I just got back from a week long trip to Eastern Washington to go dove hunting. Although the weather turned and pushed the doves out we all had a great time. It truly was a very needed vacation.
My new dog, Angus, got a chance to do some retrieving and working the fields. This was his first real time out chasing birds and he did great. After a few years of experience, I think he will be one incredible bird dog.
Here are a few shots of the area where we hunted.
The doves, when they aren’t pushed out due to a turn in the weather, are usually pretty thick. When we went a few years ago I had my limit in about 3 hours. This time I couldn’t hardly hit a thing, but my wife got her first 2 critters ever. It was her first time hunting. She did great. I only got 5 and my father got 2. The wind was pretty harsh that first day when the doves were still in so getting the lead down was almost impossible.
All said, we had a great trip and my dog got some really good training. He started to learn how to walk a field, used his nose to find a few down birds, and retrieved them for us. We had to kind of walk him out a bit at first, but he really did great.
Angus watching birds
I really can hardly wait for duck season. Getting him to go for his first water retrieve should bring big grins!
Yesterday I picked up a couple Gun Dog videos, Retriever and Pointing Dogs. Although I have been around hunting dogs and training of hunting dogs my entire life, I was wondering if there was anything new that I might pick up to use. The videos were actually quite impressive in the manner that they step you through the puppy training process all the way to the point where you have a dog that will actually hunt.
Gun Dog Retrievers
The first couple sections built upon pressure as a way to exert control. It started with them simply holding the puppy and applying pressure until they quit squirming. They then used that with several other advanced obedience commands later on, especially with regard to leash work.
Gun Dog Pointing Dogs
One thing that I am not used to was treat training. I know that it makes the training process easier, but I am not as fond of that method as praise training. I know some people may not agree with me, but I have found that dogs seem more bonded to their people through praise training than treat training. When professional trainers are getting dogs ready for clients, I can see how treat training is the way to go so that the dog will bond with their new people after they are built into hunting dogs.
I do love the way that they transitioned the puppy from feathers, to birds and integrated the gunshots into the whole mix. That was worth the price of the video just in seeing how they did it without stressing the dog. I look forward to watching the pointing dogs video to see how they train upland bird hunting. After watching my dog naturally pointing bugs in the yard, I am excited to see how well he picks this up. There is little doubt that we will get it with a little work because he is such a smart little guy.
My recommendation after watching these videos is that anyone training a hunting dog take some time to examine other people’s training techniques.
I was going to continue my body armor posts last week, but had a small detour. My puppy was ready for pickup. This is Angus, by 6 1/2 week old yellow lab. Although he isn’t registered, I think he will end up being a great bird dog. His temperament is great, he seems to be crate trained regarding bathroom necessities after only a few hours, and is already recognizing his name and our voices after only 1 day. This little guy seems like a great find.
Angus the yellow lab
His mother had to have a cesarean and thus he was bottle raised until a couple weeks ago. I will be fixing his grocery store dog food diet and put him on sporting dog food this week. Changing food is always a tough go because they end up with stomach issues many times. He also will be starting his obedience, swimming familiarization and bird familiarization training this week as well. This little guy doesn’t know it, but he has his education all planned out.
I usually start with only a couple minutes of actual training every couple hours. It builds up to about 15 – 20 minutes training sessions with constant reinforcement between sessions. I go for little amounts over time with 100% consistency to ensure that the pup knows what is expected at ALL times. The dogs I do this with just end up much more interactive and responsive in my opinion. If I was training him for someone else, I would do it differently. The method I use makes a REALLY strong bond between me and the pup. I wouldn’t want that if I was training him for someone else.
As I run across things I will continue to post them up here.
Here is a parting shot: