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#1739400 - 10/11/10 04:36 PM THF training seminar
bill oxner Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 46766
Loc: Katy-Fulshear
I've had a few PMs asking about my training method. I did this on another forum, so I still have the pictures in my album, so here goes;

All bird dogs point. The breaking process teaches them to hold point. There are two ways to teach a dog to hold point, with dozens of variations. The first way is to let the birds train the pups. That generally involves launchers and pigeons, with some whoa breaking mixed in. It's very effective. I use the Delmar Smith method, substituting the e-collar for the bump under the chin. My dogs are completely whoa broke before I put them on birds. I use pen raised quail, because I can be done with them for the summer. I like to start in August, and finish in time for hunting season.

I start off on the whoa post. I introduce the e-collar the same day, that I introduce the whos post. Here's cracker on her first day with the whoa post;



I keep them on the whoa post only until I can get out in front of them, and then go to the yard for heel and whoa. Cracker tended to sit, so I had to start with the suitcase hitch. I go from the yard to longer walks. The pup has pretty well gotten it down after three weeks.



I then go from the walks to whoa in the field. Here's Cracker in the field in the field, before I put her on birds. This whole process has taken me around four weeks.



This is her first day on birds. I train alone, so I had to plant the bird, where I could wrap the CC around a bush. Notice the slack CC.



I kept her on the CC for three training days. She only went around on the bird one time. Here she is after 9 training flushes.




I started walking some of the birds out after a few days. Here you go;




A little side note. My birds were not recalling all that well, so I used Cookie to point them while I netted them;



A lot depends on the pup, and you have to adjust for each pup. Cracker has never taken out a single pointed bird or covey.




Edited by bill oxner (10/11/10 05:04 PM)
_________________________
Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill









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#1739486 - 10/11/10 05:20 PM Re: THF training seminar [Re: bill oxner]
DSP56 Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 03/30/10
Posts: 2504
Loc: Stephenville, Texas
Man I wish we still had birds around here (Stephenville) to hunt. My Great Grandad always had GSP that he trained when I was a kid. I've always thought that there is not much cooler in the world than watching a good dog work. O'well..... maybe one of these days. coolpics

_________________________
If I had a big horse pistol like that , I would'nt be scared of no Booger Man! - Rooster Cogburn

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#1739499 - 10/11/10 05:24 PM Re: THF training seminar [Re: DSP56]
bill oxner Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 46766
Loc: Katy-Fulshear
Originally Posted By: DSP56
Man I wish we still had birds around here (Stephenville) to hunt. My Great Grandad always had GSP that he trained when I was a kid. I've always thought that there is not much cooler in the world than watching a good dog work. O'well..... maybe one of these days. coolpics


I posted excerpts from my 1992 hunting log. Our last hunt that year was just north of Thuber. We found a decent amount of birds up there that year.

_________________________
Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill









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#1740977 - 10/12/10 03:24 AM Re: THF training seminar [Re: bill oxner]
coonie Offline


Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 358
very nice


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#1741299 - 10/12/10 08:33 AM Re: THF training seminar [Re: coonie]
CinchMan Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 10/11/09
Posts: 1463
Loc: Country Past The City Limit Si...
Nice training bill! I'm working my young dog on whoa, an launching birds right now to.

_________________________
Say When.....

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#1742802 - 10/12/10 05:39 PM Re: THF training seminar [Re: bill oxner]
poopypants Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 05/09/10
Posts: 31
Loc: Wichita, ks
That's quite a system ya got going there Bill, thanks for sharing that. Got to be some folks here that are getting started and could use that as startin point for their training. But it caused me to think about some things ya just can't teach a dog.

Getin mighty close to bird season opening and I just get caught up in the spirit some, and don't mind telling a story or two. Well after a couple a beers the other night I might a told one and man I didn't know called me a liar, why right to my face he did. Now in normal times I would a jumped up and cleaned his clock but I don't jump so good any more, so I just comenced to explain to him the difference between being a liar, which I'm not, and a man embellishing something that could sure enough be the truth. I think he went away unconvinced of my honor and that's his right, ain't sayin he's correct, but it's his right sure enough. Now here's the story that made him act like such a fool.

This here's about a dog I had back in the early 60’s, the most unusual dang gyp I ever owned. She had a choke bore nose and never put a bird to flight from the day she was weaned. She’d point birds from further than you could shoot em. And if they ran on her she’d scoot for a piece, establish a stand and then do it all over till I was a flushing em. If they commenced to running again she might cat walk with em for a mile. Did I mention she did all this with a poker tail and head almost skyward like they was in a tree. She was real easy on the eyes.

Now about her third season I got in a little fracas with a milk cow that kicked me silly one morn and rendered me pretty harmless for several weeks. Now Bess, we called that little gyp Bess, took note of me lagging further and further behind as the hunts wore on for the next few weeks. I seen her look over her shoulder a time or two waiting for me to get to her points. It was about then that something I never seen before or after started to happen when that gal made game.

Now seems our birds were born to run, seemed like they never held for the first point. If your dog couldn’t handle running birds he had no business on my place. Now like I said old Bess knew I was dragging my fanny around and I believe it peeved her more than her feeling sorry for me. But what I saw that morning in January was the dangdest thing I ever witnessed. She pointed a covey just after sunup out 200 yards on a hillside and they ran on her, but instead of moving up on them she moved away from the covey to the right about 40 yards and then ran up 20. I’d never seen the likes before and thought she’d gone sour on me but I couldn't take my eyes off a her. Well she ran forward another 20 yards and then back 30 ft toward the covey and stopped. But she only stopped for a second before she left them to the right again then toward the covey about 20 feet. And all this time she was moving from right to left in a half circle across that hillside. Now this is the part of the story the boys at the COOP in town just couldn’t get their minds around.

I know they aint no such thing as a dog herding quail but old Bess was a doing it. I stood in the same spot for about 10 min whilst she darted and dashed to within 30 yards of me and then she slammed on a point they couldn’t refuse. Now at this point I had no idea what was in front of her and thought there’s a good chance nothing was, she was acting plum silly, but a big old covey took flight as I walked to her. Well if it just happened once I’d feel like a pretty lucky man to see such a thing as that, but she kept doing it, covey after covey. Some times she'd get real low and move like a coyote and others she’d just run to the front of em and then back to where she started. Anything she had to do to move them birds where she wanted em to go. And I only remember two bunches of birds that left her and flew that winter, only two.

Now folks thought I was fallen of the wagon again so I had to take several of the boys out to watch old Bess herd birds to me. Several months later I was feelin some better after my cow experience, but I started to kinda walk with a limp when I’d hunt her so she’d think I was still ailing. But till the day she passed she would herd a covey to wherever I was a standin. I always felt blessed to be in the same field with her. Yes sir, Bess was a special little gyp.


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#1742879 - 10/12/10 06:20 PM Re: THF training seminar [Re: poopypants]
coolie Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/19/06
Posts: 17405
Loc: Ennis, TX
Good story poopy. I believe you. I've been lucky enough to hunt behind two dogs that knew how to cut running birds off. Once in 86, and once last season.
You can't teach that.


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#1742886 - 10/12/10 06:23 PM Re: THF training seminar [Re: coolie]
coonie Offline


Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 358
I believe!!!!!


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#3061337 - 03/03/12 12:30 PM Re: THF training seminar [Re: coonie]
Texas buckeye Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 11/22/11
Posts: 3919
Loc: Keller
This is putting the question before I see it happen, but let's assume the birds I put birds in some cover and my dog finds them via scent and then starts approaching them in curiosity or drive (there is plenty of that)...and the birds don't fly. That isn't going to teach her anything about pointing but conversely will teach her she can creep up on birds and nose them around. I have seen some hunt trials on tv where that exact thing happened, however these were trained dogs which know their rules.

Is that where a launcher comes into play?


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#3061365 - 03/03/12 12:47 PM Re: THF training seminar [Re: Texas buckeye]
kindall Offline


Registered: 08/01/09
Posts: 3980
Loc: Spring, Tx
Yes you can use a launcher. If she doesn't stop as soon as she catches scent then launch the bird. If she points don't launch the bird till she breaks. Make sure you bring her into the wind so she has the best chance of catching scent at a good distance.
You don't want her standing right over the top of the launcher.

_________________________

Shopping with your husband is like hunting with the game warden.
Experience is what you get, when you didn't get what you wanted.



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#3061373 - 03/03/12 12:51 PM Re: THF training seminar [Re: kindall]
Texas buckeye Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 11/22/11
Posts: 3919
Loc: Keller
That's what I thought.
Now, launchers are somewhat bulky and expensive, I dont have mynown land with cover...any other options you have used?


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#3066331 - 03/05/12 05:33 PM Re: THF training seminar [Re: Texas buckeye]
beatarmy Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 10/01/09
Posts: 373
Loc: dallas
I used a fishing rod and a bird wing. My 7 year old dog still loves playing that game...possibly more than actually hunting.


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#3066581 - 03/05/12 06:55 PM Re: THF training seminar [Re: beatarmy]
blanked Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 06/03/07
Posts: 1441
Loc: magnolia tx
pen raised chukar


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#3067893 - 03/06/12 08:46 AM Re: THF training seminar [Re: blanked]
Pointer Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 1561
Loc: Bishop, Texas
Regarding Poopy's story, I have a little gyp that wants to reposition to cut birds off. I've yet to decide how I feel about that.
I've heard forever how cool it is for a dog to do that, but even though I haven't witnessed it happening this year, I just know it's gotta cost you some busted coveys along the way. Anymore, we just can't afford that.



Edited by Pointer (03/06/12 08:47 AM)

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#3068180 - 03/06/12 10:21 AM Re: THF training seminar [Re: Texas buckeye]
DoubleB20 Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 05/20/07
Posts: 3085
Loc: Whiskey Flats, TX
Originally Posted By: Texas buckeye
That's what I thought.
Now, launchers are somewhat bulky and expensive, I dont have mynown land with cover...any other options you have used?


First let me say, I'm very happy you're getting your pup on birds and working to get her ready to go. She's only 6 months old, so at this point, she needs the bird exposure, as you're doing. I'd pull the flight feathers off those no flying quail and let her catch it and carry it around, play with it, etc. Do this a couple of times and no more, except as explained below. Don’t worry too much about her holding point right now, we can work on that as she progresses and it will probably come naturally anyway.

The main thing she needs now is what I call field work. She needs to get some experience running through the field, searching for “prey” it might be dicky birds, butterflies, etc. She needs to learn that prickly pears have sharp pointy things, logs need to be jumped over, etc. Basically, she’s learning the terrain, what to avoid, what to go around, stuff like that. Attach a 30ft check cord while she does this. Work on “here” now until this is flawless. Every once in a while call her in, if she ignores you, give a little tug on the check cord and if she still ignores, reel her in, pet her a couple of times with some praise, then release her with an “OK”. All this is done with a minimum of you talking or whistling. I always make my dogs come all the way in and I have to touch them when I call “here” and they can’t go back until I say “OK”. This is probably no more than a 30 minute session. Once she’s coming in reliably, overlay the ecollar a the least intensity for her (this will be different for each dog and each ecollar model/manufacturer.) To overlay the ecollar, you command “Here” and give a light tap with the ecollar at the same time. So she’s getting two commands (your voice and the ecollar tap or “queue”). As you progress, you’re commanding “here” less and more ecollar “queues” until she’ll come in with either the voice command or the ecollar. Keep up with this until she’s 100% reliable while you’re holding the check cord. As you’re walking, walk in one direction for 50 yds or so and change direction, it may require a slight tug on the check cord to get her to change directions with you, walk 50 yds, change directions. The goal here is for her to hunt out front and change directions when you do. Give her a few seconds to notice you’ve changed directions, for me personally, I whistle once when I want them to change directions. Now, repeat all the above with her dragging the check cord. If she begins to lose interest or seems like she’s bored with the process. Sneak a pigeon in the field before you go out and bring her crosswind into it. Just dizzy it up a little and hide it under some grass. It will probably stay there until you come by and it won’t tolerate her getting very close (this is where homers are invaluable – reusable training birds). Pigeons won’t hang around or fly 20 yds and land again, once flushed they head for the “house.” Make sure you have 2 -3 of them in case the first one skeedaddles out of there before you get there. The bird contact will bring back her intensity. Once she’s 100% while dragging the check cord, repeat all this with the check cord off, but always wearing the ecollar. With the check cord off, she’ll probably get out there quite some distance, it’s OK for her to be 75 – 100yds (remember she’s reliable up to this point) keep your mouth shut except when you command “here” and “OK” or a whistle to change directions. You may have to turn up the ecollar intensity with the check cord off in order to overcome her new found joy of running without check cord. From time to time, sneak a pigeon in the field to keep up her intensity – caution, keep her kenneled while you go plant the bird, she’ll figure it out pretty quickly what you’re doing and if she’s watching she’ll know exactly where to go to find the bird – so don’t let her see.

The next thing I do is introduce some gun fire with the planted pigeon (carry a training pistol and when the bird gets up and she’s fully involved, shoot a blank) she may chase the pigeon and she may run quite a distance the first time, but she’ll soon discover that she can’t catch that bird and she’ll come back – be patient – she will come back unless she finds something else on her way back. When you see her coming back, call her in and praise her up good. Then release her again with “OK” and finish on a good note. You’ll probably discover during this process, that when she finds a pigeon, she’ll point after a couple of contacts – I’d recommend this training 3 -4 times a week, about a half hour at a time.

The outcomes of these exercises are: (1) searching out front, (2) reliable “here” command, (3) release on command “OK”, (4) relating gun fire to bird, (5) watching you to change directions, and (6) exercise for both of you. If you do this for the res t of the summer, she’s ready hunt birds now, but don’t expect too much the first season, she needs to learn all this at different locations to firmly instill this training. If you go to a new training field, be prepared to go back to the check cord until she understands the rules apply everywhere, not just the “home” training field.

Have fun and be patient. I think the biggest mistake that can be made is expecting too much too soon. Consistency is the key. If you have questions, give me a call or PM.


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