Deposit has been placed

My wife and I put down a deposit on a GSP pup with Chris of 6R Upland Kennels here in Iowa. Born date looks to be around end of March.

Pup will be my first birddog, grew up with them but never had one of my own. I'm quite excited to train up the dog. Eventually I'd like to be able to have him/her shed hunt, I'll take them waterfowling and of course chase upland game around here in Iowa.

I'll keep everyone posted, but any first time training tips or tricks would be appreciated!


New member
. . . any first time training tips or tricks would be appreciated!
I am not a dog trainer, but the following has worked well with my dogs. When I got started with my first pup, I looked at few training guides and found them somewhat helpful and somewhat unhelpful.

For starters, get the AKC puppy guidance brochure. It's probably on line. For housebreaking, I would not recommend the use of pee pads as discussed the AKC brochure. The pup should spend considerable time crated in the house for housebreaking, keeping in mind that they need to go out frequently and preferably always through the same door so it will naturally go to that door when the need arises. Pups have to poop immediately after eating. Keep commands to one word: kennel (or hup), down, sit, fetch, heel, here, whoa, etc. You can teach whoa by walking the dog on a leash regularly and halting it accompanied by whoa or a soft, one-note whistle. Chattering at a dog with a command in there somewhere is unproductive, but chattering is fine when just playing.

Use arm signals consistently from day one to indicate where you want pup to go - into the crate, into the vehicle, back to you (arm straight up) - and you will have a dog that you can direct afield in complete silence by arm signals, sometimes first getting its attention with a bit of vibration from the ecollar. In the first six months of its life the focus between you and pup is on bonding and having fun. You want pup to want to please you. In this period the only field type training would be playing fetch with the command limited to "fetch" and "drop." If the dog fetches right off, just a few fetches a couple times a week is fine otherwise the dog may get bored by it.

Ecollars are great for silent dog management afield. But the dog has to be fully trained to your commands before ever using the nick or shock function. Always go incrementally: first vibrate, then nick, then shock. Be very careful with the power setting on the collar because you can make your dog scream if too high. An exception is to save your dog from harm: getting lost due to chasing a deer, getting run over by running toward a road with a grain truck barreling down the road, etc. Be aware that some dogs are too soft for nicks and shocks.

For conditioning to gun fire: when the pup is about six months old its big enough to get around afield. Go afield with a firearm and while pup is out front touch off a round now and then without stopping or indicating in any way that something is about to happen so the pup thinks a few loud noises are normal while afield.

Some hunters get frustrated if pup does not meet expectations and they'll send the dog to a trainer. I think this is a bad idea for a dog that is a pet. A friend has sent his pet setter to a trainer three times without any discernible change. It must be unsettling for the dog who loves his home and family and is suddenly in a strange environment with strangers only.

Give the pup time to come into its own. Love and patience work the best.
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Active member
I have trained all my own dogs. Lot's of trainers only give dogs 15 - 30 minutes of training twice a day, that translates to just 30 - 60 minutes per day. The rest of the time they are in a kennel or on a chain watching others. If a trainer has 8 - 10 dogs in training - pretty easy to do the math.

The Smith's two puppy training videos are decent. I do not follow them exactly, but they do have some good advice. Patience. They actually travel the country and have weekend training sessions. Not so much for your dog, but for you.

Get the Garmin Astro, Alpha or competitive equivalent. It will be an investment that you will never regret.

Look into joining a local training club if nearby and the guys are fine to be around. NAVHDA, GSP clubs, pointing dog groups (general or other breeds). I know the local Brittany club nearby me allowed any pointing breed. Especially beneficial if they have training ground access.

They sell 12 ga shotgun shells with just the primer. It makes a "pop" similar to a primer training pistol. Great way to introduce the shotgun and light gunfire type noise in the field.


New member
What the others have said are good but the number one in developing a bird dog is to put them on birds as soon as possible and as often as possible, this goes for either pointers or flushers, with good drive you and the pup can get through just about everything
expect to make mistakes we all have, that's how we learn
The best tool you have is the bond you make with your dog


UPH Guru
The most consistently sound advice I have always given a new pup owner is: IS A PUPPY!

Socialize, play (within reason), praise (often and extravagantly), and never (mildly) discipline a pup when you are angry and remember to love 'em up almost immediately afterwards. You are correcting the pup, not punishing it.

And, for me at least, remember that you are giving the pup behavioral corrections, the hunting lessons the pup will have mostly come from its own investigations and wandering along with you in various fields and outdoors situations. In many ways, the owner is steering the training, but it is the pup which is paddling this boat. Make life fun. Every now and then, get a pheasant wing and let it be a 3 minute treat playing and chewing and chasing after it.

You're going to do great.

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Active member
Please do not do the gun introduction as described above. First socialize the puppy. Take it every where. Second, crate train the puppy starting at 8 weeks when you bring it home. There is information on the web about how to do so. Do it right and you will have a happier dog and a happier life. Keep everything fun and simple for the first 5 months. At this age everything is an introduction so you want to teach the dog simple commands with positive rewards. You are gearing it to become a good citizen. The dog will spend more time being a family companion than it ever will as a hunting dog. At about 6 or 7 months of age you can begin formal training. Be sure and choose a proven training program that fits your goals. Do not take bits and pieces from people on here and combine different methods from different training programs. Choose one that fits your goals and follow it. Remember birds make a bird dog. As far as gun introduction, when the pup has become comfortable with its surroundings after a week or 2, you can begin conditioning to the gun. Get a training pistol that shoots the acorn crimps from Lion Country Supply or Gun Dog Supply. So with the pup 9 or 10 weeks of age have a helper stand 100 yds away from the puppy at feeding time. As the pup is diving to the feed bowl with enthusiasm, have the helper fire off one shot from the training pistol.The puppy will not really pay any attention to the shot as his focus is on eating. Do this every day for a week. The next week have the helper move in 10 yds and repeat for a week. After about 6 weeks, the puppy will be conditioned to gun fire from a distance of 50 yds or so. Then you can transfer that to shooting the training pistol from a short distance as the dog is chasing a planted pigeon it has pointed at 4 or 5 months age. Do this when the dog is chasing. Now the pup is associated the sound of gunfire to its 2 most favorite things, birds and food. Then when formal training begins you can move to a 20 gauge with light shot load. Dogs are not born gun shy, they are made gun shy by their owners.

Do not use an ecollar to teach the dog to be silent. The ecollar is not a teaching tool for any behavior. It is a tool to reinforce what the dog has already learned. You will know what level on the collar is needed for reinforcement by following a thorough collar conditioning program. See Mike Lardy articles for collar conditioning. Instead, crate train the pup correctly and it will be a silent dog more than likely. If the dog starts to bark and whine when transitioning to the outside kennel put your hands over its mouth and command "quiet". Teach the quiet command. You can reinforce with a spray bottle of water and vinegar. Spray the dog lightly in the face and nose command quiet. In the last 20 years and have never had a dog bark period in my outside kennel runs having taught the "quiet" command.
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