Off Season Training

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R.West
Rank: Just A Pup
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 1:45 pm

Off Season Training

Post by R.West » Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:33 am

Just wondering if anyone out there has any suggestions on working with birds during summer months. I have a 1.5 year old wirehair that has started out exceptionally well but it's hard to set around all summer with no bird exposure. We were riding some back dirt roads the other day and flushed 3 different pairs of birds, but I was afraid to send him in the cutover where the landed because of snakes. The very next day I almost ran over a rattle snake in that same area, so I guess I did the right thing. Also was a little concerned about birds possibly nesting. Didn't want to disturb any. Any Ideals? Thanks, R.West

fishvik
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Location: Idaho Falls, ID

Re: Off Season Training

Post by fishvik » Thu Jun 15, 2017 6:45 pm

I usually go out early in the morning and plant some pigeons in some not very good habitat for nesting or brooding. (Usually low vegetation with a camo kick cage so the dogs can't see the pigeon) As for buzztails, I saw one last week, early mornings are best because it is cool and the are a little less active then they are in the evening. Once the sun comes up and starts warming things up I pack up the dogs and go home and maybe do some water work in the afternoon.

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Featherfinder
Rank: 3X Champion
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Re: Off Season Training

Post by Featherfinder » Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:38 am

I like what fishvik suggested however no kick cages or launchers for my dogs unless you are dealing with a specific issue. Dogs know when a bird is in a kick cage. All you teach them is to mind their manners when they smell birds in cages. On-other-words, you also teach them when a bird is NOT in an cage and dogs being the incredible discriminators that they are will likely handle a free bird somewhat differently or with less reliability. Often see this at competitive events.
Or, if-nothing-else, you've introduced yet another training step - one without cages, launchers, tethers, etc.
I don't think dogs need a lot of off-season training - just a couple or three birds now and then. They retain solid training very well typically. Conditioning would take priority for me and you don't need birds for that BUT stay away from those buzz-tails!

fishvik
Rank: 5X Champion
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Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2007 6:48 pm
Location: Idaho Falls, ID

Re: Off Season Training

Post by fishvik » Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:08 am

Featherfinder, I agree condition is the most important thing you do in the summer, water work is great for that. I only use the kick cage, which is actually a small plastic tub with holes and camo painted, when I'm in short cover. Its only a short term thing at this time of year. I don't compete with my dogs and I have never had problems with them on wild birds. I also usually use the attached garden hose and tether approach when I'm flushing birds to keep using the same pigeons. As for buzztails, I have lived and hunted in rattler country for the last 45+ years and the only rattler I've ever come across bird hunting was a western diamondback in W. Kansas in early November. He was so cold he didn't move. We only have prairie rattlers here in Idaho. I train my dogs to avoid all snakes. I don't figure they have the skills to be amateur herpetologists so I want them to leave all of them alone.

Steve007
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Re: Off Season Training

Post by Steve007 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 2:55 pm

Put in ten minutes morning and evening every day on some obedience work with your wirehair. If you're not satisfied with retrieving, it's also a good time for force training. You're just bored and frustrated because you want to work with him, which is good. Work on stuff that will benefit both of you without risking his life or disturbing nesting birds. Work every day, short sessions, twice a day.

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