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Puppy is busting birds...

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Puppy is busting birds...

Old 10-18-2006, 05:42 AM
  #1  
Typical Buck
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Default Puppy is busting birds...

Hi,

My 6 month old PP has shown some good progress so far this season. He's at the point now where he will rarely miss a bird, meaning he will find every bird. It's been a good 3 weeks since I've seen a bird flush behind him. Also, every bird that he finds he will point. The problem comes in that one of two things will happen after he goes on point.

1. The bird will flush within 5 or 6 seconds. (He will hold point about that long).
2. If the bird doesn't flush, the pup will move closer, jump, run; thereby flushing the bird.

He has been ranging between 5 and 150 yards from me. It has happened where he will point a bird close enough to me that I can get in a position to take the bird, but most of the time I will only see it for a split second or not at all (just hear the wings).

To boot, yesterday, he put a great point on a grouse, that I was able to hit. I clipped the wing and the bird fell. Once on the ground, the bird tried to run away, but my pup caught up to him, grabbed him, killed the bird and brought it back to me. After that, he was convinced he could catch any grouse in the woods.

The pup has a tremendous amount of drive and is very hard headed. To date, I have done no training in the field. Home work only with whoa, sit, no, down, fetch (but all play training, no negative reinforcement except maybe with no or down).

Do you think it is time for me to start some more serious work with him or should I give him the season to work out some issues, further reinforce and egrain his love for hunting so that I can't kill it later on?

It's been really frustrating the last few times out, where I know he's getting into birds; I know he's pointing them, and they are flushing, and if I were in a position, we would be filling out bag. But instead, I hear him go on point, hear the bird flush, and hear my dog take chase after the bird. Arghhh!!!

Any help would be appreciated.

Cheers,
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Old 10-18-2006, 06:56 AM
  #2  
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Default RE: Puppy is busting birds...

Some may say that six months is too early for training but I don't. Alot of trainers are will take a six month old puppy as long as they have all their adult teeth. Just don't expect the puppy to listen well as it will be distracted alot. But you seem well ahead of the game since your pup already has the bird drive and knows gunfire.

I would start planting birds and start using a checkchord and start reinforcing the commands in the field. Any pointing dog book would prolly help.

As to your dog having a hard mouth, there's alot of different ways you can try to prevent this but most methods don't really work (from putting nails into a dal rod and FF to using cigarettes). Someone more familiar could probably help you here as I never cared if the dog brought it back to me dead or alive; I'm just happy my dog brings it back to me.
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Old 10-18-2006, 07:23 AM
  #3  
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Default RE: Puppy is busting birds...

Hey Mite,

Thanks for the response. So you would say checkcord and not ecollar at this point? I have an ecollar, just haven't used it on him yet.

As far as the hard mouth goes, I always thought it was a desireable characteristic of the German versatiles that they actually kill the animal prior to bringing it back. Doesn't the VDD do a test for their dogs where it needs to kill either a cat or a rabbit? I didn't mean to bring this up as something I want to correct. As you say, I'm happy that he brings the bird back in one piece and will give it to me without a huge fight. This was not the case two weeks ago, but he's gotten a lot better with it.

He's not damaging the meat. He grabbed it by the neck, shook it (killing it) and brought it back. He did the exact same thing with a black duck last weekend.

Cheers,

Dan
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Old 10-18-2006, 07:24 AM
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Default RE: Puppy is busting birds...

It is definitely time to take training to the field. Since holding point appears to be your main issue, I'd work that angle. Your work at home should be reinforced in the field. Can you get your dog to hold point until released at home? If not, you really should work on that as it is unrealistic to expect the pup to do it in the field. Whoa, is whoa... and if your dog is not staying locked until released you just have basic control problems, very common in a 6 month old pup!

My suggestion is to invite someone else along to hunt, and you should focus on the dog. I am sure you bought the dog to hunt over, but allowing the pup to develop real bad habits now just creates more training challenges for you down the road. The time spent this year will reward you for many years to come!
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Old 10-18-2006, 08:15 AM
  #5  
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Default RE: Puppy is busting birds...

Thanks Jay,

He'll whoa very well at home. Will not move until I release him. Same with sit. He doesn't like it very much, but he won't move. Sometimes he will sit when I whoa him, at which time, I put him back into a standing position and repeat the whoa command. I spoke with the breeder. He says not to worry about this behavior as when I whoa him in the presence of a bird, there's no way he'll sit down.

When we hunt, I have not been giving him many commands. No whoa, no sit. If I'm leaving or taking a break, I'll call him too me, or if he has a bird in his mouth, I'll also call him to me; and obviously kennel when we leave, but that's it. He is holding steady for the 5-6 seconds on his own accord. I think he has self learned that he needs to hold still at a distance in order for the birds not to flush immediately.

Thanks,

Dan
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Old 10-18-2006, 09:14 AM
  #6  
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Default RE: Puppy is busting birds...

The key here is that the dog is still a puppy. In fact, a puppy that has had minimal training and minimal experience.
No way that I'd take this pup out for real hunting at this point. It's going to learn some bad habits that will be extremely difficult to fix.



.
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Old 10-18-2006, 10:58 AM
  #7  
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Default RE: Puppy is busting birds...

6 mo is not to young, I have people here at 3-4 mo, to get started, you can teach alot more ...I feel as young dog, because they are little more dependent on you, and are not trying so hard for thier selves...Yardwork should be done mainly in the field, minor in the yard....why teach it twice, as you said doesnt pay attention in the field?? You think how the dog would be reacting if ya started couple months ago, you could have alot more work done as far as the foundation stuff goes. The dog sounds like he needs the pointing work tightened up, maybe carded pigeons, or pen raised quail, try and build from that, dont let him catch, when he points, you control the action, he wants to bump, let him, but give him no cc to run after, so the best way to say is to give him enough cc to bump but not chase, he will have to stnd and watch fly, it will take some sessions, but it will happen, he will all th esudden start to stand and point longer.....walk in from the side instaed of the back, to flush. Just takes time. It will happen. Thanks Jonesy
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Old 10-20-2006, 07:37 AM
  #8  
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Default RE: Puppy is busting birds...

Sounds like you are gonna have to stop playing tug-o-war with him. That's why he's fighting you for the bird. When he becomes larger, he won't be carrying the bird by it's neck. Then he'll start breaking bones and damaging the meat.

Shock collar should be very carefully used. You don't want the dog to become shy, especially birdshy. I started my dog on the collar at nine months but she was already conditioned with a bark collar so the transition was no problem. Even then and now, I'm very hesitant to use it. Just the weight around her neck is enough for her to be obediant. But the collar should be done very slowly. Slower than introducing the gun. BTW, I use it only for her safety, ie. come.

Start following a good program. I hear good things about NAVDA book for versatiles. Another is Bill Tarant/Delmar Smith. Even if you you don't follow one, it will give you a good insight into dog training. For me, I follow some of Delmar (when to introduce stuff andstakeout chainand prolly gonna do force fetch) and some of Paul Long (woah, heel, come)since that has worked for me before.

Also, I don't know how versatiles are trained but 'sit' its not recommended for other pointing dogs. Your dog is sitting on woah command because it's confused right now. Personally, I would concentrate on one command at a time. Then introduce a new command only when the dog knows the old one and introduce it slowly.
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Old 10-20-2006, 12:50 PM
  #9  
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Default RE: Puppy is busting birds...

The program I'm following is Armbruster. Most of his stuff doesn't start until the dog starts saying "buzz off dude, I'm doing things my own way." It seems to me, and based on what I'm hearing here, I can probably assume this has started.

Thanks again.
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Old 10-26-2006, 07:53 AM
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Default RE: Puppy is busting birds...

6 months is definitely too young. Yes one can have a pup this age and younger out in the field with some very promising action but the dog is immature and it is for this very reason that bad habits are formed. It is my belief that unless obedience training isn;t properly ingrained, with constant stepping back at the first sign of trouble, and constant daily reinforcement of what is expected then bad habits will form. And once out in the field it is very difficult to back track to lesson 1. One is eager to carry on hunting, there are other distractions etc.
With regards to the killed bird I believe that yr pup is very keen. So keen that he killed the winged bird so it wont get away. I've seen it happen many times before. Chances are he'll deliver his next dead bird to hand perfectly.
Question: where there any other dogs hunting with you at the time? If he felt threatened by another dogs presence then it could be a reason why he crushed the bird.

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