How well should a pup search?

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IDHunter
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How well should a pup search?

Post by IDHunter » Sun Apr 19, 2020 12:05 pm

Curious what people think reasonable searching looks like in a young dog. Specifically in this case it's a male GWP, 11 weeks old. Having not been around one before I'm not sure if what I'm seeing is normal or not.
We have some good local areas that we take him to get him in hunting cover... pastures, brushy stands, fence line hedges, sloughs, etc. Some of the places are spots that we actually will hunt, others are just good cover areas but won't be hunted due to proximity to houses. Either way, when we try and run him in those areas more often than not he is reluctant to search out away from us much at all. Occasionally he will get out 20-30 yards, and then will turn and come back on his own. Quite frequently he likes to stay close to us, basically walking under foot. We have tried a drag line with a pheasant wing and some added scent. That worked well, once he hit the scent he was following it at a brisk pace and was willing to get out much further from me without caring about where I was. He kept on that drag line very well until the end of it. But aside from that drag line he doesn't seem to want to run out very far and search consistently. Like I said it's hit or miss. I'd estimate it's 70/30 staying close vs running out.

Anyways, I'm wondering if this is usual behavior in such a young pup, or if even the young ones should be displaying more desire to run and search? We have been walking him on lead a lot around our neighborhood, so not sure if that is inadvertently teaching him to stay close... if it is we will stop that immediately. We will continue taking him to these cover areas to run daily and see if it starts clicking, but would like to hear from others on what they think of this. Really hoping I'm over reacting by being worried about it all at this point, but lets hear what you think. Thanks

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Featherfinder
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Re: How well should a pup search?

Post by Featherfinder » Sun Apr 19, 2020 12:41 pm

At just 11 weeks of age, I wouldn't be too concerned.

averageguy
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Re: How well should a pup search?

Post by averageguy » Sun Apr 19, 2020 12:51 pm

11 weeks is very young. What you are seeing can easily change quickly as the pup develops. Assuming your pup's genetics are from dogs with good search odds are yours will too. I doubt you have anything to be concerned about and advise you to keep taking the puppy on walks as you are currently and let it learn and explore.

birddogger2
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Re: How well should a pup search?

Post by birddogger2 » Sun Apr 19, 2020 1:25 pm

IDhunter -

Very young. Very normal. What you may consider light cover might be quite an obstacle or such a little guy. Remember, at that age, their legs are only about 8 inches long, so an uncut lawn will wear them out.

Just keep exposing the pup to different situations and conditions. The fact that he comes back for you is something you should be ppretty happy about. I would be.

Have fun with that youngster. They change so much, so quickly. Enjoy.

RayG

IDHunter
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Re: How well should a pup search?

Post by IDHunter » Sun Apr 19, 2020 1:54 pm

Thanks for the input folks. We'll keep on doing what we're doing and watch for progress as he grows.

polmaise
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Re: How well should a pup search?

Post by polmaise » Sun Apr 19, 2020 3:44 pm

IDHunter wrote:
Sun Apr 19, 2020 12:05 pm
Curious what people think reasonable searching looks like in a young dog. Specifically in this case it's a male GWP, 11 weeks old. Having not been around one before I'm not sure if what I'm seeing is normal or not.
We have some good local areas that we take him to get him in hunting cover... pastures, brushy stands, fence line hedges, sloughs, etc. Some of the places are spots that we actually will hunt, others are just good cover areas but won't be hunted due to proximity to houses. Either way, when we try and run him in those areas more often than not he is reluctant to search out away from us much at all. Occasionally he will get out 20-30 yards, and then will turn and come back on his own. Quite frequently he likes to stay close to us, basically walking under foot. We have tried a drag line with a pheasant wing and some added scent. That worked well, once he hit the scent he was following it at a brisk pace and was willing to get out much further from me without caring about where I was. He kept on that drag line very well until the end of it. But aside from that drag line he doesn't seem to want to run out very far and search consistently. Like I said it's hit or miss. I'd estimate it's 70/30 staying close vs running out.

Anyways, I'm wondering if this is usual behavior in such a young pup, or if even the young ones should be displaying more desire to run and search? We have been walking him on lead a lot around our neighborhood, so not sure if that is inadvertently teaching him to stay close... if it is we will stop that immediately. We will continue taking him to these cover areas to run daily and see if it starts clicking, but would like to hear from others on what they think of this. Really hoping I'm over reacting by being worried about it all at this point, but lets hear what you think. Thanks
If the pup at 11 weeks old can find you every time when it is either lost or gone off on some other wild goose hunt , then it's doing ok . especially in the dark ..............................

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Fun dog
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Re: How well should a pup search?

Post by Fun dog » Sun Apr 19, 2020 8:01 pm

My pup is 13 weeks and she’s about like you describe. We go for walks each day and every other time I bring a big dog and she gets out further then, but I don’t want her to depend on the big dogs so don’t do it every time. Enjoy your pup and just get her in as many situations as you can. Let her find out that she owns the world.
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Garrison
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Re: How well should a pup search?

Post by Garrison » Sun Apr 19, 2020 8:37 pm

Fun dog wrote:
Sun Apr 19, 2020 8:01 pm
My pup is 13 weeks and she’s about like you describe. We go for walks each day and every other time I bring a big dog and she gets out further then, but I don’t want her to depend on the big dogs so don’t do it every time. Enjoy your pup and just get her in as many situations as you can. Let her find out that she owns the world.

Is she going to be on the sled squad?

moosecountry
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Re: How well should a pup search?

Post by moosecountry » Mon Apr 20, 2020 12:28 pm

Searching...searching for what? As far as they know they’re just out for a walk. Have to turn on their switch so they see what the purpose for being out there is. Plant a few birds and watch the intensity change.

If they don’t find birds they don’t know what their purpose is.

IDHunter
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Re: How well should a pup search?

Post by IDHunter » Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:54 pm

moosecountry wrote:
Mon Apr 20, 2020 12:28 pm
Searching...searching for what? As far as they know they’re just out for a walk. Have to turn on their switch so they see what the purpose for being out there is. Plant a few birds and watch the intensity change.

If they don’t find birds they don’t know what their purpose is.
I guess to clarify, I'm not expecting him to be hunting up birds by any means. I just thought it was more commonly instinctive with these dogs to want to run out and be curious about everything. I don't know much about them at all, so just figured I'd ask.

Perhaps searching was the wrong term, I was just hoping to see him get out from me a little bit and explore. We'll be trying to get him on some planted birds soon, hopefully pigeons. Like you said, I'm sure that will get his fire going a bit more. Had him out this morning again running around through cover and it was the best he has done in regards to getting out in front of me a ways and really sniffing around and exploring things, so that was nice to see.

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Sharon
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Re: How well should a pup search?

Post by Sharon » Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:21 pm

You're pup is doing fine at that age. Just relax and enjoy. Before you know it you'll be worrying about where the dog is. :) (Start saving for a GPS.)
When I got my first GSP I figured she'd be a Champion by 12 months. I had it all the steps worked out. :roll:
I learned that dogs progress at their own speed. You are getting this pup out every day ,and that's all that could be expected. (I assume you aren't calling the pup back every time it gets out a ways.)
" We are more than our gender, skin color, class, sexuality or age; we are unlimited potential, and can not be defined by one label." quote A. Bartlett

polmaise
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Re: How well should a pup search?

Post by polmaise » Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:06 pm

You are doing just fine :wink:
Last edited by polmaise on Mon Apr 20, 2020 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

IDHunter
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Re: How well should a pup search?

Post by IDHunter » Mon Apr 20, 2020 4:10 pm

Sharon wrote:
Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:21 pm
You're pup is doing fine at that age. Just relax and enjoy. Before you know it you'll be worrying about where the dog is. :) (Start saving for a GPS.)
When I got my first GSP I figured she'd be a Champion by 12 months. I had it all the steps worked out. :roll:
I learned that dogs progress at their own speed. You are getting this pup out every day ,and that's all that could be expected. (I assume you aren't calling the pup back every time it gets out a ways.)
Thank you for the advice. Already got a good chunk of change (and Cabelas points) saved up for a good GPS. I will be pulling the trigger on that sooner rather than later.

And no, I'm not calling him back at all. When he gets out in front of me I slow down or stop and let him keep going as much as he will. I've read enough of the posts on here to know to keep my mouth shut as much as possible, especially when we are in hunting cover. He gets the occasional "good boy" just to reassure him, but I try to make that the only communication we have on these walks through the brush, and even then I use it sparingly.

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Sharon
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Re: How well should a pup search?

Post by Sharon » Mon Apr 20, 2020 4:31 pm

Good work! :)
" We are more than our gender, skin color, class, sexuality or age; we are unlimited potential, and can not be defined by one label." quote A. Bartlett

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NEhomer
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Re: How well should a pup search?

Post by NEhomer » Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:38 pm

Oh man, this reminded me of the time just about exactly 5 years ago when I was in OP's shoes! I made a thread asking for advice the day that my setter Whip was months old and I couldn't kick him out from under foot to spot a woodcock that was walking right in front of us. Everyone told me to not worry and that he's just a pup as folks in here are telling you. The greatest trait I can boast about with my setter 5 years later is his range. 40yds in the woods, 250+ in the fields. Exactly where I'd have him. Enjoy your pup and order that GPS Sharon mentioned!

This is that thread...I chuckled reading it as you will one day about this one :)

viewtopic.php?f=69&t=48897&p=452227&hilit=range#p452227

polmaise
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Re: How well should a pup search?

Post by polmaise » Wed Apr 22, 2020 7:08 pm

Great stuff ,you are doing well congrats !

IDHunter
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Re: How well should a pup search?

Post by IDHunter » Wed Apr 22, 2020 9:56 pm

NEHomer, you're right I did get a chuckle out of reading your old post. And I'm sure I'll have a similar story to look back on in a few years. Just since starting this thread I've seen my dog's confidence continue to grow on our daily excursions into fields and cover. Between the daily progress and the "pump the brakes on the concern" that everyone has given me on here I'd say my worry has quickly started to diminish. Thanks for weighing in though, always good to hear from others with similar experiences, especially when they turn out as ideal as yours has.

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Re: How well should a pup search?

Post by Max2 » Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:11 pm

Puppies do what they do ! In my opinion nothing more fun to watch. I always think how cool it is to watch them take it all in and process it. Especially those times when you could swear you can see the wheels spinning .

Have fun and don't worry like everyone is saying it will happen . My little guy is just passing 11 weeks right now . Tonight something got him head high deep breaths and looking and when he looked at me I turned the direction he was looking and started taking deep breaths also . :D Then looked back at him as he was checking what I was doing and he started doing it again. Fun stuff ! The way he was looking was across the yard 30 yrds to the wood line . Nothing in the yard. Unless swirling winds from our quail pen. Couldn't figure it out . Enjoyed it though ! As should you !

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Re: How well should a pup search?

Post by oregon woodsmoke » Fri May 15, 2020 11:47 am

........And no, I'm not calling him back at all. When he gets out in front of me I slow down or stop and let him keep going as much as he will. ..........
If you stop moving, the pup will come back to see why you have stopped moving. Just continue on and he will be more confident that you won't disappear while he is out there away from you.

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