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Taking a few steps back
Last Post 09 Oct 2009 09:15 PM by Bob. 4 Replies.
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Sargent Molly RocsUser is Offline Pheasant Egg Pheasant Egg Send Private Message Posts:1 Sargent Molly Rocs
08 Sep 2009 09:26 PM

    Need a little help taking a few steps back with a high energy GSP.  I have had Molly for 2 1/2 years (since birth) and just hunted my first planted or placed quail birds this past 2008 season.  I have taken my time from the beginning, starting with the ol' wing on a string; commands like sit, come, and woe.  Took some time with a frozen bird hid in the yard to intorduce her to sent cone, and have spent time shooting around her from time to time.  Things felt promising once I was able to leave her on point in the yard for 2 to 3 min at a time, using a wing.  It was time to take to the field after a year of training. 

    Once we reached the first placed bird, she fell on point about 6 to 7 feet away and stayed.  She did not creep until I passed her position.  I don't remember if I tryed to make her stay. I was so excited that I finally had a dog (my dog) on a real bird point, with gun in hand for the first time.  I kicked the bird up and she all of a sudden acted more like a flushing dog than a pointing dog.  She gave chase until the bird was shot down and then tackeled it.  Funny enough, she brought the bird to me and laid it on the ground close by.  Not too bad I thought.  After a few more bird, she bagan to creep up until she was able to see the bird.  The the race was on.  Using tame bird, she was able to catch a few of them.  If hunting meat is the goal, well, I have the right dog.  The problem is, she is not always able to catch them and many start getting away.  I shifted gears and began to work on making her "woe" once she was able to see the bird.  It seemed to work for a while, until she began to point dead birds that had been shot down.  I used the word "dead" over and over and eased her in until she picked up the bird. 

    She has a good nose on her, and is not shy around gun fire.  She points and will stay until I get there, as long as I am reinforcing with a command.  She follows me well in the field, staying no more than 40 to 50 yards or so away.  I use a whistle in the field only to get her attention and to re-direct her movements.  She is crazy for birds and enjoys being on the hunt.  I feel like I need to take some steps back with her, but I don't really know where to go from here?  I feel like working her with another dog that is well trained and a little less excited would help.  Not sure just how to teach her to honor the other dog's point though.  Do I need to handle her with someone else shooting?  Do I need to use a long lead rope to hold her back once birds are flushed?  Is it better to come along side her and hold her around the waist at this point, helping her to understand and follow the bird as it goes down or gets away?  How can I get across the idea of "dead fall?" 

    There are many things that she is getting right, and a few things I am hopefully getting right.  I can see some problems coming, and we haven't ever hit the wild birds yet.  I don't want to ruin this, my first gun dog; and I don't want to make the process so miserable that we both give up.  I don't want her to loose the spirit for bird hunting, while trying to fine toon myself and her both.  Slow is the key, and fun is still the goal at the end of the day.  I would like to enjoy a few birds in the sack though. 


    PorknbeansUser is Offline Master Hunter Master Hunter Send Private Message Posts:542 Porknbeans
    09 Sep 2009 06:38 AM
    First, welcome to the forum. It sounds like you need to work on the steady to shoot part of your training. If you can find a partner, I would suggest that you let them carry a gun and you work with your dog. Once your dog has gone on point, get into a kneeling position along side your dog and place one hand just off of the chest of your dog and very lightly wrap the other around the flank. From this position, your arm that is wrapped around the dog can detect when they are going to break or creep. The other hand is merely there to help stop the dog if it moves. When/if you feel the dog start to want to move, lift up on the flank with the arm/hand wrapped around the back of the dog so that it's hind quarters just start to come off of the ground. When I've done this I re-inforce the action with a gentle "whoa". The dog will begin to associate that it should not creep and the whoa command means whoa. That's my suggestion, but I'm sure others will have more an better ones.

    Oh, and working with another dog can help, but it also may confuse the dog since you will also be asking it to honor another dog. Something that you may not have worked on yet.
    Porknbeans Grand High Pooba of the Fraternal Order of Procrastinators
    BuckeyeUser is Offline Pheasant Egg Pheasant Egg Send Private Message Posts:31 Buckeye
    09 Sep 2009 11:19 AM
    Different type question, what are you looking for the dog to do? I'm not really getting your exact question.

    Do you want it steady to wing or to shot?
    BigRoosterUser is Offline Pheasant Egg Pheasant Egg Send Private Message Posts:24 BigRooster
    09 Oct 2009 10:31 AM

    You might be expecting too much if its your dogs first season.  Let them have fun their the first year and learn from their own mistakes.  They need to get that drive and enjoyment going their first year.  I wouldn't do too much force training until their second season.  Sounds like a good dog so far.  My newest edition is almost 6 months and I've got him on stocked quail at some WMAs in my neck of the woods.  He's pointing and holding steady pretty good, but Im most impressed with his love of running the field and finding the birds.  Its all about his drive and some fun right now.  Good luck. 

    BobUser is Offline Master Hunter Master Hunter Send Private Message Posts:550 Bob
    09 Oct 2009 09:15 PM
    From your write-up, I get one impression. You forgot to teach "Whoa" before putting the dog on birds. On that very First Point, as walked in to flush the bird. The dog should have been commanded to "Whoa" either by hand signal or voice or better yet both. It was still in training, you don't stop training because your dog made a point on a bird. I have a dog that has hunted 10 seasons. He still gets "whoa" as I go to flush the bird. Usually it just a hand signal, but he still gets it......Bob
    My Dog And I Are A Team. We Practice Every Day. I Always Trust Tony, He Knows More Than I do.
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