chasing birds

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birds
Rank: Junior Hunter
Posts: 58
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:05 pm
Location: montana

chasing birds

Post by birds » Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:28 am

Hi All -
My setter Levon is 7.5 months old. Due to my own two back to back leg injuries last fall I have not been able to be out in the field with him much - my better half has been getting him out to run on the weekends when she has time and there is daylight (unlike weekday evenings, but that's changing:). He otherwise goes on Wonder Lead walks in the neighborhood 2-3 times a day - I can do this. I have also been doing yard work with him 1-2 times everyday and in the yard he whoas and recalls nearly perfectly. He responds to these commands by voice, whistle (recall anyway) hand signal and collar tone/vibrate. But when she gets him into the field (I have to watch forlornly from the truck with binos:() he loses his head completely. Its like you strapped him into the cockpit of a fighter jet - fun to watch, but kind of scary - always seeming on the edge of some sort of catastrophe. We have a nearby training ground that's always good for a few wild bird finds (mostly huns with some sharptails) and he usually pulls off at least one beautiful point or more a trip and holds them until she gets there and flushes - sometimes as long as several minutes - he rarely busts his birds. He has tons of drive (I honestly think he'd chase a flock of migrating geese over the horizon) and she has a hard time reigning him in. He is ranging 100 - 500 or so yards when he is casting about and not chasing birds of whatever species. When chasing he might go .5 mile. I don't want to blunt his drive on birds too much but I am trying to figure out a way to reign him in on basic commands. Other than deer chasing he has not had much intro to the e-collar yet. He is a very sweet dog and one I would not want to lean on too hard. Should I start e-collar intro very gently on the commands and continue to let him chase birds at will? He doesn't give any reason to use the e-collar in the yard, so check cord/e-collar in the field? My impression from these pages is that he will finally figure out he can't catch birds and horned larks are not the name of the game. I have one more surgery to get thru and then I hope to be able to get into the field with him full time in late spring (about the time we have to quit and wait till August). Is that too late to take charge and reign him in? My better half doesn't hunt and is not a firm hand at all (to her overall credit!) so she is no disciplinarian I'm afraid.
As many of you know this is my first bird hound. He will be a hunting dog/pet only and I do not have access to penned birds, just lots of wild ones. Polmaise - be easy on me - I'm crippled :wink:

mask
Rank: 3X Champion
Posts: 500
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:05 am
Location: Idaho

Re: chasing birds

Post by mask » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:40 am

It sounds like you have a keeper with plenty of drive. It may be time to take the chase out and get him to understand he doesn't have to chase flushed birds. I don't think you need to use the shock part of the e collar right now. I hope you have a successful surgery and all works out well for you and yours.

polmaise
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Location: Scotland

Re: chasing birds

Post by polmaise » Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:08 pm

birds wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:28 am
Polmaise - be easy on me - I'm crippled :wink:
lol :)
To be honest ,I think you need to dissect this a little .
1. "My setter Levon is 7.5 months old. "
Transition from yard drills to behaviour in the field is what some Limey's over here call 'Familiarisation and generalisation to the environment'
You can slot this in to the 'Normally does x and normally does y ,and that's just exposure and repetition to x or y , normal behaviour in training any dog ,including a Setter (imo) .
2. "he loses his head completely. Its like you strapped him into the cockpit of a fighter jet - fun to watch, but kind of scary - always seeming on the edge of some sort of catastrophe."
Great Isn't it ! ? ..I don't know the specific ground he is showing on, but I can guess Montana would suit the breed to spread out ,if it got a kint of old man Johnson's farmyard chickens 2 mile away and the wind was in the right direction ? ..Maybe casting the dog initially 'Downwind' will at the very least make it naturally turn back 'In' to wind and back towards your better half ?
3.(I honestly think he'd chase a flock of migrating geese over the horizon)

Chasing something Seen is not hunting neither is it Questing and neither is it doing anything other than chasing !! That's something different .
4."When chasing he might go .5 mile. I don't want to blunt his drive on birds too much but I am trying to figure out a way to reign him in on basic commands."
Using a stop whistle or teaching/training for it is best tool to reduce that chase and the mileage/distance.
5. "Other than deer chasing he has not had much intro to the e-collar yet. "

Not much ? , other than ? ..well tbh , that sounds like some and he has ? ...Deer chasing is Trash breaking ,mentioned earlier Quote !"He responds to these commands by voice, whistle (recall anyway) hand signal and collar tone/vibrate." ..So, it's either e-collar conditioning and a program , or e-collar aversive Trash breaking , or e-collar vibrate to visual and audible marker , kinda confusing for a youngster who is not crippled and can run like the wind ?
6."Should I start e-collar intro very gently on the commands and continue to let him chase birds at will? " I think you should either embark on a collar training program or not .
7."My better half doesn't hunt and is not a firm hand at all (to her overall credit!) so she is no disciplinarian I'm afraid." Some of the best Setters I have seen have been in the softest of hands , and anyway .....being firm is being fair only when the dog chooses not to do what it knows what to do . "It ain't doing anything wrong, It just isn't doing it right,according to some expectations and all this when it is really just a baby at 7.5 months old . Sounds like your better half is doing just fine with the dog , just maybe require a little help , while you get back on your Feet.

shags
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Re: chasing birds

Post by shags » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:36 pm

All my dogs have been trained for recall afield with the ecollar starting at 5-6 months old. We overlay it in the yard, then when they understand, go out running. Just a momentary low-level nick lets them know that I can reach out and touch them whenever, wherever. Saves a lot grief! I'm careful about a couple of things...first, that I'm sure the dog heard me call the first time, and that he's just blowing me off. No fair correcting for a command that wasn't heard in the first place. Second, no nicking unless I can see the pup. You wouldn't want to correct the dog with a nick if he was standing a bird somewhere and you didn't know it. We are flatlanders so in general that's pretty easy, YMMV.

But If your dog responds to whistle, tone or vibrate, why not use them for his field runs?

Part of your problem could be that the dog doesn't respect your wife's commands. Is she willing to do some yard work using what you've instilled, so the dog knows she's on the same page as you?

Something else to think about is to make sure your wife develops a good set of pipes so the dog can hear her commands when she's running him. Soft-spoken folks sometimes think they've ratcheted up the volume to ear-splitting levels, but in reality they only went up a notch on the dial. My DH was like that, and was self-conscious about being loud, but he practiced calling the dogs on their runs until he literally found his voice. IME women sometimes have to be careful about pitch, so help her find the one that carries her voice farthest.

Your pup sounds like a firecracker and I hope you have tons of fun with him.

.

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