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#7130602 - 04/02/18 05:02 PM New to Dog Training
Zackthefisherman Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 03/01/18
Posts: 15
Loc: New Braunfels
First off I want to say hello. I'm relatively new to bird hunting and brand new to bird dog training. I have a 5-month-old GSP that a picked up from a member on here. I've read multiple books and have done a bunch of research on training. Everyone has their own way of doing things, and I understand that I need to figure out what works best for me and my dog. With that said I have a few specific questions for you experienced guys. For now, I have no interest in the competitive side of this. I just want a dog that can reliably hunt quail, pheasants, dove, and maybe some waterfowl.

I've started off with some basic obedience trying to keep things fun without too much pressure. The book I've been basing my training on is "The German Shorthaired Pointer" by David Gowdey. He uses a "natural" approach of letting the birds train the dog which makes a lot of sense to me. Unlike most people, he doesn't use whoa. I'm starting to think I should train my dog whoa from at least a safety standpoint but I would like y'alls opinion on this.

Secondly, I've trained sit from the very beginning. I regularly use it in the house and have trained him to sit before being commanded to fetch. So far he is a great natural retriever. My thought on this was to train him to sit still for dove hunting which I'm hoping he will be able to start this fall. The more I read, I'm now beginning to question whether this will affect his pointing? Should I drop sit all together or will it really have any effect on his pointing?

His only experience pointing has been a quail wing on a string hidden in the grass. He quickly began point, but after a few sessions he caught on to the fishing pole. So I dropped it all together. I'm planning to join the GSP Club of San Antonio and utilizing their training lease. Hopefully, I can meet some experienced members to show me the ropes when it's time to introduce to live birds. Sorry, this went longer than I intended and I really appreciate everyone's feed back.

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#7130685 - 04/02/18 06:22 PM Re: New to Dog Training [Re: Zackthefisherman]
bill oxner Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 48943
Loc: Katy-Fulshear
welcome

Great question. Training a pointing to sit has always been a great trolling question. The theory is that it will teach the pup to set under pressure. I've never done it. Growdey is a great source. I differ a little with him about letting the birds train the pup, simply because it takes more birds. I'm more of a Delmar Smith advocate. He says take the dogs off of birds and don't take them back to the field until they are fully broke. Both methods work. My last put was broke on nine flushes. A lot depends on the pup.
_________________________
Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill








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#7130726 - 04/02/18 06:53 PM Re: New to Dog Training [Re: Zackthefisherman]
Wacm Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 05/13/16
Posts: 1076
Loc: Wimberley, Tx
Teach whoa first in my opinion. Whoa is absolutely most important for an upland bird dog. If your dog won't whoa he's no longer a pointing dog. Useless in my opinion.

While This isn't near important as whoa but you can teach him to quarter in front of you. Sometimes when your hunting you'll want to position your dog to cover a field completely or hit a specific cover so I taught mine at four months on a check cord how to quarter.

I dove hunt with mine so from the beginning whenever there is a bird over head I say "watch em" it's kind of like mark..it means I'm about to shoot so heads up. This is just for pass shooting but it works well. Over the years it really pays off. If I say watchem, she freezes and watches the sky. She gets all those doves that glide off. She will stay with em till they crash.

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#7130844 - 04/02/18 08:51 PM Re: New to Dog Training [Re: Zackthefisherman]
MI2TX Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 01/23/17
Posts: 41
Loc: Dallas, TX
Do yourself a favor and spend the money and get the perfection kennels dvd the “Perfect Start” if you are training your first dog.. Trained my first dog that I got in 2017 and had him hold his birds, obeying commands, and killing birds over him in his first season. It’s idiot proof and no BS (I.e. no barrels, no whoa post, no ridiculous sequence for learning). You never see anybody talk about it on the forums really...at least I haven’t. Hickox and Delmar stuff certainly has a following but, I could have saved myself a lot of time and money if I just would have started with the Perfect Start DVD. Perfect Start will take you from cradle to grave for everything you need to start shooting birds over your dog and hunting him. IT IS EASY with that dvd and a dog that has any bird sense.
_________________________
In dog beers, I've only had one.


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#7131002 - 04/03/18 06:39 AM Re: New to Dog Training [Re: Zackthefisherman]
Smokey Bear Offline
Tracker

Registered: 05/11/17
Posts: 781
Loc: Texas
You will be fine having taught sit but you also need to teach whoa. If the dog sits on whoa at first stand him back up and be patient. For a versatile hunting dog you will need both commands and a reliable recall. I would also advise you to read up on introducing gunfire and birds. Then start putting the pup on some birds. Lots of birds. Good luck to both you and the new dog. Hopefully the two of you have a lot of good times to come.
_________________________
Smokey Bear---Lone Star State.

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#7131198 - 04/03/18 09:26 AM Re: New to Dog Training [Re: Zackthefisherman]
bill oxner Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 48943
Loc: Katy-Fulshear
Here's a thread I started several years ago. You'll have to use your imagination. Photobucket took all the pictures away.


Originally Posted By: bill oxner
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 lot depends on the pup, and you have to adjust for each pup. Cracker has never taken out a single pointed bird or covey.
_________________________
Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill








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#7131224 - 04/03/18 09:50 AM Re: New to Dog Training [Re: Zackthefisherman]
Zackthefisherman Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 03/01/18
Posts: 15
Loc: New Braunfels
Thanks for all the replies. I think I'm going to take MI2TX advice and invest in the Perfect Start DVDs and stick with their program. I feel like a good video will be easier for me to follow than a book. I'll try my best to keep y'all updated on his progress and hopefully I will be able to share a report or two this fall.

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#7131255 - 04/03/18 10:11 AM Re: New to Dog Training [Re: Zackthefisherman]
Mundo Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 02/03/15
Posts: 291
Not teaching whoa to a bird dog is a real mistake. If that is what the guy advocates, I'd toss the book.
I prefer the Smith videos to Perfect Start.
Once the dog knows whoa you should use it constantly.
Whoa before the start of a hunt, at gates and doors -- reinforce it over and over.
Whoa before crossing street, even when on lead.
The three important commands are go with me, here, whoa.
They should be reinforced daily. You want to get to the point where you can whoa the dog in the field and change directions and give the go command to start it in a new direction.
BTW you don't really want to use whoa to teach a dog to point. You want the dog to learn that
birds take off it it puts on too much pressure and learn that pointing holds the bird. If you try to whoa a dog into pointing they will likely decide that it can close on the bird until you stop it--you want the dog to use their own judgement about how close to get to the bird.


Edited by Mundo (04/03/18 10:13 AM)

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#7131298 - 04/03/18 10:59 AM Re: New to Dog Training [Re: Zackthefisherman]
kindall Offline


Registered: 08/01/09
Posts: 4019
Loc: Spring, Tx
I've trained one to dove,duck,goose,quail,and pheasant hunt with me.
I did all the started training on quail first. After he was steady on birds, I started the dove, and waterfowl training.
Its tough on a young pointer, to sit still for long lengths of time.
So his first year of dove hunting, I would give him short breaks to run, if the action was slow.
_________________________

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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#7131359 - 04/03/18 12:02 PM Re: New to Dog Training [Re: Zackthefisherman]
First_Chance Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2431
Loc: dfw
I read a book one time… can’t remember the name of it as it has been years ago that said “the 5 most important commands you can teach a bird dog are:
Whoa
Whoa
Whoa
Whoa
and Whoa.”

I have always started (and firmly believe that) and my pups do best and come along much faster if they have a strong basic obedience or “control command” structure. It’s important to me to be able to control my dog before I let him loose on birds. As Mundo says; this is basically a here command (I use “HERE”) and stop command “WHOA” and a go or release command, I use “OK”.

From the time I get a pup and they are old enough to walk on a lead, I get a 25’ check cord and begin walking them around the neighborhood, ballfields, school, jogging trails, etc, etc. letting them run and cast while working those three commands. If I command “HERE”, I make the pup come to me by reeling in the check cord. If I say “WHOA” I gently stop him with the CC. if he moves back to me, I replace him in the exact spot he left from and reinforce “WHOA”, each time releasing to walk again with “OK”. I use various sequences of this so he doesn’t get command smart knowing that every time I stop him, he’s going to get a “here” next. I’ll use “whoa,here,ok”… then maybe “here, ok” the maybe “whoa, ok”. We WHOA at street corners, etc, etc. Usually within a couple of weeks of doing this on daily walks (20-30 times a walk) the commands will begin to stick. This is very important to me to have a strong control foundation before I move to other various stages of training i.e. live birds, backing, quartering, e- collars, whistles, etc, etc. It just makes everything easier.

I don’t teach sit because I don’t use it. but my wife will put that command on our pups and it’s never caused me any issues. If I want the dog to stay next to me in a dove field, I call him over and tell him WHOA. He stays. They will learn what you want… GSP’s and very smart and biddable dogs and I am convinced that my GSP knows the difference when we are hunting doves, quail, or blood tracking… he also knows if I am on foot, a SxS or on a quail truck and ranges accordingly. He also knows how to act in the house. Basically, they can have “the switch”, hunt/no hunt.

My big advice is to always be consistent and the dog will figure it out pretty quick. I do my best to train “by exception”, I train basic control on the dog, then evaluate them over time to see what they do naturally and what they don’t while working them on live birds. if I have an issue, then I train to work around it. A pointing dog should point naturally, most will back naturally if they are worked with other dogs and in the right environment, if they don’t we fix that. Most GSP’s I have had all retrieve naturally and all have hunted dead naturally when exposed to it correctly. I use the same method Oxner uses on dead, I drop food on the floor and then call the dog and say “DEAD”, they find the food and pretty quickly they learn “DEAD” means “search” for something you like… it transfers over to dead birds in the field in like one or two tries!

Good luck with the pup and keep us updated.
_________________________


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#7131635 - 04/03/18 04:57 PM Re: New to Dog Training [Re: Zackthefisherman]
Smokey Bear Offline
Tracker

Registered: 05/11/17
Posts: 781
Loc: Texas
OP, in reading the advice of the various bird dog owners the glaring commonality is a strong obedience foundation. The other thing I takeaway from this thread is each of us advise you based on how we use our own dogs.
Along that line of thinking: I will share some advice given to me by my grandfather when he gave me my first bird dog. Make two lists.
1-all the things you want the dog to be able to do.
2-all the things you don't want it to do.

With those two lists you can sit down with a mentor or an experienced trainer and break them down to their simplest steps. Then you can tailor a logical training progression to achieve your goals for your new pup. (You may have to pay for a trainers time). Hopefully the end result will more closely match your vision of what you hope to do with your hunting dog. You can also refer back to your lists and see where you are as you train toward what you desire.

As a for instance, my current dog is a year and a half old versatile and I do a lot with it. Last year I hunted ducks, geese, dove, quail, woodcock, pheasant, Hungarian partridge, and sharptail grouse with it. I also used it to blood trail 4 deer. A lot of the training I do would be a waste of time to someone who solely hunts upland birds....in general advanced retrieving skills take much more training than upland or blood work. All training requires consistency and balance to get the most out of a given dogs ability. I overlay voice commands with both whistle and hand signals. The whistle cuts through wind and distance. The hand signals because it's almost always advantageous to run silent. Teaching an upland dog to "whoa" in my opinion is necessary. Instead of the command "whoa" I use "EEZEE". My hunting buddy hacks on his dog with whoa too much for my taste, so EEZEE avoids anyone inadvertently telling my dogs to whoa. What I am getting at is train your dog to hunt the way that best serves you.

Good luck with the new pup and enjoy the journey.



Edited by Smokey Bear (04/03/18 05:36 PM)
_________________________
Smokey Bear---Lone Star State.

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#7131752 - 04/03/18 07:07 PM Re: New to Dog Training [Re: Zackthefisherman]
bill oxner Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 48943
Loc: Katy-Fulshear
I keep my mouth shut and let my e-collar do the talking once the pup has gone through the breaking process.
_________________________
Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill








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#7131853 - 04/03/18 08:28 PM Re: New to Dog Training [Re: bill oxner]
Smokey Bear Offline
Tracker

Registered: 05/11/17
Posts: 781
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: bill oxner
I keep my mouth shut and let my e-collar do the talking once the pup has gone through the breaking process.


Train for what suits you. I do subscribe to putting the whistle in you pocket and leaving it there most of the time. I'm not sure I'm comfortable with advising a first time pointer owner to get too jiggy with an ecollar. I've seen that go bad on more than one occasion.
_________________________
Smokey Bear---Lone Star State.

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#7131949 - 04/03/18 10:00 PM Re: New to Dog Training [Re: Zackthefisherman]
MI2TX Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 01/23/17
Posts: 41
Loc: Dallas, TX
You won’t regret getting the Perfect Start. If you don’t know anything about training a bird dog, this video will get you on your way. I’d suggest getting a subscription to the pointing dog journal as well if you are interested in gathering more knowledge from some of the best in the biz. Feel free to pm me. I am happy to talk about it. Otherwise, have fun and good luck with your dog. It’s been really rewarding training my own dog.
_________________________
In dog beers, I've only had one.


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#7132060 - 04/04/18 07:00 AM Re: New to Dog Training [Re: Zackthefisherman]
danceswithquail Offline
Tracker

Registered: 08/20/07
Posts: 670
Loc: DFW Area
I wouldn't put a lot of pressure on a pup to whoa until about 7 months. Its a heavy control command and you can mess around and take some fire out of them if you do it when they are 5 months and on the softer side. You can also go too hard on it and take some of the natural desire to retrieve out of them (hey dumb arse, you hammered down on me to not get the bird...now you want me to get the bird in my mouth...I'm confused?). Speaking from experience.

I did some research on the let them figure it out method/No whoa their first year method, trainer near Krum that is a big advocate of it that a buddy used that had a real soft french pointer. In the end, decided I was too old of a dog myself to learn new tricks and trained this last pup similar to what I always did which is a blend of Wolters and Delmar Smith and she came out fine.

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