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#6435424 - 09/02/16 06:50 AM Steady to shot with love birds and gun?
Arbor Guy Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 09/14/14
Posts: 113
So my 9 month old pup is very prey driven. When I work him with bumpers, launchers etc he is steady to shot. Once a live bird or real gun is introduced he gets so amped up he breaks. If I hold him back he with a leash he flips out and loses his mark. Is this just a puppy thing cured by experience? Anyone had this issue? I just don't want him breaking on a shot in the duck blind.

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#6435527 - 09/02/16 08:43 AM Re: Steady to shot with love birds and gun? [Re: Arbor Guy]
hunting_guy Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 09/09/15
Posts: 163
Loc: Central Texas
Are you hunting with a lab arbor guy?

For Buck, I used a few different exercises to work on steadiness to shot and steadiness to bird. To me, being steady boils down to experience with the situation and experience being around live birds... even with a dog with high drive. 9 months is young to me to hunt a dog over live birds with gunfire. Can it be done? Certainly. Are you going to have issues? Probably.

My male was around 9 months last year when dove season started and although I could have hunted him, I elected not to after a few of the trainers on here advised against it. For my situation, I'm glad I listened. Buck needed much more exposure to hunting situations, birds, terrain, and distractions at that point.

If your pup knows the place command, I'd start there. Command place on some sort of platform and tempt him with a live pigeon or a fresh dead bird. Start close where you can control him and work further and further from the platform. If he breaks from the platform, start him over. Walk in circles around it and really tempt the dog to leave. Do this over and over again until he stays put. For a reward if he stays for a sufficient amount of time, you can toss the bird a short distance and let him retrieve it (but don't do that too often).

Once the dog is 100% on being able to stay on that platform with a bird in their face, move them to the line and add the gun. Make sure the dog is on a check cord at heel. Have a helper toss a bird (preferably shackled) and fire the gun with a blank at the mark while it is in the air. If the dog breaks, he does not get to retrieve. Start over. If the dog stays at heel until commanded to retrieve, let him retrieve the bird.

Also, while throwing marks or using a dummy launcher, don't let your dog get every retrieve. Walk out and get a few yourself while the dog sits at the line. This will teach the dog additional control at the line.

Buck has literally done backflips when he broke before commanded after the end of that check cord caught up to him. It only took him a few times to realize if he broke that A.) he didn't get the retrieve, and B.) it hurt like hell.

There are people on here with much more experience than me on this subject, but I can say that 100% the drills I mentioned helped my dog become steady.

Good luck!
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#6435530 - 09/02/16 08:47 AM Re: Steady to shot with love birds and gun? [Re: Arbor Guy]
passthru Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/05/06
Posts: 10868
Loc: Saginaw, Tx
Try hunting with a friend a few times and leave your gun at home. You handle your dog. Let the other guy shoot the birds. Sit off to the side 10 feet and get your dog to focus on the bird, not the guy pointing the gun.
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#6435632 - 09/02/16 10:09 AM Re: Steady to shot with love birds and gun? [Re: Arbor Guy]
TX_Diver Online   content
Woodsman

Registered: 07/15/14
Posts: 196
I agree with most of what hunting guy said. I don't think 9 months is to young to expect a dog to be steady to shot with a bird though. Obviously every dog is different though so depending on the excitement levels of your dog and a million different other things it may be something that is harder for some dogs still at 9 months...

I would definitely advise against letting the dog pick up any marks that he wasn't steady on yet. If you're going a whole session without him being able to get a bird because he keeps breaking then toss out a bumper and have him get that (assuming he's steady). I'd also suggest starting with a progression where you just toss a dead bird in front of him and make sure he's steady, then throw farther, faster, etc. and add in the distraction of a gun. You may want to introduce both separately even, throw birds until he's steady with no gun, then throw bumpers with a gun until he's steady to the gun, then start combining the two once he's good on both separately.

I'm not a dog trainer but just some thoughts from my experiences. Best of luck with whatever you end up doing! Keep at it and your dog will get it eventually.

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#6435709 - 09/02/16 11:12 AM Re: Steady to shot with love birds and gun? [Re: Arbor Guy]
MS1454 Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2699
Loc: Houston/Sealy
Sounds like too much too soon.
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Originally Posted By: Fooshman
I'll take a Black Female every time.


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#6435772 - 09/02/16 12:18 PM Re: Steady to shot with love birds and gun? [Re: passthru]
Arbor Guy Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 09/14/14
Posts: 113
I think this is the route.

In just about every training situation he has been steady to shot. He's had real gunfire with dead birds. Retrieved live pigeons. I think he just needs more experience being handled in real hunting situations. He's a Boykin...not a lab... And has REALLLY HIGH DRIVE. I mean it was fun watching that little brown dog charge down a cripple dove yesterday. He's a hard charger! Just got so amped that if I shot and missed he was chasing down the bird for 40 yards. He got better as the day went on. But just didn't know if you guys had a dog that was steady in training but changed gears in the hunt.

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#6435802 - 09/02/16 12:44 PM Re: Steady to shot with love birds and gun? [Re: Arbor Guy]
hunting_guy Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 09/09/15
Posts: 163
Loc: Central Texas
Oh... the answer to that is yes. All of my dogs have been that way on their first hunt. The dog is excited, you are excited, lots of activity. Put your gun down and focus on the dog, let your buddy shoot the birds for a little bit. Teach your dog that you expect him to hold steady, even on a real hunt. Don't send the dog until the bird completely hits the ground and make sure your pup sees it fall. Also make sure your pup associates the end of the gun with where the mark is which will help it identify. Your dog will be just fine up
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#6453344 - 09/15/16 10:32 AM Re: Steady to shot with love birds and gun? [Re: Arbor Guy]
sprigsss Offline
Tracker

Registered: 10/17/09
Posts: 872
Loc: Snyder, TX
Can you recall your dog?

My female lab is having same problem. I believe it is just the excitement of the hunt. She is 100% steady in training sessions with birds or dummies.

We've gone on 5 dove hunts so far and she has been rock solid on the 2nd hunt only.

Now if she breaks, I whistle her back and I pick up the bird.

If she breaks twice in a row, I put her leash on the bottom strand of barbed wire. If she stands up or moves, I go get the bird. If she sits still, I remove leash and allow her to retrieve it.

I'm just hoping she will eventually realize, the only way she is going get the bird is if she waits for the command.

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#6453660 - 09/15/16 02:38 PM Re: Steady to shot with love birds and gun? [Re: Arbor Guy]
BradyBuck Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 10/18/07
Posts: 5116
Loc: Abilene, TX
My pup was always very steady even at a very young age with bumpers. When I first threw a teal from a winger she lost her ever lovin mind and I could not keep her steady. I would reload the winger multiple times and could not keep her steady. I never rewarded her with a retrieve. The first thing I did that helped was I staked her down and made her watch other dogs go, after several swift swats with the healing stick she was steady and got her bird. That was at 5-6 months old. Since that day she hasn't broke but she started a bad creeping habit. I again, never rewarded her with a retrieve unless she was rock steady. I'll go pick up the bird or who ever I'm training with will pick it up.

Just recently I believe we made some huge strides. I was worried about taking her dove hunting with all the excitement and I didn't want bad habits to emerge. I sat with her while my friend shot his limit of dove and I worked with Kimber. She was steady on all birds except for a double shot that landed literally 15 feet in front of her and she just crept about a foot but I did not let her get the bird. I walked over and picked it up.

The side effect of her now having seen probably 50+ live flyers during dove season is that yesterday I gave her some dead duck marks from my wingers and I shot and she didn't even flinch. I still don't think she'll be rock steady for a teal hunt this year so I'm holding off on taking her duck hunting.


The first thing to do is never reward your dog with a retrieve for creeping or breaking.

Always maintain a very high standard during training because a 6 inch creep will turn into a full on break with the added excitement of a real hunt.

If my pup creeps or breaks I say "No", "Sit" and I give a correction with the e-collar then I go get the bird.


Edited by BradyBuck (09/15/16 02:45 PM)
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#6453664 - 09/15/16 02:40 PM Re: Steady to shot with love birds and gun? [Re: hunting_guy]
colt45 Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 08/19/06
Posts: 5379
Loc: bastrop county
Originally Posted By: hunting_guy
Oh... the answer to that is yes. All of my dogs have been that way on their first hunt. The dog is excited, you are excited, lots of activity. Put your gun down and focus on the dog, let your buddy shoot the birds for a little bit. Teach your dog that you expect him to hold steady, even on a real hunt. Don't send the dog until the bird completely hits the ground and make sure your pup sees it fall. Also make sure your pup associates the end of the gun with where the mark is which will help it identify. Your dog will be just fine up
this
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#6454393 - 09/15/16 11:59 PM Re: Steady to shot with love birds and gun? [Re: Arbor Guy]
Blanco Offline
Tracker

Registered: 12/29/10
Posts: 789
Loc: Ft.Worth
JUst my suggestion here...
Get 1 or more live birds / pigeons, pull several flight feathers from 1 wing tip (creates a flopper).
get a 10 ft piece of 1/4" rope and tie it to the dogs collar. put bird in a vest.
Have dog sit while you toss the bird 20 or more feet away allowing to see you do it.
If dog is steady after a few seconds release for a retrieve. If pup breaks grab the rope and stop him. sit him and make him watch you retrieve the bird. Reinforce YOUR control. after pup succeeds at this exercise add a starter pistol shot when you toss the bird.
You can see where this leads. Be firm and steady, just remember its a pup you get back what you put in
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#6454776 - 09/16/16 10:41 AM Re: Steady to shot with love birds and gun? [Re: Arbor Guy]
dune2218 Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 02/09/16
Posts: 246
Loc: Temple, tx
sooooooooooo he is enthusiastic about live game,,,, waaasyyyy more so than dead bumpers------- sounds like a dog I would want..
That's the type that will chase a wounded duck for however long-- till he catches it-- long after most dogs have given up. I"d keep in mind he is a puppy and give him some leeway,,,a lot of leeway------- you dont want to take that enthusiasm out of him. If he is 10 months old and breaks on a shot in the duck blind,,, so what// ?? Put your gun down and hold him till your friend shoots and then let him go. What is more important , you shooting a duck or your dog being trained?? If he does it when he is 3 yrs old,,, that is different.
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#6454813 - 09/16/16 11:12 AM Re: Steady to shot with love birds and gun? [Re: Arbor Guy]
MS1454 Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2699
Loc: Houston/Sealy
The problem with that is you are in graining bad habits that will be harder to break later down the road.
_________________________
Originally Posted By: Fooshman
I'll take a Black Female every time.


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#6454820 - 09/16/16 11:17 AM Re: Steady to shot with love birds and gun? [Re: Arbor Guy]
MS1454 Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2699
Loc: Houston/Sealy
I wouldn't want to take the drive out of him either. You can teach him to control it and channel it rather than fight against it. It will take longer than letting him flip himself, pinch collars etc but I think it's worth it.
_________________________
Originally Posted By: Fooshman
I'll take a Black Female every time.


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#6454821 - 09/16/16 11:17 AM Re: Steady to shot with love birds and gun? [Re: dune2218]
BradyBuck Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 10/18/07
Posts: 5116
Loc: Abilene, TX
Originally Posted By: dune2218
sooooooooooo he is enthusiastic about live game,,,, waaasyyyy more so than dead bumpers------- sounds like a dog I would want..
That's the type that will chase a wounded duck for however long-- till he catches it-- long after most dogs have given up. I"d keep in mind he is a puppy and give him some leeway,,,a lot of leeway------- you dont want to take that enthusiasm out of him. If he is 10 months old and breaks on a shot in the duck blind,,, so what// ?? Put your gun down and hold him till your friend shoots and then let him go. What is more important , you shooting a duck or your dog being trained?? If he does it when he is 3 yrs old,,, that is different.


I respectfully disagree. I have an 11 year old lab that I've fought with her entire life because I never set the standard and stuck to it. I think breaking/creeping on the shot is one of the toughest things to fix. It's also dangerous for the dog especially if you ever hunt from layouts.


Edited by BradyBuck (09/16/16 11:18 AM)
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