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I have a three month old GSP that I'm going to try confused.gif bird training myself. Any pointers, insite, and opinions on books and equipment would be greatly appreciated.

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Go to the public library and check out the bird dog training books and read them. Then see if they have any bird dog training videos and watch them. There are many good net sites and forums about dog training. Post any and all questions you may have. Be detailed and specific with your questions. Glean out of all this what seems reasonable to you and what is feasable for you to do with the resources you have at hand. Search the archives on this forum. There is a lot of good stuff in here.

Contact the GSPCMN for GSP owners and trainers in your area that you might be able to meet with. Most folks will be willing to show you a few things and help you along. NAVHDA is another good resource to contact.

Don't overdo the wing on a string thing. Once or twice is enough. People get too carried away with that trick.

Remember this. A check cord is your best friend. Learn to use one.

Make sure your dog knows it's name, knows how to heel, comes when called, and whoa's when whoa'ed. Sitting is optional and most pro's don't recommend it if you intend to have your dog steady to wing and shot.

If you can put your dog on birds (not a ton of birds, just a couple) a time or 2 a week that is a good thing. Some may disagree but I think pigeons are good training birds. They fly good and don't land on the ground for your dog to catch them and they stink. That means your dog should wind them from a long ways out and you can handle your dog with less risk of mistakes happening right on top of a bird.

Go slow, and keep it simple. Ask questions when you get stuck. Having a training plan isn't a bad thing either.

Good luck and keep asking questions. There's lots of pointer owners on this board to help you along your way.


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I agree with everything GSPMAN said. I am working on my second dog right now (5 month old Red Setter). One thing I will add which I think important no matter what kind of training you do is to always end it when they do something positive.

An example from me was the other day when I had my pup chasing/pointing a bird. I whoa'd him up for several seconds and picked him up and walked away from the bird praising him as I went and put him away. He should remember that he did something right and was praised for it. I find myself watching for ways to end the training like that. I often think a shorter training period ending on a positive is better than spending the whole day working with your dog going through good things as well as mistakes.

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Dogs also need to make mistakes and plenty of them. That way they can differentiate between what you want and don't want. It's all positive and negative re-inforcement.

The shorter training periods are an effective way to train in that the dog does not get bored or begin to look at his training as work... always keep 'em wanting more.

Your point of ending on a positive note is a good one. Even on complex training issues, if headway was not made end the session by backing off and letting him complete something he does understand. Even if it is rudimentary. Also for retrievers "fun bumbers" are a great reward to a good training session.

Good Luck!


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Thanks for your input guys I appreciate it. I'm going to have a go at training her myself, if that dosen't work well I will send her to school. The breeder was telling me the best thing to do is go to a trainer and work on one thing, go home and work on that same thing for a couple weeks to a month until she gets it down. Then go back a learn something new and work on that etc... Does anyone know of a training facility that does this in MN?

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I'd also like to support GSPman's recommendation of NAVHDA. Depending on where you live, they may have some weekly training evenings in the summer which are pretty inexpensive and close to home. They'll have birds available which saves on you having to keep them at home, etc..

It never hurts to have someone helping that has been through all of this before and can help with the rough spots. Have fun!

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Try Blaine Kennels in Blaine. I know Dale used to offer a service like you're talking about. Very knowledgable dog man.

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