Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

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Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by gunguy » Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:12 pm

I am in need of some help or advice. I have a year old Vizsla pup who has been introduced to birds, guns and points great in training. The issue I have found with him is he will not get into brush to hunt. I have only had him out a few times so far this season so I am not expecting much, but I would like to see something. I am unsure of how to get him more fired up about finding wild birds. When he sees birds flush or dead birds on the ground he is all about it. I know the bird drive is there however I haven't been able to get him to really hunt in the field. He has been exposed to birds in launchers in training and did great. It's like he just hasn't put all of the pieces together yet. I know there is a lot in play and I probably am not conveying everything I need to, but any tips would be appreciated.
Last edited by gunguy on Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by polmaise » Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:37 pm

Lots of exposure to wild game .

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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by gunguy » Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:47 pm

polmaise wrote:Lots of exposure to wild game .
That’s what I figured just wanted to know if I was missing something else I should be doing. I’ve got some good spots so it’s exposure should be too hard.

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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by gunguy » Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:47 pm

I am also looking for opinions on hunting him with other dogs or alone.

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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by polmaise » Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:55 pm

gunguy wrote:I am also looking for opinions on hunting him with other dogs or alone.
Lots of exposure to wild game.

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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by isonychia » Mon Nov 05, 2018 5:10 pm

Some dogs are softer to the cover and have a harder time with it than others genetically. Work on building boldness. Never coddle the dog, run him more in the terrain you will hunt and don't talk. Run him without the check cord and in an area you won't really need to use any commands to save his butt from roads, etc. There are tons of other approaches.
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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by gonehuntin' » Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:08 pm

Get into the cover with him. He'll follow you. Go slowly.
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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by gunguy » Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:19 pm

gonehuntin' wrote:Get into the cover with him. He'll follow you. Go slowly.
That’s been my approach so far but he will get behind me and want me to blaze the trail.
Last edited by gunguy on Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by bonasa » Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:36 pm

polmaise wrote:Lots of exposure to wild game .
+2 if you have it! Otherwise I'd seed similar type cover areas with good flying birds and when the dog is hunting hard after several finds, pick him up and leave. Repeat a few days later in a different area , different location all together. Then wait longer before proceeding to a third area, keep repeating until you get the desired results you are looking for. Pushing through blackberry cane, jumping slash or navigating alder thickets has to have its rewards for a dog to pursue. Light that fire, keep him happy and he shouldnt be any trouble breaking next year.

I wouldn't hunt him with another dog until he was broke, fully independent, and after backing manners have been established.

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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by birddogger2 » Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:41 pm

gunguy -

The dog is still a puppy, so lots of bird exposure will definitely help to light that fire.

I will off this piece of advice on getting a hard hunting dog:

Whenever I saw a dog come in to view that was hunting its heart out and going into places where birds might be, not in spite of the thickness of the cover...but BECAUSE of it... I soon saw a hunter come into view that was hunting just as hard as the dog.

The moral of the story is that hard hunting dogs are usually owned by hard hunters. If you see a piece of nasty, gnarly, cover and you dive right in, the dog will do the same. If you dance around the outside of a thicket of Russian olive or multiflora, the dog will probably do the same.

I will tell you a story. May years ago I screwed up royally. I had a year and a half old dog that was just ready to go hunting and my brother and I decided to shoot some clay birds after a training run at the farm we hunted. We put the dog in the car and went on the other side of the barn and shot for about a half hour. When we came back to the car,I knew there was a problem. We had gunshied the dog. I really didn't know how to fix it, but I figured that taking the dog hunting was about the only thing that might work. At the first shot, Cindy came to walk behind me. I tried to get her to go out with the other dogs...but...no dice. So I decided to make following me as unpleasant as possible. I walked through every single piece of nasty cover I could find with Cindy right behind me. At the end of the hunt, I don't know which of us was bloodier sometimes. I tore up a pair of good boots a top quality 10X vest and a pair of red head leather faced hunting pants. The leather was about 3/16" thick on those pants and they were torn up. Everything I hunted with was in shreds by season's end. My nose, ears, face hands and arms were considerably worse for ewear as well

Fast forward to the end of the season and My Dad shot a bird over one of the other dog's points. Before that dog could get to the bird, Cindy had it and brought it back to me. Less than a half hour later, Cindy veered away from behind me, went forward and to the right and locked up on point. My dad killed that bird and she brought it back, to me. As of that moment. she was no longer gunshy.

From that day until the day she died, Cindy actively searched out the gnarliest, nastiest, most inhospitable cover she could find and went through it like it wasn't there. She was an all white pointer, but most days she came home a distinct shade of reddish pink. But she had learned where the birds were and would find them, time after time, when the other dogs were coming up empty.

Now I absolutely do NOT recommend this approach. This was a loooong time ago, and dogs are much different today. Cindy was an old time pointer, out of old time all age stock and was without question, the toughest dog, both mentally and physically, that I have ever owned. She lived and breathed to find birds and nothing much got in the way of that.

V's, in general(at least the one's I've been exposed to) are, in my experience, much more sensitive dogs and respond best to a gentler approach. They are also much more likely to bond tightly with their master and give them their trust. That is a huge help, as long as you maintain that trust.

If you take the dog out and work the cover as you need to, with purpose and enthusiasm , the dog will pick up on your determination and intensity and will respond in kind. Just don't expect miracles from a one year old dog. It is still a puppy and has a lot of maturing to do. Move ahead in training at the dog's pace, not yours. Enjoy the journey. Both of you.

If the dog persists in following you, get hold of a couple of feral pigeons. Then walk into the cover with the dog following. Slip a bird out of your gamebag or pouch or whatever...let it fly and then kill it. I'll bet your dog will forge ahead, with little or no encouragement on your part to get that bird. Just remember..it is still a puppy...baby steps.

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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by gunguy » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:56 pm

Thanks for the response and insight! I have been learning the training differences between my Vizsla and my Lab. The V as you say takes a much softer approach. I think part of my struggle is my lab sounds a lot like your dog Cindy. He lives to hunt, is bird crazy and will get into the nastiest cover there is. I got used to that level of intensity so it’s an adjustment to have to teach it.

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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by birddogger2 » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:08 pm

Gunguy -

Lead...and he will follow.

Lead boldly, with confidence and enthusiasm... and a bird dog will show up.

Shoeleather and birds make a bird dog. I have seen some top shelf V's and yes... it will be worth the effort.

Enjoy the journey.

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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by gonehuntin' » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:19 pm

gunguy wrote:
gonehuntin' wrote:Get into the cover with him. He'll follow you. Go slowly.
That’s been my approach so far but he will get behind me and want me to blaze the trail.
He has to know WHY you want him in that cover. Plant birds and for a while, only plant in cover. Don't let him hunt behind you. Bore him, if he starts to follow you, stop or go very slow AND NEVER TALK TO HIM! If he tries following you, turn the tables, turn 180 degrees and walk AT him. I haven't had much luck with that one. Half the time the dog lays down. The other half he circles around you. But some guys say they have success with it. Just persevere; keep quiet and try to let him have success in the cover. Takes time and birds to train a bird dog.
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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by porochi » Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:36 pm

I often have to get into the thick stuff with my GSP. He'll usually range on ahead of me regardless of cover but only if I'm in it with him. Makes for some tough walking sometimes! But if I'm behind him he'll burrow right into the thickest cover imaginable.

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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by Trekmoor » Tue Nov 06, 2018 6:09 am

I'm another one that thinks taking the pup to where game hides among thick cover is the best approach. It is true that some dogs make better cover dogs than others but the "others" will hunt cover ….if they believe game will be in there.

In Britain we are lucky in one respect. Our shooting estates release thousands of pheasants into relatively small areas and , if you know a friendly gamekeeper, you can be allowed to hunt (without a gun) for them. This really kick starts pups and they not only get keener on cover, they also get quite a lot of pointing and steadiness practice in a short space of time.

So far , I've never had a dog of any breed that was reluctant to hunt cover after that kind of introduction to game. Maybe, if you can go somewhere a bit similar, your dog would see far more reason to hunt the cover ? I've never tried planting pigeons in a wood for a pup to find , I've never needed to do that , but if done often enough it would probably help.

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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by polmaise » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:00 am

A 2 year child doesn't know the value of a $20 bill . So if it was in the middle of a thorny bush it may be curious to reach for it , but once a thorn touches it , it will draw its hand back .
Now ,a few years on when that kid is about 8 or 9 ..It will take a few scratches to get to the $20 dollar bill.
A bit further on when that young one has learned the value and rewards it can get from that $20 bill , then you better have plenty bandages around :lol:

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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by RyanDoolittle » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:28 am

gunguy wrote:
gonehuntin' wrote:Get into the cover with him. He'll follow you. Go slowly.
That’s been my approach so far but he will get behind me and want me to blaze the trail.
When you start flushing birds and he is behind you it will click the action is in the front.

Generally the first 2 years your stuck in the thick crap with little shooting opportunity. After that you have a dog that will take to cover.

Even the softest of dogs will dig deep if they know thats where the birds are and the only way to do that is to show them. If all you do is walk the easy path with them that is where they are going to hunt.

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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by DonF » Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:05 am

How thick brush are you talking about? I had the dog's in sagebrush a week ago I couldn't see much over and haven't a clue where the dogs were. Doesn't do a lot of good to take dog's into stuff you can't even shoot in much less see the dog's.
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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by fishvik » Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:21 am

Put pigeons or other light brush and keep burying deeper once your pup starts catching on or taking to somewhere they plant pheasants that has heavy cover. But I agree with some of the other posters in that a pointing dog in thick brush can pose some problems, seeing them and making sure they will break to flush if you can't get in to shoot. Also thin coated dogs will get torn up in nasty brush.

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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by gunguy » Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:55 pm

DonF wrote:How thick brush are you talking about? I had the dog's in sagebrush a week ago I couldn't see much over and haven't a clue where the dogs were. Doesn't do a lot of good to take dog's into stuff you can't even shoot in much less see the dog's.
I hunt mostly farm land not a whole lot of super nasty thorny stuff but I do get into that every once in a while too. A lot of cat tail sloughs, drainage areas, overgrown draws etc. It's definitely not the north woods but I occasionally will get into stuff that is chest high on me and I am 6' 1". I haven't ever hunted birds in the sagebrush but there is plenty of it an hour and a half from me so I wouldn't rule it out.

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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by ezzy333 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:53 pm

gonehuntin' wrote:Get into the cover with him. He'll follow you. Go slowly.
You beat me too it but the pup should not be expected to hunt heavy cover alone but rather hunt it with you. This happens more often with short-coated dogs but will improve as he gets experience so it basically will take time on your part as well as you joining him with out being critical, and lots of praise when he does it right.

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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by gunguy » Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:35 am

ezzy333 wrote:
gonehuntin' wrote:Get into the cover with him. He'll follow you. Go slowly.
You beat me too it but the pup should not be expected to hunt heavy cover alone but rather hunt it with you. This happens more often with short-coated dogs but will improve as he gets experience so it basically will take time on your part as well as you joining him with out being critical, and lots of praise when he does it right.

Ezzy
That's what I have been doing so far, just wanted to make sure there wasn't something else I can try.

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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by DonF » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:26 am

Sounds to me like you might be better served with a flushing dog. Only problem is the flushing dog probably couldn't keep track of you either!
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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by CDN_Cocker » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:31 pm

2 things:

1) start as a pup in the thick stuff... throwing retrieves etc
2) plant birds in thick stuff. The dog will learn that's where to find them
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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by makova » Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:16 am

i have a couple Vizslas great dogs supper smart! you need to get back to the training field, place birds in locations you can not get to! They will learn very quick were you hide birds and where they can find them! You look like you have a Junior hunter and he has learned here the judges hide birds, in the nice open field.
Another trick i used was long walks with a pocket full of Cheese sticks ( his favorite treat) I will point too a area and toss in a small chunk of cheese, say nothing he will learn to fallow your hand. Good luck Have fun trying to out think that dog!
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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by gunguy » Sat Nov 10, 2018 12:40 am

DonF wrote:Sounds to me like you might be better served with a flushing dog. Only problem is the flushing dog probably couldn't keep track of you either!
I’ve already got one of those. My Lab lives to bust brush.

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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by gundogguy » Sun Nov 11, 2018 8:38 am

gunguy wrote:
DonF wrote:Sounds to me like you might be better served with a flushing dog. Only problem is the flushing dog probably couldn't keep track of you either!
I’ve already got one of those. My Lab lives to bust brush.
It has been my experience that Pointing type dogs are edge dogs flushing dogs thrive in the thick brushy stuff. May be it is the interpretation of what brush is?
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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by polmaise » Sun Nov 11, 2018 1:07 pm

gundogguy wrote: May be it is the interpretation of what brush is?
:wink: .One mans Brush is another mans Grass.

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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by Trekmoor » Mon Nov 12, 2018 5:58 am

gundogguy wrote:
gunguy wrote:
DonF wrote:
It has been my experience that Pointing type dogs are edge dogs flushing dogs thrive in the thick brushy stuff.
I'm inclined to agree. I expect a pointing dog to take an easier route through thick cover than a spaniel would ....after all most pointing dogs are considerably larger than a spaniel and, unlike spaniels, they are not specifically bred for pushing through thick cover. If I indicate to a pointing dog that I want it to more thoroughly investigate a clump of cover then I expect the dog to do that but otherwise I just want and expect a pointing dog to move along the fringes of thick cover with the wind in it's favour as it tries to locate game inside the cover.

If the dog points in towards a bit of cover then I send it in to make the flush .....no way am I going to leave the dog on point while I go thrashing around in brush and bramble or gorse bushes ! :lol:

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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by cjhills » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:16 am

Bill
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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by Trekmoor » Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:53 am

It makes little sense to me either. When I first read that American hunters went out in front of their pointing dogs in order to kick up the birds I at first thought there must be a reason for this . I have now read about it for nearly 40 years and I still have never read a good reason for it ! :lol: To me and to just about everyone else on this side of the Atlantic , it makes sense to command the dog on point to make the flush ….because the dog knows where the bird is ! It doesn't need to "kick around."

I can't see you lads changing your ways to match the rest of the world in a hurry though. Your books, your instruction videos, your training classes and maybe most of all - your field trials are all geared up to leaving the dog on point while a handler who cannot usefully use his eyes , his ears or his nose in that situation, has to try to find and flush birds with his feet !
It is almost literally a case of the blind leading the sighted !
Doing that is a real noggin scratcher to us over here. :lol:

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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by cjhills » Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:51 am

I think it may have originated from the southern quail hunters, who used retrievers to flush the birds and carried over to trials and hunt tests. It is a lot easier to keep a dog steady who never gets to retrieve a bird.
I will say I don't have to kick around to flush a wild bird, they flush pretty easy. The dog is probably safer with the handler flushing and probably the shots are closer. Don't know about that. Does the dog run in and flush on command and stop to flush or do you control the dog on the flush? My first dogs flushed like a spaniel and sat on the flush. It worked good but not for competition dogs. thinking of going back to that now.......Cj

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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by nevermind » Mon Nov 12, 2018 10:59 am

We are getting a bit off topic Bill T, anyway we do have hunters that send their pointing dogs to make a bird flush ( I have seen this not go well when the bird was a porky). I believe we have different types of hunting styles here... we have hunters with close working dogs that take their dog to ground most likely to hold birds not letting dog get out of gun range... when dog finds bird the bird or whatever is there right in front of the dog... this would be ideal for sending the dog to flush. The other hunting style is turn a ranging dog out and let it find where birds are at. I have a ranging pointing dog and hunt mostly pheasant. When the dog finds bird or birds it might be 100 or 150 yards away, by the time I get to the dog most pheasants will have moved away. This is where I would find difficulty to train my dog to flush, as of now dog will relocate on birds when released, but it might be out of gun range when birds are relocated. I'm not a dog trainer, so I would like to know what method you use to get a dog, when released from a point to flush or relocate?

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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by polmaise » Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:31 pm

Personally I do not think the thread is going off Topic "nevermind" .
It is True that different styles or different methods to an an "end" are used in different states or countries ..even continents ! .. That doesn't mean any are wrong or right ? . Just Different .
....
How one would get a dog to hunt in thick brush ? ....well, you could. ... Not feed it for two/three days ,then throw raw tripe in some Hawthorn bush ? :wink: ...It will certainly go in the Hawthorn bush ! ! :roll: ...How you Hunt it In that bush afterwards ...Is A different question ..No matter what country or what any ones interpretation of cover or Bush . 8)

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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by Trekmoor » Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:38 pm

nevermind wrote: I'm not a dog trainer, so I would like to know what method you use to get a dog, when released from a point to flush or relocate?
Oh Dear ! I was hoping nobody would ask that question ! :lol: There is no one and only answer and that question, or the variations of it, are often discussed/argued over in Britain. I have been to 4 pointing dog seminars. In two of them I was part of the audience and I, as a beginner asked that question of the "experts" on the panel. In the last two of those seminars I was one of the panel of "experts" and although years had passed by between me asking the question and me attempting to answer it , there was still no single, straightforward answer . The experts were still arguing about it and I think they always will !

There are several variables involved in actually "producing" a bird for the gun following a point by a dog. It is helpful if you can be reasonably certain what species of bird the dog is likely to be pointing. In Britain a point could be on just about any of the game species. My dog(s) have often encountered partridge, pheasant, grouse, blackgame, snipe and maybe even woodcock during the course of just a couple of hours of hunting. All of these birds have differing habits and those habits can also differ within the same species of bird.

Birds can and quite often do run from the point. In trials I always hoped and prayed my dog would get a nice, straightforward, flush almost instantly when I sent it in to flush but that did not always happen ! In my experience pheasants are the worst of the bunch for running from the point.


Sometimes pheasants run almost as soon as they are pointed but sometimes it is the dogs that go in to make the flush in a slow or very hesitant manner that either causes the bird to run or which give it far too much time to run a long way. ------ On the other hand if a dog goes in like steam train when commanded to flush then if the bird was maybe 30 yards away then that bird will need to be shot pretty quickly if it is to be shot at all. I've noticed that our HPR (versatile dog) judges usually prefer a very fast, hard flush but our pointer and setter judges prefer a calm , steady, walk in to flush by the dog and the handler.

I am not certain about this but I suspect this is because our HPR trials are often held on mixed ground , that is, woodlands as well as more open ground where a long "follow" on a running bird isn't easily possible. The pointer/setter folk only ever seem to hunt over open ground here ....usually up on the wide open grouse moors. Grouse don't usually run on for a really long way so a more sedate or controlled flush is more easily possible. In addition to that the pointer/setter folk are still back in the dark ages ! They are still thinking in terms of when birds were hunted using single shot , muzzle loading shotguns !


In order to get a second or maybe even a third shot back then it was essential that the dog did not go in like a train. The dogs were and still are expected to walk in on command with the handler walking beside it , then stop at once when a bird flushed and drop to shot. The dog then had to remain in the drop position until the handler had reloaded and was ready to tell the dog to "clean the ground" or in other words, to find and flush the rest of the covey. This is the tradition handed down to our present day pointer/setter folk and they still expect this in our trials for these breeds.

If a bird , usually a pheasant, ran from the point I had to make up my mind whether it was better to allow my dog to do a follow on it and try to re-establish a point on it further on , or, if I felt the bird was long gone ....or had maybe run too fast and too far for me to catch up on it , just to call the dog off the scent then insist it must quarter onwards in the hope of finding the bird again.

The trouble with permitting the dog to do a really long follow is that while it may be successful, it will also mean missing out on the hunting of all the ground the dog would otherwise have covered. Permitting my dog to do a long follow only worked out well for me in one trial and the running bird was a male blackcock. The judges were on the point of telling me to call my bitch up when the bird- at last - got up and flew ! If she had failed to produce that bird she would have been eliminated for wasting time and ground.


My first brittany developed her own way of dealing with pheasants that ran on a for a long way from the point. She did naturally something the Germans have a special name for ....and value highly. She would follow or track a running bird until it became obvious to her that my slow speed was going to let the bird get clean away. She'd break off from the follow, run out from me in a huge banana shaped loop and then try to either repoint on the bird or flush it at distance in such a way that the bird flew back towards me giving me a "driven" shot. It didn't always work either but when it did it was spectactular to watch that wee bitch use her own natural instincts to figure out how to send the bird back towards me.


It really is not all that difficult to have a dog that will hold a point, then flush to command, then stop/sit and be steady to flush , shot and fall of game. Spaniels have to be steady following a flush and if a spaniel can be steady then why not a pointing dog ?

Most dogs are capable of being far more versatile than we give them credit for. The limitations tend to be in our heads ...not the dogs.


Bill T.
The older I get, the better I was !

polmaise
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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by polmaise » Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:54 pm

Trekmoor wrote: It really is not all that difficult to have a dog that will hold a point, then flush to command, then stop/sit and be steady to flush , shot and fall of game. Spaniels have to be steady following a flush and if a spaniel can be steady then why not a pointing dog ?

Most dogs are capable of being far more versatile than we give them credit for. The limitations tend to be in our heads ...not the dogs.


Bill T.
Good Point ! Wullie . :wink:
A sequential process is better than a Program to achieve it in Real terms .
Best just get out there and do it .
You can train for pretty much what you want and what you want to do with what ever dog in whatever country in what ever cover ..In whatever method you choose ! ...As long as the Dog is doing what you want it to do ! ...............For some that is too simple ? :wink:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHkNvXJpXt0

blanked
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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by blanked » Tue Nov 13, 2018 2:54 am

Letting young pups chase birds builds there desire to hunt and find birds. Lay off using collars and keep your mouth shut except for praise. Let pup learn his natural breeding traits that is hunting and pointing. You can’t teach this. Forget about any formal training first year

averageguy
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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by averageguy » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:03 am

blanked wrote:Letting young pups chase birds builds there desire to hunt and find birds. Lay off using collars and keep your mouth shut except for praise. Let pup learn his natural breeding traits that is hunting and pointing. You can’t teach this. Forget about any formal training first year
Yes it is critical to get a pup into wild game so it can learn its craft. Early and often is what I do. Finding game in the brush from an early age on has always taught my dogs where to look with little to no prompting from me other than I walk in or close to the brush which causes a young pup to do the same. Encounters with game in the brush takes it from there. And I do it in silence as suggested.

But formal training can also start early and often using PR methods in the house and yard. Waiting for a pup to be a wild "bleep" 1 year old before teaching basic OB is missing a huge opportunity to shape the pup at a much younger age, and sets up both the handler and dog for a much more difficult go of it down the road.

Stoke the fire while in the field, establish controls while in the yard, house, parking lot, vet's office, exercise runs so commands are trained and understood and can be applied in the field as the puppy's development indicates it is time to do so...

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Featherfinder
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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by Featherfinder » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:21 am

I believe a pups can learn quite bit and waiting has never been in my program. It is the fabric of the lesson that needs to address the pup. Imposing adult expectations on a pup is unfair however there are tons of learning opportunities even in a young pup.
As for busting brush, perhaps an intermediary approach may serve your "V"? Try something like having a friend on the opposite side of a hedgerow. (You mentioned your V has been properly introduced to birds first then gunshot subsequently.) All preliminary processes being in order, have your friend/assistant stand on the opposite side of said hedgerow. On your notice (wave your arm - no verbal) have your friend say something excitedly like, "BIRD!!" (solely intended to gets pups attention), then he tosses the bird up in the air higher than the hedgerow on his side for your dog to see, followed by a gunshot. Release your pup and allow him to negotiate the hedgerow.
Obviously the density and width of the hedgerow is key. Start easy...work up. If pup fails to traverse the hedgerow. Do a calm recall, and heel him away - nothing negative about this what-so-ever. He simply misses out on that bird. Repeat....
Once he understands this process, use the edge of dense bush rather than a hedgerow. Have your friend just inside - 40 yards??? I think you get it.
Finally, as already mentioned, you must take him to woodlots where there are plenty of birds, even if you have to seed it first.
I had a Brittany that was fully trained. I took him for woodcock. He was completely happy to follow in my footsteps through the nasty cover. On a subsequent outing, we were fortunate enough to find a "flight". He switched into a bird finding machine!! Funny, but opportunities, patience and birds will do that. :wink:

nevermind
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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by nevermind » Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:13 am

Bill T... Thank you for your time and effort. I appreciate your knowledge and experiences.

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Re: Tips for getting a dog to hunt in thick brush

Post by gunguy » Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:14 pm

Thank you for all of the responses!

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