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Foothill

Flushing Question

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Foothill

I have a question with regards to my 1 year old Lab. She's been professionally trained by Cannon River Kennels and I've been very pleased with her. I strictly hunt pheasants, and my question relates to the dogs behavior directly after the flush.

Jason was the trainer that worked with her at Cannon River Kennels. Jason didn't force the steadying issue with her because he said she was a little softer, and he didn't think she was mature enough to start holding her back. He basically said he can always teach a dog to steady, but he would like to see even more drive and desire out of her before he started holding her back.

I had her out and shot some birds with her over this past weekend, and she did a great job of flushing and retrieving.

My question is do most of you train your dog to sit or stay steady after the flush, shoot the bird and then cast the dog out for the retrieve while pheasant hunting? This past weekend she would just go right away - which I'm fine with, and that's actually all she knows how to do because the trainer didn't work on with her on being steady after the flush.

I realize the importance of the dog being steady while duck hunting, but I don't duck hunt. I can bring her back on birds that get missed (or hens that you can't shoot), so I don't worry about her running ahead.

If you think that it's wise for me to have the dog steady up after the flush, when should I begin to start working on that?

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Mr. B

Foothill,

I am taking my lab to Jason on Thursday so he can check her out and see what things she need work on. Do you have information on the things that he does well or maybe does not do so well?

As for steady after the shot I have heard mixed things. Some guys do not worry about the dog taking off after the shot and others do not want them to leave until told. I do not know which is correct. If you look under my "Handling Question" post you will get some opinions as to which is correct.

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Muskie mania

“Steady to wing and shot” and “line steady” are two different things.

Steady to wing and shot – After the dog flushes a bird the dog stops pursuit of the bird and awaits the retrieve command. So the dog has had actual contact or near contact with the bird.

Line steady – Is like duck hunting, in trials this is the retrieving part where the dog and handler come to the line and watch thrown or shot birds and the handler will call out the dogs name (usually) to retrieve, the dog has had no direct contact with the bird only a visual mark.

If you are an exceptional shot and every rooster you shoot falls dead you can have the dog wait all day to retrieve.
If you wound a rooster from time to time like most of us you can bet your azz that he hit the ground running, now while a steady dog is waiting for the command the distance between the dog and the bird is growing while the “not steady” dog is closing the gap, I feel you loose less birds if the dog is on the scent trail sooner. Just my opinion. Don’take this as just let the dog take off, you need to train him/her to stop, I use ‘No Bird” as a command to keep quartering and forget the fact I missed, Oops J

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Foothill

Mr. B,

Jason was great to work with. I was really pleased with how my dog turned out. They are very thorough, and seem to be really respectful. I know Jason worked under Dokken for 8 years or so prior to starting his own kennel. I think Jason’s kennel has been in operation for around 4 years now.

The true test for me was to watch the dog respond to Jason. When I picked her up, she performed very well and you could just see the respect she gave Jason. I think all the trainers are strict with the dogs, but mine would wag her tail the entire time we worked with her. Whether it was obedience or force fetching, she was wagging away which told me she liked him. I felt very comfortable with Jason and would definitely use him again.

Back to the steady after the shot question – I did see some of those posts. To me, since I don’t duck hunt and won’t risk confusing the dog, I think I’m just going to let her go. I think it is fun to watch the dog stop after the shot and not retrieve until sent, but I think it might be overkill in my dog’s scenario. I want her to keep that aggressiveness going! Like I said in my earlier post, other than the safety issue, as long as I can bring her back on a flushed hen or a missed bird I don’t care.

Curious as to what some other people think?

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Foothill

Good points Muskie Mania! I do use the "no bird" command and she does respond when asked not to continue to chase missed birds or Hens that you can't shoot. I also agree the quicker to the scent trail the better chance of not loosing the birds. I miss a lot as well!

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Muskie mania

Foothill, Where Exactly did you see in my post where I said I missed?
I said I wounded a few, not missed, I never miss, I may blow a hole in the sky from time to time but never miss wink.gif

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BLACKJACK

foothill - thats a tough one, I've never hunted behind a dog that will sit on shot.
My dogs have always raced out after the shot and I've shot a lot of pheasants over the years and we lose very, very few, maybe one a year. I think it helps when you have a cripple and the dog is right on top of it while its still in shock. Sometimes the dog will race out in the wrong direction, but then you have to call and get it on the spot where the bird went down. I'm talking pheasant hunting here, you don't want your dog out splashing in the decoys after a missed shot at a duck. So if you do nothing, you should be fine. On the other hand, sounds like your trainer is close to getting your dog to stay on shot, why not try it?

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gspman

I'm not a flusher expert (or even a pointer expert) but I'll throw my 2 cents in.

I think it is darn hard to keep a dog broke all the time on pheasants. There's just too much temptation and commotion there. The old saying is they're all broke 'til they break. Eventually your dog will break at flush and you need to correct it right then and there. You need to ask yourself if you willing to do that? That's hard to do when hunting.

Most pheasant "experts" favor the dog breaking at flush to get to the bird asap. I agree with that. I'm of the notion that you worry about the one bird you just shot to the exclusion of all others. When you recover that bird then hunt on.

To me the steadiness stuff is for trials and also could be more useful when hunting birds that die with minimal pellet hits (grouse, quail, woodcock) and don't run alot when wounded. Then if the dog is steady it's possible more birds may be flushed and shot.

For pheasants, let that dog break and chase.

gspman

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springerspeed

In my opinion, steadying a dog is a good thing. One reason and probably the most obvious is the safety of the dog. Another is that it helps with the marking of downed birds. A dog will mark better while steady rather then chasing the bird.

To me the def of a steady dog is a dog that will stand/sit until given the command to retrieve. You don't have to wait 5 minutes to send the dog on the retrieve. If you see the bird is not shot dead you can send the dog while the bird is on it's way down.

Just my 2 cents.
Brian

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Foothill

Thanks for the replies - a lot of good points were made by all.

Sorry Muskie Mania to imply that you miss - I on the other hand do miss from time to time.

Hunt 'em up!

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