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MNpurple

Pups first hunt!! couple questions

14 posts in this topic

Today was my 7 month old lab pups very first hunt. We went to a game farm and bought a couple pheasants and also hunted the many birds from a youth hunt a couple weeks ago. For the most part I was absolutely thrilled. She wasnt quite sure why we were out there until she flushed the first bird and I shot it. The light came on!!! For the next couple hours we worked fields and it was so obvious when she got birdy, head down, tail wagging, and amzaingly intensive and then the flush and the shot. A couple times I think she got to the bird so fast she almost waited for it to fall to the ground. She even trailed and caught a wounded rooster!! This was her first time on phesants and it was like she knew all along what the point of this game was.

Now the one downfall, I would shoot the birds she would run to them, try and pick them up and then spit them out. I tossed the dead ones a couple times and sometimes she would bring them to me, other times she would attempt to pick them up and then stop. (similiar to what another poster just wrote about)

I shot pigeons over her a few times this summer and she brought them back to me and I have frozen pigeons in the freezer that we play fetch with and she does fine, but it was like this new bird was too strange to pick up. The one phesant she did consistently bring back had no meat or blood exposed, the other two had breast or leg exposed and this is what seems to throw her. I cut all the wings off of them and will put them on my dummies for her to fetch. Doesnt it seem strange that the pigeons were no problem to her but the phesants proved to be a problem??? She is only 7 months, will this come as we hunt more, other advice??

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I am by no means an expert, but I would say to give her a little time. I went through this last year and it took my dog a couple of hunts before he started bringing the birds back to me. In fact, I hadn't even introduced my dog to birds prior to hunting (only dummies and tennis balls), and after a half dozen trips out he started retrieving on his own. It was as if he needed to get familiar with the strange animal before he would carry it in his mouth.

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Pheasants are a lot bigger than sky-rats. Plus the bird is warm and soft instead of cold and hard. Couple that with the fact that pheasant feathers are different sized and generally more loosely hanging and some dogs will have a little bit of a problem. Plus if your dog is hot and breathing hard that'll add to it too. Freeze a whole pheasant and work with that for a while and see if that helps. Also your dog is a pup and also could be losing teeth at this point. That may be adding to it too.

My dog doesn't retrieve pheasants well either, although I know she can as she did it last year when there was competition from another dog. I'm in the process of doing the "trained retrieve" with her to solve this little "game" she's playing with me.

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Don't worry. Sounds like your young dog is doing just GREAT. You're a lucky man! Seven months is still VERY young. Just keep on doing what you're doing-the more birds the better.

It's a truly happy day when it all comes together isn't it?! wink.gif

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Happy?????? I'm pretty sure I shed a tear when she trailed that rooster and caught him.

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I am not an expert, and I don't know the type or size of your pup, but some trainers have told me that pheasants (especially roosters) can be tough on a new pup if they are not dead on arrival (spurs etc.). I have a lab, and at 6 months he was 65lbs, and at the advice of a trainer, for his first hunt I used chuckers and hen pheasants only. Sounds like your pup has great instincts laugh.gif and will be just fine. My dogs first and second year was fun, you could see him improve with every hunt. I joined a hunt club and got him out as much as I could - (Contact Us Please) job gets in the way mad.gif - but he had more birds shot over him in the first 2 years than most do. He is now 3.5 and is in his prime. Is he perfect? No, but thats my fault not his. Have fun this fall with him and remember, "There are no bad dogs, just bad owners".

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If it is not to late, use one of the pheasants for training (retrieving and trailing). Also - was it hot? Even experienced dogs can seem hesitant to pick up pheasants when it is hot.

If the problem persists, then at some point, you may want to consider force fetch. The dog is about the right age for it.

The good news is that your dog is hunting naturally with little experience. That is not always the case. Overall, it sounds like you are off to a great start and that you have a good dog to work with. Have fun!

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Jeez MN Purp....that sounds just like something I'd do. And HAVE done, a dozen or so times. HA. Ain't life great! As Will Rogers said, "If there ain't no dogs in Heaven, then I ain't going". grin.gif

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MN Purple,

When can I expect the pics? Sounds like those pheasants got to experience first hand what "Dozer" is all about! I expected nothing less than a pheasant machine the first time she was on a wing on a string!! Great job on getting Wren an early start on her first season. She should only get better from here. Something with pheasants can throw a young dog off everyonce in a while, but nothing to worry about like the others have mentioned. Sounds like she has a nose and the drive that's going to make you very proud of her for year's to come. Congrats on the good experience and give Wren a little tummy scratch from me!

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MN PURPLE, Glad to hear your pup did so well. I think I have a litter mate off yours. I purchased Ozzie from Bushwacker too. Tomorrow were going to the game farm to hunt up some quail. They sure seem to be some pretty smart dogs and mine is really good in and around the house.I'm really looking forward to tomorrow. Take Care DrJ.

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Fantastic 1st hunt MNPurple.

Young dogs and young pheasants have their own associated problems. I don't know if it's because the bird's feathers are not fully developed and fall out easily or if it's because they can feel & taste the flesh under the feathers because they aren't fully feathered or just because they are warm and limp and their mouth is hot and dry... It'll get better!

I've seen fully forced trial dogs have 'issues' with bred out hens in June. They're missing a ton a feathers and are generally shot up and I've seen some awefully sloppy retrieves.

The fall should treat you much better. Have fun with the pooch.

Good Luck!

Ken

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Hey I got the brother from the same litter!. Willy and I are going out to the Dakotas in Oct. Been training him with pheasanmt wings wrapped around A dummy. He 's crazy about them and he probably could retrieve that all day hes so excited. He has an excellent nose. Havent had him out for ruffies yet, waitin for the leaves to fall. Were al excited to see how he does. Will definitely get some pics.

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DRJ and Fishroger, I hope you enjoy your pups. Mine has been doing fine, alot of natural instinct. I'm anxious to get her on the ducks as she seems to love the water. Good luck with your hunts with the pups.

Marty, very happy with her! She did almost plow the guy planting phesants over, I just cant get her to learn to use her brakes, lol. I'm going to try getting her out as much as I can this year. Last night a took her to a field to run in which may have held a phesant or two and she started hunting immediatley but after 15 minutes or so kind of stopped and looked at me like "why are there no birds this time?" She has to learn patience!

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well i might as well chime in here . i also think i have a litter mate of all yours . got him from marty in march. this pup is everything i thought he would be ,seems to be turining in to a great pup marty , thanks a ton .right now he's at a trainers being ff and cc and touched up on his ob . the trainer is pretty impressed so far also , if he tells me the pup has it i'm going to run him in some hunt tests this spring . but he sure has the drive and talk about intense , man this dog is on a mission anytime i'm in the field with him. should get him back just in time for iowa opener can't wait . thanks again marty , great job

brian

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