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Pigeon Training Ideas


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Hi guys I have a Vizsla pup that is about four and a half months that I recently purchased some pigeons to work with training on. My question is how do I use these as a training tool. Last night I clipped ones wings and let him chase/bark at etc in the yard.

I really want to get him bird crazy because I am nervous about gun breaking him. He is really skiddish around the house with loud noises so my thuoght is in addition to trying to get him used to loud noises around the house ie banging things together, stomping on the floor etc I am trying to get his interest in the birds to be enough to help distract him from the gun. I have gun broke a dog before and understand the process of starting small and far away and working closer until the dog is comfortable but would like any tips yuguys have used to really get the dogs into the birds.


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Sorry for the length. I will explain what I have done with my pups. This is pretty similar to what many dog training books will discuss. If you have some private land you can get on with some short to medium height grass you can dizzy the bird and plant them in the grass. It doesn't have to be a large area, a few acres should be fine to start with. A larger area will be better as he gets older.

So far he has probably been identifying birds from sight so he needs to start using his nose. That is what planting birds in taller grass does. Have him work the birds into the wind so he starts to realize his nose is what finds the birds and not his eyes. If you watch him closely as he gets close to a bird you will see the pup start to work the scent cone back and forth, it's very cool. When he tries to catch the bird it should fly off. The pup will chase and that's fine, that's what you want. You want him to chase the birds so he'll figure out he can't catch them. This will lead to pointing. This could take 20 birds, just keep doing it and he'll start to point.

The bird may wake up and walk around some, that's ok it'll leave some scent. You don't want the pup catching birds when you do this. If he thinks he can catch them it may deter him from pointing. Occasionally they fly off before the pup gets to them. Some birds may home back to the pen, most won't but that's all part of the deal. It takes birds to make a bird dog so be prepared for that. It also may take some practice to dizzy them properly.

Over time you can plant them in different types of cover and lead him in those directions to help show him birds can be in any cover. You also can walk him on some public land with no guns and let him run and explore. He may run into some wild birds, that is ideal. Wild birds is what he'll be hunting so they will teach him what he needs to know. Pen raised birds, no matter how good, aren't as good as the real thing. A cackling rooster may scare him a little but as with anything else act like it's no big deal. Anytime he gets on a bird and flsuhes and he chases give him lots of praise, wild or pen raised.

When he's pointing try not to talk to him just let him do his thing. Talking to him can distarct him. Same thing when he's running/hunting. Try to be quiet and let him figure this stuff out. Obviously if he is running off and you are worried about losing him or him getting into danger then call him. He will be a little afraid in the beginning and will not want to venture too far from you. As he gets older and more comfortable he should range farther and farther. Do your best to let him range out as far as he likes. This can be one of the most difficult areas for new pointing dog owners. Remember when he gets older his job is to hold the bird for you to flush. You have to trust him and let him range for you. If he's trained properly he'll hold the birds. You have to develop the trust in him now. Remember, his job is to cover lots of ground so you don't have to. If you keep calling him back he may lose his desire to range. He's not a flusher, let the pup run!! There's an old saying - you can reel him in later but you won't be able to make him range farther.

Also, birds change his life. You may think he listens well but that can change drastically when he starts chasing birds. As he flushes birds and they fly off start to yell no bird and call him back. You'll appreciate that when he's older.

You may want a check cord to keep a hold of him or to help with catching him. After several sessions you can carry the planted birds over to getting him used to gun fire.

I prefer to associate the dog to birds and guns together since that will be his main association to the gun. After he's been on a fair number of birds and is showing a lot of drive and chase you can start to work in gun fire. As you have mentioned yopu have done this before. Just let him chase birds and develop that desire to chase. Most pointing dog training books will discuss all of these types of field training exercises. I would recommend picking up a few for reference.

You'll make mistakes and so will the pup. Enjoy it as much as you can and lay out a plan. Don't expect him to be ready in three weeks. Sorry if you are aware of most of this information. Do your best to enjoy it, try to be consistant and most of all TRUST THE DOG!!!

Best of luck!!!!

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Hookmaster
      Kudos for doing this. I'm sure a lot of fishermen would not have.
    • MikeG3Boat
      I know it has been raining all week but anyone have any walleye reports?  Heading up for the holiday weekend and want to do some fishing.
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    • SkunkedAgain
      Those are some fine specimens. Great job
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    • leech~~
      Nice work!   Here's two words you hardly ever hear anyone say anymore.  "grateful and humbled"   
    • Brianf.
      RLG, thanks for the shout-out!     Jeff and I are still trying to wrap our heads around what happened this past weekend.  We are humbled and full of gratitude  for having won 'The Classic' for a second time.     We practiced through all the rain on Thurs and the wind on Friday and found six different spots holding big fish.  Fishing was good on both days with several 'overs' in our catch...but would it hold up for another day?   We didn't know.     On tourney day, we made a long run to our first spot where I lucked out on a 26.5"er on my second cast.  Jeff followed up with a thick 27" er a few minutes later, which turned out to be the big fish for the event at 7.26lbs.  We finished out our limit and weighed-in at 10:30 am for the welfare of the fish in our livewell.    There were some big weights in this event which would have won in most other years, but - for whatever reason - this was our day.  Everything just went our way.  Again, we are just super grateful and humbled by this success.  We also want to congratulate all the other anglers who did well and give a big 'thank you' to the tournament organizers who put on such a great event!  
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