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Mr. B

Handling Question

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Mr. B

I have a question about handling your dog while Pheasant hunting. Once the bird is flushed, is the dog suppose to wait until the shot or until she is told to break and then retrieve the bird? Or does it matter, if as soon as the bird is flushed she heads out after it?

I am not 100% sure what my lab does since I have not seen her on a bird since Feb. and I do not remember what she did. I do know that if the bird is not quick enough when it takes flight Maggie has a good chance of plucking it out of the air.

I know that on a fly away Maggie does not chase it in the the next county. She used to but we have worked very hard on that.

Thanks any thoughts and ideas would be greatly appreciated.

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Eric Wettschreck

Mr.B, I'm no expert by any stretch of the mind, but I always make my doggies stay until I release them. Easier said than done, but that's what I try to do.

I've found this approach works well with my lab for both phesants and ducks. She's used to staying next to me until I release her to go while duck hunting. Works the same for phesants. I THINK (notice how I say think) it helps to avoid confusion.

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Curly

Mr B- How did you break the dog from chasing the bird into the next county on a fly away?

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Mr. B

Curly,

It took an e-collar. We went and put birds out and when she would flush the birds we would shoot and miss (just like actual hunting we miss a lot). Maggie would take off after the bird and we would call her once. If she did not come we gave her a correction at the lowest level that she responded to. She did nothing all you could see was the tall grass moving where she was running. We then raised the level of correction until she turned and came back. You could hardly see where she was by then (but she was close to where the bird landed). It took a few fly aways every time we went training to get her to understand but now she seems to have it down. Now if she does start after a fly away all I have to do is say Maggie or come and she comes trotting back with the look on her face of I was just testing you. I hardly use the e-collar now.

I tried other things like check cords and going out and brinnging her back, but since I usually train by myself I was not having much luck until I started using the e-collar. This is what worked for me. I so wish I knew more about what I was doing because Maggie would be a tremendous hunting dog if I was a better trainer.

[This message has been edited by Mr. B (edited 08-18-2004).]

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Curly

I just started doing the exact same thing with the trainer I've been working with. The one thing he says to do is after you give them the stimulation and they are coming back throw out a dead pigeon for the dog to retrieve, throw it when the dog is almost back so they see it, that way it keeps the interest up and they will want to come back.

Good Luck

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setterguy

Very easy way to get your dog to stop chasing flushed birds, you will need a couple bird launchers (perferably remote) and a partner. First plant the birds about 15 feet apart then take the dog in on a check cord. As soon as they start to make scent on the first bird, release it. Hold the dog tight on the check cord while giving whatever command you use (hold, whoa, mark ect.) then as the dog is fixated on the bird in flight release the second bird. After repeating the process the dog will soon learn that there may be multiple birds in a given location and learn to mark the first and then look for another. Hope this helps.

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Swamp Scooter

Mr. B.

It might seem like there is no merit in having the dog wait to be sent but as setterguy pointed out there may be other birds. The other issue is dog safety. In groups of hunters a low flying bird is a death sentence to delayed chasing dogs. No appology from anyone can change the pull of a trigger on a low flyer. Not to be an alarmist but these things happen. The training can take a while but it is worth it. Train in the hold, whoa or the whistle stop to the dog while you have a chance. Also it can be helpful if the people you hunt with only shoot birds the dog flushes. It is more of a rule with pointers but can be effective with the flushers as well.

If the dog "thinks" that they have to find a bird to get the chance at a retrieve they will work harder and also pay more attention to your commands. This would be for field work but for duck hunting and water you really want them to stay put when the shooting starts. Many times the birds keep circling and coming in after the first shots. If the dog crashes in to the swamp they usually do not come back as you have been busted.

It is also a lot more fun to hunt with a dog that has these manners.

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Mr. B

Setterguy,

Is there a way to train the dog for this without buying the bird launchers? The other problem I am having is I live in Eagan and I am having a hard time finding places to train. I would expect it would be even harder finding a place you can train with birds.

For duck hunting I have been working with her on staying place until told to break. She is god at that for short times.

The problem I havd last year duck hunting with her was she was so excited she wanted to bark the entire time and she would not sit still. I am hoping that working with her this summer has corrected some of those problems.

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setterguy

There is really no substitute for training with live birds, however you could teach your dog a fetch command, and only allow it to retrieve a bird when it hears that command. An e-collar is a good training tool also but should only be used once you are sure the dog knows what command it is disobeying.

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