Dog not "going with" me

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JonnyRedBeard
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Dog not "going with" me

Post by JonnyRedBeard » Fri Dec 20, 2019 2:56 pm

Hello all. I apologize if this has been addressed in another thread, but I could not find anything specific to my situation.

I have a 4 year-old drop (irish setter x english pointer). She has TONS of drive, steady to wing-shot-fall, and has a mediocre nose (not sure if any of that is relevant). My problem is (and has been) that over time during our hunt she decides that she is going to hunt for herself and not check in with me or "go with" me. I.e. if she's hunting the cover over there, and I want her to go this way with me, I have to call her in and point her in the direction I want to go. Even then, she will often circle back to where she wants to go. I don't get the sense that she's "over there" because she has some scent...its just where she wants to be. It was extremely evident this morning while woodcock hunting (here in SC) when I wanted her to hunt the bottoms with me and I had to keep calling her off where she was hunting to try to bring her to where the woodcock would be. When I work with her in the back yard, she goes with me on a double whistle blast, but the second we get to the field, it all goes to pot. And the longer we hunt, the worse it usually gets.

Do i just need to go back to the training field with a 50' check cord and work on going with me, over and over again? Ultimately the problem just seems to be that she wants to hunt the way she wants to hunt and could care less about me. Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks.

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AZ Brittany Guy
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Re: Dog not "going with" me

Post by AZ Brittany Guy » Fri Dec 20, 2019 3:28 pm

JonnyRedBeard wrote:Hello all. I apologize if this has been addressed in another thread, but I could not find anything specific to my situation.

I have a 4 year-old drop (irish setter x english pointer). She has TONS of drive, steady to wing-shot-fall, and has a mediocre nose (not sure if any of that is relevant). My problem is (and has been) that over time during our hunt she decides that she is going to hunt for herself and not check in with me or "go with" me. I.e. if she's hunting the cover over there, and I want her to go this way with me, I have to call her in and point her in the direction I want to go. Even then, she will often circle back to where she wants to go. I don't get the sense that she's "over there" because she has some scent...its just where she wants to be. It was extremely evident this morning while woodcock hunting (here in SC) when I wanted her to hunt the bottoms with me and I had to keep calling her off where she was hunting to try to bring her to where the woodcock would be. When I work with her in the back yard, she goes with me on a double whistle blast, but the second we get to the field, it all goes to pot. And the longer we hunt, the worse it usually gets.

Do i just need to go back to the training field with a 50' check cord and work on going with me, over and over again? Ultimately the problem just seems to be that she wants to hunt the way she wants to hunt and could care less about me. Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks.
Well the Setter / Pointer mix is a recipe for big running independence in my view.

I have All Age Brittany (believe it or not) and he knows where I am every minute and he is steady to wing and shot but depending on the terrain he is usually 1/4 to 1/2 mile in front of me based on my Garmin. I have come to realize if I want to hunt thicker cover I need to hunt a shorter dog.

Your thinking about going back to the checkcord sounds like a good plan. The only thing I would add would be to overlay an ecollar with a nick each time I turned him. Do enough reps that you stop checking him with the cord but continue to nick him when you turn. When he goes with you and turns with the nick reliably continue to work him in a dry field (no birds) without a checkcord. The last thing to overlay would be your whistle. Repeat untill you have a conditioned responce.

Good luck and think about adding a French Brittany for heaver cover. Use your Pointer/Setter for your Chukar hunting in Idaho.



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Featherfinder
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Re: Dog not "going with" me

Post by Featherfinder » Sun Dec 22, 2019 8:35 am

The other thing I'd add to AZ Britts post is that you will now need to reward your 4 year old dog for staying with you using a VERY highly weighted ROI as in...BIRDS!! (Bring them with you initially.) You might need an assistant to carry the birds because smart dogs soon learn that if you're carrying a bird bag they hang around knowing what will follow.
A check cord in the field - especially for woodcock - is NOT going to work! Do the remedial training (starting with the check cord) in more practical cover, then take the e-collar part of it to the woodcock cover.
Also, I personally would lose the whistle. Your dog will develop a dependency to it and, as you have already determined, it means nothing. Further to this, when an independent dog hears a whistle, he/she is now confident that his owner is still with him....somewhere. As such, you may in fact be contributing to the issue. Some trialers use whistles for dogs that need to be on the edge of lost in order to be competitive - gun dog owners do not.
What your dog has in fact learned is that the farther from you he gets, the more rewarding it is for him. THAT is what you need to re-align.
I add that a woodcock-style dog needs to gather experience hunting timberdoodles. That experience comes from finding these birds where they lie in proximity to you but more importantly, THE GUN. There might be another hole in your dog's understanding of this relationship.
At 4 years of age and with those genetics, this is not going to be an easy fix.
IMO, the best dogs dig harder (farther) in the absence of birds. I like that to an extent.
The upside is that you are learning from this dog what to do with your next dog or....not to do.
More-often-than-not, this is the result of a dog owned/un-trained by Mr. Yougottaseemydogrun.
Last edited by Featherfinder on Thu Dec 26, 2019 8:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

JonnyRedBeard
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Re: Dog not "going with" me

Post by JonnyRedBeard » Mon Dec 23, 2019 8:29 am

Thanks to you both for the insights. I agree with the both of your strategies, and would REALLY like to get away from the whistle. It annoys me to use it, and I'm sure anyone hunting with me feels the same. ...and to be honest, I wondered about the thought Featherfinder had about when she hears my whistle, she know where I am and feels like she can keep going.

Early on I worked her in fields/timber with pen raised quail and more recently, pigeons in a launcher and would always try to go where the birds were so that she would connect me with the birds. But even then, I can read from body language/actions that its not setting in 100%. I think one trouble she is having is wanting to get out of the woodcock cover (nasty hardwood bottoms) and gets up into the open upland country where she thinks she'll find birds (i.e. quail) because thats where we train. She doesn't know that is woodcock season and I want her to in the bottoms to find woodcock, and that we can get after the quail after woodcock season ends (there are a TON more woodcock this time of year than quail in SC). But that gets to the point of me wanting her to hut WITH ME. I agree that if I can get repeated finds in the bottoms on woodcock, it might bring her into the cover I want, but that doesn't necessarily mean it will keep her from self-hunting. Sadly she's always been a bit of a self-hunter and self-[fill in the blank] and since I didn't get into more formal training with her until she was 2, I never got a good handle on it. I thought with experience she would figure out the concept of needing me to shoot birds, but its only gotten worse over time. So thats on me for not getting a grasp on it earlier. I guess I'll try what you guys have suggested and see what happens.

At the end of the day (as my wife reminded me) we got her as a runt of the littler from a shooting preserve for $100 with little forethought or knowledge of her parents besides breed. So we've got what we paid for, and will learn from it for my next dog...including knowing how the parents hunt and selecting the right dog/breeder. Its just super frustrating that when I have so few days to hunt (I'm a father of 3 young kids), the times that I do go typically end in frustration...but again, most of that is on me.

Thanks again.

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Re: Dog not "going with" me

Post by DonF » Mon Dec 23, 2019 11:53 am

Not relevant but how do you know if your dog has a mediocre nose? Can you smell what the dog is smelling? I've had dog's I might say had a good nose but actually is could be nothing more than a smart dog that has seen resulte from certain cover before and is simply testing. My old Hannah could pretty much produce birds out of no where but I think the truth was she was really cover wise! I have watched a good number of dog's come out of good cover to open nothing and take a look around and go back in the cover, cover wise!

Take a dog that, like to run as your's does and keep it close, could be expensive. Birds, lot's of birds. Plant so many the dog has a hard time moving without bumping a bird. Gonna take a lot of birds and I wouldn't call it fool proof but it will bring in the dog for awhile. Myself I think people make a mistake buying pup's out of great All Ag dog's. Those dog's are bread to run! To every All Age handler I've ever known their number one priority in a dog was run, range. Then they train mostly off of horse back, hard to keep up with a hores when your on foot and the dog's have been trained like that a lot of generations. Get your pup out of gun dog's and not necessarily the big running one's.
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Re: Dog not "going with" me

Post by JonnyRedBeard » Mon Dec 23, 2019 12:53 pm

Good point about the dogs nose...she can smell better than me for sure. I base my comment solely on the fact that I've watched her run thru the scent cone of planted birds. I also watched her do the same on a grouse this fall, right in front of me. ...but that was her first time she'd ever been in the grouse woods. So it was just my assumption, but i take your point.

To your other point about the dogs breeding, I agree 100%. This dog came to us as a pup because my wife wanted another dog, and we got it on a whim. I was just tickled she was ok with getting another pointing dog. It came from a shooting preserve and I will be the first to admit that a little more forethought should've gone into it. I've learned a lot from the experience to know that I will not get another dog without a whole lot more research and hopefully seeing it run (if I get a started dog) or see its parents run. Live and learn, right?

That said, I'm going to continue trying to make lemonade out of lemons and see what happens. The common theme - and one I've been thinking about all along - seems to be MORE BIRDS!

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Re: Dog not "going with" me

Post by Featherfinder » Thu Dec 26, 2019 8:52 am

JRB, most of us earned our stripes by making the very same mistakes you and others here-in have made. In this regard, you have to cut yourself some slack. I give you FULL marks for posturing that the dog come from pointing dog lines. Smart...very smart!
Here's the thing, you need to ramp up your experience as a trainer/handler. A dog like the one you have there is a tremendous vehicle for making you better around bird dogs. Use that. Learn from it. It's only a total loss when you run around trying to go back in time and don't extract the underlying lessons.
When I said, take your dog into woodcock cover once you dovetailed the e-collar into handling, I meant plant your birds in that same woodcock cover. You need to (initially) provide your dog with incentives to work for YOU/the gun - assuming the other fundamental relevant aspects (steadiness) of the training are ingrained.
Further to DonF's post, buying out of AA breeding is not where most novices or casual bird doggers want to start. But, that brings to light even more the general misunderstanding that some experienced dog trainers are misinterpreting. Somehow there still remains to-this-day, a misconception of a young dog's understanding/smarts.
Create the world your dog will know. Don't expose it carelessly to ALL that is out there (over the distant horizons) and then expect it to one day morph into a savvy handling gun dog! And "morph" is being subtle. Many yell, scream, whistle and zap their way around the fields to this day!
ALL of my horseback AA pups start out as what many would call "bootlickers". I LOVE big engine breeding but I've been at this a long time. After a season or two under their belts, my once-bootlickers are wild-bird finding MACHINES! The best part is, they work WITH me/their owners out of volition. And THAT is why your & your dog's success rate ramps up exponentially as you sachet silently through your quarry's home turf hunting birds....not dogs! The only thing you should hear is the occasional sound of a shotshell per find...or in my case, 2 shotshells. :oops:
Last edited by Featherfinder on Thu Dec 26, 2019 3:21 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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greg jacobs
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Re: Dog not "going with" me

Post by greg jacobs » Thu Dec 26, 2019 2:27 pm

I've made your mistake. Bought way more dog than I needed. Way too much field trial blood. She was the most independent pup in the litter. She is an 800 yd dog and was by 6 months, and I needed a 2 or 300 yd dog. Figured out that I was over my head.These people have given you far better suggestions than I can. I would certainly try their approaches first. If in the end nothing works. What i finally did was accept what i had, a big running knotthead. I chose to compromise. I trained her to bend on the tone of my alpha. I can now hunt her at 2 or 300 yds. She has accepted that she has to hunt with me at a closer range. It sure isn't a perfect solution. She still wants to be an 800 yd dog and I don't enjoy hitting the tone a bunch of times every trip. She is six now and will always be with me. We have learned to make it work. My other dog is a 2 or 300 yd dog and has been much more pleasant of an experience.
Last edited by greg jacobs on Thu Dec 26, 2019 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Dog not "going with" me

Post by greg jacobs » Thu Dec 26, 2019 2:37 pm

My next pup was more the range I needed. As soon as I got him, 8 weeks, I had him in the field. I kept quiet and when he got out a ways I would change directions and not say a word. He soon figured out he needed to keep an eye on me. He's 4 now and I hunt him and never have to say a word. What a pleasant dog he is.

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Re: Dog not "going with" me

Post by Featherfinder » Thu Dec 26, 2019 3:03 pm

Well done Greg!! I hear you.
As for me, give me that hot horseback AA HOF bred pointer/setter as a young pup. When you can "saddle the stallion", you are in for the ride of a lifetime!
I hunt for that perpetual rush that comes from being a part of a scintillating bird dog being challenged by savvy wild birds on their terms! It all stemmed from my field trial days. Just having a trained dog is simply not enough.
My dogs (from the aforementioned hot breeding) are bootlickers in their theoretical development. They are anything but bootlickers as they graduate to being classy, savvy, big engine, wild bird pointers - that synergy that evolves from a flashy, fiery, high paced, relentless bird dog applying itself in the thickest early season grouse/woodcock cover or that wide open prairie whereby you simply walk, watch, listen, and take in all that nature has to offer, completely resolute in the knowledge that shortly your dog will either nail a find or swing by to check on you. It's....spiritual! Thank you Lord for I am truly blessed!!
I've had customers that have owned 3-4+ bird dogs and never remotely experienced what I ascribe to. It's like an epiphany when they are exposed to what a truly high class bird dog CAN do...given the opportunities.
Not always but too often a dog's shortcomings are nothing more than the owner/trainer's lack of understanding and commitment.
And yes Ray, these same folk are sometimes asked to judge. I find fault in those that asked then to judge.
Last edited by Featherfinder on Sun Dec 29, 2019 3:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bobman
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Re: Dog not "going with" me

Post by bobman » Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:15 pm

Feather finder is giving you good suggestions I agree with his approach you have to seed that type of cover if you expect the dog to believe there’s bird there it has to find some there
currently two shorthairs, four english pointers, one Brittany, one SPRINGER a chihuahua and a min pin lol

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Re: Dog not "going with" me

Post by blanked » Sun Dec 29, 2019 2:22 pm

Not going with me. It’s highly overrated IMO. As long as the dog points and holds birds til you get there they are hunting for you. My dogs range 300 yards in woodcock cover. I love it. That’s why they wear an Astro. Let the dog hunt and figure out where the birds are without you interfering

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Re: Dog not "going with" me

Post by greg jacobs » Mon Dec 30, 2019 2:12 pm

Featherfinder wrote:
Thu Dec 26, 2019 3:03 pm
Well done Greg!! I hear you.
As for me, give me that hot horseback AA HOF bred pointer/setter as a young pup. When you can "saddle the stallion", you are in for the ride of a lifetime!
I've always said she is going to be the best or worst dog I've ever had. Definitely the smartest. Don't think I got the saddle cinched up quite tight enough. Lol. Although I understand completely "now". Didnt understand when she was young. Keep making new mistakes. You'd think I would run out eventually

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Re: Dog not "going with" me

Post by Featherfinder » Mon Dec 30, 2019 3:45 pm

As for making mistakes, I hold the title Greg. :D But those tough dogs or those with quirks are what I cut my training teeth on - those ones others didn't want or already took a swing at but gave up on.
They helped me think out-of-the-box to develop resolves. I also spent a lot of restless nights too.
I learned to read dogs which is a trainer's greatest asset. Granted, I took a long time learning to "read" as well. :oops:

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Re: Dog not "going with" me

Post by gonehuntin' » Sun Jan 05, 2020 8:19 am

To me it's a simple case of the dog not coming when called. There is NO excuse for this. It doesn't matter where the dog is and what it's doing, when you command HERE, the dog should immediately cease and desist it's action returning to your side.
LIFE WITHOUT BIRD DOGS AND FLY RODS REALLY ISN'T LIFE AT ALL.

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Re: Dog not "going with" me

Post by setterpoint » Wed Feb 05, 2020 11:10 am

I teach my dog to turn useing the locate button on my beeper collar, and whistle , start by going to an open field,where your dog can see you, you said your dog will come when called when the dog gets out running the field say hear and blow the whistle and hit the locate button on the remote and change your direction
if the dog pays no attention to you nick the dog with the remote, and keep walking away from dog
your dog should follow when the dog gets out again say hear hit the locate button again keep repeating this when your dog response to this you can stop saying hear and just use the locate if the dog don't respond use the e collar on nick it doesn't take long to see results
this way you have three ways to call the dog by voice whistle and beeper
I have a 18 month old pointer that is pretty hard headed he now knows the beeper means to check back in same as the whistle or voice command
when bird hunting your not hollering at the dog I think that spooks birds

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Re: Dog not "going with" me

Post by polmaise » Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:21 pm

Self employed , and being the Taxi driver .
Horses for courses , reap what you sow. Whatever floats your boat .

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Re: Dog not "going with" me

Post by polmaise » Wed Feb 05, 2020 5:59 pm

gonehuntin' wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 8:19 am
To me it's a simple case of the dog not coming when called. There is NO excuse for this. It doesn't matter where the dog is and what it's doing, when you command HERE, the dog should immediately cease and desist it's action returning to your side.
In context and situation of course !! I usually find less game with a bird dog when this is applied ........after all...the purpose is to locate it ...no matter what ,and it is never at your side :mrgreen:

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Re: Dog not "going with" me

Post by setterpoint » Sun Feb 16, 2020 4:03 pm

he said the dog would come when call but would go right back to doing what it wanted to do , that's where the e collar comes in
I suggested useing the beeper to turn the dog, hear means back to my side with reputation the dog will learn it don't mean he has to come by my side it means turn and go with me, may not be what you want to do but it works for me

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Re: Dog not "going with" me

Post by polmaise » Sun Feb 16, 2020 4:22 pm

semantics .
Not 'Going with me' or Not 'Going without me' . :lol:

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Re: Dog not "going with" me

Post by oldbeek » Sun Feb 16, 2020 5:51 pm

I have a fairly big running dog. I used to direct her to where I wanted her. The exercise was frustrating. I bought a Garmin and just follow her. She has the nose. I DON'T. Her nose is much better now that I let her go to the birds she smells. I do reign her in at 200 yrds out with a vibration. She does check in occasionally for directions. At 6 yrs now she seams to have that 200yd boundary down pat.

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Re: Dog not "going with" me

Post by setterpoint » Sun Feb 16, 2020 7:05 pm

I see what your saying and agree, but there are times I know how the cover lays out and would rather have the dog in better cover
that's grouse hunting if I know there's some hawthorn stands in the back of a hunting spot that's where I would like my dog to go instead of running thru
some unproductive cover but I do know what your saying

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Re: Dog not "going with" me

Post by Featherfinder » Mon Feb 17, 2020 9:06 am

Firming up this dog's recall/"come command" will do absolutely nothing for it's hunting application. It is an indication of overhandling where wild birds are concerned. That's why the gent with the raw lips from whistle blowing or hoarse voice from hacking serve no purpose in teaching the dog the rewards of being a team player.
What the whistling/hacking/zapping, etc. will do is:
- distract the dog from the task at hand,
- create added fatigue for the dog (retracing it's steps over previously worked/unproductive cover),
- frustrate the owner,
- *totally frustrate the owner's hunting buddy(s),
- provides any wild birds in the general vicinity a warning/notice.
None of the above are gems I personally aspire to experience when wild bird hunting. It does save on the cost of shot shells though.

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Re: Dog not "going with" me

Post by setterpoint » Mon Feb 17, 2020 9:29 am

I agree the less you have to handel a dog the better,I hate the whistle and hollering out in the field, in my opion spoils the hunt
thats why I train in the off season for the dog to hunt with me not the other way around
me and the dog are a team and must work togather with the gps systems out today I don't mind my dog ranging out 200 yards but if I beep the dog it knows to turn back, because of the training we have done like any other training the dogs know what it's job is,and will check back regularly
this is grouse hunting in thick cover and at 66 year old I don't want the dog to keep going and only check back ever hour or so I simple can't keep up with the dog out to far, I guess we all have our preference in what we like no right or wrong way, thankful I can still enjoy getting out hunting

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