Bird Shy Dog

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WillSchultz
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Bird Shy Dog

Post by WillSchultz » Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:16 am

Hello! I have a 13 month old American Water Spaniel male. I took him out running during the summer and he seemed fine. He isn't gun shy because I have shot a gun around him and he's fine, doesn't run away or anything. However, when I took him pheasant hunting the other week, he just seemed really uninterested. For example, I planted a pheasant about 20 feet away from him and he just wanted to walk the other way and go back to the truck. I even brought him up about 5 feet away from it and he just really didn't want to go in and try to catch it or jump it. Or if we're walking around the field, he'll just walk on the big trail and kind of just walking ahead, looking for the truck. We've done "the wing on a fishing pole" and he fetches doves, I think he's afraid of pheasants. Help anyone?

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Red
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Re: Bird Shy Dog

Post by Red » Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:48 am

Take a pigeon and tie up one of the wings and toss it out in front of dog to get him excited and see what he does.

You never want to put phez out for a dog that has not been on birds before, start off with quail, chucks or pigeons.
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Re: Bird Shy Dog

Post by Thornapple » Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:16 pm

Will,
Red is absolutley correct. Pheasants are the last bird any experienced dog trainer uses to teach "birdiness". there are a number of reasons for this principally is they can intimidate a new or young dog. Try quial or pigeons first as Red suggests. In both cases have someone show you how to lock a pigeons wings and put it down on the ground, better yet a couple of pigeons. With quail learn to dizzy them up as you have their heads under their wings. Then place either under grass with some colored ribbon tied around to recognize where they are. Then bring your dog up.
You might find it will take several attempts at this for them to get the idea, but do not give up! Some dogs get it right away and others take several attempts. When you come across the quail in the grass and your dog does not stop, kick it up, let it fly, but do not shoot it. If you have homing pigeons all the better, you can use them again.
There are a number of good books on basic dog training, I would suggest investing in them. An older gentleman who had two Grand National Champion Field trial dogs and shot more wild birds in his life than most people ever see or hear gave me this bit of advice. This came after several folks told me my new dog was not much of a bird dog, "Get that dog on birds and lots of 'em. Let her get excited about birds and have fun. Do not worry about busting birds, that is totally irrelevant at this point. We can adjust for that later. Be patient. The most important thing in this dog's life right now is to understand the fun and joy of finding birds, lots of them!" So with that lots and lots of birds were planted and five years later I have a Master AKC and NAVHDA Utility dog that loves to do one thing, find birds and retrieve them!
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will-kelly
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Re: Bird Shy Dog

Post by will-kelly » Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:13 am

My thoughts on your post...
WillSchultz wrote: I took him out running during the summer and he seemed fine.
Seemed fine is a very relative term. You trained the dog all summer long or you took him for walks? One thing with training a dog is that you condition the dog to get excited. My dog sees me grab my gun, her kennel or a training vest and she cannot contain herself. It didn't start out this way but 1.5 years later and she is crazy for hunting and training. She does not know the difference until we get in the field. All she knows is that she gets to get a bird in her mouth provided I can shoot straight. She doesn't know if it's a pigeon, quail, chukar or pheasant. Just that she gets birds. [/quote]
He isn't gun shy because I have shot a gun around him and he's fine, doesn't run away or anything.
If the dog is disinterested in birds then in no way should you be shooting around it. You want to build a drive that says "I worked the bird, It Flew, He shot it...I get to go get it."

Just shooting around a dog to say it's not gun shy is really not how you should be training a dog to hunt. There is a ton of work to do before you introduce guns. It's great that he's not showing gun shyness but there is definitely something you need to change in how you train. You are not getting the results you want and your expectation seem to be much higher than you are willing to train for.
However, when I took him pheasant hunting the other week, he just seemed really uninterested.


Stop...backup in your training and figure out why. Was the training chained together or did you assume because of the walks over the summer the dog would hunt?
For example, I planted a pheasant about 20 feet away from him and he just wanted to walk the other way and go back to the truck. I even brought him up about 5 feet away from it and he just really didn't want to go in and try to catch it or jump it.
Planting a bird 20 feet away is not a training method I have used. One the dog could smell the bird and most likely more(your scent as well). And two if you were bringing him into the scent cone just 20 feet away the dog smelled it. You then tried to coax a response that you thought he should have by going in to 5 feet. He had already shown you a lack of interest on his part and instead of asking yourself why you thought you would take the human approach. The dog smelled the bird right. He said "nope not interested". You said well here try it a little closer.

I have been were you are. I have made similar mistakes. Based upon your wording and what you expect from this untrained dog you will do more damage to continue forward then to step back and start over.

The dog is young. Some never show signs of birdiness, others take 2-3 years. Things will happen in hunting and training that will set back both you and the dog. Don't just charge ahead. Go back a few steps and start over. Reinforceing a conditioned response or command will help to build the understanding between what you expect and what the dog will need to do to mover forward in training.
We've done "the wing on a fishing pole" and he fetches doves, I think he's afraid of pheasants. Help anyone?
Wing on a string really have nothing to do with introducing a dog to pheasants. When's the last time you went wing on a string hunting?

Dove retrieving? Live or Frozen/thawed? It doesn't matter. A dove is not a pheasant and retrieving is not hunting.

Pheasants? No way! Not now! The dogs not ready. He has told you so and you should listen. Restart the training with the basics. Reinforce the training. Watch for indicators that the dog does not understand or feels the pressure and wants to turn and run.

I would recommend you join a local group or find a trainer and pay them. It's hard enough to train a dog that is fully compliant and a bird finding machine let alone a dog that is exhibiting the behavior you are talking about.

Best of luck.

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Re: Bird Shy Dog

Post by Moulders Farm » Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:51 am

The bigest mistake is taking a untrained dog out in Pheasant county before the dog has already worked a lot on pigions or quail . I start a new puppy by putting a bird in a cage & let him really get enterest in then on a leash bring him in to start pointing . before ever planting a bird then do that in the open so they can point by sight then move to pointing by smell

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Re: Bird Shy Dog

Post by birddog1968 » Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:00 pm

sounds like gun shy to me.....
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Re: Bird Shy Dog

Post by brad27 » Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:31 pm

birddog1968 wrote:sounds like gun shy to me.....
+1

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Re: Bird Shy Dog

Post by birddogger » Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:01 pm

birddog1968 wrote:sounds like gun shy to me.....
Me too.

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Re: Bird Shy Dog

Post by Neil » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:56 am

Do some of you even bother to read the post before you start giving advice?

He says he planted the bird so it was not a wild pheasant, and if pen phesants were not so expensive, they would be as good as any to train on.

His dog is a flusher, so he does not need to sight or scent point. Unless the guy is doing the PL thing with an AWS.

I think it a leap to think him gunshy, I think he is just inexperienced and a little unsure of himself. Just give him some more exposure.

Other than that the advice has been fine.

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Re: Bird Shy Dog

Post by campgsp » Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:13 am

[quote"WillSchultz"]He just seemed really uninterested. if we're walking around the field, he'll just walk on the big trail and kind of just walking ahead, looking for the truck. G[/quote]

Have you had this dog on any real birds? You only mentioned using wing on string. Forget the wing and use quail or pigeons.

Sounds like this pup needs proper intro to birds. He has no idea what you expect of him.
Maybe to much pressure has caused the pup to loose all desire for game and to please you.

Just a thought.

What have you done so far in your training. Any live bird work?

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Re: Bird Shy Dog

Post by birddog1968 » Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:40 am

[quote="Neil"

I think it a leap to think him gunshy, .[/quote]


I don't necessarily disagree with the inexperience assumption....that said there is very little real information here to go on.....

dunno how the gun was intro'd but doesn't sound like it was done with forethought....an assumption from what was written? yes.

"because it didn't run away" means nothing, I've seen dogs respond like this before is all.....dog see's owner with the gun and is intelligent enough to know (or its been done before) that the bird equals BOOM....and it wants no part of making that scary Boom noise. I could be wrong.....
The second kick from a mule is of very little educational value - from Wing and Shot.

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Re: Bird Shy Dog

Post by ezzy333 » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:18 am

I too don't see from what we know that the dog was shot over during this trip or at anytime other than at home, so I doubt if the gun had anything to do with the problem. It does sound like the pup lacks some motivation to get out and explore and the only way to fix that os to get the pup on birds. And I don't care if it is a pheasant or a robin. The gun exposure needs to be put off till the pup is looking for and chasing birds. When you get that accomplished it will be time to worry about the gun but it sounds like that will not be a big problem.

Get him on birds while you keep your silent. Let the pup figure it out at his pace and not yours.

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Re: Bird Shy Dog

Post by birddog1968 » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:27 am

Did you miss it Ezzy, he's already shot over the dog...... and "he doesn't run away" this is the OP's observation that the dog is fine with the gun, I am skeptical,
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Re: Bird Shy Dog

Post by Brazosvalleyvizslas » Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:49 pm

I believe it is "event" shy. It doesn't posses enough prey drive to overcome the gun and the bird. Pheasnt's are horrible to introduce a young dog to because they will spur them and beat the heck out of them with their wings. Start with smaller birds and work up. Use patience and keep the gun away for now. Fun, fun fun is the name of the game right now but the cold hard reality is that some dogs just don't have the drive.

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Re: Bird Shy Dog

Post by ezzy333 » Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:00 pm

birddog1968 wrote:Did you miss it Ezzy, he's already shot over the dog...... and "he doesn't run away" this is the OP's observation that the dog is fine with the gun, I am skeptical,
I didnt miss it but took it he shot over the dog in the yard but not in the field. That is why I don't think there is a problem with the gun and I don't think the pup has had a chance to associate the two. But the current and most pressing problem is a lack of desire for birds and that has to be correcred or we can just forget training any further. With that in mind put the gun away, let the pup have fun in the field, make sure he finds some birds, and while doing all of this keep quiet and let him figure it out. If or when he decides it is fun to find and chase birds we will move to the next step.

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Re: Bird Shy Dog

Post by ezzy333 » Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:11 pm

Brazosvalleyvizslas wrote:I believe it is "event" shy. It doesn't posses enough prey drive to overcome the gun and the bird. Pheasnt's are horrible to introduce a young dog to because they will spur them and beat the heck out of them with their wings. Start with smaller birds and work up. Use patience and keep the gun away for now. Fun, fun fun is the name of the game right now but the cold hard reality is that some dogs just don't have the drive.

I haven't ever seen a puppy catch a pheasant so I have never worried about it. Pheasants are all we have in this country and I am yet to see a puppy that was turned off of hunting by a bird including pheasants. I still remember Rush finding his first bird and when that pheasant flushed he flipped over backwards. But it sure turned him on and he never looked back. Time's first bird was a big rooster and it was shot and she retrieved it. Both dogs had been chasing dickey birds but that was as far as we had gone at the time. I am not saying you should start with pheasants but it doesn't bother me if that is what is available. In any close meeting between a bird and a dog I guess I just always have bet on the dog winning.

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Re: Bird Shy Dog

Post by Brazosvalleyvizslas » Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:21 am

The problem isn't them catching them it's retrieving them. One of mine got a huge gash on his ear a few weeks ago from a large rooster. He's older and didn't care but a puppy would most have cared. There is a reason why we use lock winged pigeons as early introduction to birds.

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Re: Bird Shy Dog

Post by Neil » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:51 am

Ezzy is right, most give advice on what might happen as opposed to what will.

I have never had a pup turned off from a bird encounter. Did have a grown golden lose 2 out of 3 falls to a canada goose, she won the last one. And a had a roster phez flat whip a Boykin. Both held a grudge thereafter, those species were always retrieved dead.

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Re: Bird Shy Dog

Post by ezzy333 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:45 pm

Neil wrote:Ezzy is right, most give advice on what might happen as opposed to what will.

I have never had a pup turned off from a bird encounter. Did have a grown golden lose 2 out of 3 falls to a canada goose, she won the last one. And a had a roster phez flat whip a Boykin. Both held a grudge thereafter, those species were always retrieved dead.
I had the same experience with one of my dogs. Had a broken wing bone run through his cheek but that was the last live bird he ever brought back.

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Re: Bird Shy Dog

Post by Brazosvalleyvizslas » Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:32 pm

You guys are actually proving my point, thanks. I don't want a dog killing the bird, I kill the bird. The dogs job is to retrieve the bird in the condition that he finds it in . I personally have seen young dogs turned off by a bad first experience with birds and it's for this reason that most good trainers that I know start by introducing smaller birds and working up. Since the OP believes the dog is "bird shy" then it Likely had a negative experience. Whether it's the or the bird just means that the dog does not associate finding birds with fun. You can't just stick your head in the sand and say "oh that doesn't happen".

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Re: Bird Shy Dog

Post by WillSchultz » Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:25 pm

Update on my dog Duke. We have tried everything. We got pigeons and planted them in the yard, he runs away. We got chuckers and wrapped them so they couldn't fly, he ran away. When he sees a squirrel, chipmunk or even a deer, he'll chase after it. He'll sit next to you duck hunting and then when you shoot the duck, he'll swim in the water and then swim away. He did grab a chucker in the water once by the wing for a couple of seconds but then right when he got to shore he dropped it and ran away. Sometimes, a dog doesn't have it. Probably going to give him to a friend that just lost his dog to cancer. Thank you for all of the suggestions!

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