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Author Topic: First attempt to train a bird dog  (Read 2093 times)

Offline ckrs05

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First attempt to train a bird dog
« on: January 31, 2019, 09:25:06 PM »
Hello everyone, I'm new to the forum and live on the west side near Olympia right next to capital forest.  I love to hunt and fish and have not been out in the last three years for any significant hunts due to work, family obligations and so on.

I'll try to keep this as short as possible.  I used to bird hunt every year with my uncle when I was a younger ( 16-25 ).  We would hunt grouse, pheasant and quail.  We hunted both east and west side but spent more time on the west side where we live.  My uncle passed away a few years back after a battle with multiple mylomah ( bone marrow cancer ).  Since he passed I really have not been motivated to hunt until my wonderful fiance bought me a german shorthaired pointer this year for my birthday.  I am hoping that I might be able to find someone on this site that might be able to give me a hand or at least offer some advice on how to train my new puppy to hunt birds this fall.  I love to hunt I am healthy, in good physical condition, 35 years old and would be willing to drive or carpool with anyone who is interested in traveling to the east side to hunt.  I don't really need to know where to go because I kept fs maps and marked all of the locations that my uncle would take me every weekend and how many of which birds we shot or seen.  I have never trained a bird dog and I am hoping that I can train my puppy to hunt like my uncle's dogs used to for us.  I love having the dogs along for the hunt and am really looking forward to giving this a shot.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Offline huntnfmly

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Re: First attempt to train a bird dog
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2019, 09:33:31 PM »
Welcome to the site.
Congrats on the new puppy.
I have no experience training a pointer I trained my springer so I know there are a few different ways to finish the training but to start off with teach it basic obedience and bring your patience.
I always trained 2 sessions about 10 minutes each.1 in the morning and then one in the evening they get board easy.
Always finish on a good note.
Lot's of books and videos that can help
Good luck it's fun
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Offline ckrs05

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Re: First attempt to train a bird dog
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2019, 03:54:30 PM »
Thanks huntnfmly.  I love this site, seems to have a lot of useful info and great people.  I have been working with him daily just about like you said and it seems to be working well.  He is 12 weeks old and so far he has figured out sit, stay and down.  Having a little trouble with come though.  He is very food motivated and appears to have a great ability to focus.  I appreciate the advice as this will be the first dog I've tried to train to do more than sit stay and lay down.  He loves to fetch and also seems to have a great prey drive as he is constantly sneaking up on the cat.  Hopefully he can do the same with a pheasant by this fall.

Offline huntnfmly

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Re: First attempt to train a bird dog
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2019, 04:06:45 PM »
One thing  you can do to help with the come command if you're not already do it is put him on a check cord and when you say come pull him all the way back to you every time so he knows that the come means all the way to you.
 Knowing that he is food driven is good always have a treat to give.
What I started doing was letting my springer walk around dragging his check cord then I would step in the end and right before he got to the end I would say here so the next thing that would happen is that it would stop him and he would come and if not I would pull him towards me all the way.
Sounds like a good dog and that you're doing well.
Just remember small steps don't rush it.
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Offline huntnfmly

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Re: First attempt to train a bird dog
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2019, 04:10:22 PM »
Don't hesitate to pm me with any questions you may have.
It's alot of fun watching your dog learn
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Offline huntnfmly

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Re: First attempt to train a bird dog
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2019, 04:15:21 PM »
One thing I forgot I noticed you're teaching your dog to sit being a pointer you do not want to teach sit teach him to whoa wich is just standing
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Offline jagermiester

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Re: First attempt to train a bird dog
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2019, 12:19:48 AM »
So cool keep up everything that you are doing. Look into NAVHDA and VHDF
Lead em if they're running.

Offline ckrs05

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Re: First attempt to train a bird dog
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2019, 09:41:00 AM »
huntnfmly,

Thank you for all of the advice.  I really do appreciate it.  I had not tried the check cord idea and I am actually going to get one this afternoon now that you mentioned it.  I feel like I am being very patient with him and he is really a fast learner.  I have five acres that backs up to capital forest and my neighbor lets me use his 15 acres as well.  I have tons of quail on my property as well as ducks and I have even had a grouse last year.  I am planning to start doing some scent drags with pheasant dummies that I got at Cabelas.  Do you think that it's too early to start doing those things with him?  Again he is only 12 weeks old but he is very smart and has a very good nose.  I have never posted on a forum before but I am really excited to have advice from people that have done these things available like it is here.  I will try to post some pictures of him this weekend.

Offline huntnfmly

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Re: First attempt to train a bird dog
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2019, 10:03:47 AM »
On the scent drag I wouldn't think it's too early. To be honest I never used a scent drag I only used a bumper with wings tied to them with scent applied to them so I don't have any experience with that.
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Offline jackson7

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Re: First attempt to train a bird dog
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2019, 10:29:07 AM »
Take your time. Teach basic commands at home. Get him outoften his 1st 2 years into various types of cover and different types of birds. The natural instincts will come alive. You will be amazed and that 1st point you will remember for a lifetime. good luck. will pm my # if you want to chat. best, jackson 
ps plenty online at you tube. enjoy the ride.

Offline Fozzie Bear

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Re: First attempt to train a bird dog
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2019, 05:23:21 PM »
PM sent.


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Offline MR5x5

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Re: First attempt to train a bird dog
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2019, 08:56:16 AM »
Assuming you are training for utility and not style, i.e. a good dog that is an effective hunter for you but not necessarily all of the competition type stuff, then you are on the right path.  If you are wanting to train for style then I can't be of much help.... 

Keep working with him, and talking to him. Come, sit, stay, will get you 90% there.  The dogs genetics will do the rest.  At some point he will figure out that you are actually communicating with him and thinks like whoa become natural.

Remember he is only 12 wks old!  Each dog month seems to equate to about a about human year, so you are dealing with a 3 yr old - adjust expectations accordingly.  Have fun.  No yelling, but a stern voice on occasion is a good idea.

At some point past 6 months consider an e-collar.  (That is another discussion on how not to over use that power. lol)

I have informally trained many house/hunting dogs with the above approach and they are/were absolute destroyers of pheasant in the field (Lab, Setter, GWP, GSP).  Held there own with any formally trained dogs.

Don't over think it and have fun.  Expect that it will be a 3-4 yr adventure before you realize the dogs full potential.

Good luck.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2019, 11:50:46 AM by MR5x5 »

Offline Pegasus

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Re: First attempt to train a bird dog
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2019, 10:40:40 AM »
Is he pointing yet? Will he retrieve a ball? If not play with him with a ball attached to a long string attached to a pole. You want about an eight foot pole and about fifteen feet of line. Flip the ball to get him to chase it. You want to flip the ball back and forth while never letting him get the ball. Continue to do this until the dog tires. It will take a while and you will likely tire first being that your dog is a GSP. Eventually the dog will tire, will realize that he can't get the ball and start to point at the ball. You can practice your whoa and fetch commands after that, guiding him back to you with the line connected to the ball.

Offline skinzner

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Re: First attempt to train a bird dog
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2019, 07:58:29 AM »
Another option is to join the pnw navhda group they hold training days in Onalaska or up north in carnation.

https://www.pnw-navhda.com
« Last Edit: February 04, 2019, 10:46:06 AM by skinzner »

Offline ckrs05

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Re: First attempt to train a bird dog
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2019, 06:49:11 PM »
I just want to say thank you to everyone for their advice.  I can't believe how many people have been willing to jump in and offer up advice from their own experience with their dogs.  I want everyone to know how much I appreciate the help.  My dog is pointing like a bird dog at thirteen weeks old.  He has learned to sit, stay, lay down and fetch on command already.  The level of intelligence that these dogs have is remarkable.  I take him with me to work everyday and have been spending as much time with him as is possible with a family and work.  I have been consistently working with him in short sessions about three times a day.  I spend some time giving him commands in the morning before we leave for work, after we get home and right before he goes to sleep.  The progress that i have seen is almost unbelievable.  I can very honestly say that I have never seen such a smart dog.  He seems to have very good instinct as well.  I want to post some pictures here for everyone to see as soon as I figure that out as well as a video of him pointing at the pheasant wing tied to the end of a fishing pole.  I also wanted everyone to know that I have given every suggestion I have received here an honest try and I can't say that any of the ideas have failed.  I would have had no way to seek experienced advice like this without this forum and guys i genuinely appreciate it.  Thank you all.  I will continue to post questions and pictures of Ruger's progress to becoming a great bird dog.

Offline huntnfmly

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Re: First attempt to train a bird dog
« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2019, 06:58:49 PM »
Thanks for posting nothing better than watching your dogs progress as you train them on your own
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