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The Spaniel Spot

The Spaniel Spot

Postby CDN_Cocker » Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:20 pm

With the surge of new posts lately regarding spaniels (whether they be cockers or springers) I am starting this thread in hopes to have a good discussion regarding anything and everything spaniel related (like "the spaniel corner" on the Michigan sportsman forum). It's nice to see a few newcomers with spaniels (or spaniels on the way). Let's get a solid thread going for us spaniel enthusiasts - any post is welcome whether its about hunting, training, trialing, or any other aspect of spanieling! I hope this takes off and look forward to some great discussions! There are some quite knowledgeable spanielers on here so I hope they join in (crackerd and trekmoor that means you!). Let's start it up folks!
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby love2hunt » Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:52 pm

Got a question to get this thing started!

I seem to be picking up 2 different schools of thought on steadying. The American system says to steady after the dog has had birds shot over it, while British seems to wait to shoot until the dog is steady to flush. The British system seems to make more sense to my training if I want a dog that is steady for doves, ducks, and rabbits as opposed to just more traditional American spaniel targets like pheasants, grouse, etc. I understand that having birds shot over a dog would increase its desire and drive, so I see the helpful side there. However, if I ultimately want my dog to be steady, why unsteady it in the first place?

The biggest drawback seems to be that a British trained dog has a softer flush, while an American trained has a more bold, harder flush. Is it really such a bad thing, though, if a spaniel does have a soft flush? I could see it being advantageous when shooting in thick cover.

I'd love to hear some thoughts on both sides!
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby FirearmFan » Fri Oct 04, 2013 5:12 pm

I'll start by posting a picture of my little guy. Enjoy!
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby CDN_Cocker » Fri Oct 04, 2013 5:22 pm

Now that's a cute pup! Here's the most recent one of Jake, and the second is him and our mini dachshund Lily.

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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby ACooper » Fri Oct 04, 2013 5:37 pm

I do not own a spaniel but have always been interested in an English Cocker, you fellas have any videos of your Cockers working?
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby CDN_Cocker » Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:15 pm

love2hunt wrote:Got a question to get this thing started!

I seem to be picking up 2 different schools of thought on steadying. The American system says to steady after the dog has had birds shot over it, while British seems to wait to shoot until the dog is steady to flush. The British system seems to make more sense to my training if I want a dog that is steady for doves, ducks, and rabbits as opposed to just more traditional American spaniel targets like pheasants, grouse, etc. I understand that having birds shot over a dog would increase its desire and drive, so I see the helpful side there. However, if I ultimately want my dog to be steady, why unsteady it in the first place?

The biggest drawback seems to be that a British trained dog has a softer flush, while an American trained has a more bold, harder flush. Is it really such a bad thing, though, if a spaniel does have a soft flush? I could see it being advantageous when shooting in thick cover.

I'd love to hear some thoughts on both sides!


The British way works for them but we have different expectations in North America. If you don't plan to trial then a soft flush is okay if you are okay with it. I think steadying earlier is easier but I also wouldn't keep my young pup home because he's not steady. Birds make bird dogs. Get them as many contacts as you can when they're young.
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby CDN_Cocker » Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:17 pm

ACooper wrote:I do not own a spaniel but have always been interested in an English Cocker, you fellas have any videos of your Cockers working?

Not yet Coop, the girlfriend won't let me spend 400 bucks on a go pro 3 Lol
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby FirearmFan » Fri Oct 04, 2013 7:27 pm

love2hunt wrote:Got a question to get this thing started!

I seem to be picking up 2 different schools of thought on steadying. The American system says to steady after the dog has had birds shot over it, while British seems to wait to shoot until the dog is steady to flush. The British system seems to make more sense to my training if I want a dog that is steady for doves, ducks, and rabbits as opposed to just more traditional American spaniel targets like pheasants, grouse, etc. I understand that having birds shot over a dog would increase its desire and drive, so I see the helpful side there. However, if I ultimately want my dog to be steady, why unsteady it in the first place?

The biggest drawback seems to be that a British trained dog has a softer flush, while an American trained has a more bold, harder flush. Is it really such a bad thing, though, if a spaniel does have a soft flush? I could see it being advantageous when shooting in thick cover.

I'd love to hear some thoughts on both sides!


I personally want a hard charging, hard flushing spaniel that will get that bird into the air in a hurry. Steadiness can come later. My plan with my pup is to build the desire and hunt him and steady him after a season. The guy who runs my training group has all of his springers (besides the pups) steady so I plan on getting some tips and assistance from him.
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby displaced_texan » Fri Oct 04, 2013 8:57 pm

CDN_Cocker wrote:
ACooper wrote:I do not own a spaniel but have always been interested in an English Cocker, you fellas have any videos of your Cockers working?

Not yet Coop, the girlfriend won't let me spend 400 bucks on a go pro 3 Lol

So? Pick up a 2 off Ebay.
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby polmaise » Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:30 am

I would debate the soft - positive flush in thick cover?..You can get hard hunting and steady 'all in one'
I would also like a go-pro, but then if you hunt with two it would double the cost for me :)
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby CDN_Cocker » Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:54 pm

Today marks the day Jake got his first grouse flush! He got a total of 4 flushes today while out hunting hard for grouse, although all flushes happened when we were in cedars so thick I never even seen the birds flying off. However, he clearly got the scent in his nose as he turned into a beast after the first flush and hunted hard. In hindsight I should have fired off a shot anyways so he knew that's what I wanted. I guess that's the goal for next time - make sure that I'm better trained lol.
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby polmaise » Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:30 pm

Cass?
Not being argumentative or even controversial. Just maybe I don't visualise the cover and situation you explain?...
But if you never seen the bird, how was it a flush?..Did someone else see the birds fly?..
Just curious to the description of ''Turning into the beast''?..Is that ..hunting with without control because of the cover,and handler with no control? or dog just hunting on scent?
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby krakadawn » Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:46 pm

"I personally want a hard charging, hard flushing spaniel that will get that bird into the air in a hurry. Steadiness can come later. My plan with my pup is to build the desire and hunt him and steady him after a season. The guy who runs my training group has all of his springers (besides the pups) steady so I plan on getting some tips and assistance from him."

I'm not a spaniel trainer but I've been around labs for a year or two. What would concern me here is backwards training. Very difficult to instill steadiness after a dog has not been held to a standard. We have an expression in retriever training that goes a little like this..." for every time a dog commits a wrong, it takes 7 correct repititions to begin to erase/correct it''

Teaching proper basics in an acceptable sequence will never diminish the internal prey drive of a dog which is why I would suggest that teaching steadiness first is the proper sequence. You might wish to check into some changes in typical training that Bill Hillman has been suggesting like FF' ing at an earlier age as well as steadying dogs much earlier. This is of course retriever training but I think there is a lot of cross over training for flushing dogs as well.

If I did not steady my retriever until after a season of hunting......well I just can't imagine that!
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby Pontbeck » Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:21 pm

polmaise wrote:Cass?
Not being argumentative or even controversial. Just maybe I don't visualise the cover and situation you explain?...
But if you never seen the bird, how was it a flush?..Did someone else see the birds fly?..
Just curious to the description of ''Turning into the beast''?..Is that ..hunting with without control because of the cover,and handler with no control? or dog just hunting on scent?
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I must admit that thought occurred to me, how did you know it flushed if you didn't see it ?
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby polmaise » Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:44 pm

I would think every body personally wants a hard charging,hard flushing spaniel that gets the bird in the air in a hurry.
Otherwise they would probably have a pointer.
Hunting and Free running are two different things (imo)
We have an expression in spaniel training 'Hunting is everything' running around after scent is 'stravaiging' !
Happy hunting you guy's ...whatever you hunt!
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby Trekmoor » Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:58 pm

Remember why a lot of spaniels do the "hard flush" so many of you lads desire. They do the hard flush with the intention of pegging the bird if it does not quickly take to wing. Every one of my 3 cockers do hard flushes ....because every one of them would peg birds if given half a chance.

British trials come down hard on dogs that peg birds and also come down hard on any spaniel that does not throw it's backside to the ground instantly when it flushes ....that applies to rabbits as well as to birds. The spaniel would be allowed a bit of leeway on this if the bird or the rabbit was flushed from thick cover. In that instance the dog is usually allowed to move to outside the cover to mark the flight path of the game but as soon as the dog clears the cover it must stop. This "rule" can be subject to quite a bit of judges interpretation of whether or not the dog has been unsteady to flush.

I think I can assure you that British spaniels would flush just as hard as yours do .....if they were allowed to.

While on this subject I worked a cocker today up a hedgrerow for about a 1/4 of a mile. He has had no hedgerow training for at least 3 years and it showed. In a trial, even in a Novice trial he would have been chucked out. He hunted the hedge and it's adjacent cover very well and I had no problems with the birds that stayed put long enough for him to flush them. The problem came when the bird had ran on down the hedgeline. He went outside of what we consider spaniel range maximum in order to put the running bird into the air. Part of the problem was that I could not see into or through the hedge so I did not know when to bring him back in towards me.

We expect a well trained spaniel never to go more than maybe 20 yards out on a scent line . At about that distance the dog should abandon the moving game and resume hunting normally. My dog kept on going until the bird flushed at 40 yards or maybe more. I once watched a video of an American spaniel trial and saw a gun actually running to keep up with a dog that was following up a scent line of a moving bird. It is hard to tell on film just how far the dog or the man with the gun followed but that would never happen here.

This afternoon as my cocker hunted that hedgeline it occurred to me that maybe he might do O.K. in a trial over the pond ! :lol: :lol:

Edited to add ....thought this might amuse you. It is my cocker Charlie who has forgotten he is hunting among brambles and has flung his bum down in response to the rabbit he had just flushed. The look on his face as his "tender bits" ram down into the bramble prickles and bits of broken gorse says it all ! :lol:

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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby polmaise » Sat Oct 05, 2013 3:13 pm

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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby CDN_Cocker » Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:41 pm

polmaise wrote:Cass?
Not being argumentative or even controversial. Just maybe I don't visualise the cover and situation you explain?...
But if you never seen the bird, how was it a flush?..Did someone else see the birds fly?..
Just curious to the description of ''Turning into the beast''?..Is that ..hunting with without control because of the cover,and handler with no control? or dog just hunting on scent?
atb
R.

A ruffed grouse makes a sound that cannot be confused with anything else when it flushes. It was only 15 yards from me at most I would imagine, just couldn't see a couple of them due to the cover. And no, still in control, I just mean getting birdy and excited. "Beast" in a positive way lol
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby polmaise » Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:51 pm

CDN_Cocker wrote:
polmaise wrote:Cass?
Not being argumentative or even controversial. Just maybe I don't visualise the cover and situation you explain?...
But if you never seen the bird, how was it a flush?..Did someone else see the birds fly?..
Just curious to the description of ''Turning into the beast''?..Is that ..hunting with without control because of the cover,and handler with no control? or dog just hunting on scent?
atb
R.

A ruffed grouse makes a sound that cannot be confused with anything else when it flushes. It was only 15 yards from me at most I would imagine, just couldn't see a couple of them due to the cover. And no, still in control, I just mean getting birdy and excited. "Beast" in a positive way lol

HMMM!?
Do you mean you could see the dog as well?..or did you know that it stopped on flush?
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby CDN_Cocker » Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:52 pm

Yes I could see the dog and no he doesn't stop yet. He is not steady - only 8 months old. I heard the thunder of the grouse exploding into flight and watched the dog chase for 200 yards lmao
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby polmaise » Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:57 pm

Thanks Cass , I've got the picture :wink:
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby CDN_Cocker » Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:59 pm

The last one I did see as it passed through a hole in the treetops but I wasn't able to get the gun up quick enough through the branches to take a shot.

P.S. Love that this thread is taking off! Remember, feel free to post about anything spaniel related!
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby love2hunt » Sat Oct 05, 2013 5:58 pm

krakadawn wrote:"I personally want a hard charging, hard flushing spaniel that will get that bird into the air in a hurry. Steadiness can come later. My plan with my pup is to build the desire and hunt him and steady him after a season. The guy who runs my training group has all of his springers (besides the pups) steady so I plan on getting some tips and assistance from him."

I'm not a spaniel trainer but I've been around labs for a year or two. What would concern me here is backwards training. Very difficult to instill steadiness after a dog has not been held to a standard. We have an expression in retriever training that goes a little like this..." for every time a dog commits a wrong, it takes 7 correct repititions to begin to erase/correct it''

Teaching proper basics in an acceptable sequence will never diminish the internal prey drive of a dog which is why I would suggest that teaching steadiness first is the proper sequence. You might wish to check into some changes in typical training that Bill Hillman has been suggesting like FF' ing at an earlier age as well as steadying dogs much earlier. This is of course retriever training but I think there is a lot of cross over training for flushing dogs as well.

If I did not steady my retriever until after a season of hunting......well I just can't imagine that!


That's what makes sense to me. It just seems "backwards," as you said, to unsteady it in the first place, only to go back and correct it later.
Trekmoor wrote:Remember why a lot of spaniels do the "hard flush" so many of you lads desire. They do the hard flush with the intention of pegging the bird if it does not quickly take to wing. Every one of my 3 cockers do hard flushes ....because every one of them would peg birds if given half a chance.

British trials come down hard on dogs that peg birds and also come down hard on any spaniel that does not throw it's backside to the ground instantly when it flushes ....that applies to rabbits as well as to birds. The spaniel would be allowed a bit of leeway on this if the bird or the rabbit was flushed from thick cover. In that instance the dog is usually allowed to move to outside the cover to mark the flight path of the game but as soon as the dog clears the cover it must stop. This "rule" can be subject to quite a bit of judges interpretation of whether or not the dog has been unsteady to flush.

I think I can assure you that British spaniels would flush just as hard as yours do .....if they were allowed to.

While on this subject I worked a cocker today up a hedgrerow for about a 1/4 of a mile. He has had no hedgerow training for at least 3 years and it showed. In a trial, even in a Novice trial he would have been chucked out. He hunted the hedge and it's adjacent cover very well and I had no problems with the birds that stayed put long enough for him to flush them. The problem came when the bird had ran on down the hedgeline. He went outside of what we consider spaniel range maximum in order to put the running bird into the air. Part of the problem was that I could not see into or through the hedge so I did not know when to bring him back in towards me.

We expect a well trained spaniel never to go more than maybe 20 yards out on a scent line . At about that distance the dog should abandon the moving game and resume hunting normally. My dog kept on going until the bird flushed at 40 yards or maybe more. I once watched a video of an American spaniel trial and saw a gun actually running to keep up with a dog that was following up a scent line of a moving bird. It is hard to tell on film just how far the dog or the man with the gun followed but that would never happen here.

This afternoon as my cocker hunted that hedgeline it occurred to me that maybe he might do O.K. in a trial over the pond ! :lol: :lol:

Edited to add ....thought this might amuse you. It is my cocker Charlie who has forgotten he is hunting among brambles and has flung his bum down in response to the rabbit he had just flushed. The look on his face as his "tender bits" ram down into the bramble prickles and bits of broken gorse says it all ! :lol:

Image

Bill T.


That picture's hilarious! Thanks for the reply, that helps my understanding some. Is it any harder to get a spaniel steady on rabbits than on birds? It seems like there would be much more of a temptation to chase when the rabbit is on the ground vs. a bird in the air.
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby CDN_Cocker » Sat Oct 05, 2013 6:11 pm

Krakadawn has some pretty amazing dogs! He has been my mentor and helped me to bring Jake along in leaps and bounds. An amazing trainer - especially of humans like myself. I cannot explain on a forum how grateful I am to have aligned with such a helpful and generous man like him. He has taught me way more than any of the dozen books and dvds I blew money on when I first bought my cocker... and he's not even a spaniel man. I sure hope everyone else is fortunate enough to find themselves a gun dog enthusiast as willing to give up time to help novices like myself as he is. It's folks like him that will propel the sport into the future.
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby crackerd » Sat Oct 05, 2013 7:16 pm

love2hunt wrote:The American system says to steady after the dog has had birds shot over it


krakadawn wrote:What would concern me here is backwards training.


kraka, it would concern us, but not 95% of "American system" spaniel owners who never manage to steady their dogs during their (dogs and handlers alike) lifetimes.

In which direction is Cass headed - other than chasing grouse with an unsteady dog? :wink:

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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby krakadawn » Sun Oct 06, 2013 4:11 am

[
crackerd wrote:
love2hunt wrote:The American system says to steady after the dog has had birds shot over it


krakadawn wrote:What would concern me here is backwards training.


kraka, it would concern us, but not 95% of "American system" spaniel owners who never manage to steady their dogs during their (dogs and handlers alike) lifetimes.

In which direction is Cass headed - other than chasing grouse with an unsteady dog? :wink:

MG
[

How unfortunate especially when things could be taught correctly from the get go! It always concerns me when I watch some of the "so called outdoor shows" that epitomize the skills of their dogs. What I see are dogs in motion all the time. Birds coming into decoys and the camera catches dog, bird and gun all in one or flushed pheasant, dog jumping for bird and hunter shooting bird....................... Both these situations lead down a very dangerous path, it's pure safety!

Having dog steadiness is a must, even for the hardest charging retrievers. I would not expect anything less for my flushing dogs as well.....sit means sit regardless of the application.

Far better to teach skills in a sequential order and hold to a standard...at least for the 5% of us.
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby polmaise » Sun Oct 06, 2013 4:53 am

CDN_Cocker wrote:The last one I did see as it passed through a hole in the treetops but I wasn't able to get the gun up quick enough through the branches to take a shot.


I've never been one to state an age when a young dog should be introduced to the pleasure' of being shot over, more the Stage it has reached.
I don't know what stage your young 8 month old pup is ,but if it ain't got brakes and steering then the driver is even more Blind when he's shooting a bird.
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby CDN_Cocker » Sun Oct 06, 2013 6:14 am

polmaise wrote:
CDN_Cocker wrote:The last one I did see as it passed through a hole in the treetops but I wasn't able to get the gun up quick enough through the branches to take a shot.


I've never been one to state an age when a young dog should be introduced to the pleasure' of being shot over, more the Stage it has reached.
I don't know what stage your young 8 month old pup is ,but if it ain't got brakes and steering then the driver is even more Blind when he's shooting a bird.

You gotta remember though Rob we expose our guys to stuff much earlier here. The reason I never steadied him before taking him out is as mentioned American trialers generally steady later. Jake's breeder's advice was to let him chase his first season then steady him after and he's been in the trial game for a few decades so I followed that advice. However going forward I plan to follow the advice of the gentleman I train with (krakadawn) so will probably start steadying. I think Jake's problem is the number of birds he's been exposed to. I was on the phone with the breeder yesterday who kept Jake's sister and she has been on hundreds of pigeons and had approximately 50 birds shot over her already. .. Jake has had 2 lol. But I am not set up with tons of pigeons or a loft so that's to be expected
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby Trekmoor » Sun Oct 06, 2013 6:23 am

love2hunt wrote: Is it any harder to get a spaniel steady on rabbits than on birds? It seems like there would be much more of a temptation to chase when the rabbit is on the ground vs. a bird in the air.


I.M.O. it is more difficult to train steadiness on rabbits than steadiness on birds ...as you said, the temptation to chase is greater.

British trailers spend a great deal of time, money and effort getting their spaniels steady to rabbits and a lot more besides. After the flush and the shot it is expected of the dog that it will continue hunting normally if the rabbit is missed and the dog is told "gone away" or will take the rabbit's line from the flush point out to where it was hit with no handling being done. The dog very often does not see the result of the shot fired and the retrieve will be a blind . If the handler has to handle his dog onto this "blind" retrieve then he will probably not do well in the trial. I watched a spaniel do this to perfection during a trial held on a grouse moor last year.

The dog flushed the rabbit from the heather then saw no more of it due to the height and thickness of the heather. The rabbit had ran about 30 yards before a gun could get a shot at it. The rabbit was only pricked and ran on for at least another 60 yards. The dog had remained sitting and was now sent for the retrieve. All the handler did was say "Fetch" and move his arm. Off went the dog along the rabbits line until it reached the place where the rabbit had been hit. The dog checked there for a couple of seconds then took up the blood scent line.

The rabbit had not travelled in a straight line but the dog tracked it relentlessly , found it and retrieved it to hand still very much alive. I thought it was a very good retrieve and it pulled that dog up the judges score list. I think the dog came in second place.

It is quite difficult to get the degree of steadiness needed on rabbits yet keep the dogs enthusiasm for finding them. Too much correction or too soon a correction as a rabbit is flushed can lead to a loss of some enthusiasm or even to a dog deliberately "blinking" the rabbits it has scented.

We hold rabbit only spaniel trials in Britain and they are very popular and not easy to win. The dogs have to be hunt maniacs but under control hunt maniacs.

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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby polmaise » Sun Oct 06, 2013 11:36 am

CDN_Cocker wrote:
You gotta remember though Rob we expose our guys to stuff much earlier here.

Don't know if you have been 'over here' Cass?..But 'Our Good guy's' Over here expose 'Good dogs' to stuff much earlier than perhaps you are being led to believe?
The Internet forums you may frequent could be misleading? Some I would say ..explain it all wonderful and text book,and often with a comical quirk or story, yet they have not got the dog or dog's that do it !..and I've seen some of them this side :lol:
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby CDN_Cocker » Sun Oct 06, 2013 11:40 am

Now thats a sharp pup Rob!
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby polmaise » Sun Oct 06, 2013 12:05 pm

CDN_Cocker wrote:Now thats a sharp pup Rob!

Not quite as sharp as this one! (imo)

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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby CDN_Cocker » Sun Oct 06, 2013 12:11 pm

That's not fair. .. I'm obviously partial to spaniels Lol
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby polmaise » Sun Oct 06, 2013 12:18 pm

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Ok!
What about American Cocker ?...lol :lol: :lol:
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby CDN_Cocker » Sun Oct 06, 2013 12:27 pm

Lmao while I think gumbo is awesome I really dislike American cockers. Foo-foo dogs Lol
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby UplandJim » Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:04 pm

CDN_Cocker wrote:With the surge of new posts lately regarding spaniels (whether they be cockers or springers) I am starting this thread in hopes to have a good discussion regarding anything and everything spaniel related (like "the spaniel corner" on the Michigan sportsman forum). It's nice to see a few newcomers with spaniels (or spaniels on the way). Let's get a solid thread going for us spaniel enthusiasts - any post is welcome whether its about hunting, training, trialing, or any other aspect of spanieling! I hope this takes off and look forward to some great discussions! There are some quite knowledgeable spanielers on here so I hope they join in (crackerd and trekmoor that means you!). Let's start it up folks!


I would like to see a Spaniel (only) forum section. The distinction in training between pointers and flushing dogs is tremendous.

If you have a specific question that pertains to Pointers or NSRs then there should be a specific forum for those.
If you have questions pertaining to Flushing dogs there should be a forum separate for those as well.
In addition, if you do both NSR AND Upland I can almost see a separate forum for that as well.

IMO there should be a separation in forums for the following:

"Pointing" forum.
"Field Trial Pointing" forum.
"Flushing" forum.
"Field Trial Flushing" forum (includes spaniels and retrievers).
"Non-Slip Retriever" forum.
"Field Trial Non-Slip Retriever" forum.



BTW, the real reason we are here ..... Season starts in less than two weeks for most!
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby displaced_texan » Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:25 pm

UplandJim wrote:IMO there should be a separation in forums for the following:

"Pointing" forum.
"Field Trial Pointing" forum.
"Flushing" forum.
"Field Trial Flushing" forum (includes spaniels and retrievers).
"Non-Slip Retriever" forum.
"Field Trial Non-Slip Retriever" forum.



BTW, the real reason we are here ..... Season starts in less than two weeks for most!

I agree to a look, but I think we already have way to many sub forums. Don't put the trial stuff separately and I'm in!
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby CDN_Cocker » Mon Oct 07, 2013 6:40 am

I agree Jim at the very least there should be a Spaniel section, Pointing/HPR, and Retriever section. Almost every spaniel thread I see asking for advice a pointing dog person gives advice that relates to pointers not spaniels.
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby love2hunt » Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:49 am

krakadawn wrote:[
crackerd wrote:
love2hunt wrote:The American system says to steady after the dog has had birds shot over it


krakadawn wrote:What would concern me here is backwards training.


kraka, it would concern us, but not 95% of "American system" spaniel owners who never manage to steady their dogs during their (dogs and handlers alike) lifetimes.

In which direction is Cass headed - other than chasing grouse with an unsteady dog? :wink:

MG
[

How unfortunate especially when things could be taught correctly from the get go! It always concerns me when I watch some of the "so called outdoor shows" that epitomize the skills of their dogs. What I see are dogs in motion all the time. Birds coming into decoys and the camera catches dog, bird and gun all in one or flushed pheasant, dog jumping for bird and hunter shooting bird....................... Both these situations lead down a very dangerous path, it's pure safety!

Having dog steadiness is a must, even for the hardest charging retrievers. I would not expect anything less for my flushing dogs as well.....sit means sit regardless of the application.

Far better to teach skills in a sequential order and hold to a standard...at least for the 5% of us.


Good thoughts! Since I want to hunt rabbits with my spaniel (unlike most Americans I'm discovering), it's pretty much a necessity in the area of safety.

However, I'm also seeing the temptation of why so many people don't bother to steady their spaniel. It's more work, and for me it will delay actually killing birds over him until next season. I'm beginning to think, though, that it's better to be a little more patient now and reap the rewards later.

Trekmoor wrote:
I.M.O. it is more difficult to train steadiness on rabbits than steadiness on birds ...as you said, the temptation to chase is greater.

British trailers spend a great deal of time, money and effort getting their spaniels steady to rabbits and a lot more besides. After the flush and the shot it is expected of the dog that it will continue hunting normally if the rabbit is missed and the dog is told "gone away" or will take the rabbit's line from the flush point out to where it was hit with no handling being done. The dog very often does not see the result of the shot fired and the retrieve will be a blind . If the handler has to handle his dog onto this "blind" retrieve then he will probably not do well in the trial. I watched a spaniel do this to perfection during a trial held on a grouse moor last year.

The dog flushed the rabbit from the heather then saw no more of it due to the height and thickness of the heather. The rabbit had ran about 30 yards before a gun could get a shot at it. The rabbit was only pricked and ran on for at least another 60 yards. The dog had remained sitting and was now sent for the retrieve. All the handler did was say "Fetch" and move his arm. Off went the dog along the rabbits line until it reached the place where the rabbit had been hit. The dog checked there for a couple of seconds then took up the blood scent line.

The rabbit had not travelled in a straight line but the dog tracked it relentlessly , found it and retrieved it to hand still very much alive. I thought it was a very good retrieve and it pulled that dog up the judges score list. I think the dog came in second place.

It is quite difficult to get the degree of steadiness needed on rabbits yet keep the dogs enthusiasm for finding them. Too much correction or too soon a correction as a rabbit is flushed can lead to a loss of some enthusiasm or even to a dog deliberately "blinking" the rabbits it has scented.

We hold rabbit only spaniel trials in Britain and they are very popular and not easy to win. The dogs have to be hunt maniacs but under control hunt maniacs.

Bill T.


Is it possible to get them steady on rabbits without the use of a pen? We have the occasional pen around here used for beagle training, and I'm trying to locate one to see about working Bo in there. If I can't, though, what are some other alternatives?
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby crackerd » Mon Oct 07, 2013 11:34 am

love2hunt wrote:I'm also seeing the temptation of why so many people don't bother to steady their spaniel. It's more work -...


Yes, you're seeing it crystal clear, and hearing it in stereo.

...for me it will delay actually killing birds over him until next season. I'm beginning to think, though, that it's better to be a little more patient now and reap the rewards later.


Now you're seeing and thinking it through, as a trainer would. Bravo!

The rabbit pen is a great help in steadying flushing dogs, unfortunately I've never had use of such a luxury. What works - on this side - equally well are johnnyhouse quail. They'll flush/allow themselves to be flushed (without flying a great distance, especially in the woods) again and again. And "again and again," with good repetition of Hup! to each flush, pretty soon you've got all the steadiness you'll need for hunting (or trialing).

MG
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby polmaise » Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:19 pm

Rabbit pens make a dog steady in rabbit pens in my experience, much like a dog walks to heel with a lead,then training begins again without it.
They are a useful tool when required ,but not essential if you can and have the ability and environment to do better without.
I am fortunate to have a 40 acre Rabbit pen at the back of the kennels.
Better still, if you can shoot over the dog :wink:
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby SpringerDude » Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:29 pm

I think it is a good idea to get a dog trained prior to hunting. However, for a guy with his first hunting dog and only hunting dog, it is hard to not hunt with your dog until it is trained which, depending on when it is born, could be missing at least one hunting season and some of the second. Most folks would not start the process and just get a boat and go fishing (ie get another hobby).

So, train as best you can with the resources you have available, go hunt the dog as much as you can and enjoy the process and the education you get along the way. Plenty of dogs are workable hunting dogs with out all the skill sets of a finished dog.

I do believe that your mindset when hunting a young dog can be more towards "training" than bagging game. If you go about hunting with the right mindset, you can keep the training process moving forward without allowing the bad habits to get totally set in the dog.

I hunted with unsteady dogs for years and did very well. I don't think I missed out on the hunting experience at all. I had a dog that was allowed to be unsteady to flush and shot for 4 years before I steadied him up. He was line steady for double marked retrieves, etc. but just not steady to flushed birds. I didn't have a wild one on my hands so to steady to flush was just the finishing process.

The young dog I have now wasn't "hunted" much last season but I had plenty of hunting dogs to use. I could take my time with her. We are coming along nicely together and she should be fun this Fall. However, every hunting trip will not be her time to hunt. She will be in a rotation with the other dogs. I do believe that hunting wild game will help so where her training "really is". Wild birds teach things that we can not set up on our own to teach the dog.

I look at the training process as keeping things in balance. Too many birds can be worse than no birds at all. Too much pressure can cause issues but you need some pressure of some sort to make the dog understand what is expected. Praise is good but you can't get a totally trained dog with just praise. There is a need to keep everything in balance to end up with the dog that you really enjoy. I have not had the success that some folks on here have had with their dogs. I do have fun with them and do a lot of different activities.

I watched a dog be worked primarily with obedience stuff with walks in the field but no birds until older. I did not like what I saw. Was it the dog or the process? Who really knows.
I introduced my pup to birds slower than some folks. Worked her more with dead birds and clip wings to keep her from getting to chase fly aways while we developed a nice working pattern. I liked what I had by the time she was a year old. Worked her on Spring woodcock as they came through my area. She couldn't help but learn to hunt and find wild game. I used it as a training exercise and kept things under control and of course, no shot birds.

Just some thoughts from a dog guy living in a suburban neighborhood that enjoys his spaniels.
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby love2hunt » Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:35 pm

crackerd wrote:
love2hunt wrote:I'm also seeing the temptation of why so many people don't bother to steady their spaniel. It's more work -...


Yes, you're seeing it crystal clear, and hearing it in stereo.

...for me it will delay actually killing birds over him until next season. I'm beginning to think, though, that it's better to be a little more patient now and reap the rewards later.


Now you're seeing and thinking it through, as a trainer would. Bravo!

The rabbit pen is a great help in steadying flushing dogs, unfortunately I've never had use of such a luxury. What works - on this side - equally well are johnnyhouse quail. They'll flush/allow themselves to be flushed (without flying a great distance, especially in the woods) again and again. And "again and again," with good repetition of Hup! to each flush, pretty soon you've got all the steadiness you'll need for hunting (or trialing).

MG


Thank you sir!

I keep reading that quail are bad for flushing dog training because they don't fly far enough away, and in so doing encourage them to chase. Well duh, that actually makes more sense! Thanks for the suggestion. I've had a hard time finding access to pigeons anyway (strange, I know), so looks like it's quail for me.
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby love2hunt » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:10 am

SpringerDude wrote:I think it is a good idea to get a dog trained prior to hunting. However, for a guy with his first hunting dog and only hunting dog, it is hard to not hunt with your dog until it is trained which, depending on when it is born, could be missing at least one hunting season and some of the second. Most folks would not start the process and just get a boat and go fishing (ie get another hobby).

So, train as best you can with the resources you have available, go hunt the dog as much as you can and enjoy the process and the education you get along the way. Plenty of dogs are workable hunting dogs with out all the skill sets of a finished dog.

I do believe that your mindset when hunting a young dog can be more towards "training" than bagging game. If you go about hunting with the right mindset, you can keep the training process moving forward without allowing the bad habits to get totally set in the dog.

I hunted with unsteady dogs for years and did very well. I don't think I missed out on the hunting experience at all. I had a dog that was allowed to be unsteady to flush and shot for 4 years before I steadied him up. He was line steady for double marked retrieves, etc. but just not steady to flushed birds. I didn't have a wild one on my hands so to steady to flush was just the finishing process.

The young dog I have now wasn't "hunted" much last season but I had plenty of hunting dogs to use. I could take my time with her. We are coming along nicely together and she should be fun this Fall. However, every hunting trip will not be her time to hunt. She will be in a rotation with the other dogs. I do believe that hunting wild game will help so where her training "really is". Wild birds teach things that we can not set up on our own to teach the dog.

I look at the training process as keeping things in balance. Too many birds can be worse than no birds at all. Too much pressure can cause issues but you need some pressure of some sort to make the dog understand what is expected. Praise is good but you can't get a totally trained dog with just praise. There is a need to keep everything in balance to end up with the dog that you really enjoy. I have not had the success that some folks on here have had with their dogs. I do have fun with them and do a lot of different activities.

I watched a dog be worked primarily with obedience stuff with walks in the field but no birds until older. I did not like what I saw. Was it the dog or the process? Who really knows.
I introduced my pup to birds slower than some folks. Worked her more with dead birds and clip wings to keep her from getting to chase fly aways while we developed a nice working pattern. I liked what I had by the time she was a year old. Worked her on Spring woodcock as they came through my area. She couldn't help but learn to hunt and find wild game. I used it as a training exercise and kept things under control and of course, no shot birds.

Just some thoughts from a dog guy living in a suburban neighborhood that enjoys his spaniels.


I see what you're saying. One thing I have going for me is that this is my first bird dog, but not my first hunting dog. One thing that applies to squirrel dogs that seems to apply to bird dogs is not to rush them into something. I rushed my dog into treeing squirrels that she wasn't confident were there because I was frustrated that she wasn't treeing anything. The result? She would occasionally bark up a tree with no squirrel because I inadvertently told her I want to bark at trees, not squirrels.

All that to say, I think my approach will be training while hunting, like you described, but I will hopefully be able to handle the more patient process like your young female is taking. Keeping live birds is going to be a rather difficult challenge for me (I'm in an apartment :? ), so at the minimum it will be getting him some dead birds and clipped wings. I hear the woodcock are supposed to be huntable around here, so I'm going to get him out on those as well and train as we go without shooting birds over him. That is, unless by some miracle he sits to flush on his first bird and it's all for naught :wink: ... Yeah, right.

Do you hunt rabbits with yours out of curiosity? The reason I'm so concerned with getting him on those is that pheasant, grouse, and quail are all slim to none around here, so rabbits and woodcock will be about his only flushed game. If it wasn't for that, I probably wouldn't worry about steadying him at all.
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby CDN_Cocker » Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:06 pm

It's official - Jake is now a beginner bird dog - 1 day after he turned 9 months old! Got our first grouse today! The other day he made some flushes but nothing I could shoot at from where I was. Today he only had 3 but they were beautiful! The first grouse he flushed was in a clearing of cut brush. The bird thundered into the air and Jake stopped and watched as it flew away. I praised him and fired off a shot (the bird was still in sight but not in shooting range). As soon as I shot he knew it was go time. He got all fired up and we followed the bird in hopes of another flush but we lost him. On the way out I sent him into some cover and again he flushed a bird. I could see him (but not the bird) so I whistled him to sit which he did! The dog is practically steadying himself! Again I fired a shot, then told him No Bird and to get on. We were almost back out to the road when I heard some drumming and Jake seemed keen on entering a patch of spruce on my left hand side. I figured why not give him one last good hunt and into the spruce we went. Within a minute he flushed a bird and I whistled him to sit which he did. I fired but had no idea where the bird was. I told him to hunt on and a minute or so later he flushed the bird (I think the same one) again. I whistled for him to sit and he did right away as the bird landed in a tree 15 yards behind him. I pulled the gun up and nailed him! Jake sat there still looking at me and I told him Back! (something we are working on right now with Kraka) and just like a scene out of a movie he spun around, ran straight back, jumped the fence to get the bird and came running back! It was amazing!!!!!!!!! Upon returning though he was mouthing the bird to the point where I almost felt like he was trying to eat it. I have never seen him do this before (I have shot a couple pigeons over him and he never tried to eat them). Could he just have been too excited? I tried to take some pictures but catching a cocker with a camera is tricky to say the least. Anyways, here's my boy and his first ever ruffie! We did it!!!!


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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby UplandJim » Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:04 pm

CDN_Cocker wrote:It's official - Jake is now a beginner bird dog - 1 day after he turned 9 months old! Got our first grouse today! The other day he made some flushes but nothing I could shoot at from where I was. Today he only had 3 but they were beautiful! The first grouse he flushed was in a clearing of cut brush. The bird thundered into the air and Jake stopped and watched as it flew away. I praised him and fired off a shot (the bird was still in sight but not in shooting range). As soon as I shot he knew it was go time. He got all fired up and we followed the bird in hopes of another flush but we lost him. On the way out I sent him into some cover and again he flushed a bird. I could see him (but not the bird) so I whistled him to sit which he did! The dog is practically steadying himself! Again I fired a shot, then told him No Bird and to get on. We were almost back out to the road when I heard some drumming and Jake seemed keen on entering a patch of spruce on my left hand side. I figured why not give him one last good hunt and into the spruce we went. Within a minute he flushed a bird and I whistled him to sit which he did. I fired but had no idea where the bird was. I told him to hunt on and a minute or so later he flushed the bird (I think the same one) again. I whistled for him to sit and he did right away as the bird landed in a tree 15 yards behind him. I pulled the gun up and nailed him! Jake sat there still looking at me and I told him Back! (something we are working on right now with Kraka) and just like a scene out of a movie he spun around, ran straight back, jumped the fence to get the bird and came running back! It was amazing!!!!!!!!! Upon returning though he was mouthing the bird to the point where I almost felt like he was trying to eat it. I have never seen him do this before (I have shot a couple pigeons over him and he never tried to eat them). Could he just have been too excited? I tried to take some pictures but catching a cocker with a camera is tricky to say the least. Anyways, here's my boy and his first ever ruffie! We did it!!!!



Cockers are the best. But you already knew that. Good job!
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby SpringerDude » Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:02 am

Great job! Congratulations!
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby moneysshot » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:00 am

Sweet thread CDN! Awesome pics and great input from everyone, i love it
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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby polmaise » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:30 am

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Re: The Spaniel Spot

Postby gundogguy » Thu Oct 10, 2013 1:47 pm

Great training weather in southern Michigan,yesterday's workout good for me and the dogs

This one is an 8yr old getting in shape for the upcoming pheasant season! Steady is as steady does!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk5dKtp0Jlg
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