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birds for training

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Where is the best place around the metro to get some birds for training I'm looking for chukars or pigeons. Any help would be apprecieated.

Just a side note I took my dog to the county park at medicine lake to do some off leash traing we were up by the group picnic area. there is woods all around then a little section of grass. we were walking through when my dog went on point I walked through and and kicked up 5 pheasants. My wife was with and asked if I would take her with on a few trips because she had so much fun watching the dog. Fishing is great but man I cant wait to hunt. Adam

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Ya, I would like to know this as well where one could find these birds. I hear alot of folks say that they are good for getting your dog birdy, but who the heck can you get them from?
Also, I would like to hear some proper techniques to use when working with your dog and these birds.

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Call to game farms or dog trainers, they will sell you some. In fact there is some places in the want ads of Outdoor News that advertise they sell birds.

Just let them play with them first, watch there reaction, then go from there. Shake the birds so there dizzy then hide them in tall grass etc let your dog work up on them. Make it fun for the dog. Thats what I do and have had no problems. And I have had 3 black labs. My current dog is 13 weeks and I'm doing this now. Good Luck..

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How do you let the dog play with them first?
Can youmake it so they cant fly somehow?

When you spin em around, how long will they usually stay put?

Once your dog flushes it, are you shooting them too, so the dog will learn to retrieve?

If so, I'm assuming its legal to shoot pigeons anytime.

Also, about the different scent a pigeon has compared to a pheasant, does this confuse at all?

thanks alot for the help, I've had her to a hunten preserve once last year and plan on doing it a few times this year, but if I could work with her with live birds in between , that would be great.

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I've gotten training birds from oakwood in princton,but I dont think they start to have adults untill August
Isn't this the time of year to keep dogs from running loose. I believe there's a time from April to July that dogs can't be loose on public land. There are alot of stressed animals out there from nesting. And I may be wrong but Pheasants are just getting chicks now and next couple weeks.
Dano2 you can use a rubber band. Fold the wings back together slide rubber band around both all the way down to the back.This allows the wings to flap like crazy but they wont go mare than a couple feet. This drives my dog crazy.

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Ya, your right about that nesting thing,
glad you brought it up, I guessed I spaced it out.
Well, that gives me more time then, to locate some birds(pigeons).

Time to break out the thrower and shoot some clays I guess.
OH, almost forgot about fishing, heh.

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My brother had a video that I used but I can't remember the name. I'll check into it.
For working on retrieving training you can cross the wings and interlock them so the bird can't move. Then you move on to putting a binder or velcro around one wing so the bird can hop and flap it's wings, much like a wing shot bird will do, this really helps with getting your dog to run them down. After that you can start dizzying and planting birds for your dog to flush. These are all steps to increase your dogs birdyness and reduce any chance of your dog being afraid of the birds, so keep it fun. Also, pheasants are much bigger than pigeons, so at some point your going to want to work with some pheasants.

Good luck

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The best birds to use for training young dogs are definately pigeons. The best places to get pigeons are from farmers. Find a farm with an old silo and/or barn and ask the farmer if you can go in and catch pigeons. The best place is the silos, they are obviously empty. Go in at night and the pigeons will be rosting on the inside walls of the silo. Bring a flash light and a fishing net. You can just pick the pigeons off the side of the silo with your hand and use the fishing net to get the high ones. Bring a gunny sack along and throw the birds in there, but be sure to lock the wings behind one another so they can't fly out when you put more birds in.

As far as training goes with young dogs. If you are training a flusher like a lab or a springer what you will want to do is "quarter the dog." Start this when the dog is 3-5 monts old. It is best to do this with 3 people. The owner of the dog is in the middle with the dog. The other 2 people are flanking the handler and each should have a pigeon in their hand. The owner will then cast the dog off to one side and the person will shake the pigeon to get the dogs attention, the dog will then run toward that guy with the bird, once the dog gets close put the bird behind your back and have the other guy start calling the dog and waving his bird. Repeat this sequence a few times and then have one of the guys throw the bird as the dog approaches him. The dog will then go pick it up and retrieve it to the handler. Only throw about 3-4 retrieves so the dog doesn't get bored and then quit. This whole sequence should take maybe 10 minutes max. And the pigeons should be live. Take some electrical tape and tape up one of the wings so the bird can't fly. The bird flopping it's wings will keep the dog interested.

The key for a young dog is don't try to do too much too fast.

After you have the dog quartering and retreiving fairly good, start to "roll in birds" as the dog is quartering. The handler will roll in the bird as the dog passes him, but be sure the dog doesn't see the bird being rolled in. Once again the wings of the pigeon are taped. By rolling the birds in you are teaching the dog to find bird with his nose. Always run straight into the wind when training a young dog and plan the roll in so the bird will be upwind of the dog. In this sequence you should maybe give the dog 3 birds and then call it a day.

Once the dog starts doing this good start planting birds with taped wings. Put 2 birds out in a field with taped wings and one flyer out at the end. When you put down the flyer pigeon dizzy the bird and throw it in some heavy cover and run away from the bird.

Have the dog go out and quarter through the field and have 2 guys with guns on your outside flank, the handler should not use a gun at this point and should be worried about what the dog is doing. The dog should find the first two clipped winged birds and retrieve them. The 3rd bird will be a flyer and the dog should go in and flush the bird and the gunners should let the dog chase the bird for awhile and then shoot the bird. If the dog isn't chasing the bird don't shoot becuase the dog may have been scared from the flush of the bird because it hasn't seen anything like that before.

Throughout this whole process it is good to have a guy stanging back away from the dog training about 50-60 yards away with a 20 gauge firing a shot a couple of times. The best time to fire the shot is just after a bird is thrown for a retrieve and the dog is chasing it. This will make the dog associate the gun shot with something good, which is the bird.

I thought this would be a good overview of training a young dog.

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Thanks for the info. folks.
Mill Lacs Guy, sounds like some great tactics, although I dont have anyone to help me out on this, it will be difficult.
Any ideas on how to do some of this on your own?

Also, what do you think of these hunting preserves.
I have been to one once, and plan on doing it somemore towards fall, but wanted opinions.
The one time I went, the guy there was pretty decent about understanding i am there only for the dog to learn, not for my own fun.

He took a hen out of the cage to see how my dog would react, and ofcourse she got pretty excited about it.
When he placed my birds he put them out with their head tucked under their wing, and a flag by them so I new wher they were, but we did just 1 at a time.
It seemd there could be alot of scent out there, so she DID end up walking right by a couple of the birds a couple times before she got on them.
When i knocked them down she would run to where they were, but just kind of mouth it and poke around at it a bit, but not pick it up.
I know shes not scared of birds because I wounded a grouse last year and watched her have a hay day playing with the thing as it kept trying to fly away, it woul get up in the air about 7 feet or so, and my dog would be jumping up after it, until finally she got ahold of it. but still, after the bird was dead, NO RETRIEVE.
A guy out here by Sabin (Gun dog kennel) gave me some good info. on force training.
But i haven't thought about starting that yet, not sure why, maybe I should.

She retieves a dummy with pheasant wings all day long.
I thought about getting her one of those thick foam pheasant looking dummies, the ones that you can inject the pheasant scent into.
Thought maybe these would be a litlle more life like becasue of the weight.

O.K. rambling on, getting off track here,
my original question was what do you folks think about bringing the dog to hunting preserves?
I know the wind can play a big roll here, but I can use my commen sense on that one, when I should go out there, and when not to, plus where I should have him plant the birds.


[This message has been edited by Dano2 (edited 06-11-2003).]

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The more birds you get in front of your puppy the better. I would highly recommened a hunting preserve. Just get the dog on birds.

I would not try force breaking yourself if you do not know what your doing. You could end up ruining the dog. I would suggest getting in touch with a dog trainer. Its money well spent if you dont have the time to train yourself.

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As your dog matures and you get it on more birds he/she will be able to differentiate between old scent and an actual bird. Game farms are the best place to get dogs on birds. If you can, have someone with you to shoot the birds while you work on "handling" the dog. You should try to get the dog to sit when a bird flushes, or when one flushes and you miss, they will chase. Not good. If you want the dog to retrieve birds to hand you are probably going to have to force fetch. Some dogs naturally do it but in most cases forcing needs to be done. It is a process that you may need help or pay a professional to have done. If you do it improperly it can really screw a dog up. Hope this helps some.

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Dano, you didn't say what kind of dog you have and what kind of bird hunting you'll be doing the most of - grouse, duck, pheasant.

I agree its important to have your dog bring it to hand, it sucks when your dog drops a duck five feet away - but its in ten feet of water! Or it drops a live pheasant five feet away and you end up chasing it down again. I don't agree that you have to do the force training, it may be necessary for the field trialers (they're fighting to get to a higher level) but its awful harsh for the average hunters dog. You can teach your dog to bring it to hand during your initial dummy training. Always give lots of praise when they bring it to hand, if they drop it 3 feet away say 'no, no' go and give the dummy a kick, when they chase it and bring it to you, give them lots of praise. They'll get the hang of it. Then work up to your feathered dummy and dead frozen birds and then your live birds. Realize that the birds will create a whole new excitement level and it may be difficult, but be persistent and keep doing the repetitions, do dummys first and end up with the bird as the 'reward', and always quit while the dog still wants more dummys. Some of the 'hardcores' will insist that force training is a must but this worked for me. Half the fun of having a puppy is getting out and training with it every day and then seeing the results. Good luck.

[This message has been edited by BLACKJACK (edited 06-18-2003).]

[This message has been edited by BLACKJACK (edited 06-18-2003).]

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I've also had posts 'disapear' when I hit submit, so nowadays if I have a long post I hi-lite it, copy it to Wordperfect or email (addressed to myself), then paste it in.

I'm talking frozen pigeons, but a frozen pheasant would work too. Live birds are good, but sometimes Fido gets too tough on them and so in the plastic bag into the freezer they go (don't forget when you're defrosting, been there, done that!!), then use on the next training session. Or if you have a beer frig in the garage, put them in there, but after awhile they also get rank.

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I would say only use force breaking as a last resort. I am involved in Field Trials with Springer Spaniels and there are very few guys that have to force break. I have heard a lot of lab guys force break but I don't know if that is true or not. I would just work on retreiving before you think about force breaking.

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JEEZ, I just got done righting a book and forgot to enter my password, went back and my book was gone!

Anyway, I guess I'll just make this short and say My main interest is pheasant hunting and I have a 1 1/2 old black lab.

She does pretty good about bringing the dummy all the way back to me and giving it to my hand.
If she doesn't and drops it in front of me, thats not that big of a deal, BUT, I DO tell her to get it again and she'll pick it up and give it to my hand, but not ALL the time, sometimes I will do like you said and kick it a coiuple feet away and she will get it again.
I am going to get one of those dummys to work with her with. The ones that you can inject the scent in, and they are suppose to look and weigh about the same as a pheasant, maybe she needs to start retrieving something a little heavier to get the feel.
Did you say you work with your dog with a dead frozen pheasant?
Maybe I'll do that too after I shoot one at the hunting preserve, we'll see how things go THIS year first ( at the beginning anyway).

As far as her chaseing a bird that I missed, she has already done this a couple times, and then flushed it again when its too far to shoot.
First thing I thought of when she would chase after it and wouldn't listen to me was, a shock collar.
I will get one with the tone as well though so I can use it as a warning tone instead of a praise tone, the whistle hasn't worked.

O.K. ready for some more feed back.

As far as the forced training goes, i just dont have the time and actually had a trainer tell me to bring her out and he will show me a few things, but not haveing the time shys me away becasue i wouldn't want to start something that I couldn't finish.

now this better be there when I hit the submit button, heh

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Well, I got the pooch one of them "Dead Fowl Trainers" (pheasant flavor) and the first couple times i tossed it, she basically did the same thing she does when she would run to a pheasant that dropped from the air, and that is, lookiing it over, picking at it, picking it up abit, then dropping it, kind of like shes not sure what to think.
Then it dawned on me that maybe what the big deal is, shes not use to picking something up a little bigger with a little more weight to it.
My mistake though, I've always used about a medium to smaller sized dummy, so i guess I'm the dummy.
Anyway, after a couple tosses and some coaxing, she finally started to pick it up and bring it back to me and got pretty excited about fecthing it, so I hope it helps.

Kind of neat seeing her bringing it back to me, from a distance it almost looks real.

Hopefully I'll see the real thing coming back to me this fall.

I think its a pretty good training tool myself, becasue the head and legs are made out of a hard plastic,and the body is softer, so she figured out pretty quick that she would rather carry it by holding the softer part.
Poor dog wanted to keep going though after about 6 tosses. after I put it away in the shed, she stood by that door for about 15 minutes, heh.

[This message has been edited by Dano2 (edited 06-20-2003).]

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  • 1 month later...

I tought my Chessie to come by playing hide and seek. It also worked well when he didnt want to bring back the dummy. Also has helped with him dropping a few feet away. I started this game the second day I had him. When he chooses to do laps around me with the dummy, I just walk away. 9 times out of 10 he comes runnin to me. 5 times out of 10 he brings the dummy. When he comes with nothing, I line him to the dummy, and he fetches. I dont know, some days he does well training/huntin, other days its like he has no clue. Ahh, the joys of huntin dogs. He is only 2 now, and last year was the intro year. He did super when retrieving in the water, even nabed some cripples. Wasnt too steady though, had to tie him up alot. Good at finding and flushing roosters, but liked to chase, and didnt want to retrieve. I think he would rather eat them. The chasing thing might be solved, we have done some bird watching in the yard, I think that has helped. Anyway have fun this summer/huntin season, work with her any chance you get, time well spent. Thanks and GOOD SHOOTIN J Rookie K

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I would say that 99% of lab owners will have the force fetch done, either doing it them self or by a pro. I have always been told to have this done right after the permanent teeth come in, usually around 5-6 months of age. You will be amazed at how other things will fall into place once the force fetch has been done.
It can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks depending on the temperment of the dog.


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