Using pigeons

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onuhunter02
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Using pigeons

Post by onuhunter02 » Fri May 31, 2013 4:46 am

Ok I am mainly looking for different points of view on this so please be easy on me. I have been using pigeons with my pup and she seems to be doing well. I plan on training with other birds before our NA test but is there a point where one can use pigeons too much?

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DonF
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Re: Using pigeons

Post by DonF » Fri May 31, 2013 6:07 am

I don't think it's so much using them to much but rather making them a training bird. A lot of people tell me their dog won't point a pigeon but with most of them it take's two or three out of a trap and they start pointing well. Some dog's take a few more but once they are shown they they move the bird, they quit. Put the birds in a remote trap and don't try training with it in the normal manner. But rather than stop the dog when it makes game, pop the bird on it. When the dog either quit's pointing pigeon's or start's looking bad on them it's because it now knows the routine. It point's and some ham handed guy come's over and start's talking to me. Then he put's his hand under my tail and stroke's it a couple times. Then he push's against my butt and if I go with it, he picks me up and sets me back a bit. Get the picture? You turned the bird into a training bird! Instead of that, don't give him a chance to point; soon as he hits scent, pop the bird and keep your mouth shut. Before you know it the dog will hit the bird faster than you can pop it. At that point, don't pop the bird. Start around the dog and watch the dog! If it so much as shift's it's eye's to you, stop and pop the bird at the same time. YTou make the pigeon act more like a wild bird and the dog will treat it the same way. Ever seen a puppy or just started dog than would chase down a live pigeon and catch it or maybe go maul a dead pigeon? I doubt it. From that point on a lot of people turn the pigeon into a training bird and the dog often lose's interest. When you reach a point where the dog is working the pigeon well, switch to a game bird. Be a short relapse as the bird change's but, it's just a bird! A pigeon is just a bird. Turn the pigeon into a boring training excersise and it will either get sloppy or quit them altogether. But the pigeon is really just a bird, trainer's turn it into a boring training bird.
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ROTTnBRITT
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Re: Using pigeons

Post by ROTTnBRITT » Fri May 31, 2013 6:16 am

I think as long as your keep mixing it up with planting location, number of birds planted at one spot and you shoot a bird every now and then for the dog there shouldnt be any problems. Keeps the dog on their toes and fun for them. Also not overdoing doing bird work. You want to have the dog wanting more when you put them up. I don't think it matters if its pigeons, quail or chuckars.
Im still a rookie, but that's my thoughts. :)

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ezzy333
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Re: Using pigeons

Post by ezzy333 » Fri May 31, 2013 9:37 am

A dog has no idea what a game bird is till you show it. If they won't point a pigeon it is because the dog won't point or you have made it think a pigeon is just a training tool, like a bumper, and not a bird you want to hunt.

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Re: Using pigeons

Post by onuhunter02 » Fri May 31, 2013 11:42 am

Thank you guys the answers seem pretty consistant.

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Re: Using pigeons

Post by Trekmoor » Sat Jun 01, 2013 5:40 am

I read a year or more ago on this forum that when a dog has pointed a pigeon in a release cage it is then possible to use a tether on the bird attached to a long pole or similar. When the pigeon flies a shot can be fired from a starting pistol or a shotgun and of course, even although the bird is not shot, it will fall to the ground. I'd like to ask just how well this works when training for steadiness ? What are the do's and don'ts and what are the possible drawbacks ?

How well does this method work in other words ?

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Re: Using pigeons

Post by DoubleBarrel GunDogs » Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:54 pm

Trekmoor wrote:I read a year or more ago on this forum that when a dog has pointed a pigeon in a release cage it is then possible to use a tether on the bird attached to a long pole or similar. When the pigeon flies a shot can be fired from a starting pistol or a shotgun and of course, even although the bird is not shot, it will fall to the ground. I'd like to ask just how well this works when training for steadiness ? What are the do's and don'ts and what are the possible drawbacks ?

How well does this method work in other words ?

Bill T.
I personally don't like the idea of a dog pointing a bird in a launcher or foot released trap. Because the scent is camouflaged to some extent, the dog tends to get too close to the bird. Instead of this I use a planted "scent bird" lock wing pigeon, and a bird in a launcher that is away from the scent cone. The launched bird can be attached to the launcher with a string, but I prefer to use a free flying homing pigeon for most drills. If you are working on a steady to shot drill, you could use the bird attached with a string method. Fire the shot when the bird is launched, and it comes down every time. The dog doesn't know that you didn't actually shoot the bird. You need to have control of the dog of course. You can also use a clip wing pigeon for those birds that you want the dog to retrieve, when he is already steady to wing and shot. This drill works equally as well for a flushing dog. Run the dog in an upwind pattern of the launcher(s) Have its location marked with a piece or ribbon. When the dog approaches the launcher, launch the bird. As he sits, fire the shot. Reward good performance with a retrieve. You can alternate flyers and clip wings with multiple launchers. This is a great steady to wing and shot maintenance drill for flushing/retrieving dogs.

I actually prefer to teach a flushing dog to be steady to flush by doing show pup drills with a check cord, and a bag full of homers. Some are clip wings and some are flyers. I dizzy each bird, toss it down and send the dog in to flush. Half of the birds are pick up birds to ensure an aggressive flush, and to prevent stickiness. The other half are flyers. If they are quick enough they will flush, and the dog will learn to sit with the whistle, and later by association to the flush itself. I teach steady to shot by first teaching the dog to sit or whoa at the shot, then incorporate it into the flushing drill.

I don't use a pigeon pole in the drill you are describing. But use it for steadying a dog first on the board, and making the transition to the ground. I use this only to teach non-movement when the bird flushes.

I hope this helps. I'm not trying to be presumptuous, just descriptive and complete in my explanation.

Nate

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Re: Using pigeons

Post by Trekmoor » Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:10 am

Thanks Nate, I was beginning to wonder if anyone was going to reply ! :lol:

Although I have been training gundogs for many years I am now getting a bit old to do all the walking I used to do in order to find wild birds to train the pups on. I now have access to a friends little pigeon coop so I am trying to learn the best ways to use pigeons instead of "real" game. One of my problems is that although I can use the pigeons I do not have permission to damage them in any way...... so allowing my 7 months old Brit pup to grab a few would see me becoming a bit unpopular ! :lol:

Thanks again Nate, much appreciated.

Bill T.
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Re: Using pigeons

Post by DonF » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:58 am

Bill, you apparently don't have remote traps. The dog catch's a bird in one of them, it's the trainer's fault. Lacking them it's best to have a helper to flush birds for you and check cord the dog into the birds. In both case's you have to keep sharp track on where the bird is. By keeping track, there is no way the dog can catch the bird unless in the remote, it goes up and comes right back down. That doesn't happen very much with pigeons but I have had it happen, it's an unavoidable mistake, that the bird and go on with the dog. Nothing happened. No good boy and no bad boy, nothing happened.

I don't CC dogs into birds anymore but I do have it on them all the time until they are steady to flush. I allow them to run and chase birds all they want but I control the bird and it will go when I say so and I don't cut the dog much slack on getting near the bird. It get's within about 10yds of the bird, scent or no scent, the bird goes. The dog learns pretty quickly that it move's the bird. Do that with a flushing dog and you'll create a blinker. do it with a pointing dog and you'll create a pointer.

Keep it as simple as you can. You want the dog to stop and point when it finds a bird. Teach it to stop by stopping it when it hit's scent with the check cord or teach it that it is moving the bird with a remote, either way will work in time. Big problem with the check cord is most people get to wound up with being a trainer and don't really realize what's happening. The dog want's the bird and it doesn't really care about much else. I have watched to many guy's with cc's that get let the dog get to close hoping that it will point on it's own and they they catch up the dog and make it stand there. You'll have to get it stopped but stop it right away. Seem's to be a little known fact that if it's done so that the dog catch's the bird, at some point your gonna have a flusher. Now to keep the dog stopping when it hit's scent, you need to have it in a whole bunch of scent. So, you know where the bird is and where the breeze is coming from. Take the dog in cross scent maybe ten yards out and the moment the dog hit's scent, take all slack out of the cc and make a circle to it's back. The dog is gonna move a bit on the cc, nothing you can do about that at this point but try to keep the dog from advancing on the bird and don't let the dog get it. It doesn't take long and with the cc the only real drawback if the need for a helper to flush for you while you tend the dog.

Don't get into stopping the dog way off just because it make's scent. The scent out there is not as strong as in closer and the cone is wide. I doubt the dogs ability to accurately locate the bird and to hold the bird at those longer distance's. Being able to accurately locate and hold the bird for you is the goal. if you teach the dog to stop at 30, 40 or even 50yds, at some point your gonna have to un-teach it. Much better to teach them to point to close and then when switching over to wild birds let the bird teah the dog how close it can get.

Hope this hasn't got to long. I know you use a lot of flusher's, didn't realize you had a Britt.
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Re: Using pigeons

Post by Trekmoor » Tue Jun 04, 2013 4:58 am

Thanks Don, I bought two remote pigeon release cages and prior to using them with the brit pup I trained just one dog with them, my neighbours vizsla. I had already trained her however and she was already a good pointer of wild game . She was easy . She pointed, flushed on command and then was steady to the departing pigeon with no problems at all .....but she was already trained by me using wild game.

The requirement ,in Britain, for the dog to do the flushing and not the trainer adds a degree of difficulty to the training. The dog actually has to be steady twice. Once when it points and then after being commanded to flush, it must be steady again when a bird erupts right off the end of it's nose at times....it can make things .....interesting ! :lol: It is all too easy to make a dog into a game blinker if the steadiness is taught just a tiny bit too firmly.

I have now used my two remotes with the brit pup. So far only the once but I thought it went reasonably O.K. She was getting too close to the first release without pointing so I remote flushed the pigeon. This brit is unusual, she is the only dog I have ever owned that doesn't try to chase birds, she let the pigeon fly away and resumed hunting. She detected the second bird but moved in on it so I released the pigeon, that pigeon was an awkard one, it landed again just 15 feet away. She doesn't chase flying birds but anything down on the ground is fair game ! She went in for a catch but luckily the bird flew off just as she reached it.

This is a bad time of year when training a pointing pup. The birds are nesting and either have eggs or small chicks. I cannot do my usual thing of hunting for wild game so I thought I'd better give the pigeons a try. So far I am quite impressed with the reaction of dogs to them....it certainly saves me a lot of walking ! The downside of hunting in the non birdy places I use at present is that this brit pup has learned to hunt rabbits just a bit too well and she does chase rabbits. She hunts for them like a little fury only stopping occasionally to stand up on her hind legs to try to spot them running over the tops of the grasses and weeds.....she looks like a bloomin Meerkat ! :roll: She has become a fairly good pointer of rabbits at 7 months old. Not a disastrous thing in this country , H.P.R.'s are supposed to point fur here.

Thanks again Don.

Bill T.
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Re: Using pigeons

Post by Onk » Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:44 am

I've now dropped a ton of pigeons over my dog and he does not seem to know a pigeon from a rooster. I think if I started shooting chickens he'd point those also!
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