The Hold ~ A critical skill.

IRISHWHISTLER

New member
Aye Mates,
Though grossly simplified, the job o' the trained retriever is to flush, mark, locate, and retrieve our shot game birds, be they upland birds or waterfowl, on land or on the water. In the course o' gunning for birds, we have all experienced a bad hit that invariably results in a crippled bird going down. How severely that bird is wounded is a key factor in its retained mobility and the bird will most often try to seek cover or escape. In such cases, a retriever's ability to mark the bird's fall and take a straight line to the area o' fall is highly important. Additionally critical is that the retriever has developed good tracking / scenting skills to locate downed birds that are hiding, running, or swimming to make escape. Also critical to the chained behaviors that comprise a competent retrieve is the ability o' the retriever to firmly hold a still lively bird whilst making the retrieve to prevent its escape and potential loss. There is a balance struck in the fine gun dog betwixt a firm hold that prevents bird loss, whilst not exerting overt mouthing or pressure on the bird so as to make it unfit for the table. A big wiley rooster pheasant with formidable spurring skills can be challenging and especially so for a younger, less experienced retriever, or a dog that has been poorly trained.

Training of the conditioned HOLD is in me own opinion a critical element o' forging a dog that will subsequently be properly FORCE FETCH conditioned, that being a retriever that will make a retrieve upon command as a matter of compulsion.

View attachment 9467
Making The Retrieve ~ Seen here is me young gun dog MAC making a retrieve on a still lively rooster pheasant that was shot by me gunning Mate Billy in the background. MAC is recalling to me whistle. MAC will return to sit at me left side whilst maintaining a HOLD on the bird until I issue the verbal command "GIVE", he will then release the bird gently into me hand.

View attachment 9468
The Hold ~ MAC is seen here seated whilst maintaining a nicely controlled HOLD on this very alert rooster pheasant. The mouthful o' bird and grasses are a visual testimony to the tussle that likely took place betwixt MAC and the rooster in the heavy cover in which the bird was dropped. The bird's objective was survival whilst MAC'S objective was to recover the bird and make the completed retrieve to meself. A retriever that drops a bird upon return to the proximity o' the handler rather than delivering to hand is akin to a wide receiver that drops a text book perfect pass from the quarterback - INCOMPLETE !

All said, one cannot understate the importance o' proper HOLD conditioning as a lead up to FORCE FETCH conditioning. A well conditioned HOLD is important in minimizing sloppy mouthing and rough handling o' birds and in avoiding the loss o' precious game.

SHR LAKE CHAFFEE'S AUTUMN LEGACY O' TRAD FINIAN MAC JH is a 20 month old gun dog trainee and currently is in his 2nd year afield as a working gun dog. MAC is owned and trained by yours truly.

Cheers,
THE DOG WHISTLER โ˜˜๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ
 

Labs

New member
Aye Mates,
Though grossly simplified, the job o' the trained retriever is to flush, mark, locate, and retrieve our shot game birds, be they upland birds or waterfowl, on land or on the water. In the course o' gunning for birds, we have all experienced a bad hit that invariably results in a crippled bird going down. How severely that bird is wounded is a key factor in its retained mobility and the bird will most often try to seek cover or escape. In such cases, a retriever's ability to mark the bird's fall and take a straight line to the area o' fall is highly important. Additionally critical is that the retriever has developed good tracking / scenting skills to locate downed birds that are hiding, running, or swimming to make escape. Also critical to the chained behaviors that comprise a competent retrieve is the ability o' the retriever to firmly hold a still lively bird whilst making the retrieve to prevent its escape and potential loss. There is a balance struck in the fine gun dog betwixt a firm hold that prevents bird loss, whilst not exerting overt mouthing or pressure on the bird so as to make it unfit for the table. A big wiley rooster pheasant with formidable spurring skills can be challenging and especially so for a younger, less experienced retriever, or a dog that has been poorly trained.

Training of the conditioned HOLD is in me own opinion a critical element o' forging a dog that will subsequently be properly FORCE FETCH conditioned, that being a retriever that will make a retrieve upon command as a matter of compulsion.

View attachment 9467
Making The Retrieve ~ Seen here is me young gun dog MAC making a retrieve on a still lively rooster pheasant that was shot by me gunning Mate Billy in the background. MAC is recalling to me whistle. MAC will return to sit at me left side whilst maintaining a HOLD on the bird until I issue the verbal command "GIVE", he will then release the bird gently into me hand.

View attachment 9468
The Hold ~ MAC is seen here seated whilst maintaining a nicely controlled HOLD on this very alert rooster pheasant. The mouthful o' bird and grasses are a visual testimony to the tussle that likely took place betwixt MAC and the rooster in the heavy cover in which the bird was dropped. The bird's objective was survival whilst MAC'S objective was to recover the bird and make the completed retrieve to meself. A retriever that drops a bird upon return to the proximity o' the handler rather than delivering to hand is akin to a wide receiver that drops a text book perfect pass from the quarterback - INCOMPLETE !

All said, one cannot understate the importance o' proper HOLD conditioning as a lead up to FORCE FETCH conditioning. A well conditioned HOLD is important in minimizing sloppy mouthing and rough handling o' birds and in avoiding the loss o' precious game.

SHR LAKE CHAFFEE'S AUTUMN LEGACY O' TRAD FINIAN MAC JH is a 20 month old gun dog trainee and currently is in his 2nd year afield as a working gun dog. MAC is owned and trained by yours truly.

Cheers,
THE DOG WHISTLER โ˜˜��������
Absolutely, could not agree more. Great post...
 
Sweet pictures- deposit has been placed on my first bird dog- GSP.

Hoping to learn as much as I can so that I can be well equipped to train the dog to retrieve for me, as well as point.
 

Labs

New member
Aye Mates,
Though grossly simplified, the job o' the trained retriever is to flush, mark, locate, and retrieve our shot game birds, be they upland birds or waterfowl, on land or on the water. In the course o' gunning for birds, we have all experienced a bad hit that invariably results in a crippled bird going down. How severely that bird is wounded is a key factor in its retained mobility and the bird will most often try to seek cover or escape. In such cases, a retriever's ability to mark the bird's fall and take a straight line to the area o' fall is highly important. Additionally critical is that the retriever has developed good tracking / scenting skills to locate downed birds that are hiding, running, or swimming to make escape. Also critical to the chained behaviors that comprise a competent retrieve is the ability o' the retriever to firmly hold a still lively bird whilst making the retrieve to prevent its escape and potential loss. There is a balance struck in the fine gun dog betwixt a firm hold that prevents bird loss, whilst not exerting overt mouthing or pressure on the bird so as to make it unfit for the table. A big wiley rooster pheasant with formidable spurring skills can be challenging and especially so for a younger, less experienced retriever, or a dog that has been poorly trained.

Training of the conditioned HOLD is in me own opinion a critical element o' forging a dog that will subsequently be properly FORCE FETCH conditioned, that being a retriever that will make a retrieve upon command as a matter of compulsion.

View attachment 9467
Making The Retrieve ~ Seen here is me young gun dog MAC making a retrieve on a still lively rooster pheasant that was shot by me gunning Mate Billy in the background. MAC is recalling to me whistle. MAC will return to sit at me left side whilst maintaining a HOLD on the bird until I issue the verbal command "GIVE", he will then release the bird gently into me hand.

View attachment 9468
The Hold ~ MAC is seen here seated whilst maintaining a nicely controlled HOLD on this very alert rooster pheasant. The mouthful o' bird and grasses are a visual testimony to the tussle that likely took place betwixt MAC and the rooster in the heavy cover in which the bird was dropped. The bird's objective was survival whilst MAC'S objective was to recover the bird and make the completed retrieve to meself. A retriever that drops a bird upon return to the proximity o' the handler rather than delivering to hand is akin to a wide receiver that drops a text book perfect pass from the quarterback - INCOMPLETE !

All said, one cannot understate the importance o' proper HOLD conditioning as a lead up to FORCE FETCH conditioning. A well conditioned HOLD is important in minimizing sloppy mouthing and rough handling o' birds and in avoiding the loss o' precious game.

SHR LAKE CHAFFEE'S AUTUMN LEGACY O' TRAD FINIAN MAC JH is a 20 month old gun dog trainee and currently is in his 2nd year afield as a working gun dog. MAC is owned and trained by yours truly.

Cheers,
THE DOG WHISTLER โ˜˜๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ
Concur, could not agree more. One of my pet peeves is when someone brings their "finished" dog out and rather than come to heel and give the bird promptly when asked, either chews up the bird on the way in or stops short and drops it. Often this bird is a cripple that runs...
 

IRISHWHISTLER

New member
Concur, could not agree more. One of my pet peeves is when someone brings their "finished" dog out and rather than come to heel and give the bird promptly when asked, either chews up the bird on the way in or stops short and drops it. Often this bird is a cripple that runs...
Labs,

It is for the very reasons you have mentioned that retrievers running above the "Started" or "Junior Hunter" levels of HRC and AKC hunt tests are required to make delivery of the bird to hand of the handler, and that each bird delivered upon retrieve be inspected by a judge for signs of hard mouthing by the dog. A bird retrieved must be deemed by the judge to be "fit for the table". Any dog that exhibits the negative behaviors you have highlighted, (dropping, chewing, hesitancy to return the bird directly and promptly to the handler) would most certainly exclude a dog from being considered a "finished" retriever in my eyes as a trainer.

Cheers,
Mike โ˜˜๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ
 
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