Standing Right and with Confidence
Can you Trust your pointing dog to hold point until your arrival?
Waiting can be so hard to do, but there are training exercises that will teach your pointing dog to hold point and stand correctly. As we work pointing dogs thru the command-and-control program we are instilling confidence and patience, which teaches the dog ‘NO moving’ until a release command is given. Standing Right is a term we use for our pointing dogs i.e all four paws are on the ground when standing or holding birds/on point. We do not want pointing dogs lifting one leg because, eventually the dog will move to lower its leg which may spook the birds. Also, it’s easier on the dog to stand on all fours -vs- three.
Tip: You have control of your pointing dog and you’ve mastered the basic commands. You should carefully pick your moment to execute this particular exercise and I would recommend that your dog has already had a few wild bird hunts notched in the belt. *If you have sight on your dog holding point but the dog doesn’t realize you are watching; this is a perfect opportunity to work this exercise.
Note: while you are training or wild bird hunting you can perform this exercise to enforce standing until a release command is given, but you need to perform this exercise when you have the perfect field conditions. This particular drill is an extension of our steady-wing-to-shot exercises that we teach early on during formal bird dog training. The handler needs to assess the situation and determine if this moment is ideal for TOTAL control and enforcement (beginning to end) i.e. not allowing your dog to move once it’s holding point on wild birds, walking up to the dog and standing next to its side, then giving a gentle praise and then a release or leave it command. I would not shoot to kill any birds on this dance, I would miss on purpose and perform two exercises at once.
Test: When you have sight of your dog holding point, everyone needs to stop and no talking. The handler needs to control the situation and if you have another hunter with you, they can help. When you can see your dog holding birds quietly hide behind something and try to ensure your dog is steady and does not know you are watching, 40-50 yards out to start is a good success zone. The other hunter can come in from another direction taking their time to get into the shooting zone, while walking around the scene you have an understanding that the handler is watching for movement and if pressure is applied to correct the dog you need to stop walking, ignoring the dog at all times. The handler will apply enough minimal pressure to stop the dog from moving, busting or creeping, again the dog really does not know where the pressure is coming from and once the dog stops you have to immediately release the pressure.
There are a few other exercises that we can share to help with correction or addressing bad habits. The above exercise can be modified, and we are here to help explain other scenarios.