I mostly work retrievers so dont have to worry about pampering them. When they get to 4 to 5 months of age they generally figure out I cant catch them and start playing keep away etc... Its time for OB to start. It is not abusive at all, but it is firm and strict. In fact jumping on me delievers far more correction than they get with the e-collar.Work starts with leash and check cord and we transition to the e-collar at each command when they show understanding. Introduce distractions and continue repititions to condition the response. Start in the yard or driveway and work there until they respond appropriately then transfer to the field so they learn they have to comply everywhere.
By the time their teeth are in and they are ready fro FF they already have a good understanding of pressure and compliance which I believe leads to easier comprehension of FF. They still get happy time in the field during the process I am just careful about what we ask of them.
I have done a gsp or two and a few other pointer type dogs. They respond fine to the same treatment. Waiting until they are 6 or 7 months seems like wasting valuable time. With the weim I have (she was extremely shy) I did OB , FF and gun conditioning before we worked on birds. she actually was more confident and bold after the OB than before.And when we did shoot birds for her, I knew exactly what was going to happen when she went to retrieve and can correct her for any transgressions during the retrieve. Now I can comfortably and with confidence take her hunting and let her figure out the pointing thing. I dont need her to hunt or point, if she never does i dont really care, I have my golden for chukar hunting. But she is useful, she will retrieve and deliever to hand any thing she sees shot. If she gets enough exposure Im sure shell find her "point". The point is she learned all that early on and in the yard. when we had problems she did not associate them with the field.