training a pointer to flush on command

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training a pointer to flush on command

Postby rman » Thu May 25, 2017 12:41 pm

I am 2 years into working with a 2 year old pudelpointer. She is coming along great and has a really strong natural point. She will hold indefinitely even in heavy cover. I'd like to get her to release and flush the bird on command, but I have not been able to get her to do it so far. I've yet to find a book that describes step by step how to do this, so I'm looking for advice. I only hunt and train to do so, so I haven't done specific pigeon cage hold to flush etc training.
I make her sit for food until okay, so I tried okay as a release, doesn't even budge. She's force fetched (my first attempt, so not well, but knows and follows fetch command), but won't break for fetch command.
So that's what I've tried, I'll appreciate any help.

Thanks,
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Re: training a pointer to flush on command

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Thu May 25, 2017 6:03 pm

Use a release command like OK. Miss K uses "YES" and I like that better than OK. whatever you choose as the command, release her from all commands using that one. I teach mine hand signals and release her that way,
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: training a pointer to flush on command

Postby Duckdon » Thu May 25, 2017 9:41 pm

Dad always trained his dogs to flush on command. "Get um up" and they would. Can't believe it would be that tough to train it in.
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Re: training a pointer to flush on command

Postby Densa44 » Thu May 25, 2017 9:59 pm

According to my son this is unapproved practice, but they are my dogs and I train them to suit me. I don't want them going on a voice command, I'm 72 years old and often use a cane so it may take me a while to get there, thus I want the dog to stay stopped. When I get there if the cove is unsuitable for a senior citizen I touch her head and say "what have you got". If she can see the bird she doesn't move. It took me a while to figure this out. Some times she only moves a couple of feet and points again.

One time she did that on what looked like a gravel driveway, NO cover and I couldn't see the bird and neither could my partner. Did you know Roosters have camouflaged eye lids? Well they do, and when their eyes are closed if you and the dog are quiet the bird just stays there.

When the bird opened his eyes he was easy to see and then it was game on. He flushed on his own.

I don't want my dogs chasing on flush, shot or splash. It could be very dangerous for the dog.
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Re: training a pointer to flush on command

Postby Scott Linden » Thu May 25, 2017 10:13 pm

While I understand there may be extenuating circumstances for some, let me tell you a story. Dog on point at rim of dry irrigation ditch, end of long day - I'm not willing to climb down then back up ... I release the dog to flush ... no thunder of wings, cackle, chirrup or cheep of chukar. Nothing.

Until the dog comes back with a face full of porcupine quills. Then there is a LOT of noise. From me.

If you can see the bird, send him. If not, save yourself some time and effort, let alone expense, and flush it yourself.

A friend will help you move. A good friend will help you move a body. A great friend will help you pull quills.
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Re: training a pointer to flush on command

Postby ryanr » Thu May 25, 2017 11:20 pm

GONEHUNTIN' wrote:Use a release command like OK. Miss K uses "YES" and I like that better than OK. whatever you choose as the command, release her from all commands using that one. I teach mine hand signals and release her that way,


It sounds like he's tried two different release commands (Okay & Fetch) he normally uses in other tasks but the dog's so steady on birds it still won't budge, not even for "Fetch" (which I'd guess he shouldn't try to use anymore as a release to flush.) I'd think tapping the dog's head and saying "Okay" or "Flush" would be a good way to accomplish this but he may have to really encourage the dog to break until it understands this new task. I wonder if with a dog that's seemingly this rock solid steady if this could all backfire on him?
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Re: training a pointer to flush on command

Postby Higgins » Fri May 26, 2017 11:51 pm

Hello Rman. Here is a video I shot a while ago. All of our Higgins Gundogs are trained to "flush/stop'' on a verbal cue. We want an aggressive flush with an immediate stop to flush. If you'd like more information, just let me know.

https://youtu.be/sfuScQrMtDc
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Higgins Gundogs hunting etiquette:

Dogs: Stay in touch and handle well. Always honor another dog's point, be steady when necessary and manage the birds for the gun.
Handlers: Be silent in the hunt. Allow the dog the freedom to do his work. Nurture the natural retrieve.
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Re: training a pointer to flush on command

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Sat May 27, 2017 5:43 am

ryanr wrote:
GONEHUNTIN' wrote:Use a release command like OK. Miss K uses "YES" and I like that better than OK. whatever you choose as the command, release her from all commands using that one. I teach mine hand signals and release her that way,


It sounds like he's tried two different release commands (Okay & Fetch) he normally uses in other tasks but the dog's so steady on birds it still won't budge, not even for "Fetch" (which I'd guess he shouldn't try to use anymore as a release to flush.) I'd think tapping the dog's head and saying "Okay" or "Flush" would be a good way to accomplish this but he may have to really encourage the dog to break until it understands this new task. I wonder if with a dog that's seemingly this rock solid steady if this could all backfire on him?


He will have to put a lead on the dog and teach the release. Simply command OK or whatever and gently pull the dog toward the bird repeating OK. Obviously the steadiness was overdone so don't overdo the flush command or the dog will stop pointing. Training is all balance. First teach OK on clip wing pigeons, then proceed to planted birds.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: training a pointer to flush on command

Postby rman » Tue May 30, 2017 8:28 am

I stopped the fetch command after 1 or 2 times when that didn't work. I'm not much of a trainer, but I am smart enough to know that expanding a necessary command without compliance isn't a good idea. Head taps haven't worked and those are what I use to allow her to leave her bed.
I've also tried the two tweet whistle release that I use for retrieving (also hasn't worked), but I think I will for training this. I didn't do any formal point training, just a lot of miles and a lot of wild birds. I made sure to always encourage the point verbally and didn't release her at all her first year. I don't have release cages. Are they necessary to do the training?
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Re: training a pointer to flush on command

Postby woodboro » Sat Jun 17, 2017 9:21 am

Scott Linden wrote:While I understand there may be extenuating circumstances for some, let me tell you a story. Dog on point at rim of dry irrigation ditch, end of long day - I'm not willing to climb down then back up ... I release the dog to flush ... no thunder of wings, cackle, chirrup or cheep of chukar. Nothing.

Until the dog comes back with a face full of porcupine quills. Then there is a LOT of noise. From me.

If you can see the bird, send him. If not, save yourself some time and effort, let alone expense, and flush it yourself.

A friend will help you move. A good friend will help you move a body. A great friend will help you pull quills.


Awesome point...
Here is another story :
My dogs are trained to be steady to scent , wing , shot , kill.
I was out in SD ,December one year, and the cattails held all of the pheasants.
They looked like mushrooms with tons of snow on them.
After a point I would wear my self out kicking snow , and cats , and if I was going to hunt more than an hour I needed an option.
It was letting the dog bust the birds.
The dogs got so efficient at it , they would literally jump on top of the snow and cats to have the pheasants explode out of their cover.
It was one of the most memorable hunts I ever had.
Never affected them on later hunts , they knew it was assisting me at a horrible weather situation.

Some people use their dogs to flush, because they are not comfortable shooting , in what we would call exploding eruptions.
But I love actually flushing the bird myself , because I feel its more team work , and the excitement of unique shooting stances and shoots.

And some people , are just lazy... :)
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Re: training a pointer to flush on command

Postby Duckdon » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:10 pm

woodboro wrote:
Scott Linden wrote:While I understand there may be extenuating circumstances for some, let me tell you a story. Dog on point at rim of dry irrigation ditch, end of long day - I'm not willing to climb down then back up ... I release the dog to flush ... no thunder of wings, cackle, chirrup or cheep of chukar. Nothing.

Until the dog comes back with a face full of porcupine quills. Then there is a LOT of noise. From me.

If you can see the bird, send him. If not, save yourself some time and effort, let alone expense, and flush it yourself.

A friend will help you move. A good friend will help you move a body. A great friend will help you pull quills.


Awesome point...
Here is another story :
My dogs are trained to be steady to scent , wing , shot , kill.
I was out in SD ,December one year, and the cattails held all of the pheasants.
They looked like mushrooms with tons of snow on them.
After a point I would wear my self out kicking snow , and cats , and if I was going to hunt more than an hour I needed an option.
It was letting the dog bust the birds.
The dogs got so efficient at it , they would literally jump on top of the snow and cats to have the pheasants explode out of their cover.
It was one of the most memorable hunts I ever had.
Never affected them on later hunts , they knew it was assisting me at a horrible weather situation.

Some people use their dogs to flush, because they are not comfortable shooting , in what we would call exploding eruptions.
But I love actually flushing the bird myself , because I feel its more team work , and the excitement of unique shooting stances and shoots.

And some people , are just lazy... :)



Porky avoidance training will help with that. I still don't trust mine 100% but what I see is a dog that will break point, circle behind me and basically go to heel or just move on. My old male will circle the Porky and bark at it from about 15' away. Good luck with that one. FYI: I always have a tight jawed needle nose in the truck.
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Re: training a pointer to flush on command

Postby JONOV » Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:16 am

Scott Linden wrote:While I understand there may be extenuating circumstances for some, let me tell you a story. Dog on point at rim of dry irrigation ditch, end of long day - I'm not willing to climb down then back up ... I release the dog to flush ... no thunder of wings, cackle, chirrup or cheep of chukar. Nothing.

Until the dog comes back with a face full of porcupine quills. Then there is a LOT of noise. From me.

If you can see the bird, send him. If not, save yourself some time and effort, let alone expense, and flush it yourself.

A friend will help you move. A good friend will help you move a body. A great friend will help you pull quills.

My dog was 4.5 months old. We were goose hunting, and walking back from hiding the trucks. He locks up like I've never seen. Thinking there is a pheasant in the grass, I go to kick it out. Pepe Le pew trundles out threatening to bathe us in the eau de skunk.

Fortunately I had the leash and dragged us both in the opposite direction and the skunk high tailed it away.
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Re: training a pointer to flush on command

Postby Hunters Edge » Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:23 pm

woodboro wrote:
Scott Linden wrote:While I understand there may be extenuating circumstances for some, let me tell you a story. Dog on point at rim of dry irrigation ditch, end of long day - I'm not willing to climb down then back up ... I release the dog to flush ... no thunder of wings, cackle, chirrup or cheep of chukar. Nothing.

Until the dog comes back with a face full of porcupine quills. Then there is a LOT of noise. From me.

If you can see the bird, send him. If not, save yourself some time and effort, let alone expense, and flush it yourself.

A friend will help you move. A good friend will help you move a body. A great friend will help you pull quills.


Awesome point...
Here is another story :
My dogs are trained to be steady to scent , wing , shot , kill.
I was out in SD ,December one year, and the cattails held all of the pheasants.
They looked like mushrooms with tons of snow on them.
After a point I would wear my self out kicking snow , and cats , and if I was going to hunt more than an hour I needed an option.
It was letting the dog bust the birds.
The dogs got so efficient at it , they would literally jump on top of the snow and cats to have the pheasants explode out of their cover.
It was one of the most memorable hunts I ever had.
Never affected them on later hunts , they knew it was assisting me at a horrible weather situation.

Some people use their dogs to flush, because they are not comfortable shooting , in what we would call exploding eruptions.
But I love actually flushing the bird myself , because I feel its more team work , and the excitement of unique shooting stances and shoots.

And some people , are just lazy... :)


Nice story. Here is one a young man from ND called and was looking for a pup, here is basically what he told me. Similar to your story of birds being in cattails he sent the dog in to flush. The dog went in and all heck broke out. He pushed aside the thick matting of cattails to see a coon and his male fighting, he shot the raccoon but was too late, the dogs neck was open and hit a juggler. He picked the dog up and started carrying. After about 1/8 of a mile and another mile just to get to the truck and 45 minutes to an hour drive to a vet, he did the only thing he knew was right. He ended the suffering, that he felt responsible for, the dog was almost bled out by that time anyway.

Now a smart man learns by his mistakes. A wise man learns from mistakes of others.

I do not send my dogs to flush unless I see for sure it is a bird, no exceptions.

You can teach the dog anything you want, just make sure you truly want to take the risks associated with it. A good trained dog has a lot of money and time, not even mentioning the bond you and your family have come to enjoy. To risk all of that over not kicking it yourself does not hold enough reasoning to train for it, at least for myself.

Keep in mind majority of Continental breeds, or Versatile breeds were bred to kill varmints and predators. The young usually start pointing them in the field. A female I had did this until after her first litter, I can count at least 2 skunks and 2 raccoons she killed or I pulled her off of. I would never train for any of my dogs to flush.

I have witnessed several other dogs while hunting with friends ended not only their hunt but a costly vet bill and cutting the week or weekend short by their dogs tangling with a porky pine. I like my dogs and the opportunity to keep hunting than to shorten either my hunt or my dogs life.
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Re: training a pointer to flush on command

Postby JONOV » Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:07 pm

Just a thought, I talked to a British guy this summer that field trials or hunt tests GSP's in the U.K. He said that in their trials the dogs are expected to flush on command. I know one hunter that says "get it" to his pointing lab. I've never tried it but I'm sure if I said "ok GO!" My dog would flush. OK GO is what I tell him when he's done heeling and can run into the woods or field.
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