PP wants to attack the bird and not point it.

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

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Re: PP wants to attack the bird and not point it.

Postby AlaskaMagnum » Fri May 04, 2018 7:45 am

SMAbby wrote:also sounds like you have a wild child. 10 months she should have had some controls put on her by now.

BTW, if you or anyone else is anywhere around me in Iowa. I have birds, will help train. My birds will need the exercise this year, im taking a break. :wink:


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Re: PP wants to attack the bird and not point it.

Postby Densa44 » Fri May 04, 2018 10:06 am

Lots of good advice. I use a whoa post from Rick Smith to get the dog to stop. That is first. Then I name it as WHOA.

I introduce the live bird and when I know, she knows where the bird it is, that is where I stop her. I don't want her close enough to grab the bird.

When I say whoa, that is forever until I touch her on the head.

You can do this. Try to stop the dog farther from the bird.

Let us know how you do.
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Re: PP wants to attack the bird and not point it.

Postby Willie T » Fri May 04, 2018 1:19 pm

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Re: PP wants to attack the bird and not point it.

Postby Boxertwin » Sat May 05, 2018 2:10 am

Thanks for all the advice. I'll work on some of these techniques.
Living in city, like Los Angeles, makes it hard. Not much free space. If you do something with birds, someone will call the cops. If you use a blank pistol, someone will call the cops. We will do the yard work we can and try to get out to all the NAVHDA training days.
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Re: PP wants to attack the bird and not point it.

Postby orhunter » Sat May 05, 2018 10:36 am

Let ‘em call the cops. As long as no laws are broken, what you do is none of their business. Might call the local authorities prior to going out and give them heads up so they know how to respond to the complaints that may come in.
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Re: PP wants to attack the bird and not point it.

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Sat May 05, 2018 11:15 am

This topic has included basically three different ways to approach the issue of steadiness and pointing. If you think about your problem from the view point of a retriever trainer it's merely an obedience issue. And GH’s post a ways back in this thread teaches a very complete way to approach it. The dog is taught to “stay” when a dummy is thrown, or when a bird goes up, or a bird is shot. We’re talking rock hard steadiness! This obedience command has to be taught because it runs counter to the dog’s instinctual desire to catch the bird. If your dog is steady in these instances, then your dog will be steady when on point. (you may not wish to include the "whistle sit" but "whoa" instead).

The most popular pointing dog training approach to steadiness is to release multiple birds (from traps) crosswind and eventually the dog’s desire to chase will be exhausted. I think it's also predicated on the premise that the dog doesn’t really want the bird to fly and will hold the point for a long time in order to keep it from flying. I’m not sure about that because I think the dog’s real desire is to catch and eat the bird and watching my dog point and stalk ground squirrels I’m pretty sure that the pointing is just an initial part of the stalking process. I can command that she hold the point, but, if left unchecked, she will eventually bolt for the squirrel. At any rate, this process is the currently preferred method because the dog learns on his own rather than relying on a "taught" method.

A third way to go about this steadiness process is to come at it from the point of view of teaching stop to flush (STF) first. Here the dog is initially taught to “whoa” and then to whoa whenever a bird goes up. It's accompanied by the use check cord or continuous stimulation to get the dog to stop and, after enough trials, the dog knows that when a bird goes up he’s supposed to stop no matter where he is. This STF teaching is basically covered in a previous post by me in this thread or, for a really good explanation of the process, see Farris’ book. He trains dogs for NAVHDA testing as well as for hunting. Additionally, if you expect to run in NAVHDA you’ll need to do STF training anyway, so this is a short cut to where you want to be right now.

I apologize for the length of this post because it’s only a summary of what’s already been said, but because of where you live (and not having the bird numbers to approach this from the “multiple bird release” view point), you might approach this from one of the other two ways.

Parenthetically, I believe the STF method was first described by Jim Martis, a brittany trainer, but I dont’ remember where it was first published and if anybody knows I’d appreciate knowing it. Also, Willie T had a really nice post on this steadiness subject but for some reason deleted it.
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Re: PP wants to attack the bird and not point it.

Postby AverageGuy » Sat May 05, 2018 12:54 pm

Once a dog past 10 weeks of age and first introduction, has caught birds the process gets more difficult. Launching birds may not fix the problem but done right it does nothing to further the problem either, and of the 3 it is the approach most likely to keep some style in the dog around birds. The more the pointing is accomplished through discipline vs instinct the more likely the loss of style around birds. Hence why I approach things the way I do. Certainly not the only way.
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Re: PP wants to attack the bird and not point it.

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Sat May 05, 2018 2:19 pm

Which is why you apply pressure in the yard and not the field. Anything you can teach in the yard results in more style in the field. Biggest mistake most make is to try to TEACH in the field rather than TEACH IN THE YARD then REINFORCE IN THE FIELD. That's really a very misunderstood key concept in producing great dog's.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: PP wants to attack the bird and not point it.

Postby AverageGuy » Sat May 05, 2018 4:31 pm

Completely agree GH.

But ideally I also train a puppy to point in silence, and use the Whoa command only as a que for steadiness while flushing or the bird is flying. I do not like mechanically Whoa'ing a puppy into a point. That also preserves style.

In this case where the dog has caught too many birds at an age past initial introductions of birds, we may need to resort to pressure to get the dog pointing. Hence your posts and Bruces. But if I was working with the dog, I would try popping a bunch of my homing pigeons in launchers, in natural cover to see if I could bring back some natural point instinct before I resorted to using commands and restraint to get the dog to point.

I would also be teaching Whoa in the yard away from birds so I have that command in place in the event the "natural method" proves fruitless and I have to use some methods with commands and pressure involved.

May come off like I beat a dead horse on this subject and maybe I do. I was at a clinic at Perfection Kennels a year ago. There was a Cedarwoods PP there. The dog rapidly wagged its tail and barked non-stop while being restrained on birds. It was not a pretty sight and something worth avoiding.
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Re: PP wants to attack the bird and not point it.

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Sat May 05, 2018 6:43 pm

AverageGuy wrote:May come off like I beat a dead horse on this subject and maybe I do. I was at a clinic at Perfection Kennels a year ago. There was a Cedarwoods PP there. The dog rapidly wagged its tail and barked non-stop while being restrained on birds. It was not a pretty sight and something worth avoiding.


My exposure to PPs are that they are really prey driven and stopping them from breaking can be tough; hence maybe part of Boxertwin's difficulty? I use the STF method (actually I've used them all) because you can burn the dog when it chases, and make it stop, but won't affect it's drive to hunt or point the next bird. I find myself doing that while hunting sometimes because I'm enforcing (or rather, trying to enforce) a steadiness to WS&Fall on wild birds. I'm not following my own advise I guess. Anyway, I didn't learn the STF method from Farris and I should also say he makes the point of NEVER using the collar on dog when the bird is on the ground - only in the air. That's because it may cause the dog to "blink" if it thinks the bird on the ground is causing the shock. That's what a lot of folks experience when using the collar for teaching steadiness in the field and what GH was getting at. I've had that problem too and don't like going there again.

Not to beat a dead horse myself, but whether the dog points has to do with instinct and I don't think you train for that. The dog points or it doesn't. Steadiness is about after the point.
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Re: PP wants to attack the bird and not point it.

Postby AverageGuy » Sat May 05, 2018 7:07 pm

Bruce Schwartz wrote:Not to beat a dead horse myself, but whether the dog points has to do with instinct and I don't think you train for that. The dog points or it doesn't. Steadiness is about after the point.


That is the same as what I think and why I approach bringing out the dog's point using a silent interaction with the bird, setup to simulate a wild bird but a situation which I can control and avoid caught birds. And why I approach Steadiness as a "trained" subject using a Trained command i.e. Whoa.

I do not even steady my dogs until after their first hunting season. But I insist on them pointing the bird or I do not shoot it from the start. So yes two related but different subjects, trained differently at different times is how I approach it.

When I am ready to train steadiness I train it first in the yard as GH emphasizes, then I proof it in other areas, add whistle and ecollar overlay. Then I release bagged pigeons from a distance similar to your post and eventually move closer. Then I combine the two using pointed birds on the ground and enforcing the Whoa requirement to not move as the bird flies.

But I have never taught STF first before I have the dog pointing based on it's natural instincts to point. I first get the puppy pointing, hunt it for a season and then apply STF training.

My Jack dog is the one that immediately preceded Spud. When he was a baby I did not have a pigeon coop and was buying young homers for a racing pigeon guy. He told me they could fly but apparently forgot to tell the pigeons the same and too many times the launched pigeons floated to the ground, Jack then broke his point charged forward and caught them. Sounds like the OP doesn't it.

I got some wild pigeons and used the launchers to restore his natural caution and point and then hunted him through his first season. The following spring/summer I steadied him using the steady techniques we have been discussing here and in this post.

Whether that will work here after some caught birds is an added challenge.

P.S. The PP I mentioned arrived at the Clinic with the problem and it resulted from the dog only having hunted released pheasants and caught too many of them. Not sure it had any more prey drive than my GWPs have shown but rather it was yet another young victim of pen raised birds in uncontrolled situations.
Last edited by AverageGuy on Sat May 05, 2018 7:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: PP wants to attack the bird and not point it.

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Sat May 05, 2018 7:42 pm

really good post! Think I'll send my (next) dog your way.
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Re: PP wants to attack the bird and not point it.

Postby Coveyrise64 » Tue May 08, 2018 8:43 pm

Your problem has nothing to do with pointing. The point is nothing more than the stop before stalk. Stopping at first scent should be a prerequisite before any steadiness to WSF and no amount of thrown bumpers will accomplish that. It will take birds and more birds. Not poor flying preserve birds but preferably strong flying pigeons and lots of them using a method similar to the ones SMAbby or AG outlined while reading the dog’s acknowledgement of the scent cone. The dog must learn respect for the bird and learn that their movement (if nothing more than picking up a foot) is what caused the bird to fly. Timing of the launch is important here. This contact should be between dog and the bird with no physical connection (check cord) or verbal communication (whoa command).

I prefer to not use a check cord as they are often used improperly but given your situation it might be an option. I have to question one of your earlier comments about the dog creeping though. If a check cord was used the only way a dog can creep is if you allow it. I suspect the dog was allowed to creep until standing over the bird hoping for a point.

If your situation of limited help, no remote launchers, tame game birds, and access to training grounds limits the number of bird exposures you will not gain much. These things should have been part of your game plan before purchasing a pup. Reactive planning is usually costly as well as frustrating. My advice is to seek professional help. A qualified professional will make more progress in two weeks than months of experimenting with different methods and hoping for a quick fix.

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Re: PP wants to attack the bird and not point it.

Postby ForestDump » Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:20 am

Stop messing with the pen raised birds and stop trying to make your dog point. Do some yard work, woah break the dog, work on recall, etc.. then take the pup hunting. Let it chase birds and figure it out. Pups are pups the rest will come in time. I’d rather my 15 month and under puppy learn to stay in the pocket, cover ground effectively and get its obedience than try to force it to point birds. They have their whole life for that.
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Re: PP wants to attack the bird and not point it.

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Fri Jul 20, 2018 3:21 pm

I'd introduce a different approach. I'd start her in the yard, throw clip wings, make her stay steady. Let them walk around her, etc until she won't move. Then go to the field. Dog like yours, you might launch 1000 birds before she ever gets it and starts to steady up. The yard is a good short cut and cuts WAY down on pressure in the field.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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