Anybody wanna talk me out of a bird dog?

Dwreckers

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This one is easy to talk you out of and here’s why. You get so much satisfaction out of training your own bird dog. It is a lot of work but the dog reflects on you as a trainer. You get 10-12 years on average with a truly faithful companion who would do almost anything for you. That dog will work hard if you put in the effort to train. You will also have so much memories not just hunting but a good partner. I believe hunting dogs you create more of a bond with them than non hunting dogs. You both rely on each other. It will be frustrating and it will also be extremely rewarding. They are cheaper than kids! 😂

Oh I forgot this is to talk you out of getting a bird dog…. Yeah I got 0 reasons as to why you shouldn’t get one…
 

Zootownelk

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I'm on my second dog (both labs). Both came from good bloodlines, but the training was/is mediocre at best. (My fault entirely). Like others, I could not imagine bird hunting without a dog now, especially upland birds. It is a complete joy. Good luck and enjoy!
 

Elmacho

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If you have a good supply of live birds to train with, pointers are a great way to go. If no live birds readily available. i'd go with a lab (Field lines bred) because you can use bumpers, dummies, dead ducks and so on to train marking falls and retrieves. Once that is all set in to their heads, have them retrieve a dead grouse and they will seek them out...

I live in the city and live birds are hard to come by, pointer training takes a 5 hr committment to drive to where I can get birds and shoot them for the dog. Try doing this 2-3 times a week and it gets difficult. The local parks are big enough to where I can and have trained labs to senior-master levels due to the ability to use bumpers for retrieves and handling- no problem training an hour a day 7 days a week.

My point being, that the training that is easier on your time schedule, the more training you can do, the better the results will turn out most-likely.

Just my toughts.....BTW I have a labs and two DDs, but I love the brittanys too. Great dogs
 

tim629

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if you want to be talked out of a bird dog: you think you're active until you have one.

we got a gsp last november, no aim to hunt with him just wanted a good athletic dog to go horseback riding with. we figured the fist summer wouldn't be out on public trails...he is. we regularly ride 7-10 miles he will put on about 15 and only way he gets tired. missed a few weeks due to me getting a concussion and he was a terror without his usual exercise.

great dogs, just have to keep ahead of them mentally as you'll never get ahead of them physically

standing stone kennels has a bunch of great youtube videos on gsp's but would work on a brittany too
 

neffa3

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Well worn out is a relative term when it comes to a GSP! Someone once told me that every GSP should come with a horse!
I heard that if you really want to GSP to hunt hard for you drop it off ten miles from your destination and make it run behind the truck. By the time you get there it will be ready to go and might stay within eye sight while you hunt!
 

neffa3

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I'm discovering just how insane our old dog was when she was in her prime. She used to jump in the back of my tundra with the tailgate up. I did a 20 mile run with her and she her tongue wasn't even hanging out at the end. I saw her flat out run every other dog she met and her endurance... it was just unreal. Based on her hunting ability, or lack thereof, I think she identified as a greyhound.
 

tim629

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Well worn out is a relative term when it comes to a GSP! Someone once told me that every GSP should come with a horse!
we got ours to trail ride with us and still can't tire him out! 30min between the horse trails and home, he naps on the way home and would be good to go again.

we also have a border collie and learned that mental work is how you take the edge off of these dogs as you can't walk/run it off of them. our pup has seen one meal in a food bowl in the year that we have had him and he was sick, everything else is in frozen kongs (soak the kibble in a cup, mash it up, spoon it into a kong and freeze it) or food toys.

the 10 miles then you might keep up reminds me of the text i sent a buddy last week: if you help me introduce dartagnan to shotguns we can go grouse hunting, just have to wear sneakers to keep up since he kicks them up but doesn't know what he's after but loves when they flush
 

COrookie

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I can talk you out of getting a dog, there are hundreds of reasons. But if you are going to get a dog, a hunting dog is the only thing that makes sense. I had a bird dog for a bit, after years of hunting without one. By the end I still didn't think I was getting more out of it then I was putting in, other than I did love that dog. I decided to rehome her to an avid hunter I know who is great with dogs. I don't know how to explain it, I'm just not a dog person.
 

coleslaw

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Jun 13, 2018
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Wisconsin
Thanks for all the replies and tips everybody. We took a trip up to far northern WI this last weekend to meet with a breeder and tour the grounds. We asked all the questions we could and met the dogs and left very impressed and excited. As of now we are on a waiting list and expect to have a new Brittany puppy in our home by the end of January which gives us plenty of time to prepare and to decide if we are going to train it ourselves or take the pup to a professional. Either way, we (hopefully) should have a started dog by next season.
 

Jmnhunter

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Congrats on the puppy deposit!
We are 16 weeks in with our first versatile hunting dog; I needed to start the process with our current aging 11 year old lab.

I'm learning that my bowhunting time has taken a huge hit, but I love bird hunting too much to not have got another dog. I joined NAVDHA as I am too worried about bird access but with NAVDHA training days that wont be a problem.

Not sure which part of WI you are at but the woodcock and grouse idea is great, from the books I've read, they all stated to get the pointers on as much wild bird activity as possible.

And good call on not getting quail, I've learned they dont fly strong...
 

coleslaw

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Not sure which part of WI you are at but the woodcock and grouse idea is great, from the books I've read, they all stated to get the pointers on as much wild bird activity as possible.

And good call on not getting quail, I've learned they dont fly strong...
Pretty much in the exact center of state. Heard that the bird populations were very good this year. Hopefully we are at the beginning of a good population cycle right now.

I've been looking at pigeon coops and found some plans to build my own which would only cost about $140, even with the current lumber prices. That's not too bad at all. When I'm done with it I could always sell it and the pigeons to the next chump that decides to get a bird dog lol
 

coleslaw

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Somebody on here also recommended it so I bought a copy of Gun Dog by Richard A. Wolters. It's a bit dated but tons of great advice and insight. Worthwhile read so far and I can appreciate the "gentle but firm" training and obedience. I grew up on a farm when I was a kid and helped train horses. My step-father was an old cowboy type and I can tell anybody just what "tough love" means lol

Been looking into info on the Smith method as well.
The more I study on it, the more I become confident that I would like to train my own dog.
 

neffa3

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I highly recommend silent command system from rick and ronnie smith.
And i can't unrecommend Gun Dog enough... "By 8 weeks you dog should be woahing on command in all situations" or some stupid proclamation like that.
 

cedahm

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I highly recommend silent command system from rick and ronnie smith.
And i can't unrecommend Gun Dog enough... "By 8 weeks you dog should be woahing on command in all situations" or some stupid proclamation like that.
I was the one that recommended it. I agree with @coleslaw on it being a little 'dated'/'old school' - specifically some of the dogmatic commentary like you mention and also on some of the more aggressive tactics.

But its a good starter book in that it gives good context into how training evolved and, IMO, covers the key basic elements.

Every dog (and dog trainer) is different and responds differently. My first big, stubborn male Brit needed a Wolters-esque approach heavy on discipline. My last two have needed a much softer touch. But I didn't even know where to start with #1 and the history and 'why' kind of stuff was a good entry point.

I need to look into the Smith stuff. We are probably adding a second Brit in the next 1-2 years.
 

406dn

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Dec 12, 2019
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I'm late to this thread... congrats on entering the bird dog world. My life turned in a new way when getting a bird dog, your's may also.

I've had setters, but a bird dog is a bird dog for the most part.

I cast another vote for not using Gun Dog by Wolters. There are many other books that are better.

If you have access to wild birds, it is very easy to end up with a nice bird dog. Basically, just keep getting it into wild birds. I start first with housebreaking, learning their name and teaching them whoa. I teach whoa gently at a food dish...then later in every situation you can conjure.

While the dog is puppy, take it out and let it explore the world on a walk. Change directions as you walk and call on the dog. That will set a good foundation for the dog going with you. When they are still young, they are leaning on your presence...later, they might not be. So I use that time to my advantage.

Let the first season be one of no expectations. The dog will do some things right, some of the time. It will often not hold point long enough for you to flush the bird. No big deal...just do not shoot birds the dog doesn't hold until you flush them. By their second season, they will be much better...better yet on their third.
 

OntarioHunter

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Being a lifetime Lab man, I picked up a French Brittany after my wife died to "give me something to do." And then four years later another black Lab replacement sired by the Britt breeder's big male used for training. And that would be my advice to you ... get TWO dogs. They will keep themselves entertained when you can't. Having both a pointer AND a flusher gives you the best of both worlds. Pointing breeds are often not the best retreivers but Labs generally never fail. Right now where I'm hunting the pheasants are very wary and sticking to the thick cover. I work Lab Ellie in the tulies and bullrushes because she stays close. The birds don't hold well so I need to be right there when she finds them. The Britt I'll let work the Russian olive groves. She can range in there all she wants. Points the birds great but no chance of getting a shot in that jungle. Just wait for them to fly out and go after them again. In the tall grass (what little can be found this year), I'll whistle her in close and watch for a point. But not many of these smart old roosters this year can be found in that light cover. If I see a flushed bird land, I'll call in the Britt and let Ellie work very close. You know that one will be jumpy.

The point of all this is two different style hunting dogs let you cover all the bases in the field. Variety is the spice of life ... but sometimes it can be a pain. I am pooped and want to sleep with the dogs right now but I have to clean today's pheasants. Killed five roosters in two days with six easy shots. These two girls are deadly!
 

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