Eye On The Prize

View attachment 9571
Eye On The Prize ~ SHR LAKE CHAFFEE'S AUTUMN LEGACY O' TRAD FINIAN MAC JH. Now 21 months old and in his 2nd season hunting upland game birds, MAC is seen keeping an eye on a large rooster pheasant he flushed to the gun and subsequently retrieved whilst we hunted earlier this morning.

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

Goosemaster

New member
True.All mine have been excellent, but when you Bird hunt all the time, your dog will be good, just from hundreds of hours in the field every season. I've never done much training at all.U like labs, Remington shotguns, old Ford 4x4's,PBR, Jim Beam, Canadian made Sorels, Pontiac gto,snow goose hunting in Saskatchewan, Turkey hunting, spring and fall, water skiing.
 
True.All mine have been excellent, but when you Bird hunt all the time, your dog will be good, just from hundreds of hours in the field every season. I've never done much training at all.U like labs, Remington shotguns, old Ford 4x4's,PBR, Jim Beam, Canadian made Sorels, Pontiac gto,snow goose hunting in Saskatchewan, Turkey hunting, spring and fall, water skiing.
I know some guys that "bird hunt all the time and that fail to train", generally speaking their dogs reflect their lack of training and in my opinion most of their dogs suck. It's all relative and to be determined by the objective analysis of skill sets attained and their consistent performance. I would further contend that most guys that think they own "excellent" dogs, would not know an "excellent" dog if it bit them in the arse. Again, all relative and based on a multitude of factors that determine true excellence in sporting dogs. As I pointed out earlier in this thread, your generalization that "yellow Labs are excellent hunters" is simply that, a misstated generalization that simply is not supported by fact. NOT all yellow Labs are "excellent hunters", nor are all black and all chocolate Labs excellent hunters - color being very low on the scale of those factors which determine excellent performance. Add to your argument that a retriever simply needs to be yellow, have numerous bird contacts and very little training to become "excellent hunters" and I will contend that such probability is decreased significantly. If your argument were true, we would see numerous hunters gunning over "excellent, untrained, yellow Labs" and the demand for such dogs would be so high that the demand for truly excellent and highly trained Labradors of other colors (black and chocolate) would significantly decrease. After all, why spend thousands of hours training a retriever when as according to you, one simply needs a yellow Lab, with very little training, and numerous hours spent hunting birds, to achieve gun dog excellence. As one that has hunted, trained, lived, and competed with Labs for nearly four decades, I would would argue that your assessment of gun dog "excellence" and mine, are widely divergent. NOTE; I am far from being some sporting dog snob, but will stand my ground in arguing that solid training will be a far more decisive factor in determining gun dog excellence than will the color or amount of time spent hunting while not properly trained to do so. I would love to hear the opinions of others that frequent this forum on this matter?

Cheers,
THE DOG WHISTLER โ˜˜๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช
 

remy3424

Member
Irish, it sounds like your idea of a "good dog" is not what 99.5% consider a "good dog". The vast majority of the hunting dogs are family pets 9 months of the year. Their owners have jobs (not as dog trainers) and families that get more attention their "pets" during the "off-season". We (I am part of this majority) want a dog with some manors that can be reasonably controlled in the field with a few commands and guestures. Most of these dogs will learn to be very effective hunters with more time in the field. A "good dog" is in the eye of the owner, no sence in rippin on someone that is very satified with their dog that does everything and more in the field to put birds in their game vest, when operator does thier part. There are just different levels and your level is not what most expect or need for their dog from what it sounds like from here. I am assuming this site is filled with seasonal hunters not dog trainers and kennel owner/operators. We all know most things posted here are opinions we have formed from our own limited experiences...no ones says anything here is the definitive gospel on the subject being discussed. Let folks have their say and go with it...no harm in that.
 
Irish, it sounds like your idea of a "good dog" is not what 99.5% consider a "good dog". The vast majority of the hunting dogs are family pets 9 months of the year. Their owners have jobs (not as dog trainers) and families that get more attention their "pets" during the "off-season". We (I am part of this majority) want a dog with some manors that can be reasonably controlled in the field with a few commands and guestures. Most of these dogs will learn to be very effective hunters with more time in the field. A "good dog" is in the eye of the owner, no sence in rippin on someone that is very satified with their dog that does everything and more in the field to put birds in their game vest, when operator does thier part. There are just different levels and your level is not what most expect or need for their dog from what it sounds like from here. I am assuming this site is filled with seasonal hunters not dog trainers and kennel owner/operators. We all know most things posted here are opinions we have formed from our own limited experiences...no ones says anything here is the definitive gospel on the subject being discussed. Let folks have their say and go with it...no harm in that.
Remy,
First off, I am not "ripping" on anybody, nor do I concur with your figure of 99.5 % of sports being satisfied with an untrained dog. My trained retrievers live a very happy life as family companions in our home when not off chasing birds with me. You seem to assert that dogs of high level training and those that serve as family pets are mutually exclusive from one another, that certainly not being factual nor my stance on the matter. In fact, I would contend that dogs that live in the home are generally offered more opportunity to be trained to higher levels of obedience and proficiency. I would offer that I have hunted over a much wider sampling of dogs than the average hunter and that said perspective might lend me a more objective overview than the so called average hunter. I have hunted over both professionally and amateur trained dogs, some from each school were excellent, some from each school were less than good.

The original poster stated "yellow Labradors are excellent hunters", not the "good dog" you cited as considered so by 99.5% of owners, both of those being generalized statements based on assumption. My points made were that one cannot accurately base gun dog performance or expectations thereof based on the color of the dog. The original poster also states that time spent hunting with a dog translates into proficiency as a gun dog and that is just NOT true. There are countless dogs from sporting breeds that regardless of any amount of time spent training, will never be made into "excellent" hunting dogs. Why? Because they do not have the innate DNA prescribed bird / prey drive, intelligence, and trainability, that are a common thread to most dogs that will ever achieve what most folks might construe as excellent gun dogs.

Not to assign an arbitrary statistic like 99.5% that is not based in scientific analysis, I will offer that most folks might consider their K9 hunting companion as a "good dog", that based on their own experiential limitations. And to set the record straight, I agree with the school of thought that "to each their own" regarding what they find to be acceptable as a "good dog". Training dogs for field work ultimately translates to that which provides both productivity and a pleasant experience while in pursuit of birds afield. Further, training also translates to a dog that is a pleasure to live with and that the owner can confidently take anywhere with the expectation of responsive obedience under distractive conditions - a K9 good citizen. Obedience is the foundation of all K9 training and an "excellent" gun dog is not to be realized without having been trained in foundational obedience.

I fully agree with you that there are varying levels of training and that my needs are not necessarily those expected by others. My reasoning for responding to the original poster was simply to clarify that: (1) Color of a dog has little bearing on performance. (2). That dogs having little training more often than not, are not likely to become what would be considered by most as "excellent" gun dogs.

I will agree that time spent afield and numerous bird contacts are critical elements in forging an excellent gun dog, the other factor in that equation is in fact training.

Most readers that frequent this site have unfortunately experienced hunting over a dog or dogs that are continuously being screamed at by their owners for a number of infractions such as unwillingness to recall on command, whining inscesntly in the blind, not hunting in range and busting birds, etc., etc. The root of such behaviors are generally poor and / or incomplete early phase foundational training. Better to head off these behavioral problems before they ever start rather than to try and remediate them once they have become established or worse yet, entrenched. And again, I contend that dogs that live in the home are generally given more opportunity for teachable moments and are far more likely to be obedience trained to a responsive level as a result of that benefit.

As for "letting folks have their own say", by all means. Just offering my opinion and nobody needs to take it as the definitive way to go. Conversely, I don't like to see the unknowing misled by generalized assertions that are just not factually based.

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

A5 Sweet 16

Member
See, this is why I'm a springer guy. They train ME so quickly & completely that I'm oblivious to any of my dog's shortcomings. It's just easier that way.

The brown & white kind are better trainers than the black & white or tri-color kinds, for me anyway. Maybe other breeds are ALMOST as brilliant. ;)
 

david0311

Member
Irish, it sounds like your idea of a "good dog" is not what 99.5% consider a "good dog". The vast majority of the hunting dogs are family pets 9 months of the year. Their owners have jobs (not as dog trainers) and families that get more attention their "pets" during the "off-season". We (I am part of this majority) want a dog with some manors that can be reasonably controlled in the field with a few commands and guestures. Most of these dogs will learn to be very effective hunters with more time in the field. A "good dog" is in the eye of the owner, no sence in rippin on someone that is very satified with their dog that does everything and more in the field to put birds in their game vest, when operator does thier part. There are just different levels and your level is not what most expect or need for their dog from what it sounds like from here. I am assuming this site is filled with seasonal hunters not dog trainers and kennel owner/operators. We all know most things posted here are opinions we have formed from our own limited experiences...no ones says anything here is the definitive gospel on the subject being discussed. Let folks have their say and go with it...no harm in that.[/QUOTE

:rolleyes: what a bunch of B.S.โ€”you and goose need help:rolleyes:
 

Goosemaster

New member
See, this is why I'm a springer guy. They train ME so quickly & completely that I'm oblivious to any of my dog's shortcomings. It's just easier that way.

The brown & white kind are better trainers than the black & white or tri-color kinds, for me anyway. Maybe other breeds are ALMOST as brilliant. ;)
My dad had Springers when he was young, and a decent hunter.They were good Bird dogs, and family pets.Later in his life, he had golden retrievers. Those dogs only hunted once a year, and they were just sort of our there. I'm not going to say training is not necessary, but just hunting a dog a lot, is training in itself.My opinion of course.
 
I always bring my dogs to a JH title, usually within their first year. Bringing a bird to hand(especially a winged bird) and holding until the command is given to release is essential, in my opinion. Also, being driven to a hunt test title within the first year has in my experience created quite a never ending prey drive. Bird dog early, bird dog always.
 
I always bring my dogs to a JH title, usually within their first year. Bringing a bird to hand(especially a winged bird) and holding until the command is given to release is essential, in my opinion. Also, being driven to a hunt test title within the first year has in my experience created quite a never ending prey drive. Bird dog early, bird dog always.
Chessie 67

I assume that by your reference to a "winged bird", you are making reference to a crippled bird as in this example.

View attachment 9572

MAC is seen here maintaining a HOLD on a very much alive / crippled rooster pheasant. MAC is expected to HOLD the bird until the command GIVE is issued, at which time he is expected to make delivery to hand as TRAINED. This is a critical skill for any competent gun dog as it prevents the loss of valuable game birds from potential escape during what otherwise would be a sloppy or incomplete retrieve. Delivery to hand is required in AKC Junior Hunter stakes and failure of the retriever to do so will result in the dog being disqualified.

Chessie, good for you in establishing and maintaining a standard for your dogs. ๐Ÿ‘

Cheers,
THE DOG WHISTLER โ˜˜๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ
 
We were in Kansas a couple of weeks ago. 7 of us were hunting a field when the dogs produced a 4 Rooster flush. 3 went down, 2 came right back with my two Chessies. They went back out to find the third. My youngest got on the track of the crippled bird and disappeared for about 10 minutes. She came back to me with the very picture you sent; Rooster in mouth very much alive. She delivered the bird. It turned out to be the retrieve you think about that stood out from that particular trip.
 
We were in Kansas a couple of weeks ago. 7 of us were hunting a field when the dogs produced a 4 Rooster flush. 3 went down, 2 came right back with my two Chessies. They went back out to find the third. My youngest got on the track of the crippled bird and disappeared for about 10 minutes. She came back to me with the very picture you sent; Rooster in mouth very much alive. She delivered the bird. It turned out to be the retrieve you think about that stood out from that particular trip.
Good on ye Mate and on ye young Chessie. Those are very special moments that make for fine memories.

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

I am a strong advocate of both HOLD and FORCE FETCH conditioning, the latter resulting in a dog that retrieves as a matter of compulsion. These methods of conditioning aid in minimizing the potential for mouth related problems betwixt the dog and birds. Time spent properly conditioning a dog to HOLD and to FETCH pays dividends in reliability and in the solidification of a dependable and classic retrieve of the bird to hand.

View attachment 9575

Gun dog trainee MAC is seen on the training table during a session of HOLD conditioning. Starting with my gloved hand, I progress by train ing the dog to HOLD a wide array of objects including frozen, fresh thawed, and fresh killed birds. The HOLD behavior is well generalized prior to our starting the process of FORCE FETCH conditioning. Regardless of a dog that exhibits a natural hold and or retrieve, the process of HOLD and FORCE FETCH conditioning results in a much more dependable and "clean" (no-mouthing problems) retrieve and a dog that is capable of handling training pressure.

View attachment 9576

Gun dogs properly trained to retrieve completely to hand help in assuring that more birds are out in the bag with fewer precious game birds lost to escape.


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

jackrabbit

New member
I think there's a few different ideas of a trained dog here.... Will a dog with a good pedigree, prey drive, consistent exposure to birds (preferably wild) beginning at a young age, proper exposure to gun- naturally learn how to upland bird hunt over time? Yes, most of the time. Does that model work for most hunters out there? Yes.

Will a "finished" trained dog have an even better prey drive, force fetched, collar conditioned, whistle commands, casting, etc? Yes, that dog will be far better in the field, house, obedience, everything.

There is nothing wrong with either, most of it comes down to your lifestyle, time commitment, financial commitment, game you hunt, and amount of times you can hunt in a year.
 
To each his own. Having said that, I am concerned that my dogs don't screw up other guys' hunts...they need to stay in range. Also, I am adamant that they are reasonably obedient, AND are good citizens while afield and at camp. My dogs won't win any ribbons, though I have had a few that were sensational and may have! But I tend to fill up my vest on a pretty consistent basis, and that is indicative of something as it relates to my dogs, I believe. I admire the guys who take the time and have the discipline to take their dogs to the level being described here. I give my pups a sensational puppy season...my 9 month old lab has had at least 35 days in MT/ND/SD thus far, and she will get another 8-12 in SD before season ends, plus some time at game farms after that. This spring, at around 11 months she will go to the breeder/trainer and be force fetched and be given the basic gun dog routine...probably spend 10-12 weeks there. That will be that. The E collar will be exceedingly helpful going forward (I don't use one on pups), as will the force fetch training. Again, my dogs aren't ribbon-worthy, as I don't reinforce the training like I should...don't really care, personally. I have quite a few friends that really enjoy the dog games, and it becomes almost as big a deal to them as hunting! I own land in SD, and that is a big consumer of my time in the off season, taking care of food plots, spraying for thistle, etc, etc. Not like it takes a whole bunch of my time, but I am the land access guy, and I will be at a graduation in May, a wedding in June, and another wedding in August out in SD...all farmer's kids...was already at a funeral back in January of 2019 in SD and a visit to a sick farmer in ND in May and the funeral for said farmer in June of this year. I probably make 4-5 trips a year to ND/SD for these things, which may be an excuse, but having a highly polished dog just isn't a huge deal to me...very cool, for sure...kind of like shooting...I may do a round or two of sporting clays in the summer, or a few rounds of skeet, but I don't spend too much time doing that...I am not a great shot, but I kill my fair share of birds without missing too many "gimmees"...and I kill my fair share of tough birds...but I am not a great shot, I just shoot where the bird is going to be, not where it is...seems to work!
 
I think there's a few different ideas of a trained dog here.... Will a dog with a good pedigree, prey drive, consistent exposure to birds (preferably wild) beginning at a young age, proper exposure to gun- naturally learn how to upland bird hunt over time? Yes, most of the time. Does that model work for most hunters out there? Yes.

Will a "finished" trained dog have an even better prey drive, force fetched, collar conditioned, whistle commands, casting, etc? Yes, that dog will be far better in the field, house, obedience, everything.

There is nothing wrong with either, most of it comes down to your lifestyle, time commitment, financial commitment, game you hunt, and amount of times you can hunt in a year.
Jackrabbit,
Indeed you are right and there is no argument from me with ye point well made. My point was simply that a dog really just does not train itself, and that color of a dog has little to do with performance outcome. By all means , to each their own.

Mike โ˜˜๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ
 
To each his own. Having said that, I am concerned that my dogs don't screw up other guys' hunts...they need to stay in range. Also, I am adamant that they are reasonably obedient, AND are good citizens while afield and at camp. My dogs won't win any ribbons, though I have had a few that were sensational and may have! But I tend to fill up my vest on a pretty consistent basis, and that is indicative of something as it relates to my dogs, I believe. I admire the guys who take the time and have the discipline to take their dogs to the level being described here. I give my pups a sensational puppy season...my 9 month old lab has had at least 35 days in MT/ND/SD thus far, and she will get another 8-12 in SD before season ends, plus some time at game farms after that. This spring, at around 11 months she will go to the breeder/trainer and be force fetched and be given the basic gun dog routine...probably spend 10-12 weeks there. That will be that. The E collar will be exceedingly helpful going forward (I don't use one on pups), as will the force fetch training. Again, my dogs aren't ribbon-worthy, as I don't reinforce the training like I should...don't really care, personally. I have quite a few friends that really enjoy the dog games, and it becomes almost as big a deal to them as hunting! I own land in SD, and that is a big consumer of my time in the off season, taking care of food plots, spraying for thistle, etc, etc. Not like it takes a whole bunch of my time, but I am the land access guy, and I will be at a graduation in May, a wedding in June, and another wedding in August out in SD...all farmer's kids...was already at a funeral back in January of 2019 in SD and a visit to a sick farmer in ND in May and the funeral for said farmer in June of this year. I probably make 4-5 trips a year to ND/SD for these things, which may be an excuse, but having a highly polished dog just isn't a huge deal to me...very cool, for sure...kind of like shooting...I may do a round or two of sporting clays in the summer, or a few rounds of skeet, but I don't spend too much time doing that...I am not a great shot, but I kill my fair share of birds without missing too many "gimmees"...and I kill my fair share of tough birds...but I am not a great shot, I just shoot where the bird is going to be, not where it is...seems to work!
Benelli-Banger,

All good Mate and quality time spent with ye dogs on birds. Good on ye lad.๐Ÿ‘

Mikey โ˜˜๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ
 
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