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Woah training early?

I recently had my German Shorthair Pointer bred and had a litter of 10 pups. The pups are now 14 weeks old. These pups were well socialized and conditioned from an early age and responded well. My question concerns one of the females I kept.

I raise pheasants and quail for dog training and Falconry purposes and have some large flight pens. I noticed that this female would point from any distance if she could see a bird. Just to help understand what she was thinking, I tried a few different tests. It seems she will point any bird, or brushpile that she knows may be hiding birds, from whatever distance she is when she sees it. She can be a football field away when she notices it and she will stop and point. After a few moments, she will begin to creep very slowly and continue this creep until she is very close. Then she rushes the bird and chases. If she is on the chaingang and watching other dogs, when her turn comes, she will point as soon as she in released if she can see the birds or cover. She is very good at finding birds with her nose too but of course, she is closer when she points.The pups have had no formal training yet. Romping through cover and finding birds is all fun with no pressure or commands.

I'm curious to know if others have had similar experiences and if some of the trainers think she might be ready for "Whoa" training at such an early age. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.


First let me compliment you on your choice of dogs. Couldn't have chosen better. :-)

Yes, I have seen puppies do this at a very early age. not sure I like it a lot but it doesn't hurt anything. I have a little girl that still does it to some extent at 16 months of age however she has graduated to scent anyway.

She has outstanding backing ability. This is a wonderful part of it. I have to constantly reposition her. That is a draw back on pheasant. It is good on quail and grouse. See where I'm going with this.

What are you hunting most? If it is pheasant I would encorage more free running. If it is quail, woodcock, grouse, I might just work on her release.

She is very young and may grow into different stages. It's hard to tell. How does she hunt with other dogs? Is she standing on point while the others are romping after a bird?

I have hunted my dogs in a brace for one season and will seperate them this year. The fast point causes dependence on the other dog. The little one catches the scent and points. The older one backs and then uses her own nose and sense to realize the bird is no longer there. I then have to release the little one multiple times to keep her moving.

If it was me I would encorage more "hunting" and less pointing at this stage. Plant the birds out away so she will realize that "hunting" is a bigger part than finding.

IMO you can teach whoa at anytime. I tend to teach it at a later time as I do not use it on the point. I use another command. whoa to my dog means stop where ever you are and wait for me. Also known as a stand in motion . Has nothing to do with holding a point.

I would see how the dog develops and go from there.

Terry Germany
JC&T Shooting Sports

For more information on Woah training, try:
Unsteady in the field
Woah training
Woah Training II
Breaking after the fall
Whoa - how steady?
Steady to wing
Barrel training

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