Pointing

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

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Pointing

Postby Stretch » Tue Mar 20, 2018 8:10 pm

Barrett is going to be 6 months old in a couple weeks. He does pretty good if he winds a bird at pointing. Would say prolly 80% of time he holds and doesn’t flush. Now when he is tracking a running pheasant the percentage isn’t that good. I would say he will flush the bird 80% of the time. With this being said I’ve never had him on anything but wild birds (pheasant and quail). So I guess what I’m asking is there something I can do to improve this. Or do I need to just keep putting him on birds at let him figure it out.
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Re: Pointing

Postby Doc E » Tue Mar 20, 2018 8:36 pm

De-chasing.
.
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Re: Pointing

Postby blue04 » Tue Mar 20, 2018 9:05 pm

Lots of folks will say that you should just keep hunting him and let the wild birds steady him. That probably works for lots of dogs, and it's the easiest way if it works. I've trained dogs that got bolder and bolder at bumping birds the more they encountered. It was like a game to them. For these dogs, I dechased them. Stop to flush is also your friend here. If your dog already knows STF, it will make your life a lot easier when you start steadying to WSF.
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Re: Pointing

Postby orhunter » Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:58 am

Six months may be a little young to expect much more? I'd try taking him off birds for a couple of months so you don't let this become a habit. Once things become habit, it's ten times more difficult to correct the problem than to let it become habit in the first place.

Are these pen raised birds?
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Re: Pointing

Postby Stretch » Wed Mar 21, 2018 11:10 am

Never had him on anything but wild birds.
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Re: Pointing

Postby JONOV » Wed Mar 21, 2018 11:32 am

Doc E wrote:De-chasing.
.

Is that the problem though? I'm probably demonstrating my ignorance here, but I thought de-chasing was for seen birds. Meaning, in the broader discussion of steadiness, and borrowing the NAVHDA UT test criteria, "Steady to flush, wing, shot, and fall," that de-chasing was mostly specific to "Steady to wing."

Pheasants, especially as they get older and wiser, run and run and run and run. Even a 100% steady dog points unproductively, relocated, unproductive, relocate, if he hasn't learned to handle running birds.

Its why a lot of guys use flushing dogs for Pheasants.

Its hard to say if the dog is bumping birds, or the birds are flushing wild.
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Re: Pointing

Postby orhunter » Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:15 pm

"Wild birds." That's what I thought.

Your pup has seen more wild birds at his age than most and has a good start thanks to you. If you think your pup has the proper drive to do a decent search, I'll stick with my recommendation to take him off birds. Another reason is, you can't shoot birds this time of year and for your pup to point without the reward of a fetch may eventually have a negative effect? I'm sure there are others with a valid opinion on this.
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Re: Pointing

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Wed Mar 21, 2018 2:35 pm

He's young. Many dogs during a lifetime, no matter the number of wild birds, will ever learn to stop and point a running bird. That's something you just hope for but can't really train for. If a dog is a confirmed tracker-flusher, best you can do is give them a strong WHOA, then walk up to the dog, release him, and keep up with him. If he gets to far ahead, whoa him again. You can also try teaching him EASY, where your teaching him to walk on a track and not run.
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Re: Pointing

Postby Stretch » Wed Mar 21, 2018 2:37 pm

He has a good search has a range of prolly 30-50 yards. He’s had wild birds in front of him at least three days a week since mid December. Prolly had around 20-25 birds shot over him, would have to look to make sure. We are doing the NA test in June.
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Re: Pointing

Postby orhunter » Wed Mar 21, 2018 2:47 pm

I wouldn't worry about anything till a couple months before the test. Revisit tracking, fetch from water with enthusiasm and introduction to pen raised birds to confirm point. He may suddenly lose his point with pen raised so you'll want to be one step ahead of the dog.

Have a beer.
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Re: Pointing

Postby AverageGuy » Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:01 am

Stretch, At 6 months your puppy is doing exactly what you would hope and expect it to do. Bold Vdog puppies with good tracking skills are very likely to burn down a running rooster track ending in the rooster flushing and the pup giving chase. Blue's post and Orhunter's are correct in that puppies enjoy it and it will likely continue until you present a better alternative.

Similar to Blue's post, I worked the pup on pigeons in launchers enough to give him an excellent understanding that pointing when he smelled them was the only and best way he would get one in his mouth. And it taught him that chasing them when they flew was a waste of energy vs going and looking for the next one on the ground. The ability to control the situation with pigeons in launchers is far superior to continuing to let it bump and chase running roosters at this stage of your puppy's development is my belief.

Then I hunted the hair off the dog holding fire when and if he bumped a bird and doing my best to grass all of those he pointed. When hunting pheasants I put him in the best heaviest cover I could find and hunted in silence just me and the puppy, which very much up the odds of him getting a rooster cornered long enough for me to either flush it or be in range when it flushed on its own, and again reward the behavior by putting the bird down and the pup getting a retrieve.

After his first season I trained him to be steady to WSF and while hunting I continue to require him to be steady to wing. Once he learned that pointing was the best option to getting a retrieve he developed alot more caution on run and stop, run and stop roosters, looking to keep contact with them when they moved but also looking to get them cornered and pointed so I can shoot one.
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Re: Pointing

Postby orhunter » Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:15 am

One thing I have to commend you for is not thinking your pup is too young to take hunting. Amazing the number of folks who think they need to be a certain age before taking them out. Maybe three months is a little young but four certainly isn't. I recall when I worked at NAVHDA spring training days and someone would have their 12/14 month old pup and to get a feel for the dog I'd ask how much hunting experience the pup had. Oh, he/she was too young to take hunting...... How people come up with this crap is beyond me. Really something what you can find out about people when you work with their dogs. Some have really nice dogs and don't know it.

If we consider your pups experience, I think it would be reasonable to begin formal training for steadiness this summer....if that's what you want to do. Most folks do this with pigeons but they're kind of foreign to a dog's nose and brain. If you have the space, might want to throw together a bird pen where you can keep your own pheasant, Huns, quail, Chukars, whatever you can get your hands on.
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Re: Pointing

Postby JONOV » Thu Mar 22, 2018 11:09 am

orhunter wrote:One thing I have to commend you for is not thinking your pup is too young to take hunting. Amazing the number of folks who think they need to be a certain age before taking them out. Maybe three months is a little young but four certainly isn't. I recall when I worked at NAVHDA spring training days and someone would have their 12/14 month old pup and to get a feel for the dog I'd ask how much hunting experience the pup had. Oh, he/she was too young to take hunting...... How people come up with this crap is beyond me. Really something what you can find out about people when you work with their dogs. Some have really nice dogs and don't know it.

If we consider your pups experience, I think it would be reasonable to begin formal training for steadiness this summer....if that's what you want to do. Most folks do this with pigeons but they're kind of foreign to a dog's nose and brain. If you have the space, might want to throw together a bird pen where you can keep your own pheasant, Huns, quail, Chukars, whatever you can get your hands on.

There seem to be two schools of thought that prevail:
Those that won't take the dog hunting til its pretty near finished.
Those that take the dog as soon as it can keep up.

Some of it has to do with owner personality, in that there are some people that don't want the aggravation of a young dog doing young dog things, and an intense fear of developing bad habits.

I saw the same thing when I worked at Golf Courses, people that would decide to take up Golf, and were meticulous about developing the skillset before playing, and people that took a lesson or two and signed up for a Saturday tee time.
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Re: Pointing

Postby Stretch » Thu Mar 22, 2018 11:21 am

I want steady to wing or flush but not so much steady to shot and fall puts the dog at a disadvantage on cripples I think. I know they want steady to WSF in testing but I want a hunting dog first and foremost. Also I don’t want to lose birds.

Thank you Orhunter for not hacking on me for hunting my Griff at such a young age. A lot of people around here keep telling me I’m wasting my time that he needs to older and I’m going to ruin him. I’ve always thought it’s easier to influence a young dog than a old dog.
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Re: Pointing

Postby orhunter » Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:26 pm

JONOV:

"till it's pretty near finished." Isn't that the truth. They'll never be close to finished without lots of real hunting experience. Finished takes two or three years. Grrrrrr......

Stretch:

"influence." The birds are what influences the dog. Time in the field is experience. This combination is what sets up a dog for training, not the other way around.
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