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orangestew

11 month old GWP, What to Expect?

12 posts in this topic

I'm not sure what I should expect out of my GWP in it first year of pheasant hunting. I have been working with him a lot in the last few weeks in the woods for grouse and have worked him over some pigeons this summer and I have been pretty impressed with his nose and drive for finding birds. In my opinion when I have worked him on pigeons he has pointed them for me, I have shot them and he has retrieved them to me but that has been a controlled environment. I know wild birds will probably run so it will be a new experience for the both of us.

I have strictly been a lab guy so this will be my first pheasant season with a pointer. How much is to much to expect from him? What have others experience with there GWP's first season.

I feel he is doing good with his whoa training and is doing real good with come and obeying in the woods when I have taken him out for grouse. He has had one partial point on a grouse which I was to slow to realize that he was going on point and busted the bird. He has pointed the area that I have seen grouse flush from just before we had gotten there. He has even made a full retrieve on a woodcock.

I will be using my lab right away on the opening walk but am really anxious to use my new pup but I am not sure how much I should expect from him. All I know is that he seems to have a much better nose than either of my labs ever did at this age and he also seem to mind my commands better at this age too.

Thanks in advance for any advice....

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Sounds like he is doing really well already. First I would not use him with your lab if you want him to hold his points. He will watch the lab flush and learn that flushing is ok and I assume you dont want that. It is always a good idea to be in control of a young dog at all times. It would not be good if he would sent a bird and then flush it and run after it. It would be a good idea to put a 30ft. lead on and let him run with that. That way if he runs, you can control him.

I have a 8 month old german shorthair I will be taking out. She is doing very well on my quail, but she also has her 3yr old mother to learn from . Good Luck

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It is commonly thought that leaving a lead on a dog while hunting will reduce its range. This is not necessarily a bad thing - in MN we are not hunting quail on the open prairie - but keep it in mind.

I agree about not hunting the GWP with the lab until the GWP learns to hunt for itself. Especially now that it is nearing a year and is fully capable of following the big guys around.

My advice is to let the pup have fun! Lay of the commands. Say as little as possible to him while hunting. Wait for more training next off season. For now let nature take its course. Let the little guy learn about wild birds and all the fun stuff out in the field. Remember - he is just a pup.

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Try not to shoot a bird that the GWP pup intentionally flushes or a bird that flushes near the dog. If you do this you will be training your dog to be a flusher instead of a pointer.

I'd hunt the crap out of the dog and get it on as many wild, and I mean WILD birds as possible. Game farm birds don't count. The dog need to learn how to handle wild birds.

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Bring 2 things with you when you hunt your pup:

1) Patience

2) Fun

As gspman said above, hunt the crap out of him and after a number of bird contacts, the light will come on in a big way. That's when your fun REALLY begins. Until then, be patient, go easy on him (within reason, of course), and keep in mind that he's just a pup.

When my DD was about 9mos old, I took him to SD for a weekend hunt. The first hour or two he was jumping around, playing with the other dogs like it was a social event. After bumping 4-5 birds, the switch flipped on and he was all business after that. He had 40+ productive points that weekend on pheasants in the snow. He left home as a pup and came back a bird dog. wink.gif

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There is almost no better "boot-camp" for a bird dog than SoDak! You can get a season's worth of work in, in just one week! The amount of birds your dog will encounter is unbelievable and it will cost you no more than a months training at a trainers if you plan the trip out correctly...

Good Luck!

Ken

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Eight wirehairs later, I can suggest this:

1.) First time out on pheasants, do not hunt him with other dogs or other hunters. Go off by yourself and let the dog hunt alone, the time for training is not during a hunt with other dogs and hunters.

2.) I have yet to have a fuzzy faced dog that was not hunting hard by 11 months.

3.) I disagree with some of the guys. Game farm birds are a GREAT training tool. You should watch where the birds are planted and then you can work on whoa, a steady point, a release from point if it is needed ( creeping bird) and then a retrieve. All under more controlled conditions without distractions.

4.) If you've been hunting behind Lab's then the Wirehairs will impress you with their retrieving ability. The only problem I've had with Wirehairs is that they will retrieve anything and everything that flys,walks or crawls. I have had the following brought back to me, none of which I shot:

Turtles

Raccoons

Muskrats

Skunks

Rabbits

Squirrels

So when we are hunting cattails or heavy cover and I give the command " Get-Em Up", it's always nice to see a bird flush... as the alternative is a skunk or some other unwanted gift brought back to the handler tongue.gif

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Hey AGAPE, Do you or does anyone have any good tips for grooming that long hair. We've spent our share of time pulling burrs and thorns out already this fall.

Wasn't planning on hunting him with any other dogs this year, I've got a select few spots where I will be using him and giving my lab a break.

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Quote:

I disagree with some of the guys. Game farm birds are a GREAT training tool.


I agree that game farm birds can be a good training tool. A game farm bird can only take a pointing dog part of the way there though.

Wild birds are what makes a bird dog. The dog needs to learn how to handle wild birds. Right now with hunting season upon us this dog needs to get into as many as possible. It will learn things while hunting wild birds that no game farm bird will ever teach it.

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I definitely agree with gspman after 3 pointing dogs and learning the hard way with a couple. Game farm birds CAN help, but use caution - they can also set your dog back significantly. Birds not flying and often getting caught by the dog cause big problems for pointing dogs. They need to learn they CANNOT catch the birds by themselves (wild birds usually teach this better), but pointing the bird will result in a dead bird to retrieve as a reward.

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Yes, I got the tip out of Gun Dog magazine. We spray on PAM the product you use for cooking. I spray the burr's with it then wait a little while for it to soak into the hair and burr's. This allows you to take them out quite easily. And rather than using petrol-jelly or vasoline, this is not harmful for the dog if it licks the area during or after the burr removal. On really,really bad ones ( usually on the chin hair) I just cut them out, the dog looks a little funny if you chop to much hair, but what the heck they are wirehairs, they look funny anyway.

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I wish I would have read your post before the weekend. We sure hit a patch of burrs. Spent a lot of time pulling them out, finally did end up cutting a few out from his chin hairs. I may have to give that Pam thing a try next weekend.

Overall I was very pleased on how my pup did on his first pheasant hunt. We got his first point and kill on a wild pheasant out of the way. The retrieve needed a little work but that will come with time. He pointed a lot of scent where the birds were but at least we knew we had birds in the area.

Over all our group got 9 birds for the weekend! Can't wait to get down south again and do it all over again next weekend. Want to get my pup as much experience as I can this year.

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