Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

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Hondo
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Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Hondo » Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:21 am

I'm curious if any board members ever had a dog that just didn't make it as a gun dog. From the many posts that I have read it seems that a dog has to be pretty bad for it to washout as a gun dog. I can see a dog not doing well in field trialing or hunt training because of some the high demands placed on the dog.

It seems that any negatives a dog might have could be corrected by an experienced trainer such as bird drive, gun shyness, etc. Does a dog that is slow to learn a washout? How about an extremely timid dog?

For many of us who are not professional trainers when do we know that a dog just doesn't have what it takes to be a good gun dog. I would imagine that some dogs are just better being the family dog than a hunting companion.

Most of the books on training don't ever seem to have any advice on when to stop trying to train a dog to hunt.

Thanks in advance for your comments, experiences, tips, advice, etc.

Hondo

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by kninebirddog » Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:27 am

Yes...there are some dogs that just need to be pets

Of a dog has absolutely no interest in birds for what ever reason, WHY keep trying?

I have seen it mostly in poor breeding programs. Nothing like a bird dog that the eyes don't light up on the scent of a bird...even as a pup they lack the desire.

Or something wrong with the dog I have seen a couple dogs that the owner in complete denial that there was anything wrong with their dog and would try everything to get the dog excited about the field. When the dog ran you could see plaln as day it couldn't run right with severe dysplasia..

I have seen dogs that were brought in where they were on the soft side in the wrong hands as long as they show some desire in the birds sure you can get them to make a non serious bird hunter a few days in the field stumble across a bird but they are still happy because they have a great companion,

but Poor breeding , Medical issues or a training method that made birds such a bad experience the dog will avoid a bird at all costs....
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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Ruffshooter » Wed Jul 21, 2010 5:08 am

If it doesn't want to find birds and shows no real intrest. Wash out.
The best part of training is seeing the light come on in your little prot'eg'e.

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Ryman Gun Dog » Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:10 am

Hondo,
It all depends on what you mean by wash out, when a man or lady purchases a FT type dog who does not make the grade he still owns an FT wash out, not a true companion hunting dog. The FT guys are going to go crazy trying to defend their discarded dogs but very few FT bred dogs make good Grouse dogs. They simply do not have the genetic imprint to be a great companion Grouse dog, the dogs are bred to be independent pointing machines, not companion Grouse hunters. If a man wants to chase a dog thru the woods and use constant discipline to control the animal he is not really working with a companion Grouse dog, yep this is a definate wash out as a Grouse dog. The dog is not really hunting for and with the Grouse hunter. Lots of men & ladies go thu two or three of these animals before they get to hunt behind the type of dog they are really looking to own and Grouse hunt with, some never understand the difference between the animals and never will. In reality most of these dogs are wash outs in the Grouse hunting world. Many other types of wash outs also, most do make good house pets.
RGD/Dave

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by slistoe » Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:28 am

Ryman Gun Dog wrote:Hondo,........
RGD/Dave
I saw you sign on here and wondered how long it would take :roll:

Yes, a dog can be a washout as a hunting dog. When would I quit trying to train a dog to hunt - at about 4 mos. old. I can't train them to hunt. I can train them manners, I can train them to point, I can train them to retrieve, but I cannot train them to hunt.

As to the "good gun dog" comment, that is so relative to what each persons perception is. Take Dave's comments for example. Heck, some people like dogs that don't hunt for hunting dogs.

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by RayGubernat » Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:49 am

Yes I believe that a dog can be a hunting dog washout. As others have said, if the dog shows no desire to fnd birds, it will not make it as a hunting dog.

If, on the other hand, the dog has desire to find birds... I believe, there is always something you can do with that dog.

Each person's perception of what makes a good hunting dog is soooo different. I grew up casting off a dog and then going to look for it on point if it did not swing around back to me in five minutes or so. As evidenced by RGD/Dave's post, there ar those who would not consider that type of perfromnance suitable. If I owned a dog that never got out of my sight...I would leave it home when I went hunting because I would consider it excess baggage. I need a dog to hunt the places I do not wish to walk to. Others need a dog to do what they desire.

Different strokes for different folks. It is all good if it is what you want and you re enjoying your time afield.

RayG

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Ruffshooter » Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:54 am

Dave, I got to disagree with your assessment of FT dogs.
Foot trials or AA horse back trials, either way.

Others can attest to why a FT dog is a wash out better but here is part.
Not big enough run for their venue.
Not competitive enough for their venue.
Not stylish enough to win.
No nose for the tough conditions.
Not easy enough to train for the venue.
Not good in running braces.

This is not to say this same dog could not be a serviceable hunting dog or maybe a very good hunting dog.
Also a good field trial dog usually makes a good hunting dog when exposed and experiences wild birds on a regular basis, whethere on the praries or in the grouse woods. IMHO.

You talk about (pointing) grouse dogs. What makes a grouse dog? Grouse, Experience, training, intellegence, a dog that goes out of sight to get the birds away, not close to me.
A dog that has prey drive (desire or what ever you wish to call it).
A dog that smells.
A dog that is honest.
A dog that does not over run its nose.
A dog that is fairly cautious or smart enough to not crowd.
A trainable dog.
A dog that will retrieve.
A dog that can get through cover to where the birds are.

Personally I like a dog that ranges, from 50 to 100 yards in the grouse woods. In a crossing pattern. So to speak. I have two that will do that and some, need beepers for them when on point.
Two others I have are more 40 to 80 yard dogs, Max. Find many birds with both. But I like the independence of a dog that goes and finds the ones I can't.

Many field trial "wash outs" meet the criteria. Grouse hunting is mostly about honesty and exposure early on and often as you can. That is what teaches a grouse dog to be a grouse dog. IMHO

Back to hunting dog wash outs. It really matters what you want out of a hunting dog. Bottom line you need to like what you have or not. If not then that is a wash out for you. Some dogs mature slower than others.

I have one some what timid dog or jumpy. She is a great grouse dog.
I have seen a wicked timid dog hide behind its owner or who ever had the leash but was a very good grouse dog.

If you have a hard to train dog one that is wicked hard headed and you have to hack on all the time, it probably won't make a very good hunting dog. Wild birds are far more skiddish than liberated birds. But that dog may do well in FT.

Respectfully
Rick
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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by slistoe » Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:04 am

Ruffshooter wrote: If you have a hard to train dog one that is wicked hard headed and you have to hack on all the time, it probably won't make a very good hunting dog. Wild birds are far more skiddish than liberated birds. But that dog may do well in FT.

Respectfully
Rick
I would correct this to say that "that dog may do well with another trainer." The FT part is irrelevant. If the other trainer that can get a handle on the dog is a FT competitor, then the dog MAY do well in FT, but the trainer who can get a handle on the dog may be a hunter and then the dog quite likely WILL do well as a hunting dog.

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Ruffshooter » Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:11 am

Sli:
You are correct, the trainer has a lot to do with what and how a dog will do in any venue or type hunting.
The best part of training is seeing the light come on in your little prot'eg'e.

Rick

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Brittguy » Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:36 am

I feel a dog can be a gun dog washout. Depends on the expectations of the owner. One mans great gun dog could be a washout to another.

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Mountaineer » Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:11 am

Ryman Gun Dog wrote:Hondo,
It all depends on what you mean by wash out, when a man or lady purchases a FT type dog who does not make the grade he still owns an FT wash out, not a true companion hunting dog. The FT guys are going to go crazy trying to defend their discarded dogs but very few FT bred dogs make good Grouse dogs. They simply do not have the genetic imprint to be a great companion Grouse dog, the dogs are bred to be independent pointing machines, not companion Grouse hunters. If a man wants to chase a dog thru the woods and use constant discipline to control the animal he is not really working with a companion Grouse dog, yep this is a definate wash out as a Grouse dog. The dog is not really hunting for and with the Grouse hunter. Lots of men & ladies go thu two or three of these animals before they get to hunt behind the type of dog they are really looking to own and Grouse hunt with, some never understand the difference between the animals and never will. In reality most of these dogs are wash outs in the Grouse hunting world. Many other types of wash outs also, most do make good house pets.
RGD/Dave


First, to answer the thread question.
Yes....just as any hunter can washout as a hunter and as any dog owner can washout as a dog owner.

Secondly, I'm reminded of the General Board thread of a while back and many wondered "how long" as well.

Personally, your biases, Dave are your own but you have, in mentioning that FT dogs make poor grouse dogs on many, many BBs presented extremely poor info to any of the folks new to birddogs...that is the issue and not your right to any opinion or preference of dogs.
New folks may not have yet the experience developed to weed you out or understand the taint you willingly provide to fine dogs.
Basically, you elevate your own dogs by standing on the head of other dogs and establish ridiculous standards that only your idea of a dog can provide.
Therefore, only they can be a true "companion" grouse dog.
"Chasing" and "constant" discipline" are ridiculous as generalizations of a dog washed out of FTing for tail set, gait, crack or whatever.

Having seen and hunted behind FT setters and dual setters both and loved each experience, your agendas are as clear as your information is inaccurate.
And, no, I have never FT and never want to FT, it would bore me to death....I do thank the FTers for the wonderful dogs their work and development have delivered into the the hunting fields....even for SPOOKY, special Pennsylvania grouse where one has to use the first shot to clear a way thru the laurel and grapevines so the second can connect. :D

Happiness with a dog all falls to any hunter understanding the dog and the hunt the dog posseses that they are considering, whether that be FT or not, a dual setter or not or any combination thereof.
And, yes this time, I know of your owning other breeds...good for you.....changes not the tenor or intent of your ever-present slams.
You should be ashamed of yourself.
Some comments on BBs deserve never, ever to be "Ignored" on behalf of...the Dogs. :idea: :idea:

By the way, have you heard how Rory is doing?
The FT red setter that you took as a pup, gave a home, and washed out after a year or so....eh, it was just a dog's heart you held...I expect he is much better off.

My last word on here so as not to turn this BB into what follows you from BB to BB...feel free to talk of inexperience( I've hunted grouse for well over 40 years), special genetic imprints and all the rest of the ...same old, same old.

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Ryman Gun Dog » Mon Jul 26, 2010 6:32 am

Mountaineer,
As usual when someone like you disagrees with the truth they personally attack the information giver, I have been insulted by people like you all my life, your misguided try at personal intimidation does not change the facts never will. As another matter of fact, Rory has a great home, with a fine lady and her children and he was a washout as a grouse dog in may ways, with your lack of knowledge & experience you would never understand that dogs are bred for different uses. I have no agenda do not need one, there is a genetic difference between a dog who hunts for himself and one who hunts for his master, sure you can use a shock collar to make the dog submit, but you can't change the genetics. I hope you are happy with what ever dog you choose to own, but you unknowlegable men who advise hunters that there is no difference in dog breeds and their intended usage, are just plain wrong. The question was can a hunting dog be a washout. You bet, especially as a Grouse dog.

RGD/Dave
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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Greg Jennings » Mon Jul 26, 2010 6:53 am

There is opinion, then there is truth. I've always found a great deal of the former that should have been kept to one's self. I've also found a great deal of the latter that was, when examined just a bit, turned out to be the former.

We need to keep this about providing information.

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Ryman Gun Dog » Mon Jul 26, 2010 7:06 am

Greg,
Your truth might be different than mountaineers, or maybe the same, he sounds a lot like Billy Clinton, better to deal in facts and genetics they provide real information.
RGD/Dave

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Wagonmaster » Mon Jul 26, 2010 12:24 pm

Its a funny thing about grouse dogs and grouse hunting. Grouse hunting isn't that hard. Oh, the cover is thick and the shooting is challenging, but the birds are not that hard to find. We did an awful lot of grouse hunting as kids without any dog at all, you just needed to know what to look for in the woods.

My own early experiences with dogs in the woods was that there were basically three kinds. One kind was the dog that either was not well trained, or did not know how to handle grouse, and ran big in front of you. You were treated to the sound of birds going up all day. For the most part, these were young dogs with not much experience on grouse. The second kind was the close working dog. These were the dogs that did not run big enough to put up birds that you could not see yourself from the logging road you were walking on. Every once in awhile the close working dog would point a bird right off the logging road too. Then the owner would tell you what a great grouse dog it was. In reality, it was just pointing birds you would have seen or put up yourself. The dog did not add much to the hunt, but at least it did not get in the way much either, unlike the first type. The third kind was the rare one, and that was the dog that would run big for the woods, would reach the edges of the swamps and cover where the birds were, but that were quite aways from the logging road you were walking, and that could actually handle grouse when they came across them. These rare dogs were the ones that actually added to your hunt. They showed you the birds that you would not otherwise have found. The other two types either interfered, or were valuable only because they didn't interfere.

Watching and judging the grouse trials was a real eye opener. The rare few good dogs generally covered alot of ground. They were the dogs that would have a find during a spring trial (when there are only adult birds around) in a down year. The close workers never bumped birds, but they generally never found them either. Not when the conditions were tough.

The best grouse dog I persoanlly have ever had was a female GSP out of FT stock. Mother of my current AA NC. She found alot of grouse for me, and really knew how to handle them. Not when she was a one year old of course, but when she had been hunted for a few years. She sort of came into it on her own when she was about 4.

The best grouse dog I have personally ever seen was the setter Jet Train. He had extreme style, almost looked like he was coming out of his skin, and was a fairly big running dog - big for the woods anyway. He won alot, and the reason was that he stretched out, and he knew how to handle grouse in the woods.

The bottom line though, was that to be a grouse dog, the dog had to be a genuine wild bird dog. Grouse won't accept any pressure, but they will sure put pressure on the dog by strutting around in front of it. What it really takes to make a grouse dog, is to start with a dog with some run and a great nose, and then show it all the wild birds you can, especially the ruffed grouse. Then hope that you have a dog that has the magic.

And sure, you will run across wash outs. Have seen a bunch and had a couple. Not anymore though, not since my dogs have been coming from FT stock.

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Grouse Dog Guy » Mon Jul 26, 2010 7:22 pm

Ryman Gun Dog wrote:Hondo,
It all depends on what you mean by wash out, when a man or lady purchases a FT type dog who does not make the grade he still owns an FT wash out, not a true companion hunting dog. The FT guys are going to go crazy trying to defend their discarded dogs but very few FT bred dogs make good Grouse dogs. They simply do not have the genetic imprint to be a great companion Grouse dog, the dogs are bred to be independent pointing machines, not companion Grouse hunters. If a man wants to chase a dog thru the woods and use constant discipline to control the animal he is not really working with a companion Grouse dog, yep this is a definate wash out as a Grouse dog. The dog is not really hunting for and with the Grouse hunter. Lots of men & ladies go thu two or three of these animals before they get to hunt behind the type of dog they are really looking to own and Grouse hunt with, some never understand the difference between the animals and never will. In reality most of these dogs are wash outs in the Grouse hunting world. Many other types of wash outs also, most do make good house pets.
RGD/Dave
That's very funny stuff :lol: :lol: (hard to type when your laughing this hard) I have the Pa grouse champion laying at my feet and I read it to him and he is laughing also! I would say winning a grouse championship would qualify him as a field trial dog having four broke grouse finds would qualify him as a grouse dog riding in the front seat of the car and sleeping on the foot of the bed going to the kids ball games and being a perfect gentleman should qualify him as a companion and even you beano could hunt him all day everyday without and ecollar!

As to the question can a dog be a wash out, dogs are just like people some have it some don't some may be a little goofy in the head!

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by M1Tanker » Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:08 pm

Wagonmaster wrote:
The bottom line though, was that to be a grouse dog, the dog had to be a genuine wild bird dog. Grouse won't accept any pressure, but they will sure put pressure on the dog by strutting around in front of it. What it really takes to make a grouse dog, is to start with a dog with some run and a great nose, and then show it all the wild birds you can, especially the ruffed grouse. Then hope that you have a dog that has the magic.
I agree.

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by solon » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:13 am

Grouse Dog Guy wrote:
Ryman Gun Dog wrote:Hondo,
It all depends on what you mean by wash out, when a man or lady purchases a FT type dog who does not make the grade he still owns an FT wash out, not a true companion hunting dog. The FT guys are going to go crazy trying to defend their discarded dogs but very few FT bred dogs make good Grouse dogs. They simply do not have the genetic imprint to be a great companion Grouse dog, the dogs are bred to be independent pointing machines, not companion Grouse hunters. If a man wants to chase a dog thru the woods and use constant discipline to control the animal he is not really working with a companion Grouse dog, yep this is a definate wash out as a Grouse dog. The dog is not really hunting for and with the Grouse hunter. Lots of men & ladies go thu two or three of these animals before they get to hunt behind the type of dog they are really looking to own and Grouse hunt with, some never understand the difference between the animals and never will. In reality most of these dogs are wash outs in the Grouse hunting world. Many other types of wash outs also, most do make good house pets.
RGD/Dave
That's very funny stuff :lol: :lol: (hard to type when your laughing this hard) I have the Pa grouse champion laying at my feet and I read it to him and he is laughing also! I would say winning a grouse championship would qualify him as a field trial dog having four broke grouse finds would qualify him as a grouse dog riding in the front seat of the car and sleeping on the foot of the bed going to the kids ball games and being a perfect gentleman should qualify him as a companion and even you beano could hunt him all day everyday without and ecollar!

As to the question can a dog be a wash out, dogs are just like people some have it some don't some may be a little goofy in the head!
Could it be that Beans has never seen a dog as high quality as Jiggs?

Solon

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by RayGubernat » Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:11 am

Solon -

Can you say "kennel blind?"

Each person has their own likes and dislikes and preferences.

When it comes to dogs such as Ryman Gun Dogs describes as his "ideal' companion dog", I would very likely consider those dogs as "gun dog" washouts.

I simply have no use whatsoever for a pointing dog that only hunts where I walk. Such a dog is worse than useless. It is an impediment to the hunt in my opinion. I prefer a dog that hunts other places than where I walk...so I don't have to.

To each their own.

RayG

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Ryman Gun Dog » Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:17 am

Wagaonmaster,
Very good post sir, I see your ident picture is a GSP, is this the FT stock you are talking about? Versatile dogs, even with the infushion of Englsih Pointer stock here in the USA, are not what is considered true FT stock, no matter what you personally are trying to accomplish with them. In reality the GSP breed, has been bred to be a versatile companion gun dog, for many many generations, but I do understand where you are coming form. The genetic imprint on your GSP is very stong and handled properly many GSP dogs beecome fantasic Grouse dogs. I owned one myself who was just incredible, and she lived to be 18 years old.
RGD/Dave

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Ryman Gun Dog » Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:27 am

Solon,
You seem to think your dogs are pretty good Grouse dogs, I extend an open invitation to you this Grouse season to bring them to Potter County or Somerset County and Grouse hunt with us, would love to see your dogs in action, on an actual Grouse hunt. Same with you Ray and your independent Gun dogs, love to see them work and you shoot a few Grouse over them. Contact me by e-mail or personal message we will set something up for Grouse season. One thing to remember, we Grouse hunt here not look for other hunters dogs, if you loose your dog it becomes your responsibility to you to find it, GPS equipmet is not allowed because we do not want our Grouse coverts mapped. Kennel blind, to which different part of my kennel am I blind, Ryman, Gordon, Munstrer, Weimnar, all I guess.
RGD/Dave
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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Chukar12 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:46 am

Yawn....
Hondo I hope you got your answer in the first few posts that seemed to stay on track with your question...that is before the bell rang and Grouse Dog Smackdown began.
Quitting on a dog for most of us is emotional and sans the point that there are apparently limited genetics appropriate for hunting in the northeast part of the country MOST breeds and reputable breeders have gentics that are more than appropriate for the modern hunter and the modern hunters opportunities. So yeah...a dog may wash out as a trial dog due to a lack of run or an inability to respond to specific trainer's and handlers methods butwill work out fine for all game birds except grouse.
The exceptions are those with physical ailments or neuro issues that are generally a result of poor breeding...IMO :?

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Ryman Gun Dog » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:01 am

Chukar 12,
I just love this stuff, its ok for a dog to be a FT wash out, but a big mental trip for a dog to be a hunting wash out, and unfortunately in some breeds, such as Weimars and Irish Setters very poor hunting instincts do genetically exist, these dogs are definitely hunting wash outs, they may be great house pets however. We find very loving homes for these kind of aminals, some times we even keep them ourselves. Each owner must evaluate and keep the animals he want to own, myself I want to own dogs
to Grouse hunt with, who have been proven physically sound and are guaranteed by the breeders, I purchase from.
RGD/Dave
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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Greg Jennings » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:14 am

John/Wagonmaster's dog, Spot, is the 2 time NGSPA national champion (that is translated to mean the 2 time national ALL AGE champion) and has many, many placements in hour stakes in big country. That dog's portrait is hanging in the National Bird Dog Hall of Fame at Ames. Further, John has rode more shooting dog and all age stakes than most of us will ever even think about. He knows a thing or five about field trial dogs.

Your claim that Spot is not of "true field trial stock" strains credibility and calls into question exactly what your own field trail CV is. Please inform us. I'm waiting with bated breath.

Greg J.


Ryman Gun Dog wrote:Wagaonmaster,
Very good post sir, I see your ident picture is a GSP, is this the FT stock you are talking about? Versatile dogs, even with the infushion of Englsih Pointer stock here in the USA, are not what is considered true FT stock, no matter what you personally are trying to accomplish with them. In reality the GSP breed, has been bred to be a versatile companion gun dog, for many many generations, but I do understand where you are coming form. The genetic imprint on your GSP is very stong and handled properly many GSP dogs beecome fantasic Grouse dogs. I owned one myself who was just incredible, and she lived to be 18 years old.
RGD/Dave

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Chukar12 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:16 am

... :oops: good point or dogs of any breed that have been bred for only form and no function, but generall we know that before we select them as a gun dog...don't we?
And again, I meant in all cases but grouse dogs in Pa.

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Ryman Gun Dog » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:34 am

Greg,
If Waganmaster owns a GSP no matter what it has accomplished it is a Versatile hunting dog, he maybe playing FT social games with them, but they are versatile dogs.
As for your personal slap at me, I never have played any kind of social FT games, never will, we Grouse hunt. Some people think FT games are the measure of a dog, few of these dogs make good grouse dogs, every once in a great while one is also a fantastic Grouse dog also, here the measure of a dog is how it Grouse hunts as a companion. Again we are talking genetic imprint not what a certain dog has accomplished playing what ever games
it participated in.
RGD/Dave

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Wagonmaster » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:44 am

Oh, heck, Spot is what he is and I am not very sensitive. As I have said before, I like em all. I have endured the run offs and tried to encourage the few close in dogs that just did not seem very interested. I will say that now when I see a young dog take off chasing birds over the horizon, I just smile and look forward to what a great dog that one is going to be once it is broke out. My own prediliction I guess.

But I truly enjoy the real, wild bird dog, regardless of how far or fast it runs, or what color or breed. Nothing thrills more than coming around a corner in the cover, and there stands the dog, tall and proud on wild game.

Ryman the dog in my avatar is the son of the female I had some years ago. She had the magic around ruffed grouse. I had pointers for quite awhile, and I don't mean to insult the pointers at all, but here in the midwest we hunt alot of pheasant and they need a strong retrieving dog, so I went back to the GSP's and have not regretted it. Whether they are "versatile" dogs is a matter of some debate. GSP's come in every variety from the DK's that will hunt and track fur, to those owned by trialers who would rather see them in the model of the pointers and setters - no retrieve required. I tend to like them with some retrieve left in, but the true versatile dog people would look at my stuff and want to disown me, I think. They are certainly entitled to their view of dogs.

Washout was the original subject though. "Washout" takes some definition, because it depends in part on what you are willing to be satisfied with. The dog that makes me happy is not necessarily the one that makes other people happy. I do like a dog that actually adds to the hunt, rather than just coming along and pointing a bird or two off the logging road, and a wild bird dog, not a game farm dog. The wild bird dog is the one that you will see every now and then, standing its birds so far off that you never think to go out that far to flush. Not the dog with its nose up the bird's butt, the bird being too dumb to leave. What I have found over the years, is that if you start with good stock and then get that good stock into wild birds early and often, you will not have alot of washouts. Birds get them too excited for them to ever give up.

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Ryman Gun Dog » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:57 am

Wagonmaster,
Man what a great post, I do believe your views on dogs and mine are really very similar. A dog should hunt where the wild birds are, but be biddable to his masters gunning. I sure understand that you like to play games with your dogs, and if you have GSP dogs who can handle Grouse and play games both, my hats off to ya sir.
Most people fail to understand that when I talk about different kinds of dogs, I talk from a dog breeds genetic imprint criteria and what the dog was bred to historically accomplish.
RGD/Dave

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Ryman Gun Dog » Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:22 pm

gpblitz,
Let me try to explain what I am talking about, its not about big running or close working, its about bidability. A dog should hunt the wild birds where the birds are located near or far, the difference is the compaion dog has the genetics to check in and is biddable and works with his master. He is not an independent bird finders/pointer that does not care where his master is located, or if the master ever gets to shoot the bird he sets (Points). The companion Grouse dog should run big when needed and hunt close when needed, this all depends on where the birds are located, as to the master, at any given time. If you have to hack or constantly run after your dog while Grouse hunting, he is not doing his job properly. However if you are up on a forest mountain and you can see your Grouse dog a 1000 yards down over the mountain, standing point waiting for you to show up, man he is doing an outstanding job. The biddable dog understands what he is doing for his master, I have actually witnessed a great dog like this, circle and bring his master to the birds, relocating the birds a 2nd or even a 3rd time. Just because he pointed the Grouse the 1st time, does not mean he is a good companion Grouse dog, there is a lot more to this. The exceptional Grouse dog can naturally relocate, showing his master exactly where the birds are to be gunned. As Davis in his old book wrote, at the top of the talent list sits the true Grouse dog. Davis was not only a big time Grouse hunter, he also helped develop FT and Ames.
Davis understood the difference in dog breeds and their usage. He owned both Pointers and Setter of different types. I know this is all hard to explain and when you throw
in the traingle Grouse hunting techniques, with true braces, it becomes even more complex, and the dogs talents are even more evident. When all this happens, a Grouse hunter gets to see just how talented a companion Grouse dog really is. I hope I have explained this decently.
RGD/Dave

Rosie mid picture, our old KS German Short Hair on Grouse point, in a broken field surrounded by the Pa Grouse woods, we lost her last year at age 18.
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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Ryman Gun Dog » Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:29 am

bdblitz,
Now I would like to ask you a couple questions, sence you hunt baces quite a bit, please explain what the triangle Grouse hunting technique is, and how
a brace would work when Grouse hunting together in it.

In this particular case, the dog who returned to get his master, did not lock up on point, he simply knew the birds were there by scent and brought his master to the birds.
Let me say this however if he had, it would not have been a bad thing, a Grouse dogs job is to set Grouse for his masters gunning, not just to point birds, and then have his master find him. The true companion Grouse dog must understand he is working with and for his master, and that he is not just pointing birds for himself. Any pointing dog can simply point birds for himself, a good Grouse dog thinks and works with his master (Companion Hunter) to set birds for the masters gunning, he should also hunt downed birds and retrieve them to hand, without damaging the bird. I agree that one of the most important parts of a good Grouse dogs genetic imprint, should be biddability, however a Great Grouse dog must think (reason) also. This for the most part is learned thru experience, however there are dogs who have been given a gift and naturally from a young age meet Thunderking in his own back yard, and out smart him, this along with having the biddable personallity required to work with his master is the mark of a Great Grouse Dog.
These particular Grouse dogs are a gift from God, and they are few and far between. If a man is lucky he might own one in his life time, few hunters get to hunt with a Grouse dog of this calibre, even fewer get to actually own one.

RGD/Dave

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Chukar12 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:25 pm

Soooo? How do you know that you have the Binford 5000 of all grouse dogs in the training stages and let hin leave a point to come get you?

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by SHORTFAT » Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:47 pm

Advice is the most dangerous gift one can give... and most perilous gift to receive...

I think it's best to make up your own mind based on what you see and experience. I'm sure some dogs are washouts, but perhaps they may have been a passable grouse dog to another hunter. It depends on what you want from the dog, what the dog is willing to give yu, and what effort you are willing to expend to get the most the dog will give. I'm sure my last dog would have been a washout to many trainers more skilled and selective than I, but all the dogs in the world would not have been able to give me the enjoyment I had in the field with him. (and I have hunted over better...) I am also sure that some would not waste their time on the timid pup I am now struggeling with... but if I can get her to find some birds I would have missed, point and stay steady to wing and shot... then I will be happy with what I have and not consider her a washout. I do not blame those who would call her worthless, it's just that I am willing to have a companion dog that is not up to the high standards of others. I would note that I would never breed her out of respect to the work of those who have gone before and given us the dogs that we have today... but that is another topic for another post I am sure... at any rate, no one is the "end all" knowledge of what is and what is not of any kind of dog... it is all subject to opinion. Good luck with your dog. :wink:
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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Chukar12 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 2:17 pm

Shortfat (can I call you something different?) that is well said...

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Ryman Gun Dog » Wed Jul 28, 2010 2:36 pm

Chukar 12,
There is great merit to what ShortFat is saying, it all depends on how much experience as both a Grouse hunter and dog trainer, the owner/hunter possesses, it takes a life time of experience to judge what is really happening, having a mentor to educate the trainer cuts his learning time drastically. There are lots of good Grouse dogs out there. In most cases the abilities are partly instinctive (Genetic) and partly learned thru experience. Learning to judge what is going on
takes some serious experience. In reality there are two ways a Grouse dog becomes great, one is a complete gift from God, he is born with all the talent and matures into it, a gift from God. The human equivalent would be Ted Williams & Reberto Clementies, God given gifts to see the stitches on a baseball being thrown at 100 miles an hour, a true God given gift. The other is thru experience, the dog learns a little at a time over years, and developes into a great Grouse dog. You would think there would be more than a few of these great Grouse dog around, but in reality not very many, because few dogs actually get the chance to spend enough time in the Grouse woods developing their knowledge & talent. This is further complicated by Grouse populations (cycles) and where the Grouse dog actually lives and hunts. Even further it depends on the owners ability to have the time to hunt with his companion Grouse Dog. We train a lot of Grouse dog these men Grouse hunt with, lots of fair to middlen genetic talent that developes into good Grouse dogs, few however develope into great Grouse dogs, most due reach their potential however.
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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Chukar12 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 2:58 pm

Well, that's fair enough Ryman ... my perspective of these forums is to get or give measurable advice that is constructed to serve the agenda and purpose of the person asking the question. There are no objective rules around hunting dogs like there are competition dogs so our opinions, and that's what they are; are a product of our environment, experiences, understandings and biases. This is what makes (sigh) SHORTFATS comment "Advice is the most dangerous gift one can give... and most perilous gift to receive..." so appropos. His comment and those shared by Wagonmaster in this thread(who seems to be a true gentleman and a man with impeccable credentials) are thoughtfully written and fit the understanding that beauty in a hunting dog is in the eye of the beholder...when you pay money for someone else to judge it; the agenda changes.

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Ryman Gun Dog » Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:14 pm

Chukar12,
I do agree with you, and that is just the problem. Some people who own and breed dogs have big time agendas, and if your particular experience is outside of their agenda, there is a difference of opinion that they can not handle. These particular people usually can not hold a decent knowledgeable converstation without personally attacking the people they disagree with, they feel safe hidden behind their key boards, most of these cowards would never dare talk in this manner, when standing face to face, having the same converstation with another grown man. Grouse hunters usually do not have an agenda, but they usually will not have one forced on them from
others who actually do. It does make for some explosive converstations.
RGD/Dave

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Chukar12 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:21 pm

True enough...I have read a few threads where people throw down challenges from their keyboard. Could be cowardice, myopia, ignorance who knows Ryman we are only left to ponder these things.

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by SHORTFAT » Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:50 pm

Chukar12... really.. it's ok to call me Shortfat... my wife's a great cook... I'm not really that fat yet, but I'm workin' on it!
"beauty in a hunting dog is in the eye of the beholder...when you pay money for someone else to judge it; the agenda changes." - BINGO! I've known guys that loved ugly women AND dumb dogs!!! but at least if they were happy with their dogs they didn't consider them a washout... it's all a matter of opinion... and I don't think you can ever FORCE someone into your point of view. It's better to kindly share your experience and subject knowledge politely than it is to write it on a stick and smack them on the shinns with it... it's tuff tho' when we're as passionate about the subject matter, like most of us are.
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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Birddogz » Wed Jul 28, 2010 5:12 pm

Wagonmaster wrote:Its a funny thing about grouse dogs and grouse hunting. Grouse hunting isn't that hard. Oh, the cover is thick and the shooting is challenging, but the birds are not that hard to find. We did an awful lot of grouse hunting as kids without any dog at all, you just needed to know what to look for in the woods.

My own early experiences with dogs in the woods was that there were basically three kinds. One kind was the dog that either was not well trained, or did not know how to handle grouse, and ran big in front of you. You were treated to the sound of birds going up all day. For the most part, these were young dogs with not much experience on grouse. The second kind was the close working dog. These were the dogs that did not run big enough to put up birds that you could not see yourself from the logging road you were walking on. Every once in awhile the close working dog would point a bird right off the logging road too. Then the owner would tell you what a great grouse dog it was. In reality, it was just pointing birds you would have seen or put up yourself. The dog did not add much to the hunt, but at least it did not get in the way much either, unlike the first type. The third kind was the rare one, and that was the dog that would run big for the woods, would reach the edges of the swamps and cover where the birds were, but that were quite aways from the logging road you were walking, and that could actually handle grouse when they came across them. These rare dogs were the ones that actually added to your hunt. They showed you the birds that you would not otherwise have found. The other two types either interfered, or were valuable only because they didn't interfere.

Watching and judging the grouse trials was a real eye opener. The rare few good dogs generally covered alot of ground. They were the dogs that would have a find during a spring trial (when there are only adult birds around) in a down year. The close workers never bumped birds, but they generally never found them either. Not when the conditions were tough.

The best grouse dog I persoanlly have ever had was a female GSP out of FT stock. Mother of my current AA NC. She found alot of grouse for me, and really knew how to handle them. Not when she was a one year old of course, but when she had been hunted for a few years. She sort of came into it on her own when she was about 4.

The best grouse dog I have personally ever seen was the setter Jet Train. He had extreme style, almost looked like he was coming out of his skin, and was a fairly big running dog - big for the woods anyway. He won alot, and the reason was that he stretched out, and he knew how to handle grouse in the woods.

The bottom line though, was that to be a grouse dog, the dog had to be a genuine wild bird dog. Grouse won't accept any pressure, but they will sure put pressure on the dog by strutting around in front of it. What it really takes to make a grouse dog, is to start with a dog with some run and a great nose, and then show it all the wild birds you can, especially the ruffed grouse. Then hope that you have a dog that has the magic.

And sure, you will run across wash outs. Have seen a bunch and had a couple. Not anymore though, not since my dogs have been coming from FT stock.
I don't know about running big in a grouse woods. I guess I would have to know what big is. In aspen trees any further than 100-120 yards is too far in my opinion. You lose sight of them at 25 yards. A dog that points birds that "you would normally find any way" is giving you a tremendous advantage in being prepared for the shot. I have 2 friends that are full time grouse guides in Northern Wisconsin that hunt for a living. They never want their dogs any further than 100 yards.Their dogs point 1000s of grouse and woodcock in a year. I don't disagree that a big running dog will find a lot of birds, but they are too far away for me to get there. When I grouse hunt, or my guide friends hunt, we have an idea of where we want to hunt when we go. We basically have trails or edges of clear cuts that we want to cover. I don't want to be zig zagging around. Many times the reasons I select places to hunt is due to the ability to get a semi clear shot. If I hunt a clear cut edge next to hardwoods, I have a good chance of getting a good shot at grouse that fly towards the more open hardwoods. A dog that stays around 100 yards and is snappy on point is very valuable. I totally agree that wild bird exposure and a great nose are key. I also think FT stock is good medicine, I just think that a dog that ranges say 300 yards in the grouse woods is too far for me. I want to be able to handle my dogs easily, and in many places that I grouse hunt, when the leaves are still on my dogs would never hear me any further than 150 yards.

Also, dogs running that big are likely to meet a wolf pack eventually. Wolves are a serious problem in Wisconsin.
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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Ruffshooter » Thu Jul 29, 2010 5:28 am

The problem (not really a problem) with dogs that run too big is not that they don't find a ton of birds it is the amount of time it takes to get to them. It is not like walking in a field or prarrie. The birds walk off or fly off or if you dog is not honest your dog busts em. When my ankles were better I did not care how far and we got a good number of those way out birds. But now we do a lot of relocating which works some with Ruffs depending on cover.

I like a dog to get out there, but I also like a dog that works edges and out to 75 yards or so. All depends on the cover type and if we are on trails or in the woods, meandering.

I actually am lucky enough to have the perfect combination. Buster my French Britt, is my 30 to 75 yards He will work out farther but that primarily is his range cover depending. Mercy my GSP is unique: If you go down a twitch trail or tote road or snowmobile trail she will make the first past down the trail then come back to in front of you about 30 to 40 yards give you a quick look and goes in till that big brass bell goes out of hearing distance, Just knowing her and my hearing I would say she is beyond 100 yards maybe up to 150, if big hardwoods (not too many where I hunt) maybe further in her younger days, I keep walking my pace down the twitch trail, after a bit I will hear that bell coming closer and she will end up in front of me just 30 to 40 yards, give me a quick look and hit the other side till that bell is out of hearing, in abit she will be back just the same. (This is not something one can teach a dog they have it or they don't.) How does she know my pace and where I am going? :? :D

When I am with another hunter or two, I put Buster and Mercy down, If there is a bird anywhere in their two ranges, we have a good chance at them. Mercy does miss some of the close Ruffs on occasion. (not sure how many) I have witnessed some very nice work out of the two and together. Grouse will let you walk right by them too. Don't think just because they are close you will see or hear them. (Now if you stop every 10 yards and wait and listen, they start to get nervous and cluck, you may have a chance at them) That makes for a long day of hunting, and you do not need a dog for that. In fact it is how I used to hunt before dogs. Not to mention the other methods of road hunting I also did. :(

Each type dog has its place and type of hunter. Dogs that are honest and have Ruff exeprience is what matters.
So a big running FT dog is not a liability if the above applies. We all like what we like and it is not wrong, we hope we have what fits into our wants and needs, hopefully.

Rick
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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Wagonmaster » Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:49 am

We are pretty far off the topic of washout. But for me there was a very good measure of range in the grouse woods until recently, and that was bell range. If you could hear the bell, or at least had contact with the bell in the last few minutes, the range was fine, yardage was unimportant. What was important was that the dog was moving forward. With a little practice, you could also tell from the bell what the dog was doing - running a swamp edge, slowing to work a bird, and most of all on point. Tink ta tink ta tink ta....... .

My problem now is that my high frequency hearing is shot, so I can't hear the bell like I used to and have to resort to other things, like the Tracker collar that tells a receiver on my belt that the dog is on point. I don't like it as much as I used to like that bell, but it is what works now.

Bell range was just about right. Never liked the beeper collars, couldn't hear them myself most of the time, and they were really annoying.

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Ruffshooter » Fri Jul 30, 2010 7:47 am

You are right John, I strayed quite abit. But, it was the FT wash out thing that got me not being a good grouse dog. A FT wash out may be an honest as the day is long bird dog but just does not have the juice or some other thing, so it may end up a wash out for that trialer. That dog maybe a very bidable dog. Maybe to cautous etc. A dog is a wash out if it does not do what you want the way you want it. That can be a good or bad thing for a percpective hunting person. Depending on what they want.

Anyway, bells are getting harder and harder to hear, I have to use a beeper on Mercy when she is out but just on the point only mode.
Rick
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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Grange » Fri Jul 30, 2010 9:50 pm

Ruffshooter wrote:The problem (not really a problem) with dogs that run too big is not that they don't find a ton of birds it is the amount of time it takes to get to them. It is not like walking in a field or prarrie. The birds walk off or fly off or if you dog is not honest your dog busts em. When my ankles were better I did not care how far and we got a good number of those way out birds. But now we do a lot of relocating which works some with Ruffs depending on cover.

I like a dog to get out there, but I also like a dog that works edges and out to 75 yards or so. All depends on the cover type and if we are on trails or in the woods, meandering.
My young field trial setter has pointed many birds this past spring and last fall where it's taken me several minutes breaking through the brush to get to her and I end up shooting at them with my shotgun or firing my blank pistol. I love it when my dog gets out there and all I can hear is a faint bell. When it stops abruptly I know I'm most likely going to have bird work. I don't really worry about my setter running away or hunting for herself as she regularly checks in.

As far as a washout gun dog, I hunted with a chocolate lab that had a bad experience (with bees) and on her first big hunting weekend wouldn't go out front. The dog either walked behind me or sat and wouldn't move until I called it to me. It was a friends dog and we were hunting in a line with three other guys. It hung around me because of my black lab. I thought my black lab of the same age (only 9 days apart) would raise her interest in hunting, but that didn't happen.

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Ruffshooter » Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:13 am

tcjack wrote:1000 yards? you carry a spotting scope in grouse woods? :roll:
I don't see where anyone is talking about a dog ranging 1000 yards in the Ruff woods. But I miss alot. :wink:
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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by ezzy333 » Sat Jul 31, 2010 6:46 am

Ruffshooter wrote:
tcjack wrote:1000 yards? you carry a spotting scope in grouse woods? :roll:
I don't see where anyone is talking about a dog ranging 1000 yards in the Ruff woods. But I miss alot. :wink:
I didn't see it either but maybe I miss that day also.

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by BigShooter » Sat Jul 31, 2010 6:57 am

Ryman Gun Dog wrote:gpblitz,
The companion Grouse dog should run big when needed and hunt close when needed, this all depends on where the birds are located, as to the master, at any given time. If you have to hack or constantly run after your dog while Grouse hunting, he is not doing his job properly. However if you are up on a forest mountain and you can see your Grouse dog a 1000 yards down over the mountain, standing point waiting for you to show up, man he is doing an outstanding job.
Ruff & ezzy,

I think the above is what tcjack was referring to.

tcjack,

Whether it's an exaggeration to say you could see your grouse dog at approximately 1,000 yards under these circumstances could be debated. Taken in context, if I understood the post correctly the author simply referred to a dog running big, honest on point & not standing close to the hunter, could be doing an outstanding job. If I misunderstood I'm certain RGD will provide the correction.
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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Ryman Gun Dog » Sat Jul 31, 2010 7:41 am

Big Shooter,
You are correct sir I was using it as a figure of speach, however standing on that WVA mountain and looking down is a very long way, never stepped off the exact yardage but it takes a hunter 15 minutes to walk down the mountain. If someone doubts, me take a trip to the Grear Mines mountain just outside of Morgantown WVa
stand on top of the big mountain and look down to the stream at the bottom, you can see your dog and his one heck of along ways off. Again its not how big or small your dog runs that counts, its the bidability of the dog and the job he does for his master that counts.
RGD/Dave

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ezzy333
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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by ezzy333 » Sat Jul 31, 2010 9:58 am

Thank you Mark, I did miss it. I sure can't disagree with the importance of biddability but it sure does matter also how far the dog ranges in any venue. There are places for big running dogs and there are places for close working dogs. And in either case they need to be biddable. So I think we are arguing a moot point. The ideal dog runs a pattern that satisfies it's owner and range in yards is not how we judge that. I am yet to be shown the ideal dog that would satisfy everyone or even the satisfy anyone in every situation we might get into while hunting. A simple way to say it I think is that the quality of a bird dog is not determined by it's range. That is just one very small part of what we all want in our ideal dog.

I think we have all see dogs that just don't hunt well if at all and we all should realize those would fit into the wash out category. If there weren't washouts we wouldn't work so hard to select the sire for our next litter that hopefully will satisfy their eventual owners.

JMO

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by BigShooter » Sat Jul 31, 2010 2:47 pm

I'm a little curious about a couple of things so I will just ask & see if I get any responses.

If for whatever combination of reasons you or someone else decided a dog was a washout as a bird hunting dog did you or someone else take that dog, work through the issue(s) & turn the dog into a hunting dog. I'm looking for specific examples of what the problem was & what was done. Please exclude gun shyness as an issue.

For a professional trainer it's pretty easy to tell a client the dog is a washout, the client should not waste anymore money & just send the dog home. I am not suggesting under the right set of circumstances this isn't good advice. For an actual owner of a dog that you ultimately gave up on because it was a washout for you as a bird hunting dog, how old was the dog when you made your decision? What did you do with the dog (put it down, give it away, keep it as a pet)? Specific examples please.
Mark

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Re: Can a dog be a washout as a gun dog?

Post by Ruffshooter » Sat Jul 31, 2010 4:32 pm

Yep Mark, I did miss that, thanks.

I have one now :"C" in the Avatar.

Her Range is the issue; not heart, not desire, not style, not retrieving. Would be hard to consider her a wash out, but her range is not what I want. I am hoping to increase it. You know how hard that is but maybe a couple more seasons. Strangely enough, I think the wild bird training decreased it. As every time in the past two years she has gotten into the Ruffs to quick so never has had to range to find them. She is wicked thorough and snappy. So My work is to take her to fields and open woods plant birds a long way out in the same places never close to our drop off point. Do it untill she just takes off for those places. When she, hopefully, does take right off across the woods or field each time and finds birds, then move to another field and patch of woods and do the same again. (Don't know if it will work but it is my only plan.) Other wise she will jsut be a close worker. She will stay with me I guess.

Rick
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Rick

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