Pointing Dog Pointers features monthly training tips by Bob and Jody Iler, who own Green Valley Kennels in Dubuque, Iowa. But all the penned "wild" birds I used had a similar problem: weak flushes, short flights and a pronounced lack of durability. ©2021 Outdoor Sportsman Group. Check Cord – I get all of my check cords, dog collars and supplies from my friend Bob Warner of Warner’s Sporting in Carlisle Pennsylvania. But some of you - probably most of you, or you wouldn't be reading this - want a bit more out of your dog. Many great bird dogs have been started out on the good old common pigeon. Operating on the grounds of Green Acres Sportsman’s Club we always have access to thousands of acres and all different types of game birds. That instinct to return home is also one of the things that makes pigeons so useful to dog trainers. Without birds, your pointing dog pup won’t develop to his full potential. |   Simply owning a fine custom-fitted shotgun doesn’t necessarily make someone a … /wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Pointing-Dog-Logo-White-400.png, http://pointingdogjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/3661.jpg, ® Pointing Dog Journal in a registered trademarks of Wildwood Press/Village Press |, Traveling Wingshooter Upland Gamebird Hunting Forecast 2020, Next month, we’ll talk about the many different ways to plant those birds, POINTING DOG POINTERS: Leave Only Positive Prints, POINTING DOG POINTERS: Problems in Developing the Started Dog – Gun Nervous / Gun Shy, POINTING DOG POINTERS: Starting the Pointing Dog Pup – Yard Work, West Nile Virus’s Effects on Grouse and Woodcock in the Lake States. In order to use pigeons for training, the dog has to have seen one first. There's an old saying: "You can't have a bird dog without birds." Our conversation covers wingshooting and hunting upland birds in Kansas as well as breeding and training pointing dogs. Still, that debate, in my opinion, misinterprets the definition of "training.". Is there any way to train a dog without using penned birds? You want him to back, you want him to whoa on command, and you want him to remain steady after the birds flush. If he has good genetics, you won’t be disappointed! As a full-time trainer and quail guide in Arizona, pointing dogs and birds are my passion. Your job is to (a) teach him to whoa on command in a controlled situation first, and then (b) reinforce that command on wild birds. Teaching a dog to whoa, remain steady to flush (and/or shot) requires birds that are under your control. Several birds can be left in the portable cage while others are used for training, and the birds in the field will usually recall back to the portable pen. Some birdy types will take off after the flyaway pigeons with nary a look back, but we’ve found that with quail introduction first, we make sure that a shy pup gets off on the right foot. To many, a trained dog is a dog that hunts hard and finds birds. It’s important to remember, though, that pigeons will fly up and away with a flapping of wings that can scare or intimidate a young pup first being introduced to birds. I love pigeons. Setting up a variety of birds in different locations in a field like this one trains the pup to work and use his instincts. As far back into the 20th century as you care to explore, professional bird dog trainers have always used penned birds to train dogs, mostly quail, pheasants and pigeons. No argument from me there. Pigeons are Disgusting and Other Surprises not disclosed when you get your first gun dog. Now, let’s take a look at what birds to use, when, and why. Of the dogs I've had in my kennel over the last dozen years, nearly all crowded planted birds at least a few times. These dogs are generally tougher to get steady to wing and shot and to keep steady. Bob has been in the in the bird and bird dog business for many years and partners with Dick Weaver to raise and breed Ryman-type, Dark Hollow Setters.. Bob used to raise the best training birds available but now he focuses on his dog supply business. This is never good, but it's not the end of the world, either. Likewise, quail can be bought at breeding farms and game preserves and kept in a relatively small Johnny house for use in training. We have devoted our lives to training all breeds of pointing dogs and helping people interact with their animals in a way that better benefits the dog. And pigeons, which I must assume smell nothing like gamebirds, are pointed with plenty of intensity by nearly all young pointing dogs. In the last 30 years, I've worked with a couple different species of quail and a handful of chukars, but I now train with pigeons exclusively. A dog’s pointing intensity will also be maintained by reducing the amount of pressure you put on it during the Pointing/Steady to Flush Transition. How long that transition takes depends upon how often I hunt him, but in my experience it's usually not long, typically a matter of a few weeks. Dogs that catch birds as young dogs or work a lot of slow flushing birds will only naturally want to crowd their game. Pigeons are found just about everywhere in the United States, and in most areas are quite abundant. Do you really understand what your hunting dog needs from his food? Using Pigeons for Training Bird Dogs Pigeons 101. But extrapolating that wild birds are therefore better to train with is not a conclusion supported by my experience, nor the experience of any pro trainer I've ever met. Training Pointing Dogs with Birds - Part 1. by LTC Jim Morehouse. Yes, but it's not easy, and your results can be inconsistent. This is good training for the dog but it’s also confusing. Upland Pointing Dog Training. We love training and working with dogs and owners and we believe this is why our training programs are so successful. dog trainer. And once a dog figures out how to hunt, he retains that knowledge for life. All Gun Dog subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. The training grounds are so wet that the 4-wheeler makes ruts so I have limited the use of it to just putting out the pigeons. Chukars and pheasants can also be purchased like quail, through breeders and game preserves. If she’s not been properly introduced to birds, wild birds can be a strange, often frightening experience. Dogs quickly learn just how close they can get to a wild bird, and adjust their approach accordingly. They eventually want to creep in or break completely and flush the bird. Busting Birds For pointing dogs, the number one offense is busting birds. Dummies wrapped in feathers and sprinkled with pheasant scent or wings on fish pole lines just aren’t enough! Sure, you can train - at least to a functional level - virtually any hunting dog without using live birds, and thousands of amateur trainers do so ever year. As far back into the 20th century as you care to explore, professional bird dog trainers have always used penned birds to train dogs, mostly quail, pheasants and pigeons. Pigeons always fly no matter how long they've been confined in a coop (unlike quail), flush reasonably well even when dizzied and planted on the ground, and are tough as nails. Rather than turn birds loose at random, get the handlers to plant several birds at a time in pre-arranged locations, and then work your dog on as many of them as you can find. Also available are small, portable wire recall cages that can be taken with you to training areas. In order for your dog's prey drive to awaken, develop and reach its maximum, you need to introduce puppies to birds early on. That's fine. A dog-training mentor of mine coined that phrase years ago, which I have shamelessly stolen and used ever since. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets. 1. Keeping a cock bird and several hens for training use works well. His writing has appeared in Pointing Dog Journal and a number of other outdoor The big drawback to this is that most preserves aren't open year around, which will limit a dog's training on birds when it needs it most, during the summer. It just doesn't work that way. So let's take this a bit further. "Happy timing" simply means running your dog in cover that holds birds. It’s important to remember, though, that pigeons will fly up and away with a flapping of wings that can scare or intimidate a young pup first being introduced to birds. Back in the day, I considered that a plausible argument. Trapping a bird won't turn a well-bred pointing dog into a flusher, period. But the key difference is that they will usually fly, once unhobbled, up high and far away. For him, it was as though they did not exist. All Rights Reserved. Once a dog learns he can put his nose under a pigeon's tail feather - he will. Many great bird dogs have been started out on the good old common pigeon. But some of you don't. They’re also smaller and easier for the pup to pick up, if the dog is a natural retriever. I’ll have a helper hide behind a bush and then I’ll bring the dog up into the area and the helper will throw that pigeon right in front of the dog, out about 6 or 8 feet. I beg to differ. By George Hickox. For many years we’ve caught pigeons at night using flashlight, net and burlap sack, helping to supplement our pigeon pen stock. Wild birds, of course, will put the icing on the cake for your dog once her bird training has progressed to that point. Also, hunting a pup all morning on a cold fall day, without finding a single bird, will do nothing to bring out the bird dog fire in her. Like most of you, I've hunted over dogs who have never been near a penned bird. Wild birds are not inherently better for your dog than pen-raised birds. Chukars also do well in bird pens. If you use planted birds, especially if they're not confined in a manual or automatic trap, sooner or later your dog is going to catch one (and probably kill it). Often the pup may startle, back up a bit, and simply watch the pigeon fly away. Perhaps the biggest objection I hear, however, is that penned birds aren't, well, like wild birds. If the pup potters, or hooks to the rear, don’t wait for, or follow, him. Many people who disdain training with penned birds take this route. Give a Gift   If penned birds are good, wouldn't quail, pheasant, chukars or some other type of domesticated wild bird be more realistic, and therefore better, than plain old pigeons? Plus, once we are shooting birds over our young dog, chukars make delicious dinners. I flushed the farther bird. Pigeon coops can be built and located unobtrusively in neighborhood backyards as well as country homes. Birds – we introduce dogs to birds the correct way. It's not easy, nor is it particularly efficient, but over time it will work, if you hang in there. You’ve got to have the real thing. I've only had a couple dogs over the years who didn't love them. Here in the Midwest, pigeons, quail, chukars, and pheasants are fairly easy to attain; one or another of them will work at varying stages in your pup’s development. How to correctly introduce and train your dog hunting. They don’t cackle and won’t spur a pup if crippled. When I put the birds out I didn’t know where the dogs would be when they pointed. So let's talk about training dogs the efficient way. You can bet the ranch on it. The common pigeon is likely the most economical and possibly the easiest to attain if you are acquainted with a few farmers who would like to lower the pigeon population in their sheds and barns. Okay. The point is to enjoy the time you spend with your dog, regardless of what I think. Another cited advantage of wild birds is that your dog will never trap one, and therefore won't be tempted to flush rather than point. For all practical purposes, those goals are, if not impossible, very, very difficult without using some kind of penned birds. They're hardy, common and free, if you can find a place to trap them. We keep some chukars in our bird pen for training, but we also like to use chukars when we continue our training at the game preserves. The bulk of a flushing dog's training can be achieved in three months. of all breeds of pointing dogs for more than thirty years, owning and operating Lindley’s Kennels of Piedmont, SC. Usually when a dog differentiates a situation like this, it is blamed on things like using planted birds, using pigeons instead of game birds, or using bird launchers. For many pointing dog enthusiasts new to the game, pigeons are the most easily available. Certainly there are trade-offs, and penned birds do have minor disadvantages. Either way, you're going to need birds. You, too, may end up owning a pup like Ranger, who knows that he’s really meant to hunt and point gamebirds, not pigeons, and will let you know this right from the get go. Training Strategies. Finally, we’ll progress to pheasants as the last step in our bird training program, but even then, we’ll use hen pheasants first. We once had a special shorthair named Ranger who refused to work pigeons. A better option is to spend the coin for a preserve. A Paradox: More Quality Bird Dogs, But Fewer Game-Birds. You've heard it before: it takes birds to make a bird dog. The Smith Training Method (also known as the HuntSmith Silent Command System) has been developed through generations of the Smith family training dogs and works for any dog, whether a pointing dog, gun dog, or field trial prospect. They should be focused on birds to the exclusion of all else as gunfire is introduced in gradual, progressive stages, … He lit up for gamebirds, but it was obvious that pigeons were beneath him! Trying to develop your pup on wild birds can be difficult. Subscribe to our channel here: http://bit.ly/2Dyy9DWWelcome to Standing Stone Kennels! ... A lot of consistency and time goes into working dogs on birds and getting them steady. We like to start with quail, as they are the smallest and can be easily hobbled for gentle introduction to birds with very young pups. That means any young dog I train goes through a transition period at the start of his first hunting season, during which he's learning to hunt at the same time he's learning what he's hunting for. Remember, your dog will teach himself how to hunt. The hard part about training gun dogs is getting them to go against their natural behaviors. Persistent myths related to dog health have lingered too long. The problem with wild birds, even if you have access to scads of them, is that you can't control where your dog is going to find them, or when and where they flush, all things crucial to the training process. Since pigeons fly back to their coops, a“landing pad” that remains open during the day and can be closed at night works well for them. Hunting is not something you can train, it's something a dog has to learn on his own, and there is no better way to get a hunting dog to hunt then to take him hunting - on wild birds. Birds, birds, birds—but used in the proper sequence, with gentle introduction, and sensible progression—will develop your pointing dog into the one you’ve dreamed of! John Rogers is a freelance writer who collaborated with the late Roy Strickland in the production of a successful book on the training of grouse dogs. And honestly? A training whistle and collar will go a long way with new dogs. These 8 products are the best of the best for getting your pup into hunting shape. When SportDOG™ asked me to write training articles on some of the aspects of training pointing dogs to handle birds, it seemed like a pretty easy task. By the time I walk the 100 yards or so to the first pigeon all of the dogs … Novice handlers should seek out help with these methods. All of this is good and well if you have a callback pen, a pigeon coop, or access to one or the other. Gamebird breeding farms, hobby bird breeders, and game preserves are all good sources of acquiring birds for training. That never happened when I was using quail. The pigeon pole with a launcher can be used to steady the dog to the fall of the bird. But it's a much better alternative than nothing. We start with pigeons, and then move on to quail or chuckar. That's true. The Gun Dog Success pointing dog program specializes in training highly efficient, disciplined upland hunting dogs that stay within range, handle well, consistently point, and retrieve to hand. Next month, we’ll talk about the many different ways to plant those birds. Better yet-hunt your dog on LOTS of wild birds BEFORE you begin your steadiness training. No birds means no bird dog, so using live birds is a critical part of any training plan. But the dog needs to learn not to move as long as their bird hasn’t moved. In actuality, it's not these training aids that cause blinking, it's the fact that all these things are associated with a correction that shouldn't have been made at this stage in the dog's training. You can’t predict what wild birds will do, where they are, or how your inexperienced pup will react. While I am still struggling with heeling, I will say he has a solid Whoa and Recall. Quail generally recall to their pen on the ground and return through a funnel that is wider at its opening and progressively smaller, so that birds can enter the funnel and go through to the pen, but cannot go back out through the funnel. Pigeons, too, can be hobbled during bird introduction. At the far end is the finishing stage, where the polish is added to a pointer’s, flusher’s or retriever’s reliable skills and cooperation level. The latest training techniques for pointing breeds. But why would you? The newest member of Fabarm's XLR5 family is a standout in the gas-gun market. Having many young pheasants in a smaller enclosure is not a good idea, as they will peck each other and usually require blinders to keep from doing so. Quail and pigeons are good choices for most young pups. If you have some good homing pigeons and only use blank guns in training with them, they will recall to their pens, once well-acclimated, and you’ll enjoy many seasons of use with them. Getting your dog ready for open range training on planted birds. Again, if you had access to lots of wild birds, and you could control where they held and how they flushed, maybe. Bearing that in mind, however, here goes. Again, teach your dog the fundamentals first - whoa" and "come" - then reinforce them on preserve birds. Use the setup to tease the pup by swinging the bird past the pup, setting the bird down briefly and pulling it away as the pup tries to catch it. The number one offense is busting birds for training, the dog gets close and n't. Not been properly introduced to birds the correct way and penned birds take this route, very difficult using! Than thirty years, owning and operating Lindley ’ s also confusing struggling with heeling I! 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