No wings on a string ...?

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benelli
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No wings on a string ...?

Post by benelli » Sat May 05, 2012 4:55 am

My husband and I will be picking up our first GSP puppy in a few weeks and we'd read Richard Wolters' books Game Dog and Gun Dog, which advocate using wings as a "bird substitute" for some of the training, but then on this forum nobody seems to have anything good to say about that technique. But the suggestion to "build a nice little coop and just keep some pigeons on hand" isn't an option for us; we're moving to Edwards AFB in the Mojave right before picking up the puppy, and we won't be able to keep pigeons in base housing.

I've done a lot of Google searching and haven't had much luck coming across hunting dog groups that will be near us (I know there are a lot within a 4-5 hour drive, but not too surprisingly, not much in the middle of the desert).

So ... given that we can't just keep our own live birds, what are some other options? We should be able to drive a bit on weekends to places with real birds, hopefully, although certainly not every weekend. We're trying to do this on a budget - we know we're not going to have the absolute finest hunting dog there is, and we're okay with that. Is there anybody on this forum who is out in that area? As in, within at most 2-3 hours of Edwards (hopefully less)?

Thanks!

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Re: No wings on a string ...?

Post by kninebirddog » Sat May 05, 2012 8:02 am

There are far better training books and videos out there then Wolters

Maurice Lindley has a great one that has come out called Training with Mo by Martha Greenlee.

Even look up some seminars...I like the Rick and Ronnie Smith seminars there is one near the end of May which isn't posted on the huntsmith web page yet..but can get you info sure a little pricey but when it comes to training and getting some hands on the price is very well worth it

also Maybe look up the German Shorthair club I know there are a couple clubs at least in the California area..

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Re: No wings on a string ...?

Post by DonF » Sat May 05, 2012 8:21 am

I have no idea how wolter's book got so popular. I don't know one advanced or pro trainer that will recomend it. Wings on a string have had bad press a whole lot. But even a lot those that discourage it, just can't help but try it! But just don't over do it. Isn't Edwards near Barstow? If so, I know there's a guy on one of these dog sites from Hespira, that's not to far. Then your pretty close to the San Bernardino area and I'm sure there clubs around there. I'm sure there's a Brittany club near you and they might not be to offended to let a shorthair person in.

edit:
Your between 4 corners and Mojave. The landcaster and Palmdale area is another area to look into.
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Re: No wings on a string ...?

Post by ultracarry » Sat May 05, 2012 8:42 am

There aren't too many (if any clubs) within an hour and a half to two hours. But you do have some kennels out that way... You have Ellis Hallmark (hallmark kennel) who does one on one training sessions and within an hour drive.

If your on base you prob can get some kill birds and use them for training... There is a lot of wild birds out by you also. Just have to find the spots.

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Re: No wings on a string ...?

Post by SetterNut » Sat May 05, 2012 11:00 am

I highly recommend "Training with Mo" it is a much better method of training IMO than Wolters book.

A wing on a string is not substitute for birds. There is actually no substitute for birds.
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benelli
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Re: No wings on a string ...?

Post by benelli » Sat May 05, 2012 3:50 pm

Thanks for all the input - I'm looking into getting the Training with Mo book to help me get a better grasp of what I need to plan on doing.

One follow-up question, and I hope this doesn't come across the wrong way: with work and kids and everything, having a perfect hunting dog is not our top priority - what we're looking for is a good family dog that is fun to take out hunting and is an asset to have along, even if he's fairly "basic." What is a normal amount of time you would anticipate having to give your young dog with real birds to get that sort of result? I'm not saying we would do the bare minimum, I just don't have any frame of reference ... are all of you practicing on live birds multiple times a week? A weekend or two a month?

Also, are there any opinions, positive or negative, about Wolters' approach to retriever training? Are there any other references we should look at for better techniques for that area?

Thanks again for taking the time to answer my newbie questions - digging around on this forum has been very helpful.

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Re: No wings on a string ...?

Post by SetterNut » Sat May 05, 2012 5:44 pm

The amount of time you spend training a dog depends on the dog and your consistancy in training. I like to take mine out a couple times a week in the field. Many people take the dogs out more, but most actually do less.

The more you can get out with the dog the better. But its not like this is something you have to do every day, birds that is.
You have a pup and the more time you spend with the pup the better, In the house, going for walks, exposing the pup to other people and dogs, the more the better.

Getting the dog enough exercise is very important. It makes everything else easier, in the house and in the field. That time on walks and when you let the dog run are all times where can do a little training. Things like staying to the front, here, come, ....
If you can let the pup run in places where it will find a few birds all the better.

You can also catch wild pigeon. Old buildings, barns. highway overpasses are good places to look. You can catch and they will live for several days with a littel food and water in an old dog crate or chicken coop.

One thing to remember is many of us on these BB are training dogs well beyond what you have to do to have a dog that is suitable for weekend hunting. If your dog will come when called and will point until you get there to shoot, you can have fun with hunting.

But it is pretty nice to have a well trained dog, and the training is fun, for you and the pup.

Good luck, have patient with the pup. You have to show them what you want, before you can expect them to do it. Remember, they don't speak english, or german for that matter :D


If you read the book, you will see this is not rocket science.
Steve

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Re: No wings on a string ...?

Post by phoneman45 » Sun May 06, 2012 10:30 pm

Benelli,

The wing on a string technique is very valuable when looking to pick a pup from a litter. It is a good tool to determine pointing instinct in a young pup. After a few weeks though it is best to drop it as it can encourage some pups to grow into sight pointers that will begin crowding birds. As for Wolters books I own most of his but not many on this forum seem to care much for his techniques though they were used by thousands of weekend bird hunters since the 60's. He was primarily a retriever man and his training methods developed more than one FC Lab. If I were in the market for a Lab (and may be soon) I would pull my copy of Waterdog off the shelf and use it knowing that I would be proud of the dog his methods produced. The man knew his stuff. Good luck.

eric

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Re: No wings on a string ...?

Post by birddogger » Sun May 06, 2012 11:47 pm

It can be fun to watch your pup point the wing on a string but other than that, it serves no purpose whatsoever. You can do the same thing with a sock, rag or anything else, but again, it is not training and serves no purpose.

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Re: No wings on a string ...?

Post by birddog1968 » Mon May 07, 2012 7:24 am

birddogger wrote:It can be fun to watch your pup point the wing on a string but other than that, it serves no purpose whatsoever. You can do the same thing with a sock, rag or anything else, but again, it is not training and serves no purpose.

Charlie
Mr Miller would strongly disagree :D


I agree it's not really training as far as formal training goes but it does serve a purpose in more ways then just seeing if a pup will point it.
The second kick from a mule is of very little educational value - from Wing and Shot.

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Re: No wings on a string ...?

Post by sdoliver » Mon May 07, 2012 7:29 am

Benilli , Do your yard work. Get your obedience work down pat. If you can get your dog to mind his manners (come when called, whoa, heel ) in the field and in the house then his instincts should take over and the pointing part will come. If the dog has any kind of breeding at all with a few 15 or 20 minute sessions every other day (or when ever you can sneak them in) in the back yard you should be able to make a servicable bird dog.

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Re: No wings on a string ...?

Post by C.painter » Mon May 07, 2012 11:35 am

I also recommend "Training With Mo". Also Ellis trains along the "West Method" which Mo follows as well and would be an excellent resource for you if he is infact an hour away.

Two great resources right there to get you and your dog going in the right direction!


ultracarry wrote:There aren't too many (if any clubs) within an hour and a half to two hours. But you do have some kennels out that way... You have Ellis Hallmark (hallmark kennel) who does one on one training sessions and within an hour drive.

If your on base you prob can get some kill birds and use them for training... There is a lot of wild birds out by you also. Just have to find the spots.

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Re: No wings on a string ...?

Post by Pappy » Mon May 07, 2012 1:16 pm

I have trained several dog using Wolter's Gun Dog book and all my dogs have turn out great. But during the training I also use pen raised birds. The dogs are just site pointing either on a wing or at the live birds. I never had a problem with the dog not scenting a bird and not pointing at them. Wolters book is a very good book. It covers the basics and it is short and to the point. His book is not like some of the other books that I have read, to many pages and to many techniques to confuse you. The dog pointing at the wing is just another tool in the training arsenal. Either way you choose you can't go wrong.

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Re: No wings on a string ...?

Post by rinker » Mon May 07, 2012 1:18 pm

Mr Miller would strongly disagree
Are you referring to Ferrel Miller? Did he use the wing in some way? I would be interested in hearing more.

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Re: No wings on a string ...?

Post by SetterNut » Mon May 07, 2012 9:11 pm

Will the Wolter's stuff work, yes. Is it anywhere near the best method to train a birdog, IMO no.
Steve

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Re: No wings on a string ...?

Post by birddog1968 » Mon May 07, 2012 10:06 pm

rinker wrote:
Mr Miller would strongly disagree
Are you referring to Ferrel Miller? Did he use the wing in some way? I would be interested in hearing more.

Yes FM, take a look at his video, he just touches on it but the value in it is obvious to me.....not for training really.....you just have to see it, also in that vid he then uses (in training) pigeon on a cane pole which is similar.


Anytime you can take 20 unruly pups from a pen and return them without saying a word.....and have them think your a "god" , is nothing but a good thing. That said its not something I would do for any real length of time but i can absolutly see the value in it. He is also shown using a wing off horseback with a few pups.

There IS obviously more than one road to China......

I used a wing a fair amount with my last pup, she doesn't only sight point and she doesn't crowd birds so those arguments in relation to the wing don't hold water.....I also fed her bird parts now and then and she doesn't eat birds either :lol:
The second kick from a mule is of very little educational value - from Wing and Shot.

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Re: No wings on a string ...?

Post by jcbuttry8 » Mon May 07, 2012 10:36 pm

I to have the wolter's book. It is what I used back in Oklahoma and used a majority of the techniques with kona. There were a few things I chose to leave out and try a different approach but that was due to first hand exposure through training days and working with a pro.

You have a ton of questions and a variation of answers. Not uncommon. As bd68 mentioned a few different ways to china. You will need to give that pups instincts a little credit. They will kick in but you will need birds at some point. The smith boys know a few things about birddogs. They had a heck of a trainer. They will be worth the money. Find a kennel, find a trial, or just find a fellow birddogger in your neck of the woods. Read mo decide what method is right for you and just be consistent. I think that is the most important. Train your pup up to the point that you are happy with and then you to will have the best birddog in the country. Just like the rest of us. I know I've got one. Point is if your happy that is all that will ever matter.

Most of all have a ball and keep it fun for the pup. You will learn more than the pup. He was bred for this, you weren't.

Good luck and keep us posted and ask questions. Promise, you'll get at least twenty right answers.

Joe

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