way while digging to a pot of gold and only be happy about it when the ordeal is over. I say calling it "fun" is mad nonsense! Digging holes is hard work, period!

With that said, there is also no way to avoid the work so youíve just got to get your mind right and get on with it.

I am privileged to possess a book titled Dig Deep, Throw Well Back, written [and edited] by a Mr. Jonathan Darcy. The book is now out of print and I'd imagine it'll cost near $100 if you could even find a copy. The book tells about several earth-dogs and earth-working men the author got to know during his years involved in the activity. Whether intended or not, his book also shines the light of reality on the whole subject.

Please Note; I've not been able to find a way to contact Mr. Darcy to ask permission to show some of his material and I hope he won't be offended by my use of it herein. If any readers happen to know the man, please steer him to me so that I might formally ask. For now, I'll just use some of his photos to help show the nature of this work.

This 1st photo shows a dig getting started. The dog has already been in the ground 30 minutes or more and the men are fairly sure they've located the right place to dig. That might be the single most-important skill of the game... learning how to decide where to dig so it only needs to be done once!

The dig shown in these photos took place around the year 2000.


Take careful note of how large a hole has been cut in the sod. This hole is going to go 5, 6 or even 7 feet deep (or more.) You'll need room down in there to work your tools. As you go deeper, try to keep the sides of the hole fairly straight, though one side should be sloped enough that you can easily get in and out to get other tools or so the other men can get in to take their turns it the work. (You'll be glad you brought friends... if you did!)
 
The man in the hole now is not the guy who started the dig.

Have a good look at the hill of dirt growing! Take particular note of the fact that all the dirt is thrown to ONE Side of the hole. One side is left as clear as possible so the men can get in and out to take their turn or change tools, etc.
Take note also that the man in the hole is only waste-deep. They already know they might have to go 6+ feet!
 
Now they're getting down to the nitty-gritty!

 The digger is easily 7 feet deep and using the locator to decide which direction to dig now. It's best to dig just-past the location and then dig a bit into one side to get to the dog... and the fox!
This allows the man some room to maneuver with the dog and/or the beast, as might be necessary.
 
Why the hole needs to be big enough and ... big enough for what!?!

By way of making a good demonstration of why the hole should be roomy enough to offer some "wiggle-room", here we see the terrier-man holding the fox [very much alive and unhurt] just seconds after removing it from the hole. You can be sure that in most cases there is usually a brief period during which this result (photo above) is somewhat in doubt.
Foxes do not generally come along peaceably!
Think what this might be like in a hole where there's barely enough room for your feet, let alone... others?!?
 
And what of the dog? Well...
This proven working terrier (Cody) was brought out first and secured before the fox was brought out.

Have a good look at the face on this dog. It's pretty plain that there was more than just barking going on down in the ground. This dig took a couple hours and Cody kept the fox in place the whole time. That's his part of the team effort.
The men do...the rest!

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