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jhals68

No idea how to train my chocolate lab!

12 posts in this topic

How can I train my dog to hunt pheasants? He knows all of his commands,and overall he is very well behaved. I just can't get him to roam more than 10 yards in front of me. Most of the time he likes to walk behind me and let me break the trail. He sniffs like crazy but has never flushed a bird. I am a newbie to pheasant hunting, and am trying to teach the family dog to hunt.He is about 18 months old. Is it too late to train him? If not, any ideas on how to get him to go further out, and be more agressively working the terrain?

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You need to take him out with another good hunting dog. He'll start to follow the other dog and catch on to what's happening. Once he get's enough confidence in himself, he'll be able to do it himself. I've done this with some friends and it's amazing how much another younger dog can learn from hunting with a seasoned dog.

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Has your dog been exposed to gun fire? If he hasn't I wouldn't jump right into finding birds and roaming out. He needs to be trained for gunfire so he isn't gun shy when he does find that first bird and you shoot.

If you don't know anyone who has trained their own dogs, you can get a few books and read up on it. I've got a couple and although I learned a lot there are some things in there that I couldn't do as an average joe living in the city. My next step was to find a quality dog trainer and work with them to teach my dog the ropes. They will properly break your dog into gunfire and will also help introduce him to live birds. Its amazing how you can't reign them back once they know that birds are out there and they might get to catch one if you shoot it.

If he's not gunshy they head to a game farm and buy some birds. You can train him there or at home if you have the space. He just needs to learn that there are birds out there and he needs to find them. This is learned by first seeing them, then by finding them cause you told him to look there. He should obey your hunt command cause you've taught him the birds are in there cause he's seen them placed there before. Soon he will associate your hunt command with finding a bird. He'll have to rely on his nose more than his eyes. Once that switch is flipped, then its a battle to keep him in close.

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I agree with Powerstroke about the game farm. After shooting those birds, just breast one out and leave the rest of it. Tie a dummy where the breast meat was and you have the perfect training tool. Hide it in the grass and let him find it. He will start roaming more once he knows what he is looking for.

If he is walking behind you, kick your heels up. A couple shots to the chops and he will start walking in front.

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Along the same lines as books, there are also some great videos out there that show you how to train your dog. Check with your local Library. I watched quite a few and read a few book while training my Britt pup last spring. Often times you will see/read about a training tip that will work great for your situation. And when you got a question, ask here. Lots of great information to be had. grin.gif

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Powerstroke gives some very good advice. To add to it I would recommend finding a trainer that provides an introductory to birds class. My trainer has a course like this where they ease gunfire into the training to make sure your dog doesn't become gun shy and at the same time he is introducing birds. The more attention that is placed on birds and finding birds the less likely the dog is going to pay attention to the gun fire. The course isn't too expensive and after completion and can continue with additional training or at this point do it yourself. If you can get your dog excited about seeing, chasing and finding birds many times the instinct will come out and once that happens it's just a matter of molding and fine tuning the dog with your commands. I can't say enough about getting your dogs on birds as much as possible whether it's working with froze birds, going to a game farm or getting them on wild birds once you have brought out their instincts.

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Some good advice so far, especially on the intro to gunfire, you can ruin a dog in a hurry if you don't do it right. The pheasant season is almost done, write this year off, read a couple books on training, learn how to teach him to quarter in front of you, do the intro to guns and birds, and you should have some luck next year. I use a pheasant or duck wing tied to a dummy to introduce them to birds, and then graduate to live pigeons, I trim one wing so they can't fly, then turn him loose - the dogs love it. I think game farms have their place but not until he at least has an idea on what birds are all about. Good luck!

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Birds, birds, and more birds. You already have the dog part, now you just need lots of bird contacts to make it a bird dog. Intro to gun is overated. If you can make finding a bird fun the gun stuff is easy. Afterall who needs a gun broke house dog. There was a good post with all sorts of books and links that was on the Hunting Dog Page that must have got lost during the last update. You would be better off posting there with any questions.

CW

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jhals68, you just described my dog Hunter to a T (except the well behaved). He spent a lot of time behind me, and still does on occasion in heavy cover, but this year the switch came on. Just didn't seem like he had a lot of drive. He's always been a retrieving fool, but to get him to range was an issue. I thought that my older lab would teach him a thing or two, but it's taken a lot of time. I have no idea why he behaves differently this year vrs. the past few years, but I like it, especially knowing that my female is 10 and I have 1 or 2 more years w/ her in the field. On a side note, I'll never buy another dog from the kennel he is from.

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The key to NOT having a dog follow you thru tough cover is:

1) Get him nuts on birds - enough has been said on that.

2) Summer time training on how to quarter. When you go for walks, get him out in front - always! If they're hesitant walk right at them, they'll get the idea that they're supposed to be in front.

3) Don't let them follow you - unless you command them to heel!!!! Don't let them get in the habit of following YOU thru the tough cover!!! If they try to follow you, use whatever command you used in the quartering training (Huntem up!) to get them out front. Part of this is don't take a young pup out on all day hunts and tire him out to where all they can do is follow you - and get in the bad habit of following you. But there are sometimes when you want them on heel, like by a road or sheaking up on a slough. But then they're following you because you told them to follow you (Heel!!). That should be covered in basic obedience training - sit heel stay!

There is no reason for a dog to be following you if you've done the proper training up front. You can't expect to take old MallardMuncher straight from the house to the pheasant field and expect them to perform flawlessly, get out and do some off season training! Walks! Birds!! Basic obedience!!!

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Quote:

Intro to gun is overated.


I've never had a gun shy dog but I've heard that once they ARE gun shy that it can be a real bugger to cure. Better to take you time and do it right in the first place. A wimpy dog combined with some dodo that just shoots a shotgun over their head would be trouble!!

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Quote:

Quote:

Intro to gun is overated.


A wimpy dog combined with some dodo that just shoots a shotgun over their head would be trouble!!


You sort of hit it on the head. A non hunting house dog that is gun broke is still a non hunting house dog. What I'm trying to say is a dog without drive to find game is not going to be a good hunting dog even if you can fire a cannon beside him. I personally would put him on some pen raised as soon as posible and make sure he had good drive before putting any time into formal gun breaking.

CW

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