Post Flush Flagging

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eajusc
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Post Flush Flagging

Post by eajusc » Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:59 pm

Any advice on this would be appreciated.

I have a pointer, 2 years old, looks great on point, almost broke, 12 o'clock tail. However, after the bird flushes he starts flagging. Won't move his feet or move to chase the bird (99% of the time) but the bird goes up in the air and his tail gets going.

It generally seems to be on pen raised birds (haven't gotten him on wild birds since last season so I can't rule out that it's just a pen raised bird thing). I've tried putting multiple birds down on the ground in launchers so he stays on his nose--but end up with the same thing--happy tail once the birds are up in the air. I don't feel like a correction is in order as he's not moving on the birds or causing the flush--more pressure seems like it would be a bad idea here.

If I was just wild bird hunting with him I wouldn't really mind--but I run some field trials with him, too, which around here are ALL on pen raised birds.

Any advice on how to keep the dog's tail from flagging once the bird is in the air?

birddogger2
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Re: Post Flush Flagging

Post by birddogger2 » Wed Aug 05, 2020 7:01 pm

First - I have to tell you that anyone who knocks a dog for having a happy tail AFTER the bird has flown is not a good judge. As long as the dog has not moved its feet in the direction of the flight of the bird after the shot is fired...that is a completed piece of birdwork. Collar the dog and walk away.

YES - A dog standing like a soldier after the flush and shot is something of a parlor trick and yeah it looks pretty. I train for it too.

First off, your dog is pretty young and this may come with age and repetition. Patience.

I would do something like what you are doing...having two(or more) birds in traps in the same general area. When you flush and capgun bird #1, if the dog starts to flag... just go quietly back to the dog, style it up, stroke it up and settle it down until it stops moving its tail. Push the back end to tighten the dog up, stroke it, head to tail and let it catch scent from the bird in the other trap. When the dog settles, go back out in front and flush some more. Any time the dog lets down, go back and gently style the dog up and stroke it up. You want the dog to focus on the scent, to drink it in and get in "the zone". You also want to be somewhat "unpredictable" in your flushing attempts. Keep the dog guessing, just like you didn't know where the bird is.

I sometimes have a pigeon or two in my bird bag and while flushing, will slip one out and let it fly from behind, just to keep the dog on its toes. The more you style the dog up and stroke it up, the more it will want to stand.

For a young dog, you might want to enlist the aid of a helper. Set the dog up on a barrel, bench or board and style it up and stroke it up. Then have your helper fly a pigeon from a hiding spot such that the bird flies across the dog's field of view. You will be right there to instantly reward the dog with gentle stroking and styling, or, if necessary to re-position the dog and then stroke it up.

Three or four flying pigeons per session should get the youngster's attention and your immediate positive feedback stroking and styling should start to sink in.

Depending on the dog, you might want to try a VERY low stim on the belly, or(better yet) a vibrate to stop the happy tail, but I would do that last...not first.

The deeper the dog gets in "the zone' from the scent of the bird... the more likely it will stand there.

RayG

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eajusc
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Re: Post Flush Flagging

Post by eajusc » Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:28 am

Thanks, Birddogger--I agree with you on the judging. That being said, I see it as one of those "all things being equal type deals" two dogs are identical but one stays still as a statue after the flush. However, I'm definitely still very new to field trials and learning as go!

What you're saying makes sense--I hadn't been styling the dog up between flushes--I'd just been waiting for him to get back on his nose on the second or third bird that was down, flushing the second and third bird each time he tightens back up.

What are your thoughts on the barrel/board/bench? Candidly I haven't used a bench or anything and haven't taught him whoa, instead letting the birds break him. Can the bench just be another tool to help you get your hands on them any get them styled up?

birddogger2
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Re: Post Flush Flagging

Post by birddogger2 » Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:19 pm

eajusc wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:28 am

What are your thoughts on the barrel/board/bench? Candidly I haven't used a bench or anything and haven't taught him whoa, instead letting the birds break him. Can the bench just be another tool to help you get your hands on them any get them styled up?
Everyone does it a little different and that is OK because each of us and each dog is a little different as well.

I do a fair bit of heel/whoa drills leading into steadying and styling on a wobbly bench, but whether it is a placeboard, barrel, bench, tailgate or just a convenient spot in the back yard or training field, it never hurts(I think) to stop the dog and put your hands on it to stroke it up and style it up.

I think the more they understand that it pleases you to have them stand tall and proud, the more they will want to do just that. There is no question in my mind that the scent of a bird starts a chemical process in the dog, leading ultimately to an almost trance like state in some dogs. I read somewhere that there is a release of endorphins(SP??) which are like naturally occurring opiates. I can tell you that stroking a dog up, if done right, can put a dog in "the zone".

I saw a trainer(my uncle) stroke up a dog(a setter) on a ceramic chicken statue and he got the dog so wired up that he was able to physically pick the dog up turn it 180 degrees away from the statue and put it down again with the dog still locked up on point. The dog was absolutely in a trance. I was about 15 years old at the time.

So I know it can be done...with the right dog...and the right set of hands on the right trainer.

Patience, persistence and repetition. Gentle hands. Calm, confident hands. Remember your dog can "read" you and will respond to your mood. If you project confidence, your dog will read and respond confidently. If you project uncertainty or unease, , that is what the dog will pick up on and respond to.

Again, you have a youngster that probably has a lot of drive and desire. You need to channel all of that...and that takes time and lots of repetitions.

When you are doing the birdwork, if the dog starts to get loose, here is one thing you can try. Go back to the dog and start stroking it up. Then slip your hand in between the dog's back legs and pick up his back end off the ground avoiding any pressure on a male's genitals. Push forward a bit to get the dog to "dig in" in front and resist your push and then GENTLY lower the dog's back end and stroke up. That seems to tighten them up and settle them fairly quickly.

RayG

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Sharon
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Re: Post Flush Flagging

Post by Sharon » Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:51 pm

You need to write a book Ray. :)
" We are more than our gender, skin color, class, sexuality or age; we are unlimited potential, and can not be defined by one label." quote A. Bartlett

ckirsch
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Re: Post Flush Flagging

Post by ckirsch » Fri Aug 07, 2020 3:24 pm

I'll second the recommendation that Ray write a book. I learn something each time I read one of his posts.

birddogger2
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Re: Post Flush Flagging

Post by birddogger2 » Sat Aug 08, 2020 8:20 am

Folks -

We are all here to help each other. People shared their knowledge with us and passed it on. It is up to us to do the same and honor the memory of those who helped us by paying it forward to the next generation of bird doggers.

On this board, we all do what we can, when we can. I have sen that and it is awesome. Sportsmen and women helping each other.

Make no mistake, I learn things all the time from members who share.

We are fortunate to have this platform to reach out to so many. Thank you to the folks who run the forum.

RayG

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eajusc
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Re: Post Flush Flagging

Post by eajusc » Tue Aug 11, 2020 8:15 pm

Ray, appreciate the advice. I worked pretty hard with him this weekend, didn’t get a single point (on purpose) as I was popping the birds early to keep him honest. But I did get him standing tall for me on stop to flush a couple of times which is definite progress!

It’s sometimes hard working these dogs that don’t give you a reason to correct them!

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