Guests - If You want access to member only forums on FM. You will gain access only when you Sign-in or Sign-Up on Fishing Minnesota.

It's easy - LOOK UPPER right menu.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Shack

Training a Lab To Point!

60 posts in this topic

It can be done, all it takes is time and good instructions.

Here I go again on Richard A Wolters, but he has some good books out there on training labs to point. I have been really working on my lab for the last couple of weeks on this subject. Below is a blubt from some thing I found.

What I've been doing is setting a bird in the grass or brush when my dog can't see it, and then I go back and get him.I let him run free, but I keep him fairly close.I watch him carefully and when I see he has spotted the bird or located it by scent,I say "Whoa" and he looks at me, and I remind him, "whoa" until I walk up to him. His tail is wagging and he's eager to go fetch, but if I remind him, he will stay until I allow him to go. Sometimes I throw a bird unto heavy cover, live, and make him wait until it has fallen, then I wait another thirty seconds or so, to allow the bird to travel a bit, and then I send him.

It does not take breed to do this. It takes training. I do get frustrated, but keep on. Good Luck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your speaking of teaching a dog to stand game which is different than a dog pointing.

The pointing is an instinct in dogs that is not trained....and they are not the same.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hemi you are absolutly correct. That is all I will say for now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do retract some what of what I stated above. Breed does have a lot to do with how a dog points. The wording I clipped in my post was a starting process for training your lab to point. When I mentioned "breed" I meant for lab pointing purpose only. I am not qualified to answer about other pointing breeds, because i have not owned anything but labs. Also I might add, I have to this point never trained a lab to point. A double also, I never have ever tried to train a lab to point until now. This thread pertains to labs only, when I am referring to a dog. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used "dogs" in general in my first post....but...

Your speaking of teaching a Lab to stand game which is different than a Lab pointing.

The pointing is an instinct in Labs that is not trained....and they are not the same.

Not being an jerk to you...just correcting the terminology of what you are doing.

From another forum...I thought it was worded well:

"A Lab can be trained to stop and stand or sit or lie down or... when it detects bird scent. Some of us call this "standing game" to distinguish the trained behavior from the natural pointing behavior. It can not be trained to point let alone point when it has located the bird precisly and is confident closer approach will result in a flush. The "point" is in the breeding."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a lab that would "point" naturally when hunting upland game. I never encouraged it or trained her to do it. It was not the classic point of a GSP, but she would lock up on the bird and raise her front leg, but her tail would wag like crazy. It was actually a lot of fun. She has since passed on, but it seemed that as she aged, she did it more and more. It wasn't 100% of the birds, but it was a decent percentage of the total. Again, in my opinion, she was pointing, not standing game and the behavior never transferred into her trial training or waterfowl hunting. She came from some very hot field trial stock.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote:

I had a lab that would "point" naturally when hunting upland game. I never encouraged it or trained her to do it. It was not the classic point of a GSP, but she would lock up on the bird and raise her front leg, but her tail would wag like crazy. It was actually a lot of fun. She has since passed on, but it seemed that as she aged, she did it more and more. It wasn't 100% of the birds, but it was a decent percentage of the total. Again, in my opinion, she was pointing, not standing game and the behavior never transferred into her trial training or waterfowl hunting. She came from some very hot field trial stock.


I have a friend in the same situation and would say it it happens more than you think with labs from non-pointing stock.

He has a dog that is not from pointing stock and started pointing last fall at 4 years old. It was a sweet site and he was very excited!!! And you are correct that the dog is actually pointing....you will see some that their tails will move when on point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I saw that too in my lab, he's 1-1/2. He did it when he saw a rabbit, about a second or 2 before he bolted after it. What I'm wondering is there any to "enhance" it if you see it? I do think he needs a lot of work on his "stand game", he get pretty antsy if he wants to go after something.

By the way hemi, he looks just like your yellow lab in your avatar, down to the white "angel wings" (what my wife calls em) over his front shoulders. He's got a much longer snout than the traditional blocky-nose lab appearance and has longer floppy ears like a weimaraner or viszla. Gotta love it, gives him 'character'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My current lab pointed from day one.He will stop and stay untill released.Did not come from a line of pointing labs.Curious on how this lab would have that instinct without being trained for it or some were in his bloodline.Burl.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lund...thanks for the compliment (at least in my mind!!) on the character! I am a fan of his looks...but who isn't to their own dogs!!!

Quote:

Curious on how this lab would have that instinct without being trained for it or some were in his bloodline.Burl.


The pointing would not have been trained in previous bloodlines...(anything "trained" from previous dogs in his bloodline would not be carried on). But the instinct is there and is carried on in Lab bloodlines...just some more than others. The pointing lab's breed the dogs that show this trait vs. ones that don't.

Thinking simple: dogs have this pointing instinct passed on from their ancestors......just some dogs more than others. The wolf being being a K9 ancestor of dogs.

The ones that show the instinct more are then bred (as in PL lines), but you will find many labs that will point because of the K9 ancestor that was a hunter.

Also, just because you buy a lab from PL stock does not guarantee it will point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not saying it's true in all cases but some of that pointing instinct in some lines of labs also came from outcrosses to pointing breeds. I saw a pointing lab from a prominent PL kennel a couple years ago that I know darn well wasn't all lab.

Just so y'all don't think I'm singling out PL's, I also know there's a few gsp's out there that aren't all gsp (english pointer crawled under the fence). There's supposedly a well known field trial gsp that occasionally throws a tri-color pup. Hmmmm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's possible..I can't argue that. However I don't have any proof one way or another in PL lines and I have never seen any proof (not that that means much). I would be curious to know more on the dog your speaking of (Email would be fine if your willing to)...but I can't argue against what you saw!

I guess any breeders of dogs that are focusing on specific traits could come into this situation.

But....would you agree that originally (in general) the pointing instinct was passed on from K9 ancestors?

I would still generalize that the pointing aspect in most labs today is from ancestry vs. out crosses to other pointing breeds.

BTW.....can you tell I am bored at work? grin.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My pointing lab had very strong line breeding with a FC/NAFC sire. The pointing was just there. No fences on that litter or anything about it for quite a few generations and back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote:

(english pointer crawled under the fence). There's supposedly a well known field trial gsp that occasionally throws a tri-color pup. Hmmmm.


Gspman why did it crawl under the fence when you know they had the gate open. smile.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not going to name names. The dog had ears that were longer and more houndy (kinda like a gsp's) than a typical lab's ears should be. That and when the sunlight hit the dog just right you could see ever so subtle spots on the dog. Something just wasn't quite right. Otherwise it pretty much looked like a lab. I can't prove anything but I know what I saw, and it wasn't a pure bred lab.

I don't doubt there are real labs that have some pointing instinct in them. True pointing behavior is all instinct. I would also agree that most PL's are pure lab and not an outcross. But some people are bent on trying to get ahead and try to take short cuts. Usually they don't get to far with it though.

It supposedly happened with gsp's in the past too. The speculation it that it happened in the 60's and 70's. But I don't think it happened much and I don't think it happens at all anymore. The cheaters usually don't succeed with these dogs for a variety of reasons. Also DNA testing is making that trick quite a bit harder and definitely more risky. There's really no need to cheat anymore anyway. There's a ton of GSP's that can run big and there are a few of them that can run as big as anything out there right now. Same here, nothing has been proven, and nobody's been caught but it probably happened at time or two.

If you think about how they fix traits in a line of dogs outcrossing once ain't gonna do it. You'd have to outcross and then linebreed and then breed back periodically to strengthen certain traits. If you do that alot then your outcrossed labs start looking more like what you are breeding back to and not like labs. Same with the shorthairs. You'd get gsp's that looked alot like pointers. That's just a lot of work for the amount of reward you'd get.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a lab who was 10 months old when pheasant season opened last fall. It seemed she would point if the bird was in heavy cover and she could see it. She would lock up until I came and flushed the bird myself or the bird just got nervous.

She has no pointing lines that I know of. Am I just lucky? Is there a way to reinforce and perfect this or do I just take it for granted that 1 of 10 birds she will point?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why would you try to train a dog to point when you can buy a breed that does it naturally? grin.gif Here is a pic of a breed that some call pointing Pointers. grin.gif One was 2 1/2 the other 18mo. We never have to teach mine how to point, they nauturally retrieve, and they back points.

rubymax.jpg

All kidding aside if you look at the dog on the left this is a taught point. We call it backing in the pointer world. You can see that she lacks the intensity that is shown in the other dog. Notice how she is holding her tail low,and her ears are not perked up.(tail was corrected when I finished her) She is only pointing because she SEES the other dog and was trained to stop. This is what you are attempting to do when "training a lab retriever to point". In my opinion a dog that has to be trained to point should never be labled a pointing anything.

CW

(GSPMAN Does your dog look like mine or vise-versa)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My dog looks like a GSP. Yours looks like a pointer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CW...I was thinking that same question as I've followed the thread. I say this with all due respect to those with pointing labs (and by that I mean those labs with instincts to point vs standing game) but I have never really completely understood the hoopla over pointing labs. I hunt with flushers (spaniels and labs) because that is my personal preference. Essentially, when the dog gets on the bird, particularly those that are running, I want it to flush now. Some of my friends also have pointing dogs and I hunt with them too. And they're all great dogs, and I appreciate a great point as much as the next guy, particularly if the bird holds. Really, there is nothing better then when that happens. But for whatever reason, for me and the guys I hunt with, the birds seem to run alot and with the pointing dogs the bird is often times gone by the time we get there. Often times they reset, track the bird, and repoint and we get them or they just keep running. At any rate, I appreciate a great point when it happens. At the end of the day we all default to our own preferences and mine has been towards flushers. If I were to have a pointing breed, I would without question go with a natural pointing breed such as a GSP, Britt, or Wirehair (or something else) as to a pointing lab.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reeltimes... I guess I more or less am in step with you.

The pointing Lab phenomemnon to me is a little baffling. Guys are buying a "flushing" dog that points. There basis is "it's the best of both worlds". I can understand that to a point (yuk, yuk, yuk grin.gif), but I know many kennels charge a lot more for "pointing" puppies, yet they give you no guarantee that the pup will point. Myself, if I was looking for a pointing dog, I'd buy a pointing dog... you know they point!

I've had others say "you wouldn't understand unless you owned one". I had a Lab that pointed quite regularily... never taught, not out of any pointing stock... and they were solid points! I used to have a picture of her pointing with a friends English Pointer backing her! (I wish I could find that photo). I know what it's like to have a pointing lab and at times it was neat, but there were times I could not get her to break point, and I really didn't want to trudge down a ditch or into a willow thicket to flush the bird. I like a flushing dog, I like having to read my dog while it's making game and ready myself for the flush, I find it exciting! I love watching a good pointing dog, it's a whole new world when hunting behind one. There is almost nothing prettier in this world than a pointing dog on point. But in between lie a lot of "pointing" labs. I had a friends dog who was a "pointing lab"... flash pointed all the time. Never rock solid, never held game. He still liked it because it gave him time to set up for the shot. To me that dog should not be marketed as a pointing lab. I don't even know what constitutes a pointing lab... I'm sure someone can come on here an type in the criteria.

So in the end it boils down to personal preference. If you find enjoyment in a pointing lab, by all means own one and use it. For that is the reason any of us owns a hunting dog. I'm not condemning the 'pointing lab'... Those who want to breed and market them, to each their own, as I said it's a personal prefernece. Myself? I'll continue to plod down the fields with my old fashioned flushers! grin.gif

Good Luck!

Ken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote:

I've had others say "you wouldn't understand unless you owned one"


Are we talking about Harley's owner now? blush.gif grin:

Quote:

but there were times I could not get her to break point, and I really didn't want to trudge down a ditch or into a willow thicket to flush the bird.


I have not been around many "pointers" per say...but is a lab any different from a "pointer" when they are both locked up like this? A "pointer" would have done the same things...yes? So you really want a flusher (as you already mentioned you prefer - to each their own).

I definitely agree...to each their own!!! For me it's a duck dog and it's an upland dog. Are there other dogs that can do this...sure. Are there some that aren't built for one as much as the other...you bet.

But I like labs overall (temperament, build, hair length, colder weather aspects, etc.)....so a lab that does this is what I would prefer.

You are definitely not guaranteed to pointing lab when buying form a breeder...only increasing your chances of having one that points.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Again, I'm not a pointer guy and hunt with spaniels and labs. The pointer guys on here can probably answer this much better then I can but there is more to the pointing breed then just pointing. I'm going to generalize here but most of the pointing breeds I have hunted behind work much faster and cover much more ground then labs do. Again, I am generalizing. But some of the guys I hunt with who have pointers like that aspect. And there can be advantages to that just as there can be disadvantages. For me and the way I hunt, I prefer a closer working dog that works hard and flushes. I also tend to predominately grouse and pheasant hunt now, with little or no waterfowl hunting. For example, my little English Cocker is one of the best dogs I have ever had for grouse hunting. In terms of the pointing labs, while it may not make alot of sense to me, it is nice to have one more option for hunters to have as hunting dogs. I'm actually glad that most of the guys I hunt with have different breeds, as really a good specimen from any breed can be a great hunting dog and I do enjoy the variety of hunting with different breeds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well put ReelTimes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote:

Well put ReelTimes.


I agree!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You have some great pics of your pointers with the one backing the other! Why do i love my Pointing Lab? well your dogs will out run mine in light cover but when it comes to cattails Nothing will beat a lab! My lab pointed at 3 months and never had to be taught. She can take the cold water a pointer cant. Thant matter when you drop a rooster in a pond that was flushed from the cattails. ALso my PL will not hold point if the bird moves. she will move with the bird. I shot over 50 pheasants over her before she was 6 months old and i could not be happier. Are there better dogs for running and pointing? YOu bet there are! they just cant handle the cattails for long and cant deal with the cold water.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0