WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

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WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by GUNDOGS » Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:30 am

I could have probably just included this in my training question of ecollar or no ecollar use for training but anyway..I have heard bird dog owners have such differences of opinions when it comes to birds used for training..i will tell you i like pigeons for training a young dog and i like controlled training sessions with the check cord before even takin the pup out on wild birds..but have found myself in a debate many times with folks who say WILD BIRDS, WILD BIRDS AND WILD BIRDS to train a young dog thats starting out..i have been told by many just let a pup (yound dog) flush, chase, bump wild birds and they will learn on their own if they crowd the bird it will flush so dont bother with a check cord and pigeons..my thought has always been dont let a pointing dog get into a habit of flushing birds or thats just creating a bad habit you will have to break them of later...WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A YOUNG DOG STARTING ON BIRDS GO FOR THE PIGEONS IN A CONTROLLED SESSION OR WILD BIRDS AND LET THEM LEARN THEMSELVES?.....ruth
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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by bwjohn » Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:50 am

bird intro with a pen raised bird of some kind, probably not pheasant. But something they can get there mouth on and catch after a short chase.

then go to wild birds for 4-5 times to let him bump and chase, will not be able to crowd birds and will never catch them. Let them chase enough to really get the fever for birds and then stop it.


go to pigeons to control the situations and stop the chasing.


Once you feel that you have them steady, then you go back to the wild birds.


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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by mudhunter » Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:55 am

I'm not a fan of letting a pup run around ripping wild birds either. I like to let them learn to point pen raised birds with a check cord until they allow me to flush. Then take them out and let them learn to find wild birds (woodcock are great for this being that they hold well), then finish the breaking process with pen raised birds, then back to wild birds to proof the dog.

Basically teach with pen raised and reinforce with wild birds, I'm not one of those "wild birds are everything guys", Ive seen too many of those dog not broke at 3-4 years old, but what do I know.

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by RayGubernat » Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:45 pm

Thre are no wild birds of any consequence nearby me, so which method to train is something of a moot point.

However, I have come to believe that it is better ...FOR ME... to install the brakes and the steering before taking the race car out onto the track. I get less wrecks that way.

When they are puppy puppies, I don't think it makes a huge difference, one wayt or the other, if they see a bunch of birds...especially if they are well bred and have the kind of natural desire I like in a dog. BTW I like a dog with a HUGE amount of desire. I can see that if a dog does not have a boatload of desire, bumping and chasing can get that fire burning brightly, but the dogs I tend to favor come out of the chute with more desire to find birds than the next two dogs put together.

Proceeding in a controlled environment until the dog is steady to wing and shot is the way I have chosen to go, because that much desire in a dog will get it into trouble more often than not if it is not cvarefully channeled.

If I had boatload of wild birds at my disposal, I might do some things differently... then again I might not... depending on the dog.

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by tailcrackin » Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:47 pm

I feel the easiest way of teaching foundation work, is in a controlled environment, checkcord control of the dog ......an control of the bird, or knowing exactly where the bird is at. Pen raised birds work very well for these situations. The dogs actions in the start allow it to be taught and learn things in a manner of you and it working together. As the dog proves itself in the situations that we continuously work on, we then advance in the work phases. Then, when the dog shows us everything, continuously, being almost perfect in all the situations we present in a controlled manner, I will start testing what the dog is saying, and set it up for temptation to make mistakes, but will do this slowly and fairly......all I want to accomplish is more trust building between the both of us during work, and during the little bit of freedom I am allowing for the dog to learn an overlay any correction needed.
Wild birds will not allow this easily, along with most times when trying to do this in about any area, you wont have control of the bird and its actions, and will usually lose the dogs momentum by walking around forever with the checkcord.....and possibly not even finding a bird. Dogs dont learn at the house, how to hunt, why teach it there, it is in a totally different ball field, than in the field working. If not why is it everytime its posted on whoa work, it works great at the house on the barrel, but they go to field an dog blows up........because it went from Mans table to the dogs table, and life has now surely changed. Everything happens for a reason. Some dogs are real strong minded and will take owners voice real strong, and some wont.......most of the time it takes time to decifer what an how, by the dogs reactions, the dog is usually slouching pretty badly from the tone of the voice. I dont know, myself with what I try and teach, its alot easier in baby steps, everything I do will overlay to any hunting situation, and bird. Dogs have to be allowed time for the brains to work properly, on the different styles of bird reactions. We just gotta try an do the best we can, with what we have to work with. Thanks Jonesy
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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by tailcrackin » Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:48 pm

Pretty good post Ray, guess we were typing at the same time!! ;) Thanks Jonesy
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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by tommyboy72 » Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:08 pm

I train on wild birds, raise them on wild birds and hunt wild birds. Last summer I did try some pen raised chukar but they are not nearly as effective as wild pheasant and quail. I personally have NEVER EVER EVER had to break a dog from chasing or flushing birds that were trained on wild birds and I have always trained on wild birds. Once the pup matures to the point that they are ready to start locking up and pointing rather than flash pointing they just start pointing rather than flushing and chasing birds. I am normally hunting over a pup by the time they are about 8-9 months old and while they still make mistakes and occasionally will bust a covey or rooster on purpose generally by the end of one season on wild birds they know to point and stay pointing. If you continue to run them on wild birds throughout the year even when not shooting the birds generally by their second season they are really doing well. Unlike some folks on here who are so picky about wild birds because they have to travel to hunt them or because there are so few of them where they live I live in an area where I have access to wild quail and pheasant year round and drive a maximum of about 10 miles to hunt and train on pheasant and 5 to hunt and train on quail so I am a bit more lenient with my dogs when they are young. Why use props like pigeons and pen raised birds to train for wild bird hunting when you can just use wild birds. Some of you may like to be able to control every aspect of training but can you control every aspect of wild bird hunting? I doubt it. The more a dog hunts and trains on wild birds the more diverse scenarios they are exposed to and learn to deal with. Basically in a long way I guess I am saying that wild birds teach a dog to think on their feet and improvise, overcome and adapt as the Marines might say while in my opinion pen raised birds and pigeons in launchers are more robotic.

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by GUNDOGS » Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:12 pm

THANKS for the info, lots to think about..if you do prefer penraised birds is there a certain kind of bird that you prefer besides pigeons?..does anyone put phez or quail scent on pigeons?....ruth
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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by ezzy333 » Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:13 pm

tailcrackin wrote:Pretty good post Ray, guess we were typing at the same time!! ;) Thanks Jonesy

I think both of you hit it right. The native birds can be great teachers but there are so many times we need to work in a controled environment and that includes the birds and that is wher the planted birds and released birds come into play.

My experience is that scent out of a bottle smells like scent out of a bottle and has absolutely no place in a dogs training.

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by tailcrackin » Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:39 pm

Some of you may like to be able to control every aspect of training but can you control every aspect of wild bird hunting? I doubt it.

But if you do the best you can in setting all the work up, an progress as the dog is ready to progress, and not you being ready to progress, everything will work out fine. There will not be any question or unsurity of the corrections in the dogs actions during the hunt and or minor mess up with wild birds.
The more a dog hunts and trains on wild birds the more diverse scenarios they are exposed to and learn to deal with.

Sure, agree, but why make your hunt so hard on both of you? If you take the time to teach .......before putting the dog in a situation it isnt physically, nor mentally ready for, seems like the hunt will be more enjoyable for both of you, right?

If the teacher of the first graders walks into her room in the morning, and the whole class is tossing papers, hooting and hollaring, boys are chasing the girls and playing tag.....how much learning will get done by the kids, with the classroom in that kind of order? Probably not much, (IMO) Thanks Jonesy
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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by birddogger » Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:48 pm

Basically teach with pen raised and reinforce with wild birds, I'm not one of those "wild birds are everything guys", Ive seen too many of those dog not broke at 3-4 years old, but what do I know.
Well said and my thoughts and experience exactly.

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by gonehuntin' » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:35 am

Teach them on launchers, polish them on wild birds. Letting a dog train itself on wild birds is like telling you to go fix the car with no knowledge of how to do it.

I have seen dogs that NEVER stopped chasing birds. Didn't matter how much juice was run through them, or how they were disciplined, they would not stop chasing and were never reliable on point, it they even pointed.

It doesn't always work to let a dog chase wild birds.
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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by tommyboy72 » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:12 am

You guys act like dogs are mentally handicapped or have a learning disability. Dogs learn and they are very intelligent when given the chance to learn. You guys act like you have to teach them every little thing before taking them afield. I am assuming many of you have children and many of those children have traits and personality quirks that they picked up on their own not by learning it from you or relatives or friends just something they started learning and doing on their own. Same way with dogs, given the opportunity and exposure to birds they will also develop their own style rather than the owner/trainer developing it for them. Perhaps some people should learn more from their dogs rather than trying to teach them something that really comes naturally over many generations of breeding and genetics. Take into mind though that these are my dogs. I am not training them for a client. They are mine and I would rather let them develop naturally with a bit of guidance rather than trying to force my way on them just like a truly gifted athlete in football. I also coached college football at one time and the truly good players required very little instruction other than learning the plays. If these were client dogs I might be inclined to teach the way many of you do but the dogs are mine and I have a freezer full of wild pheasant and quail that proves my method works.

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by RayGubernat » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:15 pm

Jonesy - It sure does look like we are on the same page for the most part.

Tommyboy -

My experience has been different than yours.

There was a time when there were plenty of wild birds where I lived and plenty of early release pheasants which are darn near wild after about a week.

I broke 3 dogs to be staunch on those birds. The first one took three seasons of hunting three and four days a week, to be staunch, the second took two and a seasons and the third took nearly threee seasons. Back then I hunted Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and sometimes Sunday.

Each one of those dogs was a heckuva bird dog when we were all done and knew how and where to hunt pheasant, quail and South Jersey grouse. But three seasons is a loooooong time to wait for a dog to get it together. And the dogs were staunch only...not steady to wing and shot. When the bird lifted...the dog was GONE. Taking a dog from staunch to steady can be a fairly big step when the dog has been allowed to chase. When the dog has not been allowed to chase, I have found it is not a significant issue at all.

Doing what I do now, with the same kind of lunatic dog, I can have a dog steady to wing and shot by the time it is a year old and reliably steady to wing and shot by the time the dog is 14-15 months old. I have done it this way the last seven times I have started a pup. It has worked out that way, each of the seven times.

Once the dog is steady to wing and shot, I can hunt the dog, train the dog or trial the dog...anywhere, anytime.

The dog will learn where to hunt how to hunt and all the things it might have learned as a puppy tearing around and ripping birds, but it will learn those things AND be reliably steady to wing and shot.

I believe I will have the same dog in terms of knowing where to hunt and how to hunt either way, but breaking the dog steady to wing and shot early means I can enjoy the dog during the two seasons that it is learning the advanced hunting lessons.

I also focus more on field trialing nowadays. Far too many dogs that get to be two years old before they are broke simply do not have what it takes, in one way or another to be competitive. If you wait until the dog is two to figure out what you hve and ythe dog ain't got what it takes, you have wasted two years and a bunch of money to boot.

I am getting too old to waste that kind of time and I hate wasting money.


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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by RayGubernat » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:42 pm

Tommyboy -

Just to be clear... my dogs learn manners and obedience in the yard and they learn to handle birds the way I want them to.

I cannot begin to teach them how to hunt, where to hunt, etc. Only birds and plenty of hunting experience can do that.

You believe in letting the dog learn to hunt in an unstructured way and then breaking the dog stauch or steady. I believe in letting the birds teach the dog AFTER the dog has a very clear idea of what I expect it to do once it finds them. I find my way much less frustrating and much more fun for me.

I too believe that bird dogs are reasonably smart...even pointers. :lol: :lol: However, I know, and I mean I know conclusively...that dogs have absolutely phenomenal memories for certain things. Memories that will trigger behaviors as long as five years afterward. I have seen it too amny times to doubt the clarity of a dog's memory.

I don't want the dog to have a vivid memory of just how much fun it was to rip that covey in the front of its mind. Heck I don't even want that kind of memory lurking in the BACK of its mind.

I would MUCH rather the dog have a vivid memory of how much fun it was to lock up on and drink in the scent of that pinned covey for ten minutes before I flushed it and the praise and stroking he got from me for standing there like a Marine major until the birds faded from sight. I want the dog's most vivid and lasting memory to be that of a job well and fairly done.

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by nikegundog » Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:11 pm

There was a time when there were plenty of wild birds where I lived and plenty of early release pheasants which are darn near wild after about a week.
Must have a lot better pen raised birds than we have in the Midwest. Pheasants Forever says the mortality rate for pen raised bird is: 1 month 25% remain and the chance they survive the winter less than 5%. After one week they have learned next to nothing.

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by ezzy333 » Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:30 pm

nikegundog wrote:
There was a time when there were plenty of wild birds where I lived and plenty of early release pheasants which are darn near wild after about a week.
Must have a lot better pen raised birds than we have in the Midwest. Pheasants Forever says the mortality rate for pen raised bird is: 1 month 25% remain and the chance they survive the winter less than 5%. After one week they have learned next to nothing.
Mortality rate is somewhere very near 100% but there are a lot of birds that are out for a few weeks. Pa I believe releases birds at the beginning of their season and that is all they release. SD releases a whole bunch and people shoot them and can't tell the released from the natives. A club up near the state line here releases once a week and they hunt those birds all winter. And the preserve I run the dogs on have pheasants around all winter. For a matter of fact I have belonged to several clubs and have never had a bird released or planted except to work a pup on. And once those birds have a few day out like that they respond very much like a native bird.

They won't last for a year but there are a lot that will be there for several months if handled properly and I am in the mid-west. I hate planted birds with a passion but go out in the middle of the week and clean up birds released for the past weekend hunters and you can have some fine hunting and shooting. Towards spring though it is almost impossible to get them to hold for a dog especially the roosters.
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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by nikegundog » Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:55 pm

SD releases a whole bunch and people shoot them and can't tell the released from the natives.
I have hunted in Minnesota and South Dakota for the last 30+ years. I live in MN and am about 50 miles from South Dakota. Yes there are some places in both states that release birds and some people can't tell the difference because they only come out of the city one weekend a year and go to the same place that releases them. The truth is it is easy to tell the difference between them if you are use to hunting them wild. Over the last 20 years stocking pheasant is almost been eliminated (close to me) because the bird population is doing so well. The places you will see still stocking them is the heavily advertised places where their clients just want to fill out in less than a couple hours so they can begin cocktail hour. Those clients can't tell the difference between a stocked bird and a wild one and could care less, so they keep them coming back.

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by ezzy333 » Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:21 pm

nikegundog wrote:
SD releases a whole bunch and people shoot them and can't tell the released from the natives.
I have hunted in Minnesota and South Dakota for the last 30+ years. I live in MN and am about 50 miles from South Dakota. Yes there are some places in both states that release birds and some people can't tell the difference because they only come out of the city one weekend a year and go to the same place that releases them. The truth is it is easy to tell the difference between them if you are use to hunting them wild. Over the last 20 years stocking pheasant is almost been eliminated (close to me) because the bird population is doing so well. The places you will see still stocking them is the heavily advertised places where their clients just want to fill out in less than a couple hours so they can begin cocktail hour. Those clients can't tell the difference between a stocked bird and a wild one and could care less, so they keep them coming back.
Sounds good to me as I never noticed much difference either. Some seem to be a little wilder than others but they all like to run and flush, while some will sit and hold,especially if the weather is a little bad. They all taste the same and the dogs point them all the same. But it always amazed me how many local people up there didn't know they were releasing half of their birds, so I guess I am in good company when I don't see a lot of noticeable difference if they have been out a while and those all were.

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by nikegundog » Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:14 pm

But it always amazed me how many local people up there didn't know they were releasing half of their birds
I wish my post would have been a little clearer, I believe I said some places release birds, meaning the tourist traps stock some birds. The vast majority is a wild population. 8 million birds in the state. Going by your numbers of just about 100% morality rate and half the birds being stocks, that means 4 million stocked birds? I would like to know where you are coming up with these numbers. How many days have you spent pheasant hunting in South Dakota and where are you hunting?

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by thunderhead » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:22 pm

I believe you need a good balance of both planted birds to ensure a more controlled training environment for a productive training session. In addition, you also need the wild birds, as they teach the dogs things that you cannot quite duplicate in the training field using planted birds. At times, I take the dogs off planted birds and work them on woodcock when they are on their way back north. I will also use carded mature wild pigeons. The carded pigeons can be a great training tool when used in the right conditions. Wild pigeons act like a wild bird and are flighty because they are a wild bird.
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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by gonehuntin' » Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:17 am

Just for everyone's information, South Dakota DOES NOT release any birds and HAS NOT for many years. The Shooting Preserves and Pay to Shoot operations are required too. Some of the largest of these that have thousands of acres release as many as 15,000 birds a year.

I have checked into this pretty extensively and even contacted the SD fish and game for verification.

The State Releases No Birds In SD.

This does not mean you are not shooting pen raised birds if you hunt in the vicinity of these operations.
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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by ezzy333 » Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:44 am

gonehuntin' wrote:Just for everyone's information, South Dakota DOES NOT release any birds and HAS NOT for many years. The Shooting Preserves and Pay to Shoot operations are required too. Some of the largest of these that have thousands of acres release as many as 15,000 birds a year.

I have checked into this pretty extensively and even contacted the SD fish and game for verification.

The State Releases No Birds In SD.

This does not mean you are not shooting pen raised birds if you hunt in the vicinity of these operations.
Exactly what I found out too a couple of years ago. The state had quit a few years ago but no one seemed aware that previously a lot of the birds were released. Now as you say some of the commercial operations are releasing a lot of them.

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by RayGubernat » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:42 am

Guys -

I agree that the mortality rate on stocked birds, even pheasant, is high. So what?

The bottom line is that, with pheasants, if they survive for a week or two and have had any kind of hunting pressure, they learn to run first and THEN flush if they are pressured.

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by nikegundog » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:46 am

But it always amazed me how many local people up there didn't know they were releasing half of their birds
Released bird count for less than 5% of the bird population in the state and all pen raised pheasants have to be marked in South Dakota. So if you come hunting here and avoid Huron, Aberdeen, Mitchell area your probably going 100% wild birds. If you shoot a pheasant and see that its toes are slipped find another place to hunt.

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by Ryman Gun Dog » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:00 am

GUNDOGS,
Ruth there are many different ways to train and sometimes this depends on just where you the trainer/owner are located, and your state game laws.
Here in the mountains of Pa we have enough wild Grouse, and the laws are such that we a can train our dogs on wild birds, then final finish with planted /released
training birds, with or with out launchers. The important thing is to pick a training method that suits your location and state laws and stick to it. We like to use the wild Grouse to train about 80% of the time, however in many owner/trainers locations this is not possible, so training must be done with planted birds, then when hunting the dog must further edcate itself on wild birds.
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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by GUNDOGS » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:31 am

Ryman Gun Dog wrote:GUNDOGS,
Ruth there are many different ways to train and sometimes this depends on just where you the trainer/owner are located, and your state game laws.
Here in the mountains of Pa we have enough wild Grouse, and the laws are such that we a can train our dogs on wild birds, then final finish with planted /released
training birds, with or with out launchers. The important thing is to pick a training method that suits your location and state laws and stick to it. We like to use the wild Grouse to train about 80% of the time, however in many owner/trainers locations this is not possible, so training must be done with planted birds, then when hunting the dog must further edcate itself on wild birds.
RGD/Dave
Ryman gun dog,
Dave thanks for the info..we are located in ontario canada..near the u.s border to michigan...some canadians might disagree with me but i doubt it when i say WE DONT HAVE WILD BIRDS :lol: ...no joke..unfortunately farmers in this area plow their fields with one wheel hangin in the ditch and leave no cover for wild birds..there is no provincial land to hunt within hours of us, we dont have CRP in canada, its all private land and those people post no hunting and dont support hunting..also the only wild bird that was ever around this area were pheasants..we have to drive at least 2 hours north or more to find ANY cover with birds or travel about 2 to 3 hours to places in michigan..thats part of the reason if not most of the reason we put an offer on some acreage about 5 hours north of where we are so we can access birds with less road time..we dont mind travelling but on days you just want to run the dogs sometimes you dont want to drive all day!! ...ruth
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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by ISAYWHOANOW » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:52 pm

I only use wild birds. I know there are lots of areas in the states that don't have wild birds in the numbers its takes to make a true wild bird dog.
1. What age of dog are we talking about? All dogs progress different. You have to be able to read the dog. Thats not a breed specific statement. Its a litter to litter thing. No matter the breed.

2. Lets talk bumping and chasing? You need to know how to read the dog. Some can be hard heads and need the breaks put on. Others you can tell are just learning. If you have a pup out in the wild consistently finding and bumping and running wild birds??? Well its time to fix that problem... The occasional bump happens.. Its a wild situation.

3. As far as pen raised birds and training? I'd take up fishing or coloring. Because i love the wild and my dogs running in it to produce the fruits of natural selection. So i am of no use there. Cords and pigeons doesn't sound like my cup of tea. ( I mean no harm either. I just won't do it.)

Thanks, Ryan.

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by wes_gsp » Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:28 pm

Here is the big advantage to pen raised bird IMO. Pen raised birds are always where you want them when you want them. Wild birds...even if they are there, if you are working with a young dog with little experience with birds you may not find them. Just because they are pen raised birds doesn't mean they cannot be "wild". There are many great methods for creating wild training birds. As for pigeons, I do not like using them for young dogs. They either need to be put to sleep, restrained or in a cage. They work great however for a dog that holds a point but needs to be broke to wing and shot. I don't think we are talking about hunting pen raised birds vs. wild birds...We are talking about training with them. As for me I like to use any resources available to me...Even people with homegrown potatoes use a little salt.

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by Ryman Gun Dog » Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:25 pm

GunDogs,
Ruth I take it you are moving with the purchase of this land 5 hrs from your present location. I also have a mountain log cabin home and training facility over 5 hrs from our big home just oustide of Pittsburgh, Pa. I spend a lot more time in Potter/Tioga County up in the mountains than I do at the Churchill home, can't get my better half to
relocate away from Pittsburgh, Pa although she is retired she still plays in the Symphony and is also on the board of directors. I hope you are planning to fully relocated if you purchase the land you are looking at, I spend massive time at our northern tier property & home, where I have plenty of wild Grouse to train dogs on. Running back and forth can be a big hastlement however, and with the gas so expensive, costly also. Having wild Grouse right in my front yard is a very big plus when training, especially pups where I can just let them out in the forest, to play in the habitat they will eventually hunt, and they can actually scent and point Grouse inside the PetSafe invisible fence area, without me having to watch them evey moment. Its a great way for the pups to adapt to their hunting environment while simply play training.
Hope you are able to purchase the land you are looking at, it sounds great. My brother Kurt hunts and trains in the Elk Lake area of Canada most every year, lots of Grouse and Woodcock in that area to train dogs on. Hope the area you are looking at purchasing has a similar wild bird population.

RGD/Dave

Heston pointing his 1st Grouse, at 12 weeks at the far end of the big log, on our forest property, as he plays inside the PetSafe yard fence.

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by 4dabirds » Wed Feb 02, 2011 5:43 pm

if one dog in a thousand learns that by chasing birds he can make them fly and thats enough for him to get his jollies. Would you want to take that chance with your dog? Do you think that any one with that experience is going on gun dog forum and saying they failed. I think you are only going to hear about the successful ones. Stick with your intuition it usually serves you best.

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by GUNDOGS » Wed Feb 02, 2011 5:44 pm

Ryman gun dog,
Dave..yes we are planning on totally relocating..i know where Elk Lake is its about 10 hours from where i live now!! Very nice area up there..where we will hopefully be moving we will be about 5 hours towards Elk Lake so hopefully more wild birds like you said :D ..i agree i wouldnt want to travel that distance often either...we would love to readily have access to wild birds especially wood cock and grouse..i appreciate all the info, i mean the way i see it is if i take a little from everything people say on here i can be a better trainer/owner/handler for my dogs so i really do read every bit from everyone on here and take some from each person..thanks :D ....ruth
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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by GUNDOGS » Wed Feb 02, 2011 5:51 pm

4dabirds wrote:if one dog in a thousand learns that by chasing birds he can make them fly and thats enough for him to get his jollies. Would you want to take that chance with your dog? Do you think that any one with that experience is going on gun dog forum and saying they failed. I think you are only going to hear about the successful ones. Stick with your intuition it usually serves you best.
Well said..i see your point!! you are right about intuition :mrgreen: ...thanks so much...ruth
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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by ezzy333 » Wed Feb 02, 2011 6:12 pm

GUNDOGS wrote:
4dabirds wrote:if one dog in a thousand learns that by chasing birds he can make them fly and thats enough for him to get his jollies. Would you want to take that chance with your dog? Do you think that any one with that experience is going on gun dog forum and saying they failed. I think you are only going to hear about the successful ones. Stick with your intuition it usually serves you best.
Well said..i see your point!! you are right about intuition :mrgreen: ...thanks so much...ruth
Probably the best dog I have ever raised was so prey driven he just could not hold a point for long. He would have run through a brick wall if he knew there were birds on the other side. We were hunting an abandoned old farm stead and there were birds in the overgrown trees around the old house and we flushed a covey of quail up that way. Got up near the old house and Tig disappeared. Saw him a couple of minutes later in an upstairs window looking into those trees. Think he was standing on point but couldn't really tell but either way he decided he could get to the birds if he jumped to the tree and of course that is exactly what he did. Hit the ground and took a few seconds to get everything together and took off after the birds. Despite all the work I could not ever count on him holding point for long. He was am example of a dog that had everything you want in a dog but couldn't ever get control of the prey drive to find and hold the native birds. And he saw a lot of them. Wish I had the pigeons when he was young. But he was the main reason I ended up getting them but was just too late for Tig.

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by GUNDOGS » Wed Feb 02, 2011 6:45 pm

Ezzy, you are another one who should put all of your stories of experiences together and write a book..i dont mean to sound corny but when i hear stories like that i can picture it and want to hear more..theres a few other people on here that have done and seen so much and have so much insight to share!! i bet that dog taught you alot, that seems to be what is happening here isnt it we think were teaching these dogs but they are teaching us so we can be a better student for the next dog :D ....ruth
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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by Vonzeppelinkennels » Wed Feb 02, 2011 6:49 pm

Ruth that is agreed my first Bird dog which happened to be a GSP taught me way more then I ever taught her. :D

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by gonehuntin' » Thu Feb 03, 2011 6:13 am

Ezzy, one of my last Setters was just like your Tig. I was unmerciful with that dog. He had enough electricity run through him to light up Chicago, and this dog was hammered like this from a pup! That's why I caution people not to rely on wild birds with no yard birds. It works for some dogs will NOT work for others.
I can just picture that "bleep" Tig standing in that window looking at the tree! :lol: :lol:
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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by ezzy333 » Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:56 am

gonehuntin' wrote:Ezzy, one of my last Setters was just like your Tig. I was unmerciful with that dog. He had enough electricity run through him to light up Chicago, and this dog was hammered like this from a pup! That's why I caution people not to rely on wild birds with no yard birds. It works for some dogs will NOT work for others.
I can just picture that "bleep" Tig standing in that window looking at the tree! :lol: :lol:
I think or at least hope as we get older and have more experience we get smarter. That why I get concerned when so many younger people just won't listen till they have the same problems we have encountered and figured out what to do about them. Can't tell you how many dogs I have had that were trained just like Tommy swears is he only way or how many pups have been tained without e-collars just like Ruth and several others are wanting to do, but we finally find that there are better ways. Wonder how far advanced the human race could be if each generation could listen and start where the older generation leaves off rather than go back to square one each time.

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by Winchey » Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:17 am

I know exactly what you are saying. It frustrates the heck out of me when people who know less than me won't listen to reason when it comes to dog training and things that I have gone through and found out the hardway already. Sure those people are few and far between because I really have little experience myself. Although this frustrates me, I still do the same thing with people who know more than I do. It seems I have to do everything my own way, fail or succeed before I really know or admit anything. I guess I just have to learn on my own, poor dogs, haha.

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by Redfishkilla » Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:36 am

Thanks for that story, Ezzy. That's the second dog I've heard of that had too much drive to train. The other dog was a direct son of Nolan's Last Bullet, was Trig? I've seen other NLB dogs that were trainable so I don't know if it was this dog's dam or a fluke or what. The dog I heard of would also get itself dirty in it's kennel, which I thought was somewhat weird. A dog like that sounds very frustrating to me. Never heard of dog using a house but I have seen a brittany pointing from 10 foot high in a big oak tree.
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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by gonehuntin' » Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:00 pm

ezzy333 wrote:
I think or at least hope as we get older and have more experience we get smarter. That why I get concerned when so many younger people just won't listen till they have the same problems we have encountered and figured out what to do about them. Can't tell you how many dogs I have had that were trained just like Tommy swears is he only way or how many pups have been tained without e-collars just like Ruth and several others are wanting to do, but we finally find that there are better ways. Wonder how far advanced the human race could be if each generation could listen and start where the older generation leaves off rather than go back to square one each time.

Ezzy
These methods we use today have been developed over many, many, years and they have been developed for several reasons: They are faster. They are more humane. They are safer. They put less stress on both you and the dog.

People are always trying to reinvent the wheel and in this case, it is NOT a good idea. I'm still chuckling about the dog in the window.
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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by birddogger » Thu Feb 03, 2011 4:52 pm

I too, learned years ago that nothing but wild birds doesn't always work. As has been mentioned, some dogs would never be broke if all they saw were wild birds.

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by tommyboy72 » Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:26 pm

Sometimes the old ways are the best ways Ezzy.
Sometimes whuppins are better than timeouts and ridalan and prozac.
Sometimes there are just hard headed bad kids and not ADD or ADHD or Bi Polar kids and they just need their butts kicked and not counseling and therapy.
Sometimes there are no such things as torn MCL's and ACL's with pro athletes there are just twisted and bruised knees.
Sometimes we do need prayer in schools.
Sometimes we need an America for Americans and by Americans and not every other dang blasted nationality and ethnic and religious group. We just all need to be Americans.
Sometimes we need corporal punishment back in schools.
Not all old ways are the best but some of them worked pretty darn well for a lot of years Ezzy so maybe you should think before you are so ready to forget the old ways and move on into the future. That was just a few on my mind. Don't get me started on bringing back Native American values, traditions, and customs. I could go on forever. :D

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by ezzy333 » Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:51 pm

Tommy I agree with you on everyone of you points but have no idea how or what that has to do with what we are discussing. Everyone admits your way will work most of the time because we have tried it and it worked. We also have found some tools that make the old ways faster and better so we have grown enough to use them. How do we know they work? Because the dogs that have been trained with the newer methods compete very well with the dogs trained without them. Makes no difference to the dog but does make it a lot easier on both the trainer and the dog. We learned it from experience but that doesn't say we don't think the way we did it for years doesn't work. It just that we found a method that does the same thing easier and quicker.

And no one says for you to change your methods but we do know a better way if you ever dicide you need to change.

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by redman25 » Fri Feb 04, 2011 5:49 am

I began training my first pointing dog (GSP) this year as well. I started him on a few pigeons from a launcher and then maybe 15 quail from the launcher as well. A few birds per session and with the pup on a checkcord the entire time. I then turned him loose on woodcock and even though he had performed perfectly almost from the beginning on the training set ups, he ripped right through the first 5 or so doodles that he got wind of. That being said, he quickly got tired of that, the training kicked in and the light bulb came on :idea: , and at 6 months old he's making me proud.

In short, teach him what you EXPECT him to do on the checkcord with controlled birds, and then let him learn the rest on the wild birds. It will shorten the learning curve........

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by GUNDOGS » Fri Feb 04, 2011 7:19 am

redman25 wrote:I began training my first pointing dog (GSP) this year as well. I started him on a few pigeons from a launcher and then maybe 15 quail from the launcher as well. A few birds per session and with the pup on a checkcord the entire time. I then turned him loose on woodcock and even though he had performed perfectly almost from the beginning on the training set ups, he ripped right through the first 5 or so doodles that he got wind of. That being said, he quickly got tired of that, the training kicked in and the light bulb came on :idea: , and at 6 months old he's making me proud.

In short, teach him what you EXPECT him to do on the checkcord with controlled birds, and then let him learn the rest on the wild birds. It will shorten the learning curve........
Makes perfect sense REDMAN25..thanks...ruth :D
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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by GUNDOGS » Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:25 am

tommyboy72 wrote:I train on wild birds, raise them on wild birds and hunt wild birds. Last summer I did try some pen raised chukar but they are not nearly as effective as wild pheasant and quail. I personally have NEVER EVER EVER had to break a dog from chasing or flushing birds that were trained on wild birds and I have always trained on wild birds. Once the pup matures to the point that they are ready to start locking up and pointing rather than flash pointing they just start pointing rather than flushing and chasing birds. I am normally hunting over a pup by the time they are about 8-9 months old and while they still make mistakes and occasionally will bust a covey or rooster on purpose generally by the end of one season on wild birds they know to point and stay pointing. If you continue to run them on wild birds throughout the year even when not shooting the birds generally by their second season they are really doing well. Unlike some folks on here who are so picky about wild birds because they have to travel to hunt them or because there are so few of them where they live I live in an area where I have access to wild quail and pheasant year round and drive a maximum of about 10 miles to hunt and train on pheasant and 5 to hunt and train on quail so I am a bit more lenient with my dogs when they are young. Why use props like pigeons and pen raised birds to train for wild bird hunting when you can just use wild birds. Some of you may like to be able to control every aspect of training but can you control every aspect of wild bird hunting? I doubt it. The more a dog hunts and trains on wild birds the more diverse scenarios they are exposed to and learn to deal with. Basically in a long way I guess I am saying that wild birds teach a dog to think on their feet and improvise, overcome and adapt as the Marines might say while in my opinion pen raised birds and pigeons in launchers are more robotic.
Tommyboy72..i dont have access to wild birds like you do as of now but we may be moving where we will have lots of access so i am still interested in your way of training just as much as i am of people who (like me) use pigeons..i want to make sure i understand correctly..you obviously do yard work for obedience right?..but dont use planted/penraised birds?..so do you work on obedience and commands while in the field on the wild birds?.. correcting while on the wild birds as you go?..now to throw another debated question ive had at ya do you use an ecollar on the dogs? i know you said launchers seem robotic so if you could, can you take me threw a general lesson on starting your pup on birds and methods as well as equipment if any?..i am new to the forum so besides the above post im not familiar with how you train..thanks..ruth :mrgreen:
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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by tommyboy72 » Fri Feb 04, 2011 1:34 pm

Yes I do use an ecollar. Most of the time the main command that I teach is "come" that is overlaid with the whistle and enforced with the ecollar very strictly. When I take a pup to the field usually by 6 months I can rely on them to come when I whistle for them and if not they will get a stimulation and return thereafter. If they bump birds so what they are learning and will not continue to bump birds forever. It may take them 4 or 5 maybe even 10 times to start pointing and locking birds. If they want to chase wild birds that are bumped let them chase the first couple of times till they get out about 100 yards or so and then blow the whistle and if they don't return then stimulate them and they will return. After a few times if they bump birds then as soon as they bump birds and you see they want to chase hit the whistle right then and they will end the chase immediately or stimulate them. Soon even if they bump they will be steady on flush meaning if they bump a bird they will just stand and watch the bird fly away. Soon after this they will be pointing birds and if they are not and it is season go ahead and shoot some bumped birds for them. Oh God I know I just told you to commit a cardinal sin. Don't worry shooting bumped birds for them gets a bird in their mouth and gets them excited about the process and most of the time after you shoot a bird whether it be pointed or shot over them they usually put the entire process together and will start locking up birds. Shooting birds over them all depends of if you have done your firearm proofing beforehand. I usually start with serious training at about 6 months and am usually hunting over a dog by about 8 or 9 months and by the end of their first season they are usually coming along really well with a few bumps still in the road to give you something to work on in the offseason. For instance my male pointer is just now a year old on January 30th. I took him dove hunting back in September at 7 months and he retrieved every dove I shot for our 2 month season the only challenge was to get him to stay near me while we were waiting on dove to fly in. I started him quail hunting in November and pheasant hunting in December. He is already locking and holding pheasant from about 15-20 yards back like a seasoned dog. Quail, well we are still working on that. He points them but from about 5-10 yards away and sometimes he wants to creep on them and that pressures the birds and they will bust. That could have to do with his age, it could be the type of quail we are hunting, blues leave less scent than any other gamebird, it could have to do with our extremely dry conditions. I don't break my dogs steady to wing and shot because here if you shoot a wild pheasant and hit it poorly you want a dog on it immediately in the really thick CRP I hunt and if you can knock down a quail here you want a dog on it immediately because the areas I hunt more like high desert than anything and the quail blend in perfectly with the terrain and it is thick so when a bird goes down you can spend 10 minutes letting a steady dog look for it because of poor scenting conditions or you can have a dog on them immediately that is not broke steady to wing and shot. Try reading the book The Instinctive Method by Ben O. Williams it gives a lot of good insight to training the way I do. I do not think this is the only way to train contrary to popular belief I just believe it is the best way to train for hunting wild birds. If you want to hunt pen raised birds on a preserve and trial I am sure there are many wonderful ways to train. This is just the best way for me. And believe me if you can train on wild birds where I live you can do it anywhere. We live right on the dry line here and catch very very little rain or snowfall during the year and are one of the driest placest in the nation.

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by Coveyrise64 » Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:26 pm

Good summary Tom, pretty much how I would do it if I had access to wild birds like the old days. Because of the decline in birds I've had to resort to launchers and homing pigeons, transition to pen raised game birds, and then hunt the dogs as much and often as possible so they learn how to handle the wild ones.

Launchers are some what robotic but when used properly they can be as close to a wild bird situations as the real thing. If you let the bird teach the dog it doesn't make much difference if it's the real deal or not, you just have to be resourceful enough to have plenty of birds on hand. Yard break the pups to "Here" and then put'em on the ground with multiple launchers out, no check cord. Treat every encounter like a wild bird find and let the dog handle it accordingly. If it's wrong the bird is gone, the reason for good flying birds that don't come back down to the ground. After few chases, they've started learning they can't catch the bird and will start standing to the flush. When they start doing things right I'll even shoot a bird every once in a while. The key is not setting every situation up the same like you would when check cording, nothing is ever the same with wild birds. I've even run two pups at the same time, if one points and the other fails to honor the bird is gone, start fostering that backing instinct early on and it comes together easier for them later on. Lots of possiblities with launchers if used properly. Hopefully I can make it your way soon for a hunt or just do some training, maybe you can show this old dog some new tricks...... 8)

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Re: WILD BIRD OR PIGEONS FOR TRAINING?..

Post by tommyboy72 » Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:22 pm

Whenever you can make it out Coveyrise you are more than welcome to come out and run dogs with me. Maybe you can teach me some things to add to my training program that will supplement the wild bird training as well. I am open to new and innovative approaches and I don't want anyone to think my way is the only way or the best way it is just my way and always will be as long as I have access to wild birds but anything that I could do better or different along with what I am already doing would be greatly appreciated. Hope to see you soon. And how is the grandbaby coming doing?

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