First Dog, training questions

Crash890

New member
Hello, I am new to the forum and have a couple training questions. My first pup is a 8 month old GSP. He is doing really well with obedience, and he comes from a strong hunting genetic line on both sides, I have a field that I can train him in that’s about a 30 minute drive away. But I have 3 kids who all play sports so having the time to go to that field is limited. My plan was to work him on homing pigeons in my back yard. He shows absolutely zero interest in pointing the pigeons back there, could this possibly be because he stays back there all day? And a big problem I have is I really don’t know what to expect of him at this age, am I expecting to much from an 8 month old dog? When I can get to the training field he will point quail in a launcher about 50% of the time
 

birdshooter

New member
Has he been introduced to a gun yet?

There are plenty of trainers that will take a pup (usually at least 6 months old) and introduce them pigeons, possibly quail or chukars and at the same time gun introduction. It's normally a 2 week process and is well worth the $$ to have this done by a professional. Many a gun dog has been ruined when improperly introducing the pup to gun fire. The benefit of using birds is the gun is then associated with birds and a trainer can work your pup every day for 2 weeks straight. It's designed to build desire in your pup and get them all jacked up over birds.

Can you do it by yourself... sure but it seems you like a lot of people don't have a ton of time to do this daily or multiple days a week even. I'd find someone reputable in your area if you haven't introduced your pup to the gun yet.
 

Crash890

New member
He has been introduced to gunfire. Started with a starter pistol then went to 28 gauge and then 12. He has not shown any signs of it bothering him at all. All of the gunfire was done with pigeons and quail
 

Kaiser

New member
I’m by no means a trainer but had a trainer show me how to train my dog. Sounds like dog need desire/drive. I started my dog about 6 months. Drive was built in my dog with pigeons with clipped flight feathers then carded pigeons. Clipped ones went short distance, would bust when he got close. The carded birds would fly a farther distance but still had to land due to the drag, but would bust again when he got close. He would chase and chase hence building drive. Again I am not a trainer just worked for me.
 

birdshooter

New member
My plan was to work him on homing pigeons in my back yard. He shows absolutely zero interest in pointing the pigeons back there, could this possibly be because he stays back there all day? And a big problem I have is I really don’t know what to expect of him at this age, am I expecting to much from an 8 month old dog? When I can get to the training field he will point quail in a launcher about 50% of the time
In the backyard he is probably bored with the game. You need cover but the next step if he has been properly introduced to the gun may be to start shooting birds over him if and only if he handles the bird properly and this leads me to my next question.

Whoa trained? This would be something I would be working on religiously if he is not whoa broke. Until then everything else may be a moot point.

Something else to consider. I take it he has not really had a hunting season under his belt being he is only 8 months old. So he has not experienced wild birds correct? He will react quite differently to wild birds then pen birds IMO. Wild birds will teach that pup much more than any pen raised bird.
 
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Crash890

New member
He has been introduced to the gun and has not shown any signs of it bothering him. He has not had any wild bird contacts because like you said he was way to young during season. He is not 100% whoa broke so I will definitely hit that hard
 

BRITTMAN

Active member
Make sure you purchase a dog with good bird finding and pointing genetics.

Professional dog trainers have to use pigeons because of the economics. Pigeons are cheap and often reusable. I have never used an e-collar, but again understand why the pros do. A good pro will likely have 8 - 10 dogs or more in training. That means your dog will have about 15 - 30 minutes twice a day with the pro. He has to make that time as effective and efficient as possible. In the summer there are about 3 - 4 hours early and maybe 2 - 3 hours late where temps are manageable.

I have trained six Brittanys myself over the course of the past 39 years. Every dog has become an excellent bird finding machine with solid points and good retrieving skills. I hunt my dogs on pheasant, grouse, ducks and geese (over water and in the field). I am fortunate that I own a well experienced dog or two when I am training my new pup. Some times injuries to the older dog(s) put the young dog in service quicker, but usually I am not in a situation of putting the dog in too much too soon. That said most of my dogs have pointed wild birds at 9 months of age or so.

A few of my dogs have seen pigeons when I belonged to a local dog training club, but I found that summer training to be "forced". Again, the Pros have to train in the summer if they want to earn a living. I have stopped that long ago.

Patience. Number one key to developing a good bird dog. Take a slow and systematic approach to exposure to gun fire.

Yard work, walking, socializing is the second key to developing a good bird dog. Establish your role as the boss in a consistent manner. Breed and individual dog characteristics will dictate intensity. Most of my whoa training is simply done on our nightly walks. Whoa steady to the point where I can walk past or around the dog until I release it. No barrel, no table, etc....

I work my young dog (often on a 30 ft check cord) all summer long at a gun club field or two. I do not worry about bird exposure. I want the dog to learn to run through grass, get wet from the dew, chase a mouse, grasshopper and/or song bird. The green grass has a pretty strong ability (chloroplast) at masking bird scent. It helps wild nesting birds and young broods avoid predators.

As late August - September rolls around I start putting out 1, 2, 4 chuckar ... using a 30 ft check cord we work on finding, pointing and steady ... birds flush ... no gun ... they usually fly and we can re do. I have found that exposure to multiple birds once or twice a week is far superior to every night ... same field ... same flagged pigeon launcher..
 

BRITTMAN

Active member
He has been introduced to gunfire. Started with a starter pistol then went to 28 gauge and then 12. He has not shown any signs of it bothering him at all. All of the gunfire was done with pigeons and quail
They make 12 gauge shotgun shells with just a primer. No powder or shot. They have about the same sound as a starter pistol. They are inexpensive. Kind of nice to tote a shotgun and shot a few shots ... Dogs quickly learn what a gun going into a case means.
 
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