Getting a dog pointing

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

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Re: Getting a dog pointing

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Fri Jan 01, 2021 1:41 am

Lots of good advice. Here's my take. Let the dog hunt as much as possible this season. He needs experience as he's only 11 months old. He may shape up on his own but if you wish to hurry things up a bit and you have access to homers then this is the way to get him to point: First throw an occasional bird out of your bird bag as you walk along with the dog on heel or loose lead walking . When he chases bird you do low level continuous stimulation with collar. Pretty soon he'll quit chasing (after a few or a lot of tosses). When he doesn't want to chase any more then have him on a lead and walk along and have a bird in a launcher down the path and cross wind to you. You need the lead because he'll want to take off and hunt and you need things under control. As soon as you detect the dog makes scent you release bird. If he chases you stimulate. Never never ever stimulate when a bird is on the ground... only in the air. You can say whoa if you please but is not necessary and usually is overcome by the excitement of the bird anyway. No yelling - let the dog think the bird is what's causing the discomfort. Soon the dog should stop when he makes scent and will begin to hold for a few seconds (or even a long time). Now he's pointing. If he moves a muscle you release the bird and if he chases you stimulate. If you stimulate while the bird is on the ground or if you're heavy handed in this training he can start blinking and you'll have to back off for a while. Know your dog. This method was developed by Jim Martis who is a brittany trainer and you may find it's origins on the net. You might be successful in short order at home but don't expect it to work on the next bunch of chukars he encounters. One of my 1.5 year old dogs was creeping on chukar early this season and was pushing until the birds went up and so I started stimulating when they flushed and the problem went away in one training session at home and a few coveys in the field.

Not saying this will work for you but I think it's getting popular as a solution for the problem you've described. Good luck
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Re: Getting a dog pointing

Postby AverageGuy » Fri Jan 01, 2021 10:14 am

IDHunter,

My order of preference in developing my puppies is using pigeons in launchers in the way described to get as far as I can with a pup learning to point on its own with minimal interference from me. Since learning in this thread that you did not include any shot birds in your early work with launchers, I believe you have untapped potential for that approach to bring out your pup's pointing instincts. Trying some sessions of that done right, has no downside.

Shocking a pup around birds absent giving a trained command prior to the stimulation is a calculated risk. One I do not take. As previously posted I use a trained recall tone on the ecollar first and then stimulate if the pup ignores the already trained and understood command to address excessive chasing while hunting in the pup's first season. Early on their first several hunts, I do nothing, but when at the stage of your pup having been on a good deal of wild birds and chasing out to 300 yards I start addressing it as described. Key is the temperament of the puppy and your's sounds appropriately bold and bird crazy. That is good!

Mine, Willie T's, Drahthaar1108, GH's and Bruce's posts are all variations of Stop to Flush. I mentioned it in my post.

The approach I learned from Jon Hann at Perfection Kennel centers around a trained Whoa command which is the same as all other posts except Bruce's post. The already trained Whoa command precedes beginning to stimulate the dog for moving when a bird is tossed. The approach strives to make it simple for the dog. Whoa still means Whoa even when a bird is flown.

I believe it is the safer approach vs running a risk a dog get ill feeling towards a bird from getting stimulated when it moves when a bird flushes/flies absent a trained command preceding the stimulation. I understand that Bruce stressed the stimulation is only on a flying bird not a scented bird on the ground, but it still runs a different risk than an approach which first trains a Whoa command away from birds and then uses the command prior to stimulation when a dog does not heed the command around a flown bird.

GH's post assumes your pup will not point on its own using launcher work to bring it out. He may be right, but I believe you have not adequately used the launchers to make that determination. If after significant launcher work your pup will not point then more mechanical means of teaching Stop to Flush will be in order as we have all suggested at some juncture in your pups training.

All of what I post can be best learned by studying the Perfection Kennel Perfect Start, Perfect Finish and videos posted twice a week on their Facebook page.

There are important details to the training which make it much easier for the dog starting with how you train Whoa. Using place boards to teach Whoa is an unnecessary step, Jon talked about that specifically yesterday on his FB Live noon session.

When you get to Whoa on flown birds, starting with an assistant some distance away releasing birds behind their back makes it far easier on your dog. These are the kinds of details that matter, and are laid out in those DVD programs. I encourage you to study and follow them.

All the suggestions you have been given work but I am concerned as to whether you are potentially overwhelmed with some differing suggestions (albeit also very similar).

In summary.

I get a pup pointing using launchers, then I hunt it, I let the pup chase and eventually address excessive chasing with my already trained ecollar recall tone to break off the chase after a reasonable distance. If the pup blows off the trained tone I stimulate it until it heeds the command and ecollar correction it already understands.

I do not take up the steadiness to flush, shot and falling bird subjects until after the pup's first hunting season.

Try some launcher work first and see how it goes. If your pup starts pointing the training birds well and you are able to shoot them when it does point and not shoot them when it does not, it will go a long ways to your pup understanding what is in it for him in pointing vs flushing birds.

If it does not work you can move to some stop to flush training following a program you have studied thoroughly before undertaking it.

Hunting seasons are about over and you have a lot of time to address this before the next one.
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Re: Getting a dog pointing

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Fri Jan 01, 2021 11:15 am

IDHunter wrote:
GONEHUNTIN' wrote:Some pointing dog's and especially I think GWP's don't have all that much pointing desire. What they have is a TON of prey drive. They can't wait to get feathers or fur in their mouth. When I run into that, I quit trying to get them to point launchers and go right to steady to flush. To do this, the dog should be obedience trained, force retrieved, and broken in on the electric collar. Start the dog on dummies and steady the dog up. When I mean steady, I mean, steady. I want you to work on him until you can throw a bumper, shoot, call another dog's name and have him sit there. Now say him name and send him. This will take a week or two.

Now switch to birds, all in the yard. Same deal, when the dog is totally steady on thrown clip wing pigeons with a blank shot, time to really tempt hm and switch to a bird on a pole. Hook up a clip wing to a fishing pole or pole, and flutter the bird in front of him. When he is perfectly steady to this, it's time to go to a launcher. If he moves when you launch the bird, touch him with the collar. No tone, nick him.

Don't put him on wild birds until he is 100% on launchers.

You have to understand, this is a very abbreviated description of how it's done. Your dog seems like one of the ones that would rather flush and retrieve than point and retrieve. Some will tell you wild birds will eventually teach him. That's a line of bull. With 95% of all dog's that's true, but there are some that just won't point without pressure. Once they're steadied up, you won't have a problem. It's just convincing them that it is far better to point than to flush. The dog is still at a very moldable age but it won't be for much longer. If he is allowed to continue busting and chasing until he's two, you're in for a real battle. It will be firmly instilled in him then.

If you're interested, I can, by private message, give you more detailed instruction. None of this works though without perfect obedience and collar conditioning first.


Wow, well this is a bit of a different approach than previously suggested. Man this is what makes this stuff so hard. No offense meant but it's just hard to know who to listen to and which methods to try.

We haven't tried force retrieving... mainly because he has been retrieving pretty well without it. He's not overly impressive in that area, but he picks up the birds and brings them to me, including in water. I've considered force fetching him, but like I said we haven't even started on that yet.

I'll PM you to get more info, including a better understanding of what exactly you mean by collar conditioned and trained. Thanks


You have to realize that I've worked with hundreds of dogs so my view is a bit different that the "wait and see" approach. I've had to work out to many problems. I think you see more problems like this in DD's or GWP's than the other breeds. It's because of their prey drive. They want that bird and why should they point when they can just jump in and catch it?

All of this is WHY you put problem dog's through an organized program. Once that is done, you always have a tool to fall back on. What you really need is one of the DVD's now offered and to FOLLOW IT step by step. Don't take short cuts and don't add from other programs. Even with one of these, you HAVE TO START WITH OBEDIENCE and collar conditioning. First obedience, then force fetch, then collar conditioning. That's how problem dog's are dealt with.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: Getting a dog pointing

Postby slistoe » Fri Jan 01, 2021 3:23 pm

IDHunter wrote:
Wow, well this is a bit of a different approach than previously suggested. Man this is what makes this stuff so hard. No offense meant but it's just hard to know who to listen to and which methods to try.

It is still the same basic idea as the stop-to-flush approach with whoa breaking. The problem most people have is they think that things begin and end with pointing - don't sweat the pointing. Your dog pointed as a youngster, he will point again - take the chase away without hampering his drive for birds and you will be well on your way.
You can accomplish all this training with a check cord, but the e-collar does make it easier on you and the dog.
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Re: Getting a dog pointing

Postby IDHunter » Fri Jan 01, 2021 3:41 pm

Thanks all, some really great detailed explanations and suggestions. It sure is nice to have this forum with so many people willing to share their knowledge. I'll start implementing some of the suggested training and we'll see how things progress.
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Re: Getting a dog pointing

Postby slistoe » Fri Jan 01, 2021 3:56 pm

IDHunter wrote:Thanks all, some really great detailed explanations and suggestions. It sure is nice to have this forum with so many people willing to share their knowledge. I'll start implementing some of the suggested training and we'll see how things progress.

Well, I hope the first thing you will do is train a solid whoa - to the point another dog jumping around and over him, excited for the piece of steak you are handing out won't phase him into moving.
Otherwise you might be wasting your time.
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Re: Getting a dog pointing

Postby IDHunter » Fri Jan 01, 2021 8:10 pm

slistoe wrote:
IDHunter wrote:Thanks all, some really great detailed explanations and suggestions. It sure is nice to have this forum with so many people willing to share their knowledge. I'll start implementing some of the suggested training and we'll see how things progress.

Well, I hope the first thing you will do is train a solid whoa - to the point another dog jumping around and over him, excited for the piece of steak you are handing out won't phase him into moving.
Otherwise you might be wasting your time.


Yep, solidifying his whoa is top of the list.
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Re: Getting a dog pointing

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Sat Jan 02, 2021 5:21 pm

I think we all agree that whoa training is a foundation for what we do and it must be solid. Also, the ecollar is part and parcel to it - stimulate if the dog moves after he was commanded to stop. This has been advocated when moving on point as well.

So, what I'd like to argue is that if the dog is on point and you use the ecollar to stop him from moving you are potentially causing a bigger problem than your'e fixing. That's an issue I was running into early in the season - the dog would go on point, then creep, and then I'd say "whoa", and, when that didn't work, I stimulated (even decent doses), and when that didn't work the dog kept creeping until the birds flushed. Maybe my training wasn't adequate, but a "whoa" and strong stimulation from the ecollar wasn't either.

I called the PP guru and he said that you should never stimulate a dog when birds are on the ground as it can lead to the dog blinking. The time to stimulate (a lot!) is when the dog puts the birds up and they are in flight. So, I did that, and now, a few coveys later, the dog seems solid, and is holding points 250 yards away until I get there. Had I kept up with my futile attempts of saying "whoa" and using the collar I could well have had a bigger issue, and I didn't think going to the yard with wing clipped pigeons would solve it either.

IMO "stop to flush" training seems not only to stop dogs from creeping and moving on point, but solidifies the point and stops chasing birds after the flush as well.

So...the question for everyone is this: when your dog starts to creep or move in on a covey and saying "whoa" has no effect, what are you going to do?
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Re: Getting a dog pointing

Postby slistoe » Sat Jan 02, 2021 6:31 pm

Bruce Schwartz wrote:So...the question for everyone is this: when your dog starts to creep or move in on a covey and saying "whoa" has no effect, what are you going to do?

I wouldn't know anything about what to do because I wouldn't be saying whoa in the first place. Now if he creeps and busts the covey then a whoa would be issued and enforced - strongly (assuming we have a dog that we have trained to handle his birds properly already, if this is a young dog such as IDHunters then I wouldn't be saying whoa when the birds left either). If we create an artificial barrier that the dog cannot cross once it has caught wind of the birds we prevent the dog from learning how to stay in control of his birds - pressure them to take the run out of them, stay off them to keep them on the ground. Somehow the dog needs to learn how to handle birds and knocking birds comes with learning where the line is - we have absolutely no idea about any of that because we cannot scent the birds. A creeping dog may be a dog just trying to stay on terms with a moving covey. The dog moving to stay on terms with and take control of birds is not doing anything wrong. The error comes when the birds are made to fly. And that is what the dog gets corrected for.
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Re: Getting a dog pointing

Postby orhunter » Sat Jan 02, 2021 7:51 pm

Slistoe seems to have a keen grasp on the use of the word whoa.
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Re: Getting a dog pointing

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Sat Jan 02, 2021 8:30 pm

Don't know who ever started the malarky about "not stimulating a dog when birds are on the ground". That is strictly a load of BS IF THE DOG HAS BEEN THROUGH THE CORRECT PROGRAM. I'm with Scott 100% on not whooping a dog in to birds. Whoa is an obedience command, nothing more, nothing less. It can be stopped to halt a dog chasing birds or as an alternate to "stay", but that's about it. When a dog is obedience trained, then ff'd on a ec, there is NO REASON TO NOT USE THE COLLAR AROUND BIRDS. The dog has had whoa reinforced with the collar. It has had fetch reinforced with the collar. Then, WHY would it cause him to blink a bird. It doesn't. It is only when a program isn't instilled in the dog that it becomes a problem.

When whoa is firmly instilled in a dog AS AN OBEDIENCE COMMAND, and firmly reinforced in steadying the dog and de-chasing the dog, it is only logical it can be used to stop creeping. How? When the dog takes a half step toward the bird, at first I'll holler NO! WHOA! and stimulate the dog. When I'm sure he knows what I mean, I'll break ever rule of training retrievers, and stimulate without any verbal command at any movement forward. Always, always, always using low intensity. High intensity will in itself cause movement in the dog. If steadying is thorough as is de-chasing and steady to incidental flush, staunching on point will be a piece of cake. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Again, and I can't emphasize this too strongly, the key to ANY well trained to is a thorough program, be it Smith, Perfection, or Hickox. Pick on program AND FOLLOW IT.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: Getting a dog pointing

Postby Drahthaar1108 » Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:46 am

I don't mid a dog creeping to some extent, relocating, but busting birds is another thing, if they are still busting birds I will have a check cord on the dog , if he bumps the birds I spin him around by the collar take him a few steps back and tell him whoa , walk a circle around him kicking grass weeds , then go up to the dog and release him, I use a collar very little. OLD SCHOOL not in no book. Forrest
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Re: Getting a dog pointing

Postby orhunter » Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:18 am

One thing that produces a wide variety of opinions and solutions is based on where we live and what we hunt. While all of the solutions do work, they just aren’t practical across the board. Out west, we hunt Chukars and Huns in wide open country and hunting a dog with a check cord is out of the question. The only tool we have to work with is the e-collar. The check cord is reserved for actual training under controlled conditions.

I don’t know if its been mentioned but we are sometimes the cause of how our dogs mishandle birds. Walking up behind a young dog that is working birds should be avoided. We never want to interfere with the dog by getting too close and challenging the dog for possession of the bird. The bird belongs to the dog till it flushes. While the dog is hunting, we need to plan ahead and position ourselves correctly in advance of bird contact.
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Re: Getting a dog pointing

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:23 am

Orhunter: good point! Your post slipped in while I was composing this one.

Relocating is different from creeping with the intent of catching birds. Young dogs may creep/road-in out of sheer unbridled instinct (despite whatever level of training they've had). And, as GH has pointed out, different breeds are stronger or weaker pointers naturally. Also, older dogs may bust birds on purpose and know better.

Then, dogs have to learn how different bird species take to pressure - quail sit tight, chukar often flush at 50 yards or more, dizzied chukar and pheasants not at all, huns in between somewhere. IDHunter speaks of hunting chukar a lot, and that may be part of his issue since his dog is young and totally inexperienced. Since chukar tend to flush sooner as the season goes on, he might be better off targeting quail if there's any season left.

What are you going to do when your dog creeps?

Slistoe:
slistoe wrote: Now if he creeps and busts the covey then a whoa would be issued and enforced - strongly


GH:
GONEHUNTIN' wrote: When the dog takes a half step toward the bird, at first I'll holler NO! WHOA! and stimulate the dog.


Draht:
Drahthaar1108 wrote: if he bumps the birds I spin him around by the collar take him a few steps back and tell him whoa ... I use a collar very little.




Another question - what about blinking? I know we've all seen it. What causes it?
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Re: Getting a dog pointing

Postby slistoe » Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:45 am

Bruce Schwartz wrote:What are you going to do when your dog creeps?

Slistoe:
slistoe wrote: Now if he creeps and busts the covey then a whoa would be issued and enforced - strongly




Another question - what about blinking? I know we've all seen it. What causes it?

I think you misrepresented my position. What would I do if my dog creeps? NOTHING! What would I do if my dog busts birds - see above.

IME blinking is because something somewhere along the line has convinced the dog that birds were not fun.
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