The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

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

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Re: The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:48 pm

GONEHUNTIN' wrote:Bruce, does your dog just work to two whistles, or will he do a straight back on a third whistle? For instance when he's arcing across the line to the bird is there a third whistle that makes him dig straight back so you don't have to keep hacking him left to right?


The dog takes an initial line. If it's not good u give a bend (left or right) whistle and that's the new course(the dog doesn't keep bending). Normally it's ten degrees or so. If that's not enough or too much you give another correction. If,say, you need a 90 degree quick turn you give sharp whistle or two. The dog gets this last concept pretty quickly, but I'm not doing 300 yard blinds. There is attrition with distance and I don't know Howe to make collar corrections at long distances. A lab would be the animal to work on this
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Re: The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

Postby PL_Guy » Fri Mar 23, 2018 2:15 am

GONEHUNTIN' wrote:
PL_Guy wrote:...

Mike lardy wrote a series of articles in "The Retriever Journal.' In one he contrasted the dog's total reliance on the handler in blind retrieve work and the great level of dog independence allowed in working marked retrieves (Only control allowed is release and delivery commands).

Upland dogs should (IMO) be allowed nearly total independence to do their job. That's the way I worked my PLs. I released them to hunt and rarely gave a command except those associated with retrieves and/or release from a point (they were both SWSF). They kept track of me and I them as we worked the country. If one went out of sight and was gone "too long" (a time period of undefined subconsciously determined duration) I went looking to find him on point.

Jere


I agree with your thoughts on the upland dog. I never handle my dog's while they are hunting. I think you may have misunderstood Mike on marks though. When a young dog learns to mark, he MUST learn a search pattern so he doesn't switch on marks or backside guns. Once he learns to check going in, stay on the correct side of guns, and hunt an intelligent and productive pattern, from then on he is really given nearly total independence on marks. However, you can not give an All Age dog independence on marks until a pattern has been instilled.


You may be right about what I remember from Mike's article. It was a long time ago when I was studying that material! I have all the earlier articles in a three-ring binder here. I know I have tried, in the past, more than once, to convince PL people they might benefit from relaxing their total control paradigm - especially in the uplandsI I didn't convince many - they don't seem to trust the dogs! I'll try and find time to take a refresher look at Mike's article. In any case, what you say certainly makes sense.

While I didn't (and wouldn't) handle my upland dog while hunting - that doesn't mean there is no connection between us. Generally, when I change direction, I expect the dog will pretty soon do so herself even though she may be a few hundred yards away (in open, sparse cover). Sometime she won't pick up on my change of direction and I'll admit to hollering "Ho dog" or such to get her attention. I'm not really sure what information a dog uses to keep track of her human hunting partner -- I don't think it is 100% visual. I do know a well-bonded cooperative dog does do it.

Jere
"Speak your truth quietly & clearly; ... Avoid loud & aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
So much to learn, So little time!
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Re: The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

Postby AverageGuy » Fri Mar 23, 2018 6:59 am

PL_Guy wrote: I'm not really sure what information a dog uses to keep track of her human hunting partner -- I don't think it is 100% visual. I do know a well-bonded cooperative dog does do it.

Jere


My GWPs have used all their senses to keep track of me. In heavy cover when they are not into game and find themselves disconnected from me for the moment, they loop around until they cut my boot track and then run down it until they find me. I view it as one indication of cooperation that Bruce brought up. Their obvious joy in finding dead deer parts and retrieving them back to me at top speed would be another behavior that suggests what I would term cooperation. Same with all the possums they track, catch and retrieve completely independent while doing it except for the last part of retrieving it back to me. I think perhaps the more a dog is thrilled to work for the handler for nothing but their praise the more cooperative the dog could be called. I did some basic OB work with a couple of German Shepards when I was a boy and they were easily influenced by my verbal praise and corrections. When we were training they generally had no agenda other than to understand and perform whatever I was asking of them. My hounds have had a much more independent agenda and my GWPs would fit in the middle of those two end points, working at times like my hounds and other times like my GSs.
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Re: The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Fri Mar 23, 2018 10:04 am

Speaking of dead things, My DD came running up to me with a strange look on her face and stood looking at me. There was nothing hanging out of her mouth but I could see she had something in it; that guilty look these dog's get sometimes. I put my hand under her and commanded drop. She plopped a freshly killed red squirrel in my hand. Just cracked me up. She was certainly proud of herself and thought I'd be overjoyed at the crushed, mushy squirrel. These are the most interesting dog's I have ever owned or trained.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

Postby crackerd » Fri Mar 23, 2018 10:42 am

GONEHUNTIN' wrote:Speaking of dead things, My DD came running up to me with a strange look on her face and stood looking at me. There was nothing hanging out of her mouth but I could see she had something in it; that guilty look these dog's get sometimes. I put my hand under her and commanded drop. She plopped a freshly killed red squirrel in my hand. Just cracked me up. She was certainly proud of herself and thought I'd be overjoyed at the crushed, mushy squirrel. These are the most interesting dog's I have ever owned or trained.


That's only 'til you experience of the unadulterated joys of owning and training a spinone, GH. :wink: In fact, since this is the "Higgins Method Falconry for Gun Dogs" thread, did I ever tell you about the time my spin brought in - as in "retrieved" - a peregrine falcon? I first saw her from about 300 yards away with something dusky in her mouth, and wondered from afar where she had gotten a hen pheasant in a state that has about two of those and both pen-raised. But as she drew closer, the telltale talons, the size of a first baseman's mitt, were hanging out of her mouth. Delivered to hand very gently and nicely, albeit headlessly for the peregrine - figured a great horned owl had decapitated it and as it was still warm, must've been that the dog came along before the owl could get any deeper into its "whack" job.

MG
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Re: The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Fri Mar 23, 2018 10:50 am

I have NEVER heard of that before. Good thing it was headless or that gorgeous Spin wouldn't a been so gorgeous!
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

Postby crackerd » Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:10 am

GONEHUNTIN' wrote:I have NEVER heard of that before. Good thing it was headless or that gorgeous Spin wouldn't a been so gorgeous!


Whaddya mean "gorgeous?" - ugliest dog I ever had, and I loved every ugly hair on her, all two million or so of 'em. :wink:

Was with a falconer last week, actually guess as she flies a Harris hawk, she's called an austringer (fancy word not in my vocabulary 'til then) - she was telling me how the hawk's beak protrudes more and more unless the bird can do what's called "coping" which I guess is the equivalent of beavers and gnawing on trees to keep their teeth filed down (and sharp!). But any danger to the dog would've been posed more by talons than the raptor's killing instrument the beak. Anyhow, I wouldn't have worried about the spinone - once a feral cat jumped on her head and dug its claws in, which put her into survival mode of jumping off a high bank and into a quarry with the cat going along for the ride until...well, that was that. The Boykin and talons, well, let's just say a number of eagles "sized her up" over the years from rather low-altitude reconnaissance...

MG

By the way, GH - just for you, this photo was taken the day after our favorite team idiotically parted ways with Jordy Nelson

IMG_8126a.jpg


- you will see - well, maybe you won't see it - but trust me, both the bird and I had our heads bowed in sorrow...
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Re: The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:36 am

Spinone Bird.

Image

Don't rub it in about Nelson. They will rue that day.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

Postby AverageGuy » Fri Mar 23, 2018 12:11 pm

Nice Photos Guys,

I have some Friends who remain active Falconers. Got to tag along on a Gryfalcon's maiden flight at game. The Falconer was flying her at some ducks on a pond at a sod farm. She circled up high and we went over the pond dam and flushed some gadwalls, she stooped and missed, the ducks went back to the pond and refused to fly again. The Falcon stooped back up high, and the Falconer then released a bagged hen pheasant. The Falcon closed its wings and stooped down at a near vertical angle, smacked the pheasant so hard it bounced 2 feet back up off the ground, as the Falcon swung around, landed on it and began plucking.

Image

Image
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Re: The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Fri Mar 23, 2018 1:38 pm

AG, we were in N Dak a few years ago waterfowl hunting, the three of us laid out in a field and Lani The Draht alongside me. We heard a hen frantically quacking and she came zig zagging over the decoys. Just like that, BAM! a falcon hit her from above, knocked her to the ground and kept flying. Lani was whimpering and desperately wanted that hen, shot or not. I told he NO and a minute later the hen stood up, quacked, and took off. Damndest thing I've seen hunting.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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