Dog training question

Wapiti Warrior

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I have a "mutt", but he looks like a yellow lab and loves to retrieve a practice dummy. I am not a bird hunter, at least not much anymore. But with this new dog (1 year old), I would like to get back into it. How do I train him to flush and retrieve a pheasant/grouse? Right now he loves chasing rabbits and deer, which I am working on breaking him of this habit. I don't have any good places close to hunt but will be working on that.
Thanks for any suggestions.
John
 

TimeOnTarget

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if he already loves to retrieve the dummy just cross that over to pheasants. Throw a pheasant for him just like you would the dummy. This will also introduce him to the smell of a bird.


When I was training my lab, I just kept a few birds in the freezer from hunting season and used them all summer long. I gave the warden a heads up on what I was doing so he didn't think I was shooting ducks out of season. He had no problem with this but might not be a bad idea to check and make sure its legal in your area.
 

JLS

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You don't really train them to flush birds. They figure it out on their own.

Make the retrieving a game, and work into it with a gun and someone throwing the dummy. He'll learn to associate gunfire with looking for stuff falling from the sky.

Down the road you may want to force fetch train him, but certainly not yet.

Make sure his general obedience is good, an e-collar is a great training tool for deer chasing.
 

Jonesy125

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I would suggest following one of the retriever training programs, I like Bill Hillman and later transitioning to Mike lardy. This training is based on an focuse towards field trials but most field trained dogs would make great hunting companions. I don't believe there is a retriever training group in billings anymore but you might check into that. First and foremost if you have solid obedience training done the bird drive and retrieve will most likely come natural. As was mentioned I would also suggest a force fetch program. Just outside of billings in Ballantine is Big Sky Dog Training, I had two of my dogs with Marty for 3-4 months a couple years ago and he does an outstanding job grade A trainer as well as an awesome guy. Dogs learned a lot and were treated well and happy while being there.
 

deflave

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Dustin Retrievers has some good videos.

Buy a shock collar and look for deer.

I'd get him out in the field soon. Great year for grouse, and you may find he sniffs them out and flushes them with little/no help.


Travis
 

Jonesy125

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I would also recommend if you go the e-collar route, which is a fantastic training tool please learn about how to properly collar condition a dog, don't just let him find a deer to chase and light him up, don't take a chance of ruining a potentially great hunting companion.
 

maxx

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I will throw another training program out there. Evan Graham. Most of them are all really similar programs and philosophies. I find Evan easier for beginners and his books are more affordable.

Obedience, Obedience and more Obedience. A retriever that runs away isn't much of a retriever.

OB is relatively easy, you need three commands. Sit, Here and Heal. Sit means sit. You should never have to tell your dog sit, stay.

You could look at FF but if I had a dog that was for pheasants alone and you have him retrieving fairly well I am not sure if I would spend the time. If you run into any retrieving issues you can jump back into it.

Once your OB is solid then the best thing you can do for a dog is get them on birds, birds and more birds. I would even resort to a kick and shoot pheasant farm for young dogs. They really need to get a lot of bird work to be good.
 

maxx

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Why is that?




Travis

Bird dogs shouldn't chase deer plus if they caught up it could be dangerous for the dog.

If my dog chased deer here in Iowa you could possibly spend more time chasing your dog chasing deer instead of bird hunting.
 

deflave

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If my dog habitually chased anything I didn't want it to chase, it'd catch a head full of #5's.


Travis
 

Jonesy125

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I'm not saying not to use the collar on him if he is chasing something, my point is that training a dog to do anything works better when the dog understands why it is being corrected, if you train your dog that here means come to me right now no matter what else is going on around you when he takes after something and you give the here command if he ignores it that's when you use the collar and if conditioned properly he will know that the only way to turn the collar pressure off is to be to your side. It is much more effective than a dog that just associates chasing a deer with being shocked with no command in my place. What happens if you forget to turn the collar on or lose the remote in the field, this is just my opinion on a more consistent recall, and I have learned this the hard way.
 

Wapiti Warrior

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Jonesy,
I have been working on him 2 - 3 times a week and he comes to me everytime I call him, except when he is hot on a rabbit or deer. I have run after him and finally catch him and bring him back to where he took off to let him know he was wrong. This last time, I could tell he heard me because he slowed his chase right after I yelled, but then he bolted. He does return and this time his head was down and ears back, so he knows he isn't supposed to do it. I will use the collar to keep him safe.
thanks for all the great advice.
John
 

deflave

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I'm not saying not to use the collar on him if he is chasing something, my point is that training a dog to do anything works better when the dog understands why it is being corrected, if you train your dog that here means come to me right now no matter what else is going on around you when he takes after something and you give the here command if he ignores it that's when you use the collar and if conditioned properly he will know that the only way to turn the collar pressure off is to be to your side. It is much more effective than a dog that just associates chasing a deer with being shocked with no command in my place. What happens if you forget to turn the collar on or lose the remote in the field, this is just my opinion on a more consistent recall, and I have learned this the hard way.

The best way to get a dog to stop chasing anything, is to find the anything, let him attempt to chase, and physically correct the behavior.



Travis
 

deflave

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Jonesy,
I have been working on him 2 - 3 times a week and he comes to me everytime I call him, except when he is hot on a rabbit or deer. I have run after him and finally catch him and bring him back to where he took off to let him know he was wrong. This last time, I could tell he heard me because he slowed his chase right after I yelled, but then he bolted. He does return and this time his head was down and ears back, so he knows he isn't supposed to do it. I will use the collar to keep him safe.
thanks for all the great advice.
John

Zero tolerance for chasing deer, cattle, horses, etc.

Just my advice. The sooner they learn, the sooner you can enjoy hunting with it.



Travis
 

Rob Chipman

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Just to throw you a curve on the deer chasing, you can certainly try to break him of it through correction, but you also have the option of trying to shape the existing behaviour. He obviously sees or smells deer now, and knows what they are. I'm on a local to me hunting forum where a guy shaped his dog to sit when he came on the deer.

Obviously you need to know when that happens so you'll know when to respond, but the idea is to get the dog to do a different behaviour than he's currently doing (either don't chase deer, period, or marking that he's on a deer by sitting or lying down) so you've got work either way.

If you're in a place where you get enough opportunity you can find deer with the dog on a leash, and when he reacts to the deer you lure or force a sit, and reward. Depending on the rewards, your skill as a trainer and your relationship with the dog you might find that you end up seeing a lot more deer and do without the chasing problem (that's how it panned out for the guy I referenced above). Of course, ymmv. Good luck!
 

Jonesy125

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I am far from a dog training expert, and I am not trying to start an argument, but if im understanding you correctly your theory is that as soon as a dog takes off chasing a deer or any other unwanted animal your are going to correct him for the behaviour, (Im not saying this wont work) but since we are talking upland hunting how do you correct your dog if he chases a flushing hen or a missed bird ect. The last thing I want is to be correcting my dog because he did his job and put birds up for me. If you take the time to focus on a solid obedience foundation, it seems much easier to me, my dogs have learned not to chase unshot birds at first by a stern "no" "here" and if it was ignored "here" and a constant stimulation until the dog made the decision to turn and come back to me. Now on a missed bird all I have to say is "no bird" and they are back to hunting. Again im not trying to disagree with anyone's opinions on their own dog, but I started out training with the same idea, I would correct when the opportunity presented itself without the dog having 100% understanding of what I wanted and It is very hard to teach that way, besides I have a lot more fun hunting relaxed now instead of gun in one hand, e-collar remote in the other waiting to "teach the dog a lesson" . I dont let my dogs get away with very many unwanted behaviors, and I am stern about it but I have watched how much quicker they learn and it sticks with them if you are fair and consistent with any and all corrections. This turned into a lot more than your original question, just take the time to teach your dog obediance now and let his natural hunting/retrieving instinct work and see how he does, but it is very addicting once you see what some of these dogs are capable of, and its hard to beat a day in the field with a good bird dog.
 

deflave

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Deer, cattle, horses, etc. are not comparable to hens.

Start chasing = zap. 10 times out of 10. That behavior is totally unacceptable IMO.



Travis
 

JLS

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I do think it's very important that you use the e-collar and integrate it into your basic obedience training prior to going to the field. Use a very low level of stimulation and use if for your basic commands and corrections, and always give a warning.

For example, tell pup to sit. If pup starts to move, repeat the sit command. If pup starts to move again, repeat the sit command and give a light zap. Increase the intensity very judiciously and work on repetition.

When you're in the field and pup chases deer, give a come command. If no response, give another followed by a light zap. If no response increase the intensity to medium, and if still no response then you can go to orbit level. Just remember to always be fair and don't hit them with a full house correction with no prior warning.

Edit: I do agree, I have no tolerance for chasing deer, cows, horses, etc. The bottom line though, is you have verbal control over your dog regardless of the stimulus in front of them.
 
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