Start with the Basics
Young dogs without a lot of wild bird experience have not yet learned that they can’t catch the birds, hence the enthusiastic chase across the horizon. Once they do learn this valuable lesson, they begin to use more caution and point wild birds. With game preserve birds, the likelihood of a dog catching one is increased, and though this can happen now and then, we don’t want that to be the norm, as it could cause the pup to quit pointing and jump in on birds.Read More
Now that spring is finally here (we hope), we can all get outdoors again and spend time with our dogs. Spring and training pups go hand in hand. And new pointing dog owners are starting to think about training their growing pups as bird dogs. The question naturally arises, “Should I train my pup myself, or should I take my pup to a trainer?”Read More
As we discussed, the basis of my training methodology assumes that the FOUNDATION is the groundwork, specifically the first steps, the instruction, affirmation and reward that define the behaviors that you as trainer want the pup to achieve. BOUNDARIES, on the other hand, are the guardrails or corrections that are used to reinforce that foundation.
Life comes at a pup from all directions in its first year. It’s fun and exciting but sometimes intimidating–a time when we have to be careful in our approach as we guide, expose and monitor. We hope to build on the positive and help them fully realize their predatory instincts and gain self-confidence, yet avoid bad habits.Read More
Learning to read your pup is the first element of successful dog training. Is he soft, hard-headed, or somewhere in between? Showing the pup what you want and using repetition, fairness, and firmness is important for all pups; but extra time and gentle handling are often crucial with soft or shy types.Read More
“There are two types of dogs out there,” Hickox said. “One dog holds point and handles in range. It has at least one hunting season behind it. This dog has acceptable bird manners for the owner. Another dog, say a 10-month-old pup, is not fully trained and will chase. Learning and teaching is the same for both.”Read More
The difference between a bird dog that’s been worked with and one that hasn’t can make or break your day in the field chasing birds. Nothing ruins a day faster than walking miles upon miles just to have your dog bump some birds slightly out of gun range. Or spending the day worrying where your dog went after it raced with the second-fastest land animal, the antelope.Read More
Correct every mistake, no matter how minor. If a dog moves a single step when quail flush or the gun goes off, Miller moves in immediately. He calmly picks the dog up and moves it back to its original position. Every time.Read More
Some other words to describe this type of pointing dog are bold, tough, independent, stubborn, or headstrong. This rambunctious pup will require training that will instill needed control without diminishing pup’s special brand of zest and enthusiasm. This is a real commitment; it’s often easier for an owner to let a pup have its way, and later complain that the pup was “just too much to handle!”Read More
As with other activities you enjoy doing with your pet pal, he also needs proper and sufficient training, exercising, conditioning, and caring.Read More
With year-round training comes the task of training in hot weather. SportDOG® ProStaff members and professional trainers Lynne Frady, of Super Dog Obedience & Gun Dog Training, and Billy Mosley, of Avery Creek Retrievers, offer their best tips for dog owners to keep hunting dogs safe and cool during hot summer workouts.Read More
What do your new puppy and a penny have in common? They both have a head and a tail! This article strives to keep your new pup’s tail wagging and his head in the game! Whether you want your dog to compete on the national circuit or just be a great hunting buddy, these guidelines will apply.Read More
The things about dogs is simple: they will ask you when they need help, much like my students. No teacher wants a student who is uninterested, and no handler wants a dog that won’t find and retrieve game. The way in which you go about getting to the solution is key.Read More
There are some things in life that are personal and often categorized by the presence of both good and not-so-good. Personal is real, and real is experience with actual substance. That’s why carrying a crying puppy covered in fecal matter to the bath is real. With substance. However, it is funny now (at least) and makes my bond with my dog that much more personal.Read More
Birds, yard work (obedience), and gun development form the bedrock of the pointing dog training program. Of course, introduction to birds and bird work is key no matter what the pup’s temperament, but particularly so for the soft dog. Emphasis on obedience and gun work should be put on hold until the soft pup has been gently introduced to birds and allowed to hunt, point, and chase birds for a good period of time.Read More
So we warmed up with lots of praise and an upbeat attitude. It was more fun than work, full of positive reinforcement and plenty of play time. We spent extra time on the things Buddy does well. When he did well, he knew it. We both got psyched, and the next day, he took the highest score possible.Read More
To be honest, I’ve never had an upland dog that didn’t also serve as a waterfowl retriever as well. And even though most of my fall bird-hunting time is consumed by pheasants and ruffed grouse, I make sure my dogs are very comfortable retrieving in the water for the days that we do waterfowl hunt — and for the days when they need to get wet to complete their upland tasks.Read More
...there’s no doubt he has all the skills and “natural abilities” required. But that doesn’t mean he’ll pass. As I’ve learned the hard way, a rock-star-of-a-dog can go off the rails any time. In Manny’s case, wet weather meant birds that didn’t fly and the one he caught ended up in pieces. Based on the forecast, that will be the least of my worries.Read More
It’s never too early to begin thinking about the next hunting season. In fact, preparing a dog for the season takes year-round work. Serious bird dog enthusiasts never let up from conditioning and training mode, though the intensity of day-to-day routines may relent a bit during the off-season.Read More
All those other things: verbal praise and touch have been higher on the menu here. I’ve also found that (perhaps) as a dog matures, food has less allure than a pat on the back, literally. Maybe pups’ emotional needs evolve as they grow, and a more “man to man” reward system has value to them.Read More
They learn in the field, and it’s an amazing thing to watch no matter whether you’re hunting roosters, quail, grouse or any other upland quarry. This is a thing of beauty to watch and often feels totally unrelated to any influence we have, but it’s not. Just like a university should theoretically teach students to think critically and not just memorize facts, a dog-training program can be created to teach our dogs to learn.Read More
To me, that means steady to wing, shot and fall. (Everyone has their own definition of “finished dog,” so I won’t go there today.) Sure, it’s hard. It’s also not what is always appropriate in all hunting situations.Read More
If you have a savant puppy who does it all, congratulations. You are among the storied few. I can’t wait to read your post and see your test results. If you aren’t in possession of a super-pup, welcome to my world.Read More
... our commitment to our hunting partner requires them if both parties are to lead fulfilling lives in the field and at home. We hold all the cards, it is our responsibility. Going the extra mile to get our dog exposure to all four pays dividends for their – and our – entire life.Read More
But thinking about the other end of the leash really went to another level when I put it in my pocket. It’s a risk, sure, and not for all dogs all the time, or even some dogs some of the time. At early stages of teaching heel, whoa, come, and other commands, it is vital. But once there, why not unclip it periodically?Read More
We’ve all been there before…. “I’ll train my dog using YouTube and it will be the best one around.” But what happens when you have to work late, kids get sick, or even worse you get sick. Does the Upland Athlete magically start training himself, or even better, does he rest with you?Read More
In spite of my grand hopes, that first day afield served as a good reference point for measuring future progress. Between a wide-eyed puppy and a wide-eyed new hunter, we just enjoyed the walk in the high desert. The pup stayed mostly underfoot during the first outing. This game was new to her and she wasn’t entirely sure how to play. ...Read More
The “E-Collar” – AKA command reinforcer, invisible lead, and walkie-talkie.Read More
However, even if your correction is as it should be, your dog could still be responding badly. What I want to do is suggest an alternative hypothesis that might better explain your dog’s bad response to correction. Maybe your dog isn’t soft. Maybe your dog is confused.Read more
As your pup’s first hunting season draws to a close, some challenges may have popped up—these issues are normal and give us the chance to “nip them in the bud” before they become major problems.Read More
Last season, one of our customers with a young English setter called and asked, “Why won’t my dog retrieve yet?” Tom and his dog Jake had completed started dog classes at our kennel and been out in the field hunting several times that fall. We told him not to worry and that often, retrieving will begin as the young dog matures. We also reminded him about the role genetics always plays – if both parents are retrievers, it’s likely that pup will be.Read More
A hard lesson learned about wind direction for a first time gun dog trainer.Read More
Gun dogs come in all sizes and shapes and are bred for different areas of specialization. The term “gun dog” includes pointing dogs, of course, as well as flushing dogs and retrievers. To build on that, there are many pointing dogs that are great retrievers, and many retrievers that also point! And flushing dogs are notoriously great at finding and bringing dead and crippled birds back.Read More
When I’m teaching a dog to hold point, I begin with the dog on a lead. We work in a place with no other dogs, no distractions and, most importantly, no birds. I’ll walk with the dog at my side and let him get a foot or two in front of me. Then, I simply say “Whoa” and give a sharp tug on the lead. I keep pressure on the lead and walk around the dog.Read More
Susan Fuller, co-host of Bird Dogs Afield TV, demonstrates different exercises to help make your pointing dog stand still. For pointing dogs, standing still is the most important behavior they learn
In this video, Stage Three of Training an Upland Bird Dog using Positive Reinforcement Methods are demonstrated - The use of natural phenomena with remote bird launchers and pigeons establishes a longer period of on point with birds. This method utilizes Positive Reinforcement and Negative Punishment principles from Operant Conditioning.
Kaya is a Nine Month Old English Setter - Accomplished with Positive Gun Dog Methodology, Kaya is Introduced to Gun Fire in the Presence of Pigeons and Quail - With a Restrained Chase, a Quail is Shot for the first time after she Makes a Solid Point. Finally, Kaya Makes her First Retrieve of the Shot Quail to Hand - Perfection Bird Dog Training - www.lucycloud.com
In this video is my beginning stages of training an Upland Bird Dog using Positive Reinforcement Methods - The use of a Placement Board and Clicker Methodology with a Food Base Reward System forms the basis for the most effective means of establishing and ingraining Behavior.
Kaya (Eight Months Old) is trained with Positive Reinforcement - In this video, she is Steady to Flush of Pigeon. Kaya also demonstrates good Retrieve to Hand on Command and also shows a good Recall to Whistle - W. Dale Hubbard, Ph.D., Animal Behavioral Specialist -Perfection Bird Dog
In this video, Garmin Field Product Specialist Jim Trotter discusses techniques on training a "soft dog."
This is a video description of what clients will experience when having their dog trained with the Gun Dog Success program at Green Acres Sportsman's Club. It includes testimonials from real customers and and great footage of the trainers and the facility.
SportDOG Basic Training DVD Chapter 5: SportDOG Brand Senior Pro Staffer Tom Dokken walks you through teaching your pointing dog the "Whoa" command. This is equivalent to "stay" for most hunting dogs, but will tell your pointing dog to stay on point and not assume the standing position. Tom will show you how to train for this command, and reinforce it with an remote training collar.