Younger Dog...Let him roll, or manage more closely?

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Younger Dog...Let him roll, or manage more closely?

Postby JONOV » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:20 pm

My dog is 16 months old, a GWP. Obedience is great, instincts are all there, there is polish yet to be applied on some of the field work.

I just got back from North Dakota with him. What a fun trip (as always.) I got up two days early to give myself two uninterrupted days to hunt sharptails before the duck opener.

This year, two guys from NAVHDA mentioned in as many words, "let him roll and do his thing and keep your hands off and your mouth shut." And that's what I did. I only broke out the e-collar when he would ignore commands (usually a leave it for something really interesting like a badger hole or cow pie) and did my best to keep my commands to a minimum; aside from a very few instances of "leave it" that's all I really had to do as far as corrections hunting for upland game.

First morning, first field, he snaps up on a point...Holds it three seconds as I walk in and a sharptail gets up (he was steady all three seconds between point and flush) and I shot it. I was happy. Next field we went to had no birds that we saw despite looking very promising. Being that he had run 20 miles per the GPS collar I called it a day late afternoon and went in.

The next few days were tougher. The next morning we were cut very short by a skunk incident requiring me to drive to town and handle it before joining everyone else at the camp.

Every subsequent afternoon (after duck hunting) we went upland hunting. My question is this: If you know, as a hunter, that the Grouse are most likely to be toward the top of the hill on the leeward side, do you hack the dog back to cast him up that way? Or do you just let him hunt with minimal handling? Do you shoot grouse that you bust that the dog wasn't particularly near, or wait for a point? I made a point not to shoot at anything he bumped, but those contacts were a bit more minimal. Anyway, this is largely for next year, as the extent of his wild upland bird exposure is limited to what woodcock I can run into down here in NC, and maybe some ruffed Grouse in the mountains if I'm really, really lucky.

Unrelated somewhat but I was very happy with his behavior in the duck blind. There was some "down" *nick* (wash/rinse/repeat early) on in the morning a couple days but he was by and large great, kept down, kept quiet, honored other retrieves, good search, swam for some longer ones and was overall better behaved and easier to share a blind with than some of the much more experienced dogs in the blind...
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Re: Younger Dog...Let him roll, or manage more closely?

Postby J D Patrick » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:30 pm

I don't have any answers or input other than,,,,Sounds like you had a great time!!

look forward to hearing what folks think,,,,,
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Re: Younger Dog...Let him roll, or manage more closely?

Postby AverageGuy » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:11 pm

For me it depends on the young dog and how hard going their search is. I have had some get so charged up they would just keep rolling and for those I would tone to swing around when/as needed. And young dogs can go a chase when chain reaction flushes occur and that warrants some handling in my view.

My current dog is 20 months old now. We hunted Sharptails in ND last year when he was 7 months old. I just let him go where ever he pleased as he had much to learn and showed a natural inclination to hunt in whatever direction I walked. I did the same for all our upland hunting across 6 states in his puppy season for the most part.

This year he is coming on really strong, hunting on a constant run and showing a growing savvy as to where to look for and find birds, making excellent use of the wind so the hands off approach is paying off as I think it does in many cases. I use ecollar tone to swing him around some when he gets to straight lining too much, but mostly am just letting him roll. We hunt in silence until the gun goes off and/or I am praising him while retrieving. We have hunted Prairie grouse the last two mornings totaling approx 6 hours on the ground. I have not used a whistle once and have toned him to swing around perhaps 6 times if that gives you a feel for how it is going with my dog currently. I have also toned and or stimulated him several times to remind him we do not chase wild flushed birds.
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Re: Younger Dog...Let him roll, or manage more closely?

Postby JONOV » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:55 am

AverageGuy wrote:For me it depends on the young dog and how hard going their search is. I have had some get so charged up they would just keep rolling and for those I would tone to swing around when/as needed. And young dogs can go a chase when chain reaction flushes occur and that warrants some handling in my view.

My current dog is 20 months old now. We hunted Sharptails in ND last year when he was 7 months old. I just let him go where ever he pleased as he had much to learn and showed a natural inclination to hunt in whatever direction I walked. I did the same for all our upland hunting across 6 states in his puppy season for the most part.

This year he is coming on really strong, hunting on a constant run and showing a growing savvy as to where to look for and find birds, making excellent use of the wind so the hands off approach is paying off as I think it does in many cases. I use ecollar tone to swing him around some when he gets to straight lining too much, but mostly am just letting him roll. We hunt in silence until the gun goes off and/or I am praising him while retrieving. We have hunted Prairie grouse the last two mornings totaling approx 6 hours on the ground. I have not used a whistle once and have toned him to swing around perhaps 6 times if that gives you a feel for how it is going with my dog currently. I have also toned and or stimulated him several times to remind him we do not chase wild flushed birds.


Thanks, that''s similar to my experience and what I did...mostly the beep to turn him around.
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Re: Younger Dog...Let him roll, or manage more closely?

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:50 pm

I don't know why you have to hack him anywhere. Just walk in that direction, stay quiet, and the dog will go with you. Personally, I hate people that are always talking to dog's or trying to handle them.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: Younger Dog...Let him roll, or manage more closely?

Postby orhunter » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:51 pm

What Gonehuntin' said.
SARCASM, one of the many free services I offer
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Re: Younger Dog...Let him roll, or manage more closely?

Postby 3drahthaars » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:03 pm

You can hack the search out of a pup...

... but, you can never hack it back in.

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Re: Younger Dog...Let him roll, or manage more closely?

Postby Urban_Redneck » Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:49 am

Sounds like you have a great 16 month old pup, I wouldn't mess with him while he's learning.
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