How much is too much bird work

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How much is too much bird work

Post by CCBIRDDOGMAN » Mon Jul 21, 2014 9:22 am

A thread on another forum (great forum but terrible upland section) got me to thinking, with an unlimited supply of training birds (Pigeons) and a remote launcher, how much is too much? The guy on the other thread asked if he could overwork his dog with pigeons and he got answers like "yes" and "yes if you use a launcher" but no actual help or suggestions (typical for that forum). Thought I would post the question here since you all seem to be a pretty helpfull bunch and much more knowledgeable about dog training or at least more willing to share your knowledge than the uppity bunch over there.

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Re: How much is too much bird work

Post by RayGubernat » Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:16 am


Too much of anything can lead to trouble, so yes you can have too much birdwork, especially with pigeons and launchers.

A lot of what constitutes too much depends on how you do it.

For birdwork, do you go to the same training area time after time, do you follow the same pattern time after time...stuff like that matters.

When you are getting a dog steady for the first time...repetition is your friend and ally. It pre-conditions the dog to doing what you have been asking it to do.

However, as you progress with the dog, there are warning signs to look is called body language and it is very much how dogs communicate.

Some of them, in no particular order are: Loss of enthusiasm, avoidance of the area where the bird is or usually is, loss of intensity, sinking on point, stickiness(not wanting to range out), roading in and getting too close...stuff like that.

I suggest that you do not wait for an overt sign such as one of these.. A dog WILL lose some intensity and some style during the breaking process. Pressure does that. But once the dog is through the process, the intensity and style should come back because the dog has regained confidence and is havine fun doing what it was bred and trained to do.

When a do that usually does backflips when it sees the e-collar, starts to hide in their coop when you come...something ain't right. When a dog that usually tears the lead out of your hand to run is trotting by your side and in no hurry to leave...something ain't right. When a dog that usually runs out two hundred yards before it even thinks about making a backward glance starts looping and coming back in...something ain't right.

All of those behaviors can bee the result of the dog feeling pressure. Whether you think you are putting pressure on the dog or not...that is irrelevant. if the dog is showing that it feels pressure and that is all that matters. You gotta change things up, back off, lay the dog up for a couple of weeks, do more happy timing, kill a few birds, whatever works for that particular dog.

The other thing that can happen is boredom. Some dogs will get bored with pigeons and start looking like they don't care when standing. This is the easiest to diagnose. Substitute quail or chuckar and if the dog's intensity level and style snap right back... quit using pigeons the way you are using least for a while.

Watch your dog. Learn to read its body language. You will be waaaay ahead and be able to avoid lots of bad situations.

Each dog is different. They handle pressure differently and may manifest signals differently. Some are tough, mentally and some are weenies. A soft, yet stubborn dog can be a real challenge. Some are very good actors and will feign pressure responses to get you to back off. A smart, stubborn dog can feign being soft and really work you over. Ask me how I know. :lol: :lol:

You gotta learn to see what they are trying to say with their bodies and demeanor. It gets easier the more you pay attention to the signs.


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Re: How much is too much bird work

Post by QuillGordon » Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:27 am

Pigeons can definitely be over done. With wild birds there is no such thing as "Too Much"


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Re: How much is too much bird work

Post by Sharon » Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:14 pm

Depends on the dog. I have a 13 year old for whom there is never "too many birds of any kind". I have an 8 year old who wouldn't get up for pigeons..

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Re: How much is too much bird work

Post by polmaise » Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:33 pm

RayGubernat wrote: You gotta learn to see what they are trying to say with their bodies and demeanor. It gets easier the more you pay attention to the signs.

A collie can retrieve tennis balls all day long ....until it gets no fun from it. I love steak ,but couldn't eat it 7 days a week for a year.
Ruined a very good dog on a 1,000 bird day which we were paid good money for to retrieve /collect the shot birds. I will Never do that again ;)
That dog is fine , I just learned when enough was enough ;)

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Re: How much is too much bird work

Post by JKP » Mon Jul 21, 2014 3:33 pm

Keeping a dog hungry for the next bird...the next a good think IMO. Most often...less done better than more.

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