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Shooting Birds over young dog and whoa breaking

Shooting Birds over young dog and whoa breaking

Postby Mr. Crappie » Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:00 pm

I know there is some controversy regarding this topic, but thought I would see what everyone else felt about it. I have a 8 month old pointer that is doing pretty well with "come, kennel, and retrieving", but just got back from leaving her with a friend while I was on vacation who said he thought it was time to start whoa breaking her. I have often heard the rule of thumb is not until they are 1 year old. What are your thoughts about that, AND when do you decided to start shooting birds over them. I had her on some pigeons at 4 months. She pointed every one, but wanted to creep on in. We let them fly off and she chased them. She really likes birds!! She has been shot over several times with a blank gun.

It has been over nine years since I broke a dog. I am not a field trialer, just a plain old wild bird hunter.
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Re: Shooting Birds over young dog and whoa breaking

Postby gonehuntin' » Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:59 pm

Sounds like you have a fine young dog. I actually start whoa breaking mine by using the feed dish, (whoaing them and not letting them eat until I say OK) and whoaing them as they go out a door. These are puppy games and no pressure is put on them.

When I start working birds, I'll start with birds in a trap. If they point and hold, fine. I'll then flush the bird and let them chase a SHORT distance. If they creep as yours does, and popping a launcher doesn't stop them, I put them on a cc and whoa them on the bird to show them what I want. I'll whoa the dog on the cc, then move him back to where he pointed, then crept, admonishing him with a stern whoa as I set him down.

Once he is doing this, the launchers take over again, letting them teach the dog. At about a year I take the dog off the cc and collar condion him.

Some dogs have more pointing instinct than others. Some lock up from 3-4 months on, some still don't at a year. I am not afraid to put pressure on a hard driving pup around birds to show them what I want. I want to be hunting that pup at 12 months and I don't want to do it with a cc on him. I don't want to have to verbally whoa him into a bird, and in fact won't do it. The birds take over as the teacher.

Now at 12 months I'll let the wild birds take over and teach him. I've done my job, showed him what I expected and wanted, now I'll see how he does on his own. If at any time he exhibits a total disregard for the point, I'll use the collar to stop him. He will have been thoroughly conditioned on it before this occurs.

So yes, I agree with your friend. Time to stop the creeping.
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Re: Shooting Birds over young dog and whoa breaking

Postby Mr. Crappie » Tue Jul 14, 2009 4:59 pm

That sounds like a good plan. I whoa broke my last dog using the Perfection Kennel method which utilizes a choke chain and lead. The whoa actually progresses from a "heel" to the "whoa". What about when is the right time to start shooting a bord over them?
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Re: Shooting Birds over young dog and whoa breaking

Postby topher40 » Tue Jul 14, 2009 5:03 pm

The right time to shoot birds over them is when they handle a bird properly. :wink:
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Re: Shooting Birds over young dog and whoa breaking

Postby RayGubernat » Tue Jul 14, 2009 6:55 pm

Mr. C -

There is very little I can add to what you have just been told. If the dog is standing its birds, it is time to get it staunch or steady, however fr you wish to take it.

For what it is worth, I hyad a pointer that was standing its birds by the time it was eight months old. I trained the dog to be staunch, which is to hold point until the bird takes flight. I was killing birds over that dog in a hunting scenario when he was 10 months old. My last four pointers were brought along with heel/whoa drills and prong collar checkcord work. They showed me they were ready to proceed with the breaking process at ages of from 9 - 11 months. When they stand a bird for any length of time and especially if they do not break as you walk in front of them...they are ready.

So it is very possible that your youngster is ready for the next step in his training.

I go at it a little different than gonehuntin' mostly because there ain't no wild birds where I am, but honestly,,,not all that different. He has steadied a whole bunch more birds than me, so I am sure you will have no problem following his method.

RayG
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Re: Shooting Birds over young dog and whoa breaking

Postby Mr. Crappie » Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:35 pm

RayG,
Thanks for the added input. I went ahead and started the whoa training tonight. Kept it pretty easy and for not too long. Of course, at first she fought the collar and cord, but after a few minutes she was getting the hang of it. I am going to take my time with her and try to make it fun for her after we're finished with each session. For her first time .....not too bad.
I have really been "hands on with this pup" (spending LOTS of time with her) and she handles very well for a pup. She seems to be pretty smart and after my buddy told me last night that he thought she was ready I decided to go for it.

Thanks for the advice and I will let you know how things go..

Brent
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