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Dog Won't Point

Dog Won't Point

Postby Dakotazeb » Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:55 pm

I have a 15 month old female Brittany out of some excellent lines. But here's the situation. She was at my trainers for 2 months this summer. When the trainer first got her she just wasn't using her nose and over running her birds, but after 2-3 weeks her nose appeared to turn on and she did well the rest of the time at the trainers. When I picked her up we took her in the field and she pointed the pigeons (in launchers) very well holding point steady through the flush and starting pistol shot. During this time she was on a check cord. I don't have access around here to birds so I was unable to get her on birds since she was at the trainer. Two weeks ago I took a trip to Montana to hunt Sharpies and Huns. Only hunted two days as the rain cut my hunting short. But during those two days my dog never pointed a bird. We got into quite a few birds and she had many opportunities. She would run and just blow through them like they weren't there. I came home quite frustrated. Today in the field she found 5 hen pheasants. On one pair she was in some trees when they blew out with her in hot pursuit so I was unable to observe what exactly happened but I'm assuming she flushed them. However, the other 3 were individual birds and I was able to observe her hitting scent, trying to follow the scent and then flushing the birds with no inclination to stop and point. I've never seen this in a pointing dog I've owned and am at a loss of what to do. All my previous Brittanys were pointing birds at a much younger age. With hunting season only 2 weeks away should I continue to hunt her in hopes the bulb comes on? Any insight and suggestions are welcome. Thank you.
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Re: Dog Won't Point

Postby shags » Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:21 am

Plenty of young dogs do that, they go from pointing in controlled situations as little pups, to an adolescent stage where they find out that bumping and chasing is a lot more fun. Back up and use the check cord again. I'd use dizzied pigeons, no launchers; dogs know when birds are caged some behave differently caged vs loose. They know set ups when they smell them. Maybe you can expand your training by purchasing some phez at a preserve and running her cc'ed there too.

Don't be discouraged. Have you seen Cesar Millan on tv? Something he said really stuck with me - You don't always get the dog you want, but you always get the dog you need. So think about how your previous dogs made it all seem easy and put you in a happy place, but now this dog is giving you an opportunity to learn.

Best of luck to you going forward.
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Re: Dog Won't Point

Postby setterpoint » Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:58 pm

thers a lot of diff, in birds in launcher and birds running around on the ground .im going thru something like that ,iv posted this on hear, my dog dose fine with the bird in one spot and dont move had her point woodcock at 80 yards and hold let me flush but if she points and the bird moves the chase is on i thought let her chase and she will fig. it out well she hasent yet but thats just young dogs mistakes so mayby back to the training .
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Re: Dog Won't Point

Postby ezzy333 » Sat Oct 07, 2017 8:25 pm

setterpoint wrote:thers a lot of diff, in birds in launcher and birds running around on the ground .im going thru something like that ,iv posted this on hear, my dog dose fine with the bird in one spot and dont move had her point woodcock at 80 yards and hold let me flush but if she points and the bird moves the chase is on i thought let her chase and she will fig. it out well she hasent yet but thats just young dogs mistakes so mayby back to the training .

Some dogs love to chase and will till you stop them.
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Re: Dog Won't Point

Postby Featherfinder » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:39 am

One of the things I learned from dogs after 40+ years is that far too often "the fix" isn't in the dog. I appreciate that all your previous dogs were not like this. That said, all dogs are different and this particular dog requires that you change your handling strategy.
This dog - as with all dogs - does what it does because in his mind it gives him the buzz he needs. For example, I had a chap whose pointer that was a renegade. I handled the dog with no issues however the moment he had the slightest inclination of becoming unreasonably independent, I was VERY clear about my expectation. The owner still didn't get it and by the time he did, the dog was gone! I repeatedly SHOWED the owner how to resolve the issue. Inside, he simply couldn't do what he knew was required and so....the dog is a renegade! One day it will not return BUT at least he didn't interfere with the dog. (?!?!?!?)
Your dog is having fun busting and chasing. MAKE SURE your dog has a nose that is suitable to the species you hunt. I just returned from a hunt on the prairies and the dogs with both pace and the nose to keep up with the pace just hammered covies of wild Huns/Greys. Other dogs found birds but couldn't get them stuck for the gun. In part, it could have been a learning curve or, they just don't have what it takes.
If your dog has the nose, then to put it simply, take the fun out of busting and chasing, if you have it in you? Ask your trainer what he does.
I am often asked, "How do you know what setting to use on your e-collar?" The answer regardless of the dog, the breed, the situation is; "It's not your call. The dog dictates that." Remember, the fundamental training has to be in the dog before an e-collar is deployed.
Oh....and I assume you witnessed your dog working for your trainer and the dog didn't chase for him, right?
You already got good counsel re launchers. Dogs know when the situation is synthetic therefore, no launchers, tethers, cages AND hard flying birds, if not wild birds are part of the fix.
Lastly, do NOT "whoa" your dog when he is on point or screws up! I'd love a dollar for everyone that does that! There are two salient reasons for this but probably even more if you think about it. First-of-all, if you think of association training, think of this. If everytime your dog bumps a bird you say, "Whoa", doesn't whoa become an integral part of this act? In-other-words, when you say whoa, he thinks, "Yup....that's what I'm doing.....again (chasing)." Secondly, if you were trying to perform a complex task and everytime you got to the critical point someone said, "CAREFUL!!!" , what do you think will happen? You are most likely to screw it up...again. If you want your dog to absorb the critical part of the lesson, keep your mouth shut and deliver the lesson. Your dog should point and hold point and it's NOT because you said whoa!
At the end of the day, you must realign your dog's aspirations to parallel yours meaning, chasing is no longer fun while holding point translates into a bird in the mouth!
Last edited by Featherfinder on Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:56 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Dog Won't Point

Postby cjhills » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:11 pm

If this was my dog I would get a good Whoa on her and collar conditioned.
I would put a checkcord and a e-collar on her. I would take her to the field and
Plant some birds probably good flying Chukars. When I see her get birdy I would stop her and walk to her preferably have and assistance flush the bird and shoot it or throw a clipped wing bird and give her a couple retrieves. I would absolutely stop her chase. You Have to be careful not to intimidate her but if she knows it is her choice to stand still and is collar conditioned she will give up and figure out the gun gets her the Bird. We do have a lot of yard work and intro to guns and birds before we expect the dog to be steady in the field. Some are and some not.
More bird experience might help her Supposedly when she learns she can't catch the bird she will stop the chase. Some dogs just like to chase.......Cj
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Re: Dog Won't Point

Postby Dakotazeb » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:21 am

Since my original post I have been able to get Bree on more wild pheasants. Here's what I have observed. If a bird sits tight she will point it. Nice points and very steady until the flush. However, if the bird is moving she will track and keep on it until it flushes. As far as I'm concerned this is not that uncommon for a young dog. So I'm hoping with more and more bird contacts that she will get it figured out. At least seeing some nice points is encouraging. I also know that because she is such a big runner that she has a tendency to out run her nose. Again, with more bird contacts and experience this too should correct itself. The plan is to hunt her hard this fall and see where she is at by the end of the season. Then get her back to a trainer after the first of the year.
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Re: Dog Won't Point

Postby Sharon » Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:30 pm

Glad things are going better. You said it- it's all about experience.
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Re: Dog Won't Point

Postby duckn66 » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:32 pm

I had the same problem with the pointer I have now. Friend said keep taking him and getting him in to wild birds. He'd point t all day with the launcher. He knew at first scent he needed to be locked up and not creep or the bird went away. Took him out on wild quail and for over half the season he'd run right through birds and not even think about pointing. I was ready to give home away.

At the very end of the season he pointed his first covey and held the point. Has been fine since.
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Re: Dog Won't Point

Postby Featherfinder » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:38 am

Dakotazeb, I like to start my dogs on just about anything but pheasants simply because pheasants would rather run than fly. That is a big reason for your dog tracking then bumping birds. I'm not saying you can't hunt pheasants. I'm saying your dog needs to learn to walk before it can run. Once the rules of engagement have been well established as in, "If you don't hold long enough for me to flush, I don't shoot", only then can the dog understand the expectation clearly.
The other negative about hunting pheasants is that your dog will start out in life working with his head low anticipating the track. This will assuredly get him in trouble with most other wild game bird species. I start them head high. The rest, the birds will teach them.
Tracking a runner is a positive as far as I'm concerned but it is NOT an excuse for putting a bird to flight. As you have deducted, your dog is still developing however you have chosen a long and challenging process for a young dog when using pheasants. Start with the fundamentals, then build on them.
Geez...I hope your dog's nose catches up to his pace! That's why I chuckle when folk say, "Man...you should see my dog run!" I feel like asking, "Why? Does it drag one leg or something?" Run is the most highly over-rated, incorrectly assigned term for independence in bird dogs. If you have too much independence, you have a renegade in which case you spend as much or more time hunting dog as you do birds. There can be a very fine line between a "big running dog" and a lost dog.
I've added a pic of my setter. He runs according to the habitat, species and what I expect as a productive gun dog although most folk might think of him as a big running gun dog.

Note: although he has a high head, the birds are out front....hunkered on the ground. I took this pic, then flushed and took my usual single bird out of the covey. Finally, Zeus put the icing on the cake with a nice retrieve to hand.
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Re: Dog Won't Point

Postby ezzy333 » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:08 am

I am not a big fan of that head high point as I prefer the dog to be INTENTLY staring at the location it thinks the bird is sitting. Saves me walking over an acre of ground trying to kick up the bird. Gives me a much better read on where I will find the bird.

Just a difference in personal opinions.

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Re: Dog Won't Point

Postby Dakotazeb » Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:56 pm

Featherfinder wrote:Dakotazeb, I like to start my dogs on just about anything but pheasants simply because pheasants would rather run than fly. That is a big reason for your dog tracking then bumping birds. I'm not saying you can't hunt pheasants. I'm saying your dog needs to learn to walk before it can run. Once the rules of engagement have been well established as in, "If you don't hold long enough for me to flush, I don't shoot", only then can the dog understand the expectation clearly.
The other negative about hunting pheasants is that your dog will start out in life working with his head low anticipating the track. This will assuredly get him in trouble with most other wild game bird species. I start them head high. The rest, the birds will teach them.
Tracking a runner is a positive as far as I'm concerned but it is NOT an excuse for putting a bird to flight. As you have deducted, your dog is still developing however you have chosen a long and challenging process for a young dog when using pheasants. Start with the fundamentals, then build on them.
Geez...I hope your dog's nose catches up to his pace! That's why I chuckle when folk say, "Man...you should see my dog run!" I feel like asking, "Why? Does it drag one leg or something?" Run is the most highly over-rated, incorrectly assigned term for independence in bird dogs. If you have too much independence, you have a renegade in which case you spend as much or more time hunting dog as you do birds. There can be a very fine line between a "big running dog" and a lost dog.
I've added a pic of my setter. He runs according to the habitat, species and what I expect as a productive gun dog although most folk might think of him as a big running gun dog.


Well, when you live in pheasant country that's what you hunt. All my previous dogs, and I'm sure this one will too, learned how to handle pheasants and for the most part that's all they ever hunted. Bree is pointing more birds every time out so I am very encouraged. Does she still bump some, yes. But that's all part of learning.

As far as running big, yes she is a big running dog out of AKC horseback breeding. But she is very good at adjusting to the cover. In heavy pheasant cover she rarely gets out over 100 yards. Get her in light cover like when I was hunting Sharpies in Montana and she will roll out to 200-300+ yds. She is very fast and snappy and sometime still outrunning her nose. But since I also plan to run her in NSTRA I want her to run quite big.

She also runs with her head up and for the most part her head is up. Only time it's down is when she is trying to track scent in heavy cover.

And I also realize that there is a big difference in a bird dog and a trial dog. But given time and experience they soon learn the difference and adjust accordingly. I'm not a newbie here, been down that road before. After all I am 71 years old and had hunting dogs for 43 years.
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Re: Dog Won't Point

Postby Featherfinder » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:50 am

I don't disagree with you Dakotazeb. What I was suggesting is that you start with a more controlled situation to clarify your expectation especially with a young prospect. After that as you mentioned, the birds will teach your dog the practical side of the theory you trained into the dog. If you have already done that, I stand on notice.
All my Britts were out of AA trial bloodlines too. They too were both competitive horseback trialers and wonderful gun dogs. They learned the difference. I was a "little" younger then and put in a lot of time and $$$$. Today, even if I am working with hot lines, I start them differently simply because they are strictly gun dogs. Just because they have BIG engines doesn't mean they can't be co-operative gun dogs. In fact, I prefer them that way (hot). Sounds a lot like your dog.
Continued success..... Time/experience along with a patient savvy owner is often the best course of action.
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Re: Dog Won't Point

Postby Carolina Gundogs » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:56 am

If you keep exposing the pup enough, it should learn how to handle the pheasants. You can bring in that run a little if you desire to do so.
Good luck with all!
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Re: Dog Won't Point

Postby Dakotazeb » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:09 am

Thanks to you all for the insight and advice. I guess it's just that this little gal is so different from all my other Brittanys. She's just going to take more time and patience. And patience is some times difficult on my part. :D I think if she does figure everything out she has the potential to be a little fireball.
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Re: Dog Won't Point

Postby whatsnext » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:52 am

i would like to have a pup out of August or Booker T one day !!
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