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Started Dog


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Im going to look at a seven month old "started" Setter this weekend. Looking for suggestions as to what to look for in making a decision on a started dog.

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These are my opinions on what a started dog is.

What I expect...

It should point and hold birds reasonably consistently for a reasonable amount of time. It should be acclimated to the gun, having had some birds shot over it. Retrieving in some fashion should be expected. It should handle in a reasonable fashion but will pull a fast one on you occasionally.

What I don't expect...

It is not expected to hold the bird on point forever, is not steady to wing and shot, will not stop to flush, may not honor a bracemates point, is not force broke to retrieve. Not fully whoa broke.

A started dog is a young dog just learning how to do the basics of it's job (find birds, point them and retrieve them) and nothing more. It may be just figuring out how to do some things and may have other things pretty well nailed down. It will not be consistent from bird to bird.

Have the breeder let it hunt without a planted bird. This should happen in a large enough area to get a feel for how it hunts and ranges. Watch the breeder handle the dog. Do you think you can handle the dog or do you think it will be a handful for you. Did it hunt at a comfortable range for you. When it's older it will almost certainly range further. If he shows it in his backyard that won't tell you much about how it naturally hunts.

Then have him work it on a bird or 2. How does it look on point. If you think it looks bad on point just remember you'll have to look at it on point for at least the next ten years.

Ask him to kill a bird over it to see how it retrieves.

A 7 month old pup is pretty young. I wouldn't expect alot from it so give it the benefit of the doubt.

Report back with your findings. I'm interested to know how the pup performed.


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Why not think about getting a puppy they are a lot of fun. Many dogs who are listed as started have just had a couple birds shot over them and not a whole lot of experience. It depends on the dog but I really had a blast training my GSP. I am not sure on setters, but I bet they are like GSP's where most of what they need to do they were born with and they just need a little time in the field to work it out. It is just teaching them come and whoa and that is pretty easy just need a lot of patience and repition.

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In my opinion I would expect a dog that has some manners. a 7 mo. started dog should be trained to voice commands. Come fetch woah.If he will obey those three commands that means he wants to please.There is no reason at all a 7 mo.old puppie should not obey those three commands.(not perfectly but with some consistency)If the trainer has spent even 15 minutes a day with him he will obey those three commands.Also remember that a dogs nose is not fully developed at that age.One thing for sure though is you will be able to get a sense of the dogs personality and see wether he will be hunting for you or for himselfe.Definently want the trainer to take him out and shoot a few birds over the pup to see if he is trained to voice commands at all. Remember he will not listen 110% of the time because hes young,but he should have that dog under control if hes a started dog. Some guys figure they can get $1000.00 for a dog just cause hes over 6 mo. old. They give him a name throw a dummy a few times a week shoot a gun over him and have him pointing a wing on a fishing pole and say hes started. Not so. All you have there is a dog thats harder to train than a 7wk. old pup.So just make sure the guy has put the time into the dog.You should be able to tell after one hour with them.

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