When will a puppy show an interest in game birds

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When will a puppy show an interest in game birds

Postby dgkula » Sun Nov 01, 2020 12:08 pm

I have a 4 month old WPG from a reputable breeder. She was introduced to quail about 3 weeks ago and wasnt very interested. The state stocks several parcels of land near me with pheasants multiple times a week so lately I have been taking her out on Sundays when there are no hunters out just to let her run, explore and maybe get some bird exposure.

In the past two weeks I have had the following experiences:
1. see a cock pheasant 30 feet ahead on the edge of the road. He runs right into the scrub. Dog and I walk up to where the bird went in and I walk around in the scrub - dog doesnt really do anything notable.
2. dog is 10 ft ahead of me on my right as we are walking the edge of a field. A hen gets up about four feet to dog's right and we are both startled.
3. dog trots past a rooster in the edge scrub. I'm 20 feet behind and bird flushes when I am 8 ft away.
4. we are on another edge and dog is 15 ft to my left. I see a cock on the edge about 15 ft up to my right. I call dog over to me. She comes and looks at me. I walk slowly towards bird and bird goes into underbrush. I try to send dog in - nothing. I step in a bit, dog follows. Bird moves ahead, I see movement and hear cackling. Dog is disinterestd. Brush is just way to dense for me to continue so we leave.

In every instance the puppy had no interest in the bird and we were very close and scenting conditions were decent.

Is it just a case of her instincts not kicking in until she's older or should a WPG pup generally be scenting and pointing at 4 months?

Thanks!
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Re: When will a puppy show an interest in game birds

Postby Dmog » Mon Nov 02, 2020 9:36 am

I have found that running Pheasants are tough for some young dogs so don't despair. Keep getting her out there! Some dogs start at 10 weeks and some start at 1 year but most I would say at right at your age. I would recommend planting pigeons or chukar and work the pup on lead down wind into the scent cone at a 90 degree about 5-10 yards from the bird. Watch the pup for signs of it picking up the scent. It may not be a point yet, may just be a change in body language with the head and our tail positioning. I personally wing lock a pigeon at 3-4 months old and place it in ankle high grass to work my pups into the scent cone every couple days until the pup starts pointing. My last two a Griff pointed at 14 weeks and PP pointed at 12 weeks. They both did not point on the first couple passes at younger ages. Before I did this I made sure the pup had bird drive awoken already by tossing a wing locked pigeon out and letting the pup run and get it. First time Griff was very cautious but the second time he crashed right into the bird at 11 weeks. The PP toss at 10 weeks and she crashed into the bird after a slight pause to smell it. You can dizzy Chukars or quail but they will eventually get up and walk or fly unless you tape the wings and legs. Once the pup its showing you it is using its nose then I move to birds I can flush via foot or my preference is a remote launcher. Care needs to be taken that pup is conditioned to the remote launcher at distance with flushing at 15 yards at first then closer. Pup should be chasing the flush bird by now. Pups seems to do better if you help them walk before they run.
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Re: When will a puppy show an interest in game birds

Postby orhunter » Thu Nov 05, 2020 5:49 pm

Some dogs need a formal introduction where you shoot a couple birds and let them go find, fetch or pack around. Pup may need a teaser as Dmog mentioned, a few restrained birds to chase and catch.

Wild birds may provide a much more pronounced interest.

How is the pup’s search coming along? Does it have any interest in getting away from your side, out on it’s own? If you’re talking to the dog during these exposure outings, you probably ought to stop as it’s a distraction. The pup must work independently, give it a chance.
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Re: When will a puppy show an interest in game birds

Postby SwitchGrassWPG » Thu Nov 05, 2020 6:05 pm

Every dog's different. I've had dogs (males) who were late bloomers and really didn't get it until well after 6 months. It may take numerous frequent controlled contacts to get the light to come on. It may also be beneficial if you have your pup out with another dog who knows what they're doing.
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Re: When will a puppy show an interest in game birds

Postby orhunter » Thu Nov 05, 2020 6:35 pm

I start with field work at 9 weeks and as Switchgrass says, with another dog can be the key. Helped a fellow get a pup a few years ago and at 9 weeks we took it out for some off leash exposure with my dog. The pup paid us no attention, all it wanted was to be like the big dog. It’s all about creating opportunity and that starts right away. It doesn’t matter how the pup responds because in time it will. If you don’t start this stuff soon enough, the pup will be slow to catch on.
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A tale of two dogs

Postby JONOV » Mon Nov 09, 2020 3:33 pm

I have a GWP that's 4.5 years old and another (DD if you want to be pedantic) that's about 9 months. Looking back, my 4.5 year old GWP was pointing and searching earlier than the current pup did; he was doing it at 4 months or so. It evened out by the time she was six or seven months old and she passed her NA test with a 105.
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Re: When will a puppy show an interest in game birds

Postby Steve Anker » Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:34 am

Be PATIENT.......not every dog GELs at the same rate. I once had a English Setter never show any signs of bird interest until about two years old and then ZAMMMMMM,
everything fell into place. Today the dog is beloved by his owner, hunted regular too.

4 months....?

So keep up a gentle bird program, no stress, no expectations, sit back it'll come. It is better to just wait, if you have got the time.
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