A pup's first season

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FirearmFan
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A pup's first season

Post by FirearmFan » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:48 pm

So my pup is due to be whelped in about two weeks. That would put him at about 3 months old come the start of hunting season. I was hoping to get him on some wild birds his first season but he will obviously be very young still. My general goal would be to get him out there and let him have fun, use his nose, and try to find some birds. Nothing formal, no real strict training. He is a flusher (springer) so I don't have to worry about shooting birds that aren't pointed. I can work on more formal training next season but I don't want to miss out on opportunities for him to get on wild birds and develop his skills early on. I won't be out there trying to get my bag limit and pressuring the dog but just letting him have fun. What are your thoughts? Is this too early or am I on the right track? Any hints or tips you can recommend?
Last edited by FirearmFan on Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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GWPtyler
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Re: A pup's first season

Post by GWPtyler » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:38 pm

I say go for it if you feel it's ready. I ran my pup at four months and hunted him from September through December. One of the best choices I've ever made.

Just make sure you properly introduce the pup to gunfire, and work on basic obedience in the meantime. Have a dog who recalls well and is somewhat cooperative at a young age can make your time afield much more enjoyable and productive.

LIke you said: keep things low pressure and fun. Don't harp on the dog. Just let it experience fall, guns, other dogs, decoys, grass, water...the whole gamut.

Three months seems a tish young, but you'll be the one who can best make that decision after you've been around the dog for a bit. Socialize the heck out of the dog before fall and all through its life.

You're going to get a lot of different viewpoints on this, but I'm in the mindset that the best way to make a bird dog is through a lot of bird contacts. Get your dog on birds, get it excited about hunting, and if it has the genetics to boot, you'll be on your way to a great gundog.

Good luck!

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jarbo03
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Re: A pup's first season

Post by jarbo03 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:11 pm

I agree. My last lab was born on Aug. 26, shot numerous pheasant over him by the end of the season. He went into the next season already knowing the game.

FirearmFan
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Re: A pup's first season

Post by FirearmFan » Tue Jun 04, 2013 11:15 am

Thanks for the replies. I guess my plan as of now will be to see how he is doing with everything and if I feel he's ready I will give it a shot but definitely take it slow and no pressure.

JWP58
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Re: A pup's first season

Post by JWP58 » Tue Jun 04, 2013 3:35 pm

As long as he's been conditioned to gun fire, why not?? Go for it.

Have low expectations and make it fun..
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FirearmFan
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Re: A pup's first season

Post by FirearmFan » Tue Jun 04, 2013 4:08 pm

JWP58 wrote:As long as he's been conditioned to gun fire, why not?? Go for it.

Have low expectations and make it fun..
Yeah, the plan is to have the pup conditioned to gunfire and birds early on but if there are complications there it could delay things. I don't want to rush anything so we'll just have to go at the best pace for both the dog and myself.

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ROTTnBRITT
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Re: A pup's first season

Post by ROTTnBRITT » Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:23 pm

3 months is awfully young I think. You will have only had the pup for a month. And a week or two of that time is considered the "fear period" of puppy developement. I don't start with gun into until after 12 weeks.
I would take the pup out to find birds but wouldn't be shooting any birds. But depending on the pup it maybe possible. As other have done it.

FirearmFan
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Re: A pup's first season

Post by FirearmFan » Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:37 pm

My breeder said he would help with gun intro sometime around 12wks old. Perhaps early season with no gunfire and maybe if the dog is ready the gun could come out for late season or maybe on a game farm later on.

I knew there would be differing views on this topic and I am interested to hear the different viewpoints. Ultimately I want to do what's best for the dog.

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GWPtyler
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Re: A pup's first season

Post by GWPtyler » Wed Jun 05, 2013 8:34 am

My breeder banged pots and pans together during feeding time to get the pups uses to loud noises. I continued that when Remy came home. His intro to gun went very smoothly. I've heard similar stories from others, as well.

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Re: A pup's first season

Post by 41magsnub » Wed Jun 05, 2013 3:48 pm

The breeder I got my GWP from had his kids shooting gophers near the outdoor puppy kennel so she was exposed to gunfire as soon as they had the dogs outside at all When I brought her home I would whack a wooden spoon on the counter over her food dish once she started eating and she never reacted at all. Introducing progressively bigger and closer gunfire later on was a non-event. She is still a little afraid of thunder and fireworks though, wants to crawl under my bed. :)

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CDN_Cocker
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Re: A pup's first season

Post by CDN_Cocker » Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:33 am

Keep expectations low and have fun. My guy will be 8 months by start of grouse/waterfowl and I plan on using him. However, unless he has a huge jump in maturity between then and now I expect he will be quite scatter brained lol. But I'm not hung up on shooting everything I see. Watching a dog work is the best part of hunting for me, I don't even need a gun. This first season my plan is to just get him into birds and hopefully knock a couple down for him. Next year will be when I get more serious. This one will just be fun and laid back. I don't plan on being the gunner the first couple of times out, I'll let a buddy shoot so I can focus on the pup.
Cass
"If you train a young dog for momentum, precision will arrive. If you train for precision, demanding perfection, momentum will depart." - Rex Carr

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Re: A pup's first season

Post by Winchey » Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:34 am

My latest dog was a mid June pup and we were on wild birds when I got him in August and we were killing wild birds over points that September. Just as others have said keep expectations low, consistency won't be there, hunts have to be kind of short but it is a heck of a good time hunting a 3, 4 5 month old puppy! Have fun with your pup, just be careful with the gun until he is gun broke.

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Wyobio
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Re: A pup's first season

Post by Wyobio » Thu Jun 20, 2013 1:31 pm

3 months is pretty young for actual hunting, I would just be doubly sure you have some control over the dog. My GWP pup was 5 months last year and was well conditioned to gunfire, and some work with pigeons under controlled conditions and on a long lead. She was pretty obediant as well, and always came back to the whistle.

Before the season, I took her out to find some wild sage grouse. She pointed them--then broke on the flush and dissapeared over the horizon (which was very far away)! She eventually came back, but it was a bit unnerving. If it was me, I would take her out and find wild birds with no intention of actually hunting until you see how she reacts...

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Winchey
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Re: A pup's first season

Post by Winchey » Thu Jun 20, 2013 3:24 pm

I don't know how much control you would need out of a 3 month old puppy. I don't know where you guys are getting these 3 month old run offs????

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Re: A pup's first season

Post by Trekmoor » Sat Jun 22, 2013 3:06 am

I have taken young pups out shooting but mainly the pups of the larger breeds than spaniels. You'd maybe have to restrict how far you walked such a young pup, getting it semi-exhausted isn't a good idea. Too much hunting for too long a time span could also have the effect of teaching the pup to "pace" itself........ I don't know if you want that or not. I'd be a bit worried that when you shot pheasant sized birds you could be making problems for yourself with the pups future retrieving. A combination of a large bird proportionally to a young puppy plus the birds loose feathers could easily cause retrieve problems.
This may not matter if you later F.F. the pup , I couldn't really say because I never train F.F.

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Re: A pup's first season

Post by DoubleBarrel GunDogs » Sat Jun 29, 2013 12:22 am

I feel that intro to birds is best done progressively with a lock wing pigeon followed by a clip wing and then a flyer. Once your pup is aggressively chasing birds it is safe to begin to introduce the gun.

To ensure that pup finds birds on his early hunting trips you can get some pen raised quail and plant them for him in light cover. That way he is always successful on each outing, and you can limit the amount of time he works so you don't wear him out. Once he's finding and flushing birds successfully, you can begin to make things more challenging by tossing birds into heavier cover. This will encourage him to learn to aggressively and enthusiastically hunt the thicker brushy cover that you're unable to, and allow him to develop into a valuable hunting partner.

Nate

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tinyriverrat
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Re: A pup's first season

Post by tinyriverrat » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:01 am

I am completely new to the training world. I have a lab pup that is 4.5 mo old ans we intro'd her to gunfire pretty early my 8yo son is a blackbird killing machine, I had her in the back yard and he was in the front shooting blackbirds. She didn't have any shyness toward the shots so I let her keep sniffing her way to the front. Right as we got to the front yard my son shot a blackbird and she saw it fall, she ran to it and has been hooked since 3 mo. If she see's him grabbing the shotgun she's ready to go. I don't know if this is common or not. I do know she will be joining us in the dove field this year!
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Re: A pup's first season

Post by Neil » Sat Jul 20, 2013 7:48 am

tinyriverrat wrote:I am completely new to the training world. I have a lab pup that is 4.5 mo old ans we intro'd her to gunfire pretty early my 8yo son is a blackbird killing machine, I had her in the back yard and he was in the front shooting blackbirds. She didn't have any shyness toward the shots so I let her keep sniffing her way to the front. Right as we got to the front yard my son shot a blackbird and she saw it fall, she ran to it and has been hooked since 3 mo. If she see's him grabbing the shotgun she's ready to go. I don't know if this is common or not. I do know she will be joining us in the dove field this year!
You really need to follow the 3-S's.

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Re: A pup's first season

Post by RoostersMom » Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:08 pm

Neil wrote:
tinyriverrat wrote:I am completely new to the training world. I have a lab pup that is 4.5 mo old ans we intro'd her to gunfire pretty early my 8yo son is a blackbird killing machine, I had her in the back yard and he was in the front shooting blackbirds. She didn't have any shyness toward the shots so I let her keep sniffing her way to the front. Right as we got to the front yard my son shot a blackbird and she saw it fall, she ran to it and has been hooked since 3 mo. If she see's him grabbing the shotgun she's ready to go. I don't know if this is common or not. I do know she will be joining us in the dove field this year!
You really need to follow the 3-S's.

Now Neil, it's not like Blackbirds are a federally protected species under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Ooops, yes they are.

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deke
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Re: A pup's first season

Post by deke » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:39 am

By the time my pup was 3 months old we were planting pheasant and quail for him to flush. By the time he was 7 months he was in South Dakota putting a dent in the pheasant population. We had a springer that hunted with us last year a few times that was really young. At the beginning of the season he just fallowed the big dogs around, but by the end he was putting up birds pretty consistently for a pup.

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