Say Goodbye to Disposable Whites

Anybody wanna talk me out of a bird dog?

coleslaw

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
311
Location
Wisconsin
I think the hardest part of training a pointer is, like others have mentioned, regular and reliable access to birds. Wild is always better but pigeons are fine too.
I cringe a bit when I think of it, but we do have plenty of pheasant farms in the state. You know, the kind where you buy the birds and they "release" them into the fields. Friends who have had dogs don't care for them either, but it's more for the dogs anyways.
 

coleslaw

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
311
Location
Wisconsin
Ok then. Don't ask me to help you bale hay. We have a 6 pound Maltese rescue. Even her ah, deposits gross me out. Her first day of training was to do her business in the landscape rocks. Never the lawn.
Lol, it's leased to a local farmer. Not my cows eating it and I don't buy beef lol
 

cedahm

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 22, 2015
Messages
1,047
Location
Colorado
I cringe a bit when I think of it, but we do have plenty of pheasant farms in the state. You know, the kind where you buy the birds and they "release" them into the fields. Friends who have had dogs don't care for them either, but it's more for the dogs anyways.
I don’t care for game farms/hunt clubs as a general rule, but my local club was invaluable when my dogs were young. Most (here anyway) will allow members to buy birds, use a given field and place them yourself.

For me this was perfect as I didn’t have to deal with pigeons, etc at home and had pretty large fields with varied cover to set up the live fire training. Worth looking into.
 

flatcoat

Active member
Joined
Apr 9, 2019
Messages
78
Location
Behind the Potato Curtain
Bird exposure is key, but I would emphasize if you want your dog to have manners around wild birds they need exposure to wild birds. Playing pigeon games is great initial training and great fine tuning but I've seen a number of dogs do all the right things around pigeons and not have a clue when it comes to wild birds. The best advice I was given for training pointing dogs is to only shoot pointed birds, if your dog is bird crazy they'll figure out pretty quick they need to hold point for their reward. Sacrelidge, but treed ruffs that a dog points are great training tools. (Western ruffs are dumb).
 

coleslaw

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
311
Location
Wisconsin
Bird exposure is key, but I would emphasize if you want your dog to have manners around wild birds they need exposure to wild birds. Playing pigeon games is great initial training and great fine tuning but I've seen a number of dogs do all the right things around pigeons and not have a clue when it comes to wild birds. The best advice I was given for training pointing dogs is to only shoot pointed birds, if your dog is bird crazy they'll figure out pretty quick they need to hold point for their reward. Sacrelidge, but treed ruffs that a dog points are great training tools. (Western ruffs are dumb).
That sounds like really good advice. I'm going to remember that. Thank you.
 

corndog1

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 4, 2017
Messages
206
Location
Bozeman Mt
I would get one if I were you. Ten twenty minutes a day. Pigeons or other birds as much as possible for training. Also, some towns have bird dog clubs where people train together and exchange ideas and help one another out.
 

PawPawWPG

Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2019
Messages
42
If you’re using pigeons… there are ways to mimic wild birds. Get some launchers and pop them as soon as the dog starts to get birdy.
 

coleslaw

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
311
Location
Wisconsin
So as far as training with birds goes, I think the consensus is that everybody prefers pigeons. I have been doing online research as well and figured out that with a little modification, I can keep them in a coop with the chickens we already have. Plenty of lofting space and they should tolerate each other nicely according to what I have gathered. Also did a quick search and it's not too difficult to find barn pigeons for sale in my area either. Plenty of farmers/ neighbors I could ask that may be willing to let me trap them at night too.
I have also been finding trainers and clubs in my area... which would be to train me as well as the pup that I end up with. I'm starting to see where these costs in time and money begin to add up lol.
There is a Brittany breeder that I have found in my state that seems to have a very good reputation and we are currently trying to schedule a face to face. They do have a waiting list started for a late winter take home which would be great and gives us plenty of time to continue research and prepare. From what I gather, the training will pretty much have to begin immediately to instill that prey drive.
We are keeping our options open though and have also been talking to other breeders. We realize this is a huge investment and we want to do it right.
Thanks everyone for all the tips and advice, but you haven't exactly talked me out of a bird dog lol. Feel free to keep the tips and pros/ cons coming.
 

flatcoat

Active member
Joined
Apr 9, 2019
Messages
78
Location
Behind the Potato Curtain
Couple of notes here. You can’t train drive but you can zap/correct it out of a dog. I’m a big fan of let a pup be a pup. Teach them good recall as soon as you can but don’t be too harsh to punish for running bigger than you’d like or chasing squirrels, butterflies etc. Its much easier to real a dog in when it’s time to hunt than try to teach it to run big. Especially with a breed that doesn’t naturally range as big as others. Dogs will adapt their range to cover for the most part. Grouse woods will work closer, plains further out.

I’ve never used a pro trainer because I like to do the process myself and can’t afford it. I know some are stellar, but just realize your dog will be one of many and will get a limited amount of 1 on 1 training per day before they have to move in to the next dog. If you have pigeons and time you’ll give your dog much more work and learn how to handle your dog better/sooner.

When you run your pup the first few months let them drag a thin check cord around. It’ll be easier to wrangle them and if they show any pointing inclination on things like robins, butterflies, etc you can start steadying them up.

Pigeons procreate rapidly. You don’t need a ton and they’ll provide you will all you need and then some rather quickly.

Having a nice bird dog doesn’t need to be expensive. I tell anyone who will listen that bird hunting is the cheapest hobby I have. My first dog was free off Craigslist. My first shotgun was 300$. Gas in the tank is what it is.
 
Last edited:

Bert2368

New member
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Messages
7
You said TALK YOU OUT OF IT:

-----------


There is sorrow enough in the natural way​
From men and women to fill our day;​
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,​
Why do we always arrange for more?​
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware

Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy​
Love unflinching that cannot lie—​
Perfect passion and worship fed​
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.​
Nevertheless it is hardly fair

To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits​
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,​
And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs​
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,​
Then you will find—it’s your own affair—

But… you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,​
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!).​
When the spirit that answered your every mood​
Is gone—wherever it goes—for good,​
You will discover how much you care,

And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,​
When it comes to burying Christian clay.​
Our loves are not given, but only lent,​
At compound interest of cent per cent.​
Though it is not always the case, I believe,​
That the longer we’ve kept ’em, the more do we grieve:​
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,​
A short-time loan is as bad as a long—​
So why in—Heaven (before we are there)

Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

----------
-Rudyard Kipling
"The Power of the Dog"

 
Last edited:

neffa3

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 17, 2015
Messages
6,659
Location
Wenatchee
You said TALK YOU OUT OF IT:

-----------


There is sorrow enough in the natural way​
From men and women to fill our day;​
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,​
Why do we always arrange for more?​
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware

Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy​
Love unflinching that cannot lie—​
Perfect passion and worship fed​
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.​
Nevertheless it is hardly fair

To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits​
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,​
And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs​
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,​
Then you will find—it’s your own affair—

But… you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,​
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!).​
When the spirit that answered your every mood​
Is gone—wherever it goes—for good,​
You will discover how much you care,

And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,​
When it comes to burying Christian clay.​
Our loves are not given, but only lent,​
At compound interest of cent per cent.​
Though it is not always the case, I believe,​
That the longer we’ve kept ’em, the more do we grieve:​
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,​
A short-time loan is as bad as a long—​
So why in—Heaven (before we are there)

Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

----------
credit? That's good
 

NoWiser

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 12, 2013
Messages
1,924
Location
Minnesota
If you can swing it yea its cool to have a bird dog, Especially if you dont mind having basicly freddy cruger running around the house looking for two legged critters with wings. FYI do no wear a chicken suit.

As far as a Brittney spaniel. I would look else ware. I have not met a brittney spaniel that wasent an A hole. Was out on a hike not that long ago and my dog and I came up on another family with their little shitster brittney spaniel. My dog is not usually leashed so i just told her to sit and she is pretty dang friendly with other dogs unless they try to mount her. The lady with the leash is like oh is she friendly? I said yes she is very friendly and they let their dog greet. Takes one sniff and grabs her by the tail. I wont say what happened next cause it wouldnt look good on me. But F those dogs.

My sister had a Springer spaniel years ago, he was a really smart dog and a good hunter. But like the others, strangely aggressive towards people that didnt know his name. Kind of like serial killers.

Sorry for the rant. I'm not a fan of aggressive dogs, nor am I a fan of those breeds.

Have you look into other breeds?
Everything you have said is completely the opposite of every springer or brittany I've ever met. I had a lot of dogs growing up and, hands down, my brittany was the most gentle, loving, eager to please dog I have ever owned. I trusted him unconditionally with my daughter when she was a newborn. He died a few years ago and I haven't been able to get myself to replace him yet, but I'm starting to get the bug. I suspect that within 2 years I'll have another dog and the only breed I'll consider will be a brittany. I did very minimal training with him and he was an outstanding bird dog. Any of his shortcomings were directly attributed to my lack of time and money to properly train him. There are many good breeds out there, but you will not go wrong with a brittany if you do your research. Mine came from the Maverick bloodline. I'm not sure if it's still out there or not. Good luck.
 

Ben Lamb

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 6, 2010
Messages
15,760
Location
Cedar, MI
Something else to consder for training: Lots of places have gun dog clubs. I'd search around close to home for one to become a member of, and use their help as often as possible.

Nothing better than having other dog handlers helping you train your pup, and they often will get you on to live birds for training.
 

KB_

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 12, 2018
Messages
540
Location
Bozemen, Montana
Everything you have said is completely the opposite of every springer or brittany I've ever met. I had a lot of dogs growing up and, hands down, my brittany was the most gentle, loving, eager to please dog I have ever owned. I trusted him unconditionally with my daughter when she was a newborn. He died a few years ago and I haven't been able to get myself to replace him yet, but I'm starting to get the bug. I suspect that within 2 years I'll have another dog and the only breed I'll consider will be a brittany. I did very minimal training with him and he was an outstanding bird dog. Any of his shortcomings were directly attributed to my lack of time and money to properly train him. There are many good breeds out there, but you will not go wrong with a brittany if you do your research. Mine came from the Maverick bloodline. I'm not sure if it's still out there or not. Good luck.
yea thats fair, That was just my experience with every single one ive every come across. I agree, that training probably plays the biggest factor in my experiences with them. Even a golden retriever can go bad if not trained properly.

Ive just been turned off by them. That is awesome that you have had good experiences, I certainly see the benefits of a dog of that size for bird hunting.
 

BirdManMike

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 9, 2019
Messages
526
Location
Montana
flatcoat is giving you good advice.

Train recall, then - IF you have them - run wild birds with no expectations for a season. Woodcock that Im sure you have locally are great teachers, more so than grouse, because they stink and they hold/honor point really well. After you have a dog that knows how to pin birds, THEN work on finishing the dog with pigeon games/woah posts/whatever so he/she is steady to wing and shoot, etc.

I have seen a number of dogs literally ruined for wild birds - or, anything other than young, early season birds, at the least - by people 'training' young dogs with pigeon game, or, worse, game farms and/or Navhda fields holding the scent of dozens of running pen birds teaching really bad lessons. And, some of the best dogs I have seen are falconry dogs that have literally never had a bird shot over them or experienced one shot out of a launcher - my current puppy is shaping up this way, ranging hundreds of yards and holding point til I release her without (yet) having anything killed over her (we have come close a couple times in the past couple weeks - new bird is flying great, almost there).

Sometimes, tho, all a person has locally is pigeons and pen birds so if thats you then youll have to make the best of it.
 

rideold

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 28, 2015
Messages
720
Location
Front Range of Colorado
My $0.02 on early training. Manners are the first thing. Let them be a puppy for the first year but let them be a puppy with good manners. Come is a more advanced command than basic manners. I'd start with heal because it is one of the most valuable commands to have mastered in any and all conditions/distractions/temptations. It's kind of neat to see a dog that knows how to heal learn Come since it is a small step to go from walking at your side to healing up from a distance. Others may have other opinions but hey, that's dog training for you! Pick your system and stick with it. Leave advanced stuff for when they are more mature and certainly get a reputable trainer if you intend to use an E-collar and have never used one before. You can ruin a dog pretty fast if you don't know how to use an E-collar. They are meant to reinforce, not teach commands. If the dog doesn't know the command the stimulation isn't going to teach them anything but to hate it.
 
Leupold Banner

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
98,410
Messages
1,517,002
Members
31,019
Latest member
remmy120777
Top