Training Vs Genetics?

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Re: Training Vs Genetics?

Postby oldtimer » Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:23 am

In my opinion it is 80/20 genetics to training. I have hunted waterfowl for 40 plus years, and never have needed a dog that had to mark that well to retrieve ducks or geese. I find the true test is when a dog has NOT seen a duck go down, and has to search to find it.
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Re: Training Vs Genetics?

Postby orhunter » Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:41 am

Oldtimer: I pretty much agree. The only thing I want a dog to do very well is hand signals. Something else.....a bird that goes down way out there will be still alive and by the time the dog gets to where it landed, it won't be there. Marks sort of become useless at that point. The dog needs a nose. Birds that fall in/near the spread can easily be recovered without marks. Nose and hand signals are all that's needed.
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Re: Training Vs Genetics?

Postby Willie T » Tue Jan 03, 2017 1:15 pm

For what I like my dogs to be able to do, I honestly think it's about 50/50 genetics/training. I do think the genetics come first. I also think trainability is a genetic trait, and I look for it. I enjoy hunting with and training a dog that has advanced skills. Particularly for the waterfowl hunting I do. When hunting with 4 or five guys who can shoot, it pays dividends. Each hunter trains their dogs for where, how, and what they like to hunt. A dog with the right genetics can and will adapt. I've seen a lot of good dogs that were effective. All of the ones I judged as truly exceptional were highly trained.
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Re: Training Vs Genetics?

Postby AverageGuy » Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:34 pm

If you took a cross section of the hunting dogs in the US, mine would rate high for their level of training. If you compared them to highly accomplished test/trail dogs they would rate lower.

For whatever reason my best upland bird hunting buddies through the years have not been much for dog training. But they and their dogs hunted a great deal and killed 3 figures of wild birds annually. Their dogs would come when called (sometimes), hold a point reliably, hunt dead and retrieve close enough. Their dogs excelled at hunting for, finding and handling correctly wild birds and were an asset on each and every hunt. The best wild quail dog I have ever hunted behind was a GSP bitch that would sometimes come when called, hold a point until you found her however long it took, hunt dead and retrieve close enough. That was it. She never stopped looking for birds, found them more than any dog I have hunted with and handled them perfectly close to 100% of the time.

Two black labs stick out prominently that I hunted with extensively. They would sit still well enough to let the ducks work. Neither were trained to work hand signals at long distances. Either dog would rank in my top 5 of dogs most likely to bring back any duck or goose you might shoot down. I hunted flooded green timber a lot with one of those dogs. Numerous times on slow days the dog retrieved a limit of cripples no one in our party had even shot at. Hunted brutal sub zero temps on a river a lot with the other dog. Many days of 30 to 40 head of ducks and geese retrieved from river current swimming between ice floes coming down the river, up and down a steep river bank. The dog had minimal training but had the heart of a lion.

I see no downside to well done even handed training. But I also do not see it playing remotely as big a role in a hunting dog's effectiveness as do genetically inherited abilities combined with a lot of actual hunting.
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Re: Training Vs Genetics?

Postby hicntry » Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:51 pm

My dogs were bred for gameness. Tackling and fighting game that could kill them. That is not training. That is genetics, or, selective breeding. You can't train for it as they have it or they don't. Training still comes into play when you tell them to load up or drive along honking the horn so they come to the road. Heelers have the genetics to heel, but, they have to be trained to use their genetics to where it serves a purpose. Genetics and training go hand in hand.
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Re: Training Vs Genetics?

Postby AverageGuy » Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:07 pm

I have hunted with numerous dogs with excellent genetics/NA and minimal training that were very effective. I have never hunted with a trained dog with poor genetics that was.
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Re: Training Vs Genetics?

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Wed Jan 04, 2017 6:39 am

AverageGuy wrote:I have hunted with numerous dogs with excellent genetics/NA and minimal training that were very effective. I have never hunted with a trained dog with poor genetics that was.


And that says it all.
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Re: Training Vs Genetics?

Postby Willie T » Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:48 am

A well bred dog is just where you start if you want a good hunting dog. What you do after that, shapes what you ultimately end up with. Like HC said training and genetics go hand in hand. Some are content with a dog with basic ability and a lot of hunt. Doesn't take nearly as much training to get there. Others want advanced skills and a lot of hunt. That takes a lot more training. If you expect high level retrieving skills, more training is required. My favorite hunting buddy has good hunting dogs with a ton of experience and very little training. Particularly in the uplands they flat get it done. On the really long sailers he says "send your dog". While I agree completely with your assessment for upland hunting, I respectfully disagree with regard to how I like a waterfowl retriever to work. While I do agree that a lot of in the field experience is a must for a good waterfowl dog, you will never see what one is truly capable of without advanced training. I agree without the proper genetic wiring it is a moot point. It is not uncommon with the boys I hunt with, if there are five of us in a blind, to dump 10-12 birds out of one flight. Out of that you may have a cripple and one sail 300-400 yards. In that scenario a dog that can disregard 8-10 dead on the water and be sent first for the cripple, then lined up down wind of the long sailer, then come back and pick up the 8-10 dead birds like it's another day at the office, is indeed more effective. That is the kind of dog work any true dog man immediately recognizes for what it is, and revels in the show he just saw. Dog work at that level is not figured out with experience, it takes training. It's useful for me, so I train for it. We all set the bar different based on what we individually do and I respect that.
If I ever figure out how to post pictures, I will post up some of the little 5 month old PP getting it done in the field his first season. My son and I shot 16 wild quail over his points Saturday morning. Not sure if us or the pup enjoyed it more.
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Re: Training Vs Genetics?

Postby AverageGuy » Wed Jan 04, 2017 9:06 am

Willie,

I think we agree on more than you say. I have posted a couple of times in this thread that waterfowl hunting requires a much higher degree of training than upland, so we agree on that. My point in mentioning those two labs was it was far more their genetics and experience, than their training that made them highly effective.

Your PP is proving my point. No way training is mostly responsible for shooting 16 quail over a 5 month old puppy vs genetics. To be clear all the proper introductions are critical with a puppy. Your posts reveal you have a lot of experience and knowledge so I am sure they went well. But that puppy of your's is blessed with genetics. All the great ones are.

I just post my photos to photo bucket and then copy and paste the link here. I look forward to seeing your photos.
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Re: Training Vs Genetics?

Postby ForestDump » Mon Jan 09, 2017 7:23 am

Genetics come first. Its important to start with the right dog then work on training to bring out whats already there.
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Re: Training Vs Genetics?

Postby Kiger2 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:07 am

Willie T,
You speak heresy here! Why having a well trained/well bred dog just doesn't cut it!

Average guy.
Those labs you talked about. Obviously good genetics. what you cant seem to grasp is that those genetics, combined with good training, combined with field experience, would make those dogs BETTER .

An untrained dog with the best genetics will never reach its potential. Theres no reason for any dog to come "sometimes" when its called. I don't care how many birds it can find. Thats just absurd. And i guarantee that those dogs could have been trained and not have any impact on their hunt.

And for all you guys that think a well trained dog isn't useful in the uplands.Come hunt wild chukars. You'll be wishing wille T was there to send his dogs for your birds.
My first well trained Golden never hunted ducks until she was 9. We hunted pheasants and primarily wild chukars. EVERY skill she learned as a trial dog was used at some point upland hunting. Its the SAME skill set, upland or waterfowl.

Oldtimer, orhunter,,
The purpose of good marking is to get the nose to where the bird went down as quickly possible. A bird that goes down way out there that the dog saw and marked, will be recovered far more quickly than with hand signals. The purpose of handling is to get the dogs nose to where the bird went down as quickly as possible. A good marking dog will consistently outproduce the dog that can just search. A good handling dog will consistently outproduce a dog that cant.

The following is an example. Look at the rock point in the middle of the photo. the day before we were working the edge and my friends dog pointed and he gets one shot and drops a chukar that sails down the side into the rockslide about where the shadow line is. the dog marked the fall and by the time I got there she was just heading down the shute. We just sat down and waited as she had gone out of sight. A few minutes later she comes back with the bird. Its frickin steep. Its a shale slide. If your dog couldn't mark that bird, and you couldn't handle, would you go after it? The truck is the other direction by the way. Dog was a GSP out of a nat champ that I FF for my friend. Very strong desire to acquire with this dog. We do this all the time. We pass a lot of birds because we know theres no way for the dog to recover. Also, a poorly bred dog will not handle this country. Flusher or pointer.
Image

Anybody watch Scott Lindens show recently? Pheasants down and they have to walk the dog to the area of the fall to recover. Dogs couldn't see the birds due to cover. But a dog that could handle could have been quickly sent to the AOF and Scott could have stood there and talked about the experience.
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Re: Training Vs Genetics?

Postby AverageGuy » Tue Jan 10, 2017 5:24 am

Kiger

I am taking my coming 13 year old GWP to the vet this morning. He has been a good one since he hit the ground. Ran him in UPT twice. Scored 163 and 172 at 18 months of age. His drive, marking and tracking skills have allowed him to recover an extremely high percentage of the birds hit, across his entire career. Blessed with a gift of a nose and a never stop looking and trying drive. People in the gallery clapped and cheered at his duck searches. I trained extensively on the dog but none of it are what made him standout in the areas that mattered most.

My pup and I will have logged somewhere in the 70 plus days of hunting in his first season and my 50th, so I have some understanding of what I need in the field and we have done pretty well all things considered. We have a lot of work to do before next season.

I love to hunt and love to hunt with my own dogs. I sometimes think I have some knowledge and experience that might be helpful to those with less and so I post on some threads. But it has nothing to do with why I spend so much time with my dogs.

Best of luck.

AG
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Re: Training Vs Genetics?

Postby Willie T » Tue Jan 10, 2017 6:02 am

AG, off topic, but hope the old dog is ok. I have an old one that is 14 that showed me a good time for a long time......
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Re: Training Vs Genetics?

Postby AverageGuy » Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:51 am

Appreciate the thought, Willie. Thank you.
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Re: Training Vs Genetics?

Postby Densa44 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:02 am

I'm sorry to hear that too, except for the loss of a person, losing a dog is the hardest grief I have ever experienced.

I learned way more than I thought I would from this post. !. The hunting conditions over N. America are all different, here where I live Duck, about 60/40 and Goose 100% is over the prairie. Some guys leave the dog in the truck far enough away that the dog doesn't flare the birds but can see.
2. The amount people hunt varies a great deal, and 3. The types of birds people hunt are all different, I've never seen a quail, one Bob white in a pen and no doves.

The best retrieve I've ever seen with my PP was a duck. I was trying out my new gun, and Ginnie was off making a retrieve, 3 teal came over and I fired at the first one and #3 stiffened up and sailed away over a low hill into a hay field. The dog showed up with the bird that she was sent for and took off for my cripple. A few minutes later back she comes with a live duck. I was impressed.

No water here now, -28 C and on our daily walks it is cracking cold. We are training for sight blinds. The dogs love it and it should give me a running start for the duck search this August.
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