The most challenging ones

Hitting Reset

A real knuckle head, requiring some special 1:1 time to help advance his trustworthiness & hunting skills. Some bird dogs need more time polishing up their skills and to command a field with confidence and that’s OK. Known as the 3-5 year bird dog and it’s work-in-progress thru the entire journey – just waiting for the wonder years ahead.

A bird dogs journey – Becoming a confident and trustworthy pointing dog. “We had no idea what was going on, things would get out of control fast and all the past training seem to be lost.” There was no teamwork or trust just a lot of uncertainties – there was little confidence amongst us that this dog would hold point, it became a game of bust and chase.

The ‘Hit List’. It’s long and each hunt was focused a particular issue or issues.

  • Out of control and hunting for himself
    • Teaching ground discipline and focus (why are we out here!), we did a bit more verbal communication and always had eye’s on the dog – no more running BIG unless we could see the action.
    • It took time to figure out that when running him with other dogs there was too much for him to process. Solo hunts with a handler and gunner were necessary and he showed us some really good hunts.
  • Running too big – running to running
    • Boundaries are reset and proper pressure was applied to ensure we could always see what was going on and correction was immediate. Had to be careful not to pull him off scent from a distance.
  • Chased about everything he encountered
    • Repeat ‘Trash Breaking’ but more importantly correction anticipation
    • Hard Leave it ‘verbal command’ with immediate pressure

From one wild bird hunt to the next, each would be completely different, there was little consistency. The night before a hunt would be filled with anxiety, thoughts on how difficult the hunt would be while running this bird dog. The dog is smart enough to know that certain opportunity existed thru the hunt that would allow him to disconnect and become a knuckle head. Also, hunts would seem like a competition and when working with other dogs he would do anything he could to be the ONE!

*Outcomes thru the season – where we are seeing great progress thru 2023/2024 (remember every dog is different)

  • Learning to wait his turn and removed ground competition early was key. By end of the season he was starting to work with of other dogs but he does perform better as a solo ground runner. 
  • I’ve learned when hunting him with multiple pointing dogs the best strategy was to take off in a different direction than the other handlers/dogs and meet up with them after a few miles.  If I noticed signs of not being in control I would take him away from the other hunters and make progress on getting things back in control.
  • His success in finding birds was never a problem but we spent more time making him hold birds without moving. The more he understood the reward was coming i.e. the retrieve, the more time he waited.  Remember we always had eyes on him during his hunts so correction was immediate on any movement when holding birds.  I still will not allow him to self manage his hunts but progress is definitely being made. 

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