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Pointing Pen-raied birds

We have a 2 year old english setter that has pointed and held on pen raised quail since he was 8 weeks old. We sent him to a trainer when he was a year old. When we got him back he handled great,pointed great,and retrieved fair,which is to be expected of a young setter.

That fall we took him to Oklahoma for his first wild hunts. On one of the trips he got after a deer and we lost him for 15 days. He had a collar on but my wife didn't realize until it was too late to shock him. When we got him back we got him healthy again and decided after a month to see if he would hunt. He started laying down on pen raised quail. We put a collar around his middle to get him to stand up. Since then we have had him on many wild hunts plus used him to help guide on a local preserve. He has pointed wild pheasants, huns, sharptails, and quail . He stands up and holds great on wild birds and birds that have been released for a long period but still wants to lay down on fresh released birds.

Our question is should we just live with it or should we keep the collar around his middle? He would make a good trial dog if he would stand up because he is retrieving good now. What is your opinion as to why he started this habit? t

Thank you, Dean

Dear Dean:

It is hard to say why he suddenly started laying down on "pen raised birds." Maybe it is because when the deer ran the wind out of him, he laid down to rest and now associates that with flight conditioned birds. Only HE knows. But you should look at that as a plus, not a minus. Most bird dog owners would kill for what you have described in your dog! My suggestion is DON'T put pen raised birds in front of him. He probably knows the difference in them and wild birds (the scent is different) and he is just bored. Give him the 'challenge' of wild birds! That's what makes a good dog better.

Ted Wigglesworth
Houdini Llewellin Setters

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