Dogs first hunting season.

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Dogs first hunting season.

Postby HMR » Fri Jun 18, 2021 6:20 pm

Curious, what is your expectation on a pups first hunting season?

My pup will be a year old on her first hunting seasons as she was a late summer pupI’m trying to figure out what I should
Focus on this upcoming hunting season with her.
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Re: Dogs first hunting season.

Postby AverageGuy » Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:08 pm

My pups are ready to hunt doves, waterfowl and upland birds in their first seasons and do.

They hunt and range well in a variety of cover, find birds, point some of them, take some of them out. I shoot the ones they point and hold fire on the ones they take out.

They persist in hunting for and recovering downed birds on my Hunt Dead command and retrieve them to hand or my feet.

They come when called via voice command, whistle or tone on the ecollar, and load up when told to do so. They will walk at heel on leash, sit and lay down on command.

They are allowed to break and chase a reasonable distance when the birds fly after I flush them off of points. I steady them up after their first hunting season.

I introduce retrieving through decoys on land and water before the first Teal season. Also teach them to load into a boat and sit while it is running. I teach them to load into a dog ground blind and jump up onto a marsh platform, retrieving from both, and returning to both with the bird.
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Re: Dogs first hunting season.

Postby orhunter » Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:19 pm

+1.
SARCASM, one of the many free services I offer
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Re: Dogs first hunting season.

Postby birddogger2 » Sat Jun 19, 2021 1:24 pm

HMR wrote:Curious, what is your expectation on a pups first hunting season?

My pup will be a year old on her first hunting seasons as she was a late summer pupI’m trying to figure out what I should
Focus on this upcoming hunting season with her.


HMR -

A VERY great deal of what can be expected during a pup's first hunting season is dependent on the training the pup has received prior to the season and their level of competence with the various trained behaviors.

You need to assess the pup's current abilities and tailor both their future experiences afield AND, most especially, YOUR expectations... to the pup's abilities.

It is, I believe, important to proceed with field training in a logical manner, building on the pup's existing training and not putting the pup in a situation where they will engage in behaviors that will have to be trained out or trained around later on.

For example... let's consider bumping and chasing as an example of what may well occur in the pups first season afield.

A pup of that age will not be steady to wing and shot, and should not be expected to be. HOWEVER, letting the pup continually bump and chase without direction and some level of control can be counterproductive and can result in a dog that wants to crowd birds and enjoys the chase, making the process of steadying the dog that much more difficult and requiring that much more negative reinforcement to accomplish. The more negative pressure you need to apply increases the risk that the dog will lose style or intensity or desire.

Conversely, if the pup learns that bumping and chasing is a waste of their time and energy and pointing and holding gets the desired reward... THAT is a positive result which will allow the dog to progress toward steadiness faster and with less pressure and generally, more retention of style, intensity and desire.

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Re: Dogs first hunting season.

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Sat Jun 19, 2021 9:48 pm

The two most important things you can do now is to teach her to come when called 100% of the time and to stop when commanded. If you can do that, the dog is huntable.

I don't like to let the mechanics slide. I'd have been working on a lot of launcher birds during spring and summer. I'd also obedience train and FF the dog. It goes better when they're young. If you wait, the dog will be a year and a half before you do mechanics with her. The older they get, the tougher some of the training is. I'd break her through decoys if she's a waterfowl dog as well. What I would not do, is to just let her go into the season with no training. I wouldn't worry about the fine stuff during hunting season. If she bust birds, creeps, etc., that's OK, she'll learn. I'd expose her to a lot of different cover, a lot of different birds. I WOULD NOT let her chase or that can open up a whole can of worms for you unless you have not had her on any birds. Then there is some value to it.

Birds, birds, birds. That's how a bird dog is made.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: Dogs first hunting season.

Postby Willie T » Mon Jun 21, 2021 12:30 pm

I’m with bird dogger. It is hard to reply without knowing how strong of a foundation you and your dog have already established. Reading the dog by watching it work would also factor heavily into what I expected out of it. With a precocious pup with the right preparation, I have seen some pretty good work. I have also seen dogs that still didn’t know they were hunting for the gun at the end of their first season. The only certain prediction I will make over the internet is it will make its share of mistakes and the more opportunities it is given the more it will learn.
Good luck with your pup in its first season.
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Re: Dogs first hunting season.

Postby AverageGuy » Tue Jun 22, 2021 7:10 am

HMR,

I responded with my expectations for my pups in their first season. And I achieve it.

My lifestyle allows me to work with my pups every day including putting them in natural cover and into wild game and training birds. No reason not to set the bar high but is always critical to work with the pup in front of you and adapt to their pace as needed. None of what I posted happens without putting the work in on a regular daily basis.

Exposure is the number one thing for preparing your puppy. Proper bird, gun and water introductions. Training a strong recall. Exposing the pup to natural terrains where it can hunt and find game and exposing it to city life settings are all critical foundation. With those in place your pup can have an excellent first season.

Steadiness is the most overblown subject in bird dogs. Legions of excellent bird dogs on wild birds are never trained to be steady past holding a staunch point while the hunter flushes the bird.

I train my dogs to be steady to WSF so we can run some hunt tests, but find it is a difficult standard to maintain through a long hunting season chasing wild birds often hunting alone. I encourage you to not fixate on that subject going into your pup's first hunting season.

A strong recall is your best approach to addressing chasing birds. Just call the pup off the birds after a reasonable distance. Most pups are going to benefit from not stifling their bird drive at a young age and can easily be steadied up after their first hunting season. I have done it multiple times. You can see my work with current pup in my Meet Tess thread for evidence of that.

She was not mentally mature enough to steady prior to her first season and I did not. People who have trained thousands of dogs will generally tell you the same.

She is an excellent hunter and bird finder. Which is the number one thing for a good wild bird dog. Steadiness is a trained obedience subject...
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Re: Dogs first hunting season.

Postby JONOV » Tue Jun 29, 2021 11:41 am

HMR wrote:Curious, what is your expectation on a pups first hunting season?

My pup will be a year old on her first hunting seasons as she was a late summer pupI’m trying to figure out what I should
Focus on this upcoming hunting season with her.

People ask these questions, and I don't think they understand if they're asking a developmental progress question, or one of training.

The question is like asking "what history subjects can I expect a 14 year old to know about?" You can only answer the question if you know what the middle school Social Studies teachers curriculum was supposed to cover. If the kid hasn't been taught about the magna carta then he can't be expected to know about it.

People pose the question as if it's "how well should my three year old child be communicating?" That has a defined answer if you ask someone with a background in child development (the kid should speak well enough that strangers can mostly understand them, and be able to carry a 2-3 sentence conversation.)

My answer is that I expect at that point that my dog has reliable recall and and can recall on the tone of the e-collar, but that assumes I've trained it.
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Re: Dogs first hunting season.

Postby HMR » Tue Jul 27, 2021 11:39 am

Sorry for the late reply.

Thanks for all the well thought out answers. Gave me a lot to think about.
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Re: Dogs first hunting season.

Postby Oregon Woodsmoke » Thu Jul 29, 2021 6:30 pm

The dog is a year old so you will get back whatever training you have put into the dog. Plus a little goofiness caused by excitement until the dog settles into his work.

That goofiness is a lot of the fun of owning a young gun dog, so enjoy the antics. If training is solid, the dog will settle in to the work pretty quickly.
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