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Big Dave2

Training Brittany Pup, What's next?

11 posts in this topic

I have an almost 6 month old Brittany from Ben's Brittanys. We work on the obvious stuff usually at least twice a day. She is pretty consistant with come, sit, stay, lay down, no and kennel.

What are some other commands that I should work in as we are working on the reliability of these commands?

What else should I be working on with her at this age?

I certainly do not expect her to meet the expectations that some who are a lot more serious about this sport set for thier dog, but I do want a very well behaved dog who will be able to help make our future experiences in the field and at home the most enjoyable they could be.

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"PLAY" with fetch with her... make sure it's fun and not too much pressure... she might surprise you. The biggest key is to make it fun and not last too long. Watch for signs that she is getting tired of it and end on a good note.

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Sounds like you are on the right track with your yard training. One thing you may want to consider at this time is getting her on some wings or even maybe a dead bird ie: pigeon, quail, chucker or pheasant. A really good exercise at this age is the (wing on the fishing pole). This will really help with the pointing and birdy-ness. Like mentioned above keep it short and keep it fun and you should have good results.

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Fetch oh no - not fetch. Kidding.

My younger Brit (also from Ben) is fetch crazy. She carries a tennis ball around the house. When my in-laws visit she bring my father in-law the tennis ball. She could go all day.

I will give you an amature's advise in the next message.

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I have trained four Brittanys. My brother has owned / owns 4 too. I am an amature, but my current two dogs are excellent bird dogs. You already made one very important training decision - buy from a breeder of hunting dogs. Genetics is tough to overcome - if your dog just does not have it.

Number one rule in training and living with a Brittany (unfortunately I have broken it a few too many times)is:

Be gentle and patient! Brittanys do not need stern punishment - ever. Positive and continuous reinforcement is the key to success with this breed. Build a strong social relationship with your dog (you are the alpha) and a strong voice is all you will need. I have been bringing in a new dog as my older dog ages. Fortunate that I do not expect too much from a pup, 1 yr and even a 2 yr old dog - but my current Britt was holding points over wild roosters at 10 months. Note she did not retrieve pheasants until this fall (2). Before she would just stand on them or pin them.

You are doing the right this so far. Socializing and training often (play), but also telling the young dog - its your rules.

whoa: need to teach the dog the command whoa. Whoa is used to firm up a point dog. I will see if I can come up with a short paper or two to send you. This command will steady a creeping bird dog ... key command.

wing: a pheasant wing on a string is fine. Move it around them and get them interested. Most pointers will chase a little and then lock up. I used this to reinforce whoa command. Typically whoa and point until I walked passed my dog and then kicked the wing. Dog could pass me and grab wing for awhile. If she carried it - fine. Chew - take away quickly.

gun fire: this is one you need to be careful with. I have never had a problem - but have read and talked with others that if you do - may not be correctable. Again, I have a short paper on introducing gunfire to pups. Should be in books too. Now is the time for early exposure.

retrieving careful with force to retrieve idea on a Brittany. That is one for a pro I guess. Every Brittany I have owned has become a good retriever and all love playing fetch. You should do well just making it a game. tennis ball. Also those dummies that look like a bird (choose a smaller one) work well too.

While my current younger Brit would play fetch all day - she would not retrieve birds until this fall. We shot some teal one day and played fetch with the smaller bird. The we shot a few huns and she really got it. Pheasants came next. As long as they find the wounded or dead bird and keep it located/pinned do not scold a Brit for not retrieving. FYI - i have had dogs spurred by roosters.

field work get the dog in the field as soon as winter goes away. Can work with voice commands (I am not a whistle guy) when birds are not around. Dog will lose their cool when birds are there and running. If you zig zag a little dog will quarter too. Britts are best if you let them hunt. Keep them going in the general direction you want to go, but do not expect them to stay right in front of you and/or your group like a flushing dog.

water Introduce pup to water this late spring and summer. Take it slow if dog is hesitant. Get in the water with them. My Britts all retrieve in water and makes for great hot summer conditioning.

Finally - if you can afford it. Go to a preserve this spring and go after some birds. Find one with quail and ask to place them yourself or have them mark where they were placed. First time may not even want to carry a gun. I have found quail not to fly very far and you should get multiple exposure to each bird. I have even teathered a bird or two for training...

August is another good training time - if heat allows.

I do not like pigeons, but the pros rely on them because of cost and durability.

Do not judge or correct your dog on every bird find, but look at the overall progress being made. I see too many individuals become preserve - a - holics and demand perfection on bird points and number of birds, but in the real world of wild bird hunting - both dog and bird are playing high stakes poker.

Now you believe you are ready to hunt this fall. Do not start off in SD with a group of 10 guys and 4 other dogs. You need to hunt often, but best to hunt alone or with someone you know real well. Birds will be bumped out of range, mistakes made and somedays will be better than others. Best also to hunt dog without other dogs or maybe with one other pointing dog, until dog is experienced.

This is supposed to be fun.

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Brittman,

Thanks, that was some awesome information!

It should be said that I do play fetch and she does pretty well with a soft dummy that looks like a bird. When we use a ball, she likes to run away and keep it.

I am glad you brought up the water aspect. I am getting nervous that she will not like the water because we got her so late in the year, by the time she was ready to swim a little, it was too cold. I am definately going to get her in the water as soon as I can.

I need to get some wings I guess and see what she does with that.

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Oh and gunfire we kind of work on by letting my 7 year old son shoot his capgun in the house. The pup doesn't even notice the noise at all.

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At 6 months she is ready for live bird work for sure.

There are a lot of good pointing dog books out there.

I personally concentrated on whoa training and bird exposure over everything else (once inside commands are done).

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You can google "whoa"

Here is a nice summary of pointing dog terms (edit the dots):

brittanys dot com/Brittany_training_terminology dot htm

Saint Croix Valley Brittany Club is a good group of Brittany owners. Google them too. They have some summer training sessions at Four Brooks. Some very good advise. Other advise not so good. Remember everyone has their way ... some trial dogs, some only hunt wild birds, etc....

If you go to the trianing remember - it is training and not a competition. Your dog may or may not do well that day. If you learn some things - then it would be worth your time.

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Another thing. Give Ben a call too. He can certainly be of good advise ... Ben certainly wants to see his pups do well.

Repeat business and word of mouth builds a breeder's business as well as any ad will.

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I'd like to throw in the heal command as well. This is one of those use anywhere commands, both in the field and at home.

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