Hunting a 4 month old griff

Pointing, retrieving, flushing, tracking, behavioral issues, puppy training, etc.

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Re: Hunting a 4 month old griff

Postby Stretch » Sun Feb 18, 2018 6:55 pm

Since Barrett is doing decent at retrieving right now at 4 months is FF something I need to do still later on and if so when do you start that.
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Re: Hunting a 4 month old griff

Postby JONOV » Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:30 am

Stretch wrote:Since Barrett is doing decent at retrieving right now at 4 months is FF something I need to do still later on and if so when do you start that.

General consensus is that you need to wait til adult teeth are all there...6-7 months...

Whether you need to do it or not? That's up to you. Plenty of meat hunters don't.

They're happy enough with a dog that recovers their game and if the niceties of a finished retrieve are lacking, it isn't going to ruin their hunt. Of course, if you test at the UT level in NAVHDA or in the JGHV or run retriever tests/trials, you'll have a different opinion. And, as your dog is really young yet, he is likely to turn into an obstinant teenager and that may change as he gets more independent.

Keep in mind that most posters on this board run dogs in NAVHDA or JGHV, and use their testing as a means of charting their progress, establishing goals to work towards, etc, and the answers you get will reflect that.
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Re: Hunting a 4 month old griff

Postby orhunter » Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:33 pm

Just remember training never stops. If you continue with it, ff might be avoided. Depends on what makes you happy.

JONOV brings up the terrible teens but all is not lost if you don't give up. Once you get past that period, you should have a pretty good dog. You may have to integrate a force hold at some point.
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Re: Hunting a 4 month old griff

Postby Stretch » Mon Feb 19, 2018 4:57 pm

Is there a preferred method for a Griff since they are softer and don’t like a lot of repetition.
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Re: Hunting a 4 month old griff

Postby orhunter » Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:15 pm

I don't think they're soft at all. They naturally want to please and some get disappointed when they don't. They're pretty hard on themselves. Some are downright stubborn, tough as nails if they get bored. I think the key is giving them every opportunity to succeed and if they don't, turn and walk away, end the lesson. They hate being ignored.
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Re: Hunting a 4 month old griff

Postby Stretch » Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:31 pm

I went hunting today with a buddy and I’ve been using all hand signals for everything and he thinks I need to start using a whistle. I guess I do whistle combined with a hand signal for come but that’s it. What are your opinions on hand signals and whistle commands.
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Re: Hunting a 4 month old griff

Postby orhunter » Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:38 pm

Whistles are incredibly annoying.....
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Re: Hunting a 4 month old griff

Postby mastercaster » Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:45 pm

I've been using the whistle since my pup was 3-4 months old,,,,just in case she can't hear my voice or I can't see her. Three tweets for come, one tweet for whoa. My pup is 14 months old and I'm going to start using hand signals for change of direction (two tweets on the whistle) in the very near future using the ''walking baseball'' methodology. She knows hand signals already for stay and down but I don't consider those all that important, especially out in the field. I use them more around the house.
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Re: Hunting a 4 month old griff

Postby JONOV » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:09 pm

orhunter wrote:Whistles are incredibly annoying.....

Maybe I'm missing something, but I feel like, at least with upland hunting, if you're on the whistle enough for it to be annoying its going to be an annoying handler/dog to hunt with anyway.
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Re: Hunting a 4 month old griff

Postby orhunter » Tue Feb 20, 2018 1:06 pm

JONOV: Yup...... Gotta let a dog hunt. They'll come back when they should without recalling. I want a dog in the field to control what I do, not me controlling what the dog does.
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Re: Hunting a 4 month old griff

Postby LongHammer » Tue Feb 20, 2018 1:13 pm

If you use an E collar why would you need a whistle? Unless you like hunting alone.
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Re: Hunting a 4 month old griff

Postby Stretch » Tue Feb 20, 2018 8:40 pm

Would it be a bad idea to start shed hunting Barrett before he’s finished on birds.
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Re: Hunting a 4 month old griff

Postby orhunter » Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:33 pm

One day I was hunting near a guy with a nice Shorthair who wouldn't lay off the whistle. This guy was walking down the ridge and I was way below him on the sidehill. A lot of the time his Shorthair was hunting between the two of us and finding some birds. The thing was, this guy couldn't see his dog working and kept blowing the whistle to get the dog back in his sight rather than staying with his dog. I saw the dog point two or three coveys and the guy called his dog off all of them. Knucklehead. He had no idea how good his dog was because they weren't a team.
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Re: Hunting a 4 month old griff

Postby AverageGuy » Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:40 am

Stretch,

Sounds like your pup is doing well. I hunt wild pheasants in IA and elsewhere a good bit and just finished up my second season with my GWP. From the start I only shot pheasants that he pointed and it paid off really well. The dog learned to stay cautious but in contact with moving/running pheasants and many times they eventually hold long enough for the dog to point them, and me to be in range when they flush.

I let my pup chase when I flushed birds off his point through his first season and then steadied him to WSF using the methods I learned in the Perfect Start, Perfect Finish DVDs. I also did a FF program after his first season when he was over 1 year of age using the Perfect Retrieve DVD.

Many Vdogs have alot of natural retrieve and it sounds like yours is one of them. Teaching Hold with Positive Re-enforcement methods will yield a dog which will reliably deliver a bird to hand which is more than the vast majority of hunting dogs actually do in the field. Your choice, but there is zero downside to starting with teaching Hold and combining it with your dog's natural retrieve for now.

I teach my voice command "Come" first, Then add the whistle, then I added the ecollar tone. I use a mini Garmin GPS collar which allowed me to use it on my pup from an early age. I seldom recalled my pup in the field as I seldom had need to with the GPS collar allowing me to know his whereabouts in cover when I could not see him. Of the 3 commands I use the ecollar tone the most while hunting. It is rare for me to use my voice or whistle. The whistle is used when the dog does not know where I am and is heading the wrong direction when I am trying to tone it back towards me. That does not happen very often but it does happen and is a good example of the need to teach the whistle que for recall. I also used the whistle in my pup's UT this past August when the judges told me to call him at the 10 minute mark of his duck search. We hunt in silence the vast majority of the time and like it that way.

At 4 months of age I would let your pup work/hunt on its own for the most part. When you change directions look for opportunities when the pup looks up to see where you are and then motion in the new direction you are walking and keep walking, the pup will naturally learn to que in on it without you saying anything. But the most important thing at this age is to let the pup explore and hunt learning to use its nose, develop its hunt and search for game, and handling terrain e.g. fences, creeks, ditches, briars, woods, grass ... At this age and for at least several months to follow less/little interference from you is for the best.

I do alot of "Hunt Dead" work with my puppies. I will zip tie wings to a bumper and toss into cover while walking. Use a hand signal and voice command to hunt "dead" to the pup when we pass back by, motioning towards the cover where I tossed the bumper. For dogs with alot of natural retrieve they love the game I will do the same with a fresh shot bird which is usually a pigeon. It really pays dividends in developing a dog which loves to recover downed birds.

Shed hunting will have no ill effects on your puppy and will provide more beneficial time in the field.

There are two very good NAVHDA chapters in IA. Getting involved with either or both would be beneficial to you and your pup. Best of luck, enjoy your pup.
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Re: Hunting a 4 month old griff

Postby AverageGuy » Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:36 am

Stretch,

One additional thought. The best trainers observe and tailor their training to the individual dog. Without seeing your puppy all any of us can do on the internet is provide general guidelines. How much control to put on your puppy in the field at an early age depends alot on the puppy. I have had those which were a serious threat to run a deer track out of the country at an early age and those required more handling earlier than my current pup for example. As to what to work on now, using PR methods to teach OB around and in the house starts very young and continues. Using it in the field should be alot more sparing depending on how bold your pup is but I want to develop the pup's lust to hunt for game in the field as the foremost mission there and then put my controls on the dog in the field after I am seeing the bold search for game, not before. Which is between the dog's first and second season for me.

I taught my puppy Whoa early on using a clicker/marker word and treats, but I never used the command outside the yard until we began steadiness training for his UT after his first hunting season. I do not Whoa my dogs into points around planted birds but instead make it a simulated hunt using launchers in natural cover and staying silent as the pup learns to either point when it hits scent or the bird otherwise flushes and flies away. Once the pup is pointing I can shoot the bird for it, and in doing so build an understanding earlier on, that pointing the bird is the best path to getting to retrieve a bird. (Again Perfect Start/Perfect Finish DVDs). Trying to help you build a road map for developing your pup vs overwhelm you.

You mentioned your pup is very eager to retrieve. Preserve and nurture it but do not over do it. Same with tracking. It is easy to enjoy working dogs on their strengths when many times what we should be doing is work on their weaknesses to bring those areas up. A dog already showing a strength in one area is telling us it needs less "help" from us in that area and our role is to not screw it up through boredom or too much discipline when they are young.

I have learned from some mistakes I made along the way and my comments are geared towards helping others avoid them.
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