Dog Steadiers

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Higgins
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Dog Steadiers

Post by Higgins » Fri Sep 04, 2015 2:18 pm

Steadiness or the lack thereof, is not a dog issue, it's a bird issue. Training, and allowing the dogs to learn using good birds that they can't catch, leads to natural steadiness with all the dog's drive intensity and style intact.

Here is a recent trail camera photo of some of my pre-released birds at the water. I call these coveys my "dog steadiers". None of the dogs can catch them and they know it. I don't need "whoa" because the dogs know not to push the birds. They know the only way to get one of these in their mouth is to defer to the shooter.

Image

Brad Higgins
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Higgins Gundogs hunting etiquette

Dogs: Stay in touch and handle well. Always honor another dog's point, be steady when necessary and manage the birds for the gun.
Handlers: Be silent in the hunt. Allow the dog the freedom to do his work. Nurture the natural retrieve.

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by ezzy333 » Fri Sep 04, 2015 2:44 pm

Sometimes it works that way and sometimes it doesn't. I have found it is sometime necessary to help dogs understand how to do things. Too bad they aren't smarter than we are and can learn with out help but they just aren't. We have pups that pretty much figure it out on their own but there are also some that love to flush and chase and will do it all of their lives if someone doesn't help them. That's where the CC, e-collar, and other tools we have learned to use really help the whole process. It is good to give them the chance to figure it out on their own but is extremely wise to have and know how to use the tools to help them with the challenge. good for the trainer and the trainee.
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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by Higgins » Fri Sep 04, 2015 3:03 pm

Hello ezzy333,

You stated,
Too bad they aren't smarter than we are and can learn with out help but they just aren't.
They are much smarter than we are when it comes to being predators. What they really need from us is the freedom to learn what does and does not work. The bird is the teacher, not us. All I have to do is set up learning scenarios and watch the dogs develop a new hunting strategy, steadiness.

Sometimes, we need to step back and be the students. The dogs have a lot to teach us about this predator/prey thing.



Brad Higgins
http://www.HigginsGundogs.com
___________________________
Higgins Gundogs hunting etiquette

Dogs: Stay in touch and handle well. Always honor another dog's point, be steady when necessary and manage the birds for the gun.
Handlers: Be silent in the hunt. Allow the dog the freedom to do his work. Nurture the natural retrieve.

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by polmaise » Fri Sep 04, 2015 3:47 pm

Higgins wrote:Steadiness or the lack thereof, is not a dog issue, it's a bird issue. Training, and allowing the dogs to learn using good birds that they can't catch, leads to natural steadiness with all the dog's drive intensity and style intact.
It doesn't work on Spaniels ?....I've tried :wink:
So it can't be a bird issue?...
'Natural steadiness' ?...Try a 'cocker' :lol:
It must just be because the dog is a 'Pointer' 8) .................lol
..
Higgins will know (or should) I'm just 'debating' :twisted:

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by Higgins » Fri Sep 04, 2015 4:22 pm

Hello Polmaise,

Is there a market for pointing cockers? If so, I'm in!

Higgins

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by greg jacobs » Fri Sep 04, 2015 4:45 pm

I think if you have a dog balanced in cooperation and drive this works. I also think if a dog has more drive than cooperation that you see solid pointing at 4 or 5 months but by a year and a half you have a dog that is driven so hard to put them in the air that they will start busting birds in light cover. At this point they don't want to retrieve to hand. They pick the bird up, look at you, drop it, and head for putting another bird in the air. Then you have to train in a little more cooperation. Or train through that whole period so you never reach that point.

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by Ms. Cage » Fri Sep 04, 2015 6:57 pm

greg jacobs wrote: At this point they don't want to retrieve to hand. They pick the bird up, look at you, drop it, and head for putting another bird in the air.
IMO that's where FF comes into play.

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by gundogguy » Sat Sep 05, 2015 3:52 am

Higgins wrote:Hello Polmaise,

Is there a market for pointing cockers? If so, I'm in!

Higgins
Hello Higgins
That would be wasteful, a pointing Cocker that is.
Human's are much smarter predators than dog will ever be.
I'm 100% in favor of LGBT - Liberty, Guns, Bacon and Trump.

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by Trekmoor » Sat Sep 05, 2015 5:50 am

I must have been awful lucky with the 10 dogs of my own I've owned over the last 30 years or so for all of them pointed, then began to hold their points and then became steady to flush with very little input from me. That is despite the fact that I deliberately send dogs in to flush. I have a feeling this is down, not to good training, but to working only on wild birds ? I have tried with three dogs using pigeons for pointing and steadiness training. I thought they made a very poor second best to wild birds so none of those dogs got more than 3 very short lessons using pigeons from a radio controlled release trap.

10 dogs isn't a huge sample but I trained or helped train maybe 100 other dogs belonging to other people during that same 30 years. All of them pointed, held point just fine and became steady to flush too. Maybe it is training the pup what a stop whistle means that eventually gives the steadiness to flush on this side of the pond ?

The thing that causes the steadiness to flush or the steadiness on point to come to an end in Britain is shooting the birds produced by the dog before it has been well trained to stop to shot and fall. If a dog thinks it can catch birds it is likely to chase. If a dog starts to associate a flush with a shot and a shot with a bird it can then get it's jaws around it will run-in.

Developing birdiness is one thing , allowing or even encouraging pups to grab live birds is another thing entirely. I.M.O. anyway ! :lol:

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by polmaise » Sat Sep 05, 2015 6:05 am

Trekmoor wrote: The thing that causes the steadiness to flush or the steadiness on point to come to an end in Britain is shooting the birds produced by the dog before it has been well trained to stop to shot and fall.
Bill T.
+1
Just heard the good news on finding your springer btw .
Glad all is well.
Robert

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by Trekmoor » Sat Sep 05, 2015 6:56 am

Thanks Robert, see "The Spaniel Spot" for a far too detailed report on how he was found ! :roll:

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by greg jacobs » Sat Sep 05, 2015 8:10 am

It's the wild birds that cause the really high drive pups to go through this phase. Wild birds that are sure to run and flush and not hold. Higgins birds are pen raised then released to live out in the wild. Probably the perfect bird to start a pup on. Higgins goes to extremes to buy dogs that are biddable. I've also seen where he talked about the really high drive dogs here in the US that were "bred to the collar." I think you take a pup like that in the hands of a hunter that trains a pup every 5 or 10 years. And try to use Higgins or Mo's techniques and they may not be successful.

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by ezzy333 » Sat Sep 05, 2015 7:04 pm

greg jacobs wrote:It's the wild birds that cause the really high drive pups to go through this phase. Wild birds that are sure to run and flush and not hold. Higgins birds are pen raised then released to live out in the wild. Probably the perfect bird to start a pup on. Higgins goes to extremes to buy dogs that are biddable. I've also seen where he talked about the really high drive dogs here in the US that were "bred to the collar." I think you take a pup like that in the hands of a hunter that trains a pup every 5 or 10 years. And try to use Higgins or Mo's techniques and they may not be successful.
Higgins and Mo's techniques are quite different though both are low pressure and end up the same as most techniques do. There may even be more difference in the way they promote and describe their methods since Mo's is always about the dog while Higgins is always about Higgins
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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by Soarer31 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 5:10 am

ezzy333 wrote:Sometimes it works that way and sometimes it doesn't. I have found it is sometime necessary to help dogs understand how to do things. Too bad they aren't smarter than we are and can learn with out help but they just aren't. We have pups that pretty much figure it out on their own but there are also some that love to flush and chase and will do it all of their lives if someone doesn't help them. That's where the CC, e-collar, and other tools we have learned to use really help the whole process. It is good to give them the chance to figure it out on their own but is extremely wise to have and know how to use the tools to help them with the challenge. good for the trainer and the trainee.
Well ezzy ,
there lies the problem mate, it's all in the breeding , you look to get a pup from a well bred line that pretty much can figure it out on their own, you call it "help them out" I call it "training" same with naturally hard mouthed dogs that are FF to disguise there inherent problem
So the dilemma is trying to tell the difference between which pups come from well bred parents or well trained parents??
Maybe for a pro trainer he/ she wouldn't care cause they can train the pup every step of the way but for the average hunter they want to have a pup that pretty much has all that and more in their DNA

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by Neil » Sun Sep 06, 2015 8:30 am

Soarer,

I think you have hit on something I need to give more consideration to.

I buy well bred pups, but I train them same way as if they were German shepherds. So I really don't know if they have any natural ability. Any dog of any breed will point and retrieve, I am much more concerned about developing their ability to find wild birds.

But I do understand what you are saying, thank you,

Neil

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by Elkhunter » Sun Sep 06, 2015 8:49 am

I think assuming that the dog wants the bird in his mouth is a misnomer IMO. My pointer does not retrieve, and never has. And has little interest in the bird once it is dead. He does not view it as "food" just the same as hound does not view a mountain lion as "food".

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by cjhills » Sun Sep 06, 2015 8:57 am

Elkhunter wrote:I think assuming that the dog wants the bird in his mouth is a misnomer IMO. My pointer does not retrieve, and never has. And has little interest in the bird once it is dead. He does not view it as "food" just the same as hound does not view a mountain lion as "food".
+1

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by ezzy333 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 9:09 am

+2 and I sometimes question the term "well bred" as I see the difference in pups from an individual performance since no two pups from the same litter show the identical characteristics we are talking about.
http://www.perfectpedigrees.com/4genview.php?id=144
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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by Neil » Sun Sep 06, 2015 9:38 am

Although I hunt and have all my dogs retrieve, and believe strongly in letting puppies knock and chase hundreds of birds.

Some of the top winning trainers never let their dogs chase, never shoot a bird for them, their dogs never have a bird in their mouths; yet I can attest their dogs have ample drive and point, cause they beat me.

There are lots of ways to train dogs.

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by Soarer31 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 10:00 am

The only training I do is....
Come on command- voice / whistle
Turn-voice/whistle
Stop-voice/whistle
Flush on command

With retrieving,I start with the pup at 8-10 weeks old by throwing a rolled up sock playing retrieving games in the coridoor in my house and as months go by I progress outside and a eventually with dead birds,arguably you can say the pup was trained to retrieve rather than a so called "natural retrieve "
That is all the training I do

Now when it comes to pointing and steadiness I leave that up to its breeding...I def don't go out in the field with a cc trying to train the dog to point!! That's the wild birds job, if the dog can't figure it out by the second season on wild birds then some lucky family will have a free well trained dog as a pet

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by SCT » Sun Sep 06, 2015 12:39 pm

Soarer31 wrote:
Now when it comes to pointing and steadiness I leave that up to its breeding...I def don't go out in the field with a cc trying to train the dog to point!! That's the wild birds job, if the dog can't figure it out by the second season on wild birds then some lucky family will have a free well trained dog as a pet
+1000

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by polmaise » Sun Sep 06, 2015 1:04 pm

Soarer31 wrote:
Now when it comes to pointing and steadiness I leave that up to its breeding...
If You can breed 'steadiness' ?> I'll have it :wink:
You are 'Half way there' though with the analogy (imo)
The 'Myth' that I have seen this side of the pond with most 'Pointer breed' handlers/owners is what You post !! ...Just get the right well bred dog and do nothing !!! ..let it do it all ?...................
Wanna get these hundreds that have done this and fix them please ?.....There is a huge market for ya . Wish you luck :mrgreen:

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by SCT » Sun Sep 06, 2015 1:39 pm

I took it as meaning a dog with a lot of "point", and that can definitely be breeding. But, it's up the owner to get that natural bred pointer into enough wild birds for the point to develop....IMO

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by Sharon » Sun Sep 06, 2015 1:43 pm

"Now when it comes to pointing and steadiness I leave that up to its breeding...I def don't go out in the field with a cc trying to train the dog to point!! That's the wild birds job, if the dog can't figure it out by the second season on wild birds then some lucky family will have a free well trained dog as a pet" quote Soarer

Well said!

and then are those who shouldn't ,but will retrieve anything requested:

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by polmaise » Sun Sep 06, 2015 1:56 pm

SCT wrote:I took it as meaning a dog with a lot of "point", and that can definitely be breeding. But, it's up the owner to get that natural bred pointer into enough wild birds for the point to develop....IMO
So it's not Just 'Breeding' then ? ..and even it was ,It's just 'Point' ?...Not 'Steadiness' ? ....So are you saying that both would require 'Training' ?

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by ezzy333 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 2:22 pm

Dogs inherit point and retrieve but how well they do it is due to training. And at least part of the "how well" is doing it the way we want them to.

Ezzy
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http://www.perfectpedigrees.com/4genview.php?id=207

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by polmaise » Sun Sep 06, 2015 2:40 pm

ezzy333 wrote: And at least part of the "how well" is doing it the way we want them to.

Ezzy
'Training' then ?..Not breeding.
How good is the 'Training' with one that is not from 'Good breeding' ?..Are the ones with 'Good Breeding' just 'Winging it' ? :wink:

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by ezzy333 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 3:02 pm

polmaise wrote:
ezzy333 wrote: And at least part of the "how well" is doing it the way we want them to.

Ezzy
'Training' then ?..Not breeding.
How good is the 'Training' with one that is not from 'Good breeding' ?..Are the ones with 'Good Breeding' just 'Winging it' ? :wink:
Robert, I think before we go any further though we have to decide the definition of "good breeding". Or I think my opinion would be to just drop that as a definition of what we want because I am sure we all would say well bred is the definition of what each of us likes. The pointing and retrieving instinct is pretty well established and stays there as long as we continue to breed dogs that show they have it. I do think it is hard to improve on it but it may be just as hard to get rid of it. So by and large, w are each happy with the dogs that perform the way we like and we think of them as well bred and the pups we don't like are poorly bred though I admit I don't subscribe to that definition.
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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by polmaise » Sun Sep 06, 2015 3:34 pm

ezzy333 wrote: Robert, I think before we go any further though we have to decide the definition of "good breeding".
'one man's cloth' ?
I agree, but ..the 'theme' on the thread is 'Breeding' ?..and 'Breeding' get's the results ?..But what results? and to whom or who ?..
Give me a Field trial champion and I'll ruin it in a few weeks :wink: ....That's training :mrgreen: ?
So all this 'Years of selective breeding ' and 'Breed for best' stuff , just goes out the window ....

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by Trekmoor » Sun Sep 06, 2015 5:33 pm

"Breed for the best, train for the rest." is my way of looking at things. I like the breeder to have done a large part of the work for me when he/she decided which dog to put to which bitch. I don't have the inclination and probably not the ability to train a pup that is short on Hunt- Point - Retrieve instincts and I also like a pup to have that hard to define quality of being "willing to please."

If a pup has those things I can develop them to suit my needs . I think wild birds do a terrific job of training the point and the holding of the point if I develop the holding of the point part of this. Most of my input comes when I command the dog to flush the bird it has been pointing . Even that aspect of steadiness is helped by the fact that the wild birds the pup has chased could not be "reduced into possession." In other words the pup discovered, possibly after many chases, that it cannot catch a flying bird.
All I do is add a stop whistle until the pup just stops moving as the bird flies off. After a while the stop whistle becomes unnecessary .....the flush is now the command to stop , to be steady.

I agree that many dogs have an instinct to hunt, an instinct to point and an instinct to retrieve but well bred pups often have those things in greater quantities so I try to buy well bred pups. It makes things easier.

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by Neil » Sun Sep 06, 2015 6:06 pm

To define my terms, when I say well bred, I mean from field champions that I have seen both parents compete with traits I value, that if not duals, at least with show points. I also must see the offspring of at least the sire perform to my standards. Most have been out of a dual national champion sire repeat breeding that produced winners.

Those dogs are available at not much premium above lesser known parents, although not always offered to the general public.

So they meet my standards and that of several judges.

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by SCT » Sun Sep 06, 2015 9:21 pm

polmaise wrote:
SCT wrote:I took it as meaning a dog with a lot of "point", and that can definitely be breeding. But, it's up the owner to get that natural bred pointer into enough wild birds for the point to develop....IMO
So it's not Just 'Breeding' then ? ..and even it was ,It's just 'Point' ?...Not 'Steadiness' ? ....So are you saying that both would require 'Training' ?
I should have been more descriptive with my words. Here is my 5 month old pup, that I produced displaying pure breeding instinct! He's never had a bit of training, it's all natural.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZNEDVdybBc

He was pointing and holding pigeons and quail until I walked slightly past him at 3 months of age with barely a handful of planted birds, prior to wild birds. He has also pointed wild birds before he turned 6 months old, but he did bump and chase a bunch also. This is what I consider about the extent of pointing that you can count on from a "well bred" pup, BUT, not every well bred pup!! His sister is still not pointing birds so it's obvious she will take more birds than he did, to get this far. This is about as much "point" as good breeding can produce in my opinion, and steadiness from this point needs to be trained. This pup will likely require very little training to be steady, compared to some dogs, but he will require training! This is just one of the many reasons I still have him.

By the way, he retrieved a bird from 150 yards away the other day and I've only played a bit of fetch in the yard during play time previously. He's never worn an e-collar.

Steve

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by SCT » Sun Sep 06, 2015 9:38 pm

polmaise wrote:
ezzy333 wrote: Robert, I think before we go any further though we have to decide the definition of "good breeding".
'one man's cloth' ?
I agree, but ..the 'theme' on the thread is 'Breeding' ?..and 'Breeding' get's the results ?..But what results? and to whom or who ?..
Give me a Field trial champion and I'll ruin it in a few weeks :wink: ....That's training :mrgreen: ?
So all this 'Years of selective breeding ' and 'Breed for best' stuff , just goes out the window ....
I don't really see your point! Why would you want years of selective breeding to go out the window?? All working breeds are bred to do their job as well as they possibly can. Some within each breed are even better at it than others. At the very least, that's what competition should be for. Let's not get into show dogs though please. Anyway, yeah, with "training" you could ruin any dog, and or change it's behavior. You could take the point right out of my 6 month old pup in my previous posts video, but you cannot take it out of his puppies!!! Why, because he's well bred!! And so will they be!

Steve

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by ezzy333 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 9:42 pm

Pup looks good. A lot of pups will hold pretty well when young but many times they will loosen up as they get older. Seems most have to go through a period where they decide they can catch the bird so be aware
http://www.perfectpedigrees.com/4genview.php?id=144
http://www.perfectpedigrees.com/4genview.php?id=207

It's not how many breaths you have taken but how many times it has been taken away!

Has anyone noticed common sense isn't very common anymore.

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by Soarer31 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 9:47 pm

Trekmoor wrote:"Breed for the best, train for the rest." is my way of looking at things. I like the breeder to have done a large part of the work for me when he/she decided which dog to put to which bitch. I don't have the inclination and probably not the ability to train a pup that is short on Hunt- Point - Retrieve instincts and I also like a pup to have that hard to define quality of being "willing to please."

If a pup has those things I can develop them to suit my needs . I think wild birds do a terrific job of training the point and the holding of the point if I develop the holding of the point part of this. Most of my input comes when I command the dog to flush the bird it has been pointing . Even that aspect of steadiness is helped by the fact that the wild birds the pup has chased could not be "reduced into possession." In other words the pup discovered, possibly after many chases, that it cannot catch a flying bird.
All I do is add a stop whistle until the pup just stops moving as the bird flies off. After a while the stop whistle becomes unnecessary .....the flush is now the command to stop , to be steady.

I agree that many dogs have an instinct to hunt, an instinct to point and an instinct to retrieve but well bred pups often have those things in greater quantities so I try to buy well bred pups. It makes things easier

Bill T.
Excellent post ^^^

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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by SCT » Sun Sep 06, 2015 10:04 pm

ezzy333 wrote:Pup looks good. A lot of pups will hold pretty well when young but many times they will loosen up as they get older. Seems most have to go through a period where they decide they can catch the bird so be aware
I have no delusions about sophomore slumps, I just posted it as an example of what natural point can look like, 100% bred in. Some pups will take longer to develop, but I like early developers, and I'm getting him ready for WY sage grouse season starting on the 19th in case he surprises me and points those before we head home :D 8)

Steve

Soarer31
Rank: Senior Hunter
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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by Soarer31 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 10:41 pm

polmaise wrote:
ezzy333 wrote: Robert, I think before we go any further though we have to decide the definition of "good breeding".
'one man's cloth' ?
I agree, but ..the 'theme' on the thread is 'Breeding' ?..and 'Breeding' get's the results ?..But what results? and to whom or who ?..
Give me a Field trial champion and I'll ruin it in a few weeks :wink: ....That's training :mrgreen: ?
So all this 'Years of selective breeding ' and 'Breed for best' stuff , just goes out the window ....
Polmaise,
Love your replies, they crack me up! :lol:
.....and no ...you can't ruin instinct

cjhills
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Re: Dog Steadiers

Post by cjhills » Mon Sep 07, 2015 5:49 am

My Sundance Pup Was absolutely steady to wing, shot, fall and retrieved to hand at 8 months old with no training except hunting wild pheasants. However when the testosterone kicked in at about 18 months and he wanted to be the man I had to do some reinforcing. His hunting instinct were without a doubt natural. But natural does not last forever without training at least a little. It is also not necessarily better or easier if you want a finished dog. In some ways my pup who would chase anything that flew was easier to finish.
I think the first example was "better bred" than the second but that is in the eye of the beholder. The man who now owns the second thinks otherwise.............................Cj

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