Teaching scent pointing?

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PeteGray97504
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Teaching scent pointing?

Post by PeteGray97504 » Sun Aug 09, 2020 12:09 pm

Hi there, I need a little help!
We have a new to us 17mo old GSP. He was a rescue from a breeder that went bankrupt and left him to starve. The first foster family had him for about 6mos and did some hunting with him (the guy had a lab and did a lot of waterfowl hunting and took the GSP along, but the lab always bullied the GSP out of birds.) so now this dog is a "sky watcher" for birds, and a "grade A" sight pointer. He tends to charge sight pointed birds, but gives up the chase almost immediately, and that is greatly improving. He's a great family dog, and that is #1, as I have 2 daughters that adore him.
I am treating him as a zero knowledge puppy and starting from the basics up. His is great on recall, stay and we are getting whoa down.
Whoever had him before got him afraid of collars (I believe they had a bark collar on him full time... He doesn't really bark ever, and the "tone" function on a e-collar scares the crap out of him. I am working on making the collar a "fun time" object and that is coming along well. But I feel like collar conditioning is a way's off.) so I am using a check cord for most of our work.
My question is how do I get him to use his NOSE to find and point birds? I have local access to quail, live and frozen. Pigeons are a rare commodity around here as we have had a HUGE die off in the local pigeon population, and no one raises them locally. Also, I am a long way from any formal trainer (not that my wife and daughters would let me ship the dog off for a long term training at this point.) so it is all me.
I'm reading the Ronnie Smith training book and Bob Farris' book on training versatile dogs, but I feel like I am missing the "how to get your dog to used their nose and NOT their eyes portion.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks!
Pete

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DonF
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Re: Teaching scent pointing?

Post by DonF » Sun Aug 09, 2020 1:35 pm

I'd bet a dollar to a sugar cookie I could have that dog scent pointing in less than 20 min if it has some prey drive and sounds like it does. IMO the secrete to getting there is not to train your dog what you want but rather teach it how to get what it want's. It want's the bird, period! Your dog has learned to watch the sky. It does that because that's where the birds come from. It sight point's because all the birds it ever found were probably dead and that Lab taught it to leave them alone! You need a remote release trap. Hide a pigeon in it in good cover. Pigeon because ferals always fly when released and unless you shoot and cripple one, they don't land back on the ground! Very important you know exactly where the bird and the wind is. Don't think there's wind? Sprinkle a bit of baby powder in the air and watch it. Or, light a Bic lighter and watch the flame. maybe wind is the wrong word, know the air movement! You want to bring your dog in cross the air movement and the moment it shows scent or you know hit's the air movement, shut your mouth and pop the bird. You are looking for a slight movement of the head that indicate's the dog smelled something and doesn't know what. If it enters the scent cone and doesn't give the head motion, pop the bird anyway and let the dog go smell the MTY trap. At all time's keep your mouth shut. Another thing is very important, come's the indication the dog smells something do not give it a moment to see if it will point, pop the bird. The test is between the dog and the bird, you must become the bird and a wild bird is generally gonna vacate really quick on a moving dog! YOU need to be that bird, get out ASAP and keep your mouth shut! What will happen is after a few birds the dog will oint before you pop the bird. In that case do not pop the bird Believe it or not your dog has learned it is looking for something and what it smells like nd tht what makes the bird fly off is it's movement. Your not there though You know where the bird is so go around your dog to flush it but, do not look for the bird, watch your dog. Any movement on the dogs part cause's the bird to flush. YOU are the bird and you are watching the dog for any movement at all. I do pop if the dog glances at me out of the corner of it's eye but most important I think is seeing the dog turn it's head to look at you, it probably will and/or starting to bunch mussel's to move. Those are absolutely no no's! And very important, keep your mouth shut! The game is between the dog and the bird, your the bird but also nothing more than a spectator Keep your mouth shut.

Your dog will likely fail the first few time's, keep your mouth shut, do nothing and go to the next bird. When the dog beats you and you actually get somewhere you can flush, flush and then and only then praise your dog! Something to keep in mind, you go looking for a bird you know is there and want to watch it flush, you cannot watch your dog at the same time and the dog is what you need to watch! Also if that is a wild bird the odds are it will flush long before you see it on the ground. You simply want the bird to flush when you are in range and it's safe to shoot around your dog; you don't have to see the bird on the ground or in a trap to do that. Another very important thing. Suggestion from Delmar Smith, never set your dog up to fail! You walk around in front of it and start kicking around cover to see if your dog will stand through it, you are setting your dog up to fail. You are intentionally causing a ruckus to try and get the dog to move so you can correct the dog. Well you do that and what do you really think the dog is gonna do the first few time's? move? Good guess. you just set the dog up to do exactly what you don't want the dog to do, fail! Rather get into a good position and pop the bird before the dog makes a movement of any kind and shoot the bird for the dog That is exactly what both you and the dog want! And that is called success! Don't be a trainer, be a teacher and teach your dog how to get what it want's,,,,your way! The hardest part of training your dog will be learning how to teach it rather than train it!
I pity the man that has never been loved by a dog!

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Re: Teaching scent pointing?

Post by shags » Sun Aug 09, 2020 1:53 pm

I'd probably ("probably" because things might need to be changed up depending on circumstances) start him like I would a little baby puppy. Plant some birds in light cover so he can't see them and checkcord him in crosswise to the wind. Use the cc to control his pace so he doesn't outrun his nose, and so he doesn't grab your bird once he locates it. Keep mostly quiet; I might give him a Let's go or a Hunt em up occasionally so he gets the idea he's there to hunt rather than just to go for a walk, but don't chatter or nag.

If he scent points don't praise him until after the flush; you want him focused on the bird, not distracted by you. I wouldn't style him up or otherwise put hands on him for now. Time enough for that after he figures out that his nose can find birds.

I would dizzy birds rather than use jump boxes at this point. Use gloves to handle your birds; we leave our gloves out on the porch and might rub a little garden dirt into them to help hide our own scent.

About the ecollar...put it on him every time you take the dog out for fun stuff, but don't turn it on and leave the transmitter behind for now. Pretty soon your dog will associate the ecollar with good times and will do the happy dance when you buckle it on him. He'll remain happy about it if you use it wisely.

Good luck, it sounds like the dog landed in a good spot.

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Re: Teaching scent pointing?

Post by birddogger2 » Sun Aug 09, 2020 2:16 pm

Pete -

DonF pretty much nailed it as regards birds and Shag's comments are also well worth considering. I also would put the e-collar on the dog every single time you take it out to run or work with birds , so when it sees the collar, it knows the fun is about to begin. Great idea.

Not much for me to add.

There is a yard drill I do with my pointers that might help get the concept across. I take a handful of puppy treats and walk the back yard. When the dog is not looking, I will drop a half dozen or so puppy treats in a spot and then walk away repeating the process until I have four or five "spots".

I will the walk over to one spot and call the dog over to me. i will command "hunt dead" and gesture to the ground. The first couple of times, I will bend over, put my hand in the grass and entice the dog to come to my hand which is where the treats are. With my guys, it takes only a couple of repetitions and they are eagerly searching the ground for the treats on the fist command and sometimes even before. The get rewarded for using their nose.

If you use the command "Find" or something like that, you can use the same command in the field just as the dog enters the scent cone. I suspect it won't take long before the dog puts it together. Use nose = get reward...except that the reward in the field is the bird which is waaaay better.

I also agree that killing a few birds for the dog, when it points them, should move the dog well along on the learning curve.

Have fun...and your dog will too. Get upset...and your dog will too. SO HAVE FUN!!

RayG

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PeteGray97504
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Re: Teaching scent pointing?

Post by PeteGray97504 » Mon Aug 10, 2020 3:21 pm

Thanks so much for the replies everyone!
Guess I need to get some pigeons and a launcher! I saw an ad for a guy selling some about 3hrs north of me.
I have no idea what happened to all the pigeons in our town, it would be nice to just be able to trap some ferals!!! LOL!
I might cold call some farmers in the local and build some pigeon traps. Might as well try!
Duke (the dog) has a TON of drive, and he's birdy, I'm hoping to focus that and not screw it up!
I've started positive reinforcement when the collar comes out. He smells it, and after I put it on, he gets one of his favorite training treats and a lot of praise to get him wound up for what's coming. Then we go for a walk or a run in my father in laws field
(his favorites!). He seems to be doing much better after just a few of these cycles and is no longer cowering away from it.
I also found out that the quail I can get locally are Courtournix (?) not Bob's... So I 'm not sure how they will work.
It seems like everything to work with a pointer is a LONG way from where I'm at! LOL Typical. :)

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Re: Teaching scent pointing?

Post by averageguy » Mon Aug 10, 2020 3:39 pm

PeteGray,

I use pigeons and launchers in my training in a very similar manner as DonF often describes on this board. I posted two links today of some of that work today in other threads.

The approach I use was taught to me via the Perfect Start DVD and Jon Hann at Perfection Kennel. I recommend you buy, study and follow the DVD and you will be well served in doing so.

Pigeons are excellent because they fly high and away. Stay away from those quail at this stage of training is my strong advice. They are not for puppies in their initial stages of training as they are easy to catch and fly low and slow making any puppy with some prey drive chase and catch them when they land too exhausted to fly again.

Whatever effort it takes for you to get a some strong flying pigeons and launchers will be well worth it in avoiding problems from the get go. Best of Luck

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Re: Teaching scent pointing?

Post by mask » Mon Aug 10, 2020 6:37 pm

I have never had to teach a dog to scent point. You might want to try a check cord and the book Training With MO. Read the book cover to cover and then get some pigeons. Best to you and the pup and let the fun begin.

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Re: Teaching scent pointing?

Post by birddogger2 » Tue Aug 11, 2020 8:03 am

Pete -

I would also recommend that you actively avoid quail for your dog at this juncture...ESPECIALLY Coturnix quail which have a tendency to burrow in and are typically weak flyers, at best.

If you cannot get pigeons, consider chuckars. They typically fly pretty well out of a launcher and they throw out a TON of scent.

If the dog gets brought into situations where it gets "rewarded" with the flight of the bird and then...the retrieve occasionally, I am confident it will figure out what works.

FWIW, "Training with Mo" is an excellent training book, in my opinion, and you would be more informed and more confident in your training ater reading and absorbing it.

Keep in mind that your dog has been "trained" to use its eyes first. Not your fault, not the dog's fault, but this is what the dog has learned to do. it is something the dog will have to "unlearn" to a certain degree. A dog using other senses beside its nose is absolutely a good thing, but you need to encourage the dog to use its nose "first". You need to "give the dog a better first option", so to speak.

It is always easier to train directly for something, but , unfortunately, in your case, you need to train "around" something that was put there already.

RayG

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Re: Teaching scent pointing?

Post by cjhills » Tue Aug 11, 2020 1:00 pm

If you do like Don says, he will be pointing soon. he just needs bird experience......Cj

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Re: Teaching scent pointing?

Post by weimdogman » Tue Aug 11, 2020 3:03 pm

If you have a place to put those quail on bare ground or short grass next to thicker grass and allow them to escape into the cover.I would let the dog see the quail then have to use his nose to find them.
Use the check cord to whoa him up. Have a helper roust out the birds.After a couple days of say 2 to 3 birds each time,bring the dog to the same area without him seeing the birds you have planted. He will hunt for them. Check cord him again.
Those quail aren't bad for a check corded dog. They aren't bad for polishing a staunch dog. You just have to be careful or the dog will be catching them.

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Re: Teaching scent pointing?

Post by PeteGray97504 » Thu Aug 13, 2020 5:05 pm

Well,,,,
the pigeon trap is on the way here... I'll be hitting up farmers outside of town... LOL!
I also order Training with Mo. I'm putting a WTB "The perfect start" dvd in the classifieds.

Prey/Bird Drive is NOT an issue.... Last night Duke got into the front yard (busted past my wife at the gate) with our 3 chickens. He was on a FULL sized barred rock faster than my wife could scream "oh "bleep"!" Zero hesitation to engage even that big of a bird. (I was pretty impressed, heck the neighborhood cats don't even mess with our chickens!)
She pulled him off the chicken and held him, so the chicken could make distance. The chicken walked off then held still and Duke went into full point... :roll:
He wasn't disciplined, can't knock a bird dog for wanting a bird, but he was not allowed to "have" the bird.
I know, having chickens is probably not a great idea, but they are 5 years old and I figure if you can make it to 5 as a chicken and still be a pretty regular layer, you deserve to live out your days on your terms.

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Re: Teaching scent pointing?

Post by cjhills » Thu Aug 13, 2020 7:16 pm

Nothing wrong with keeping chickens
Probably not the time to do it right now but you can easily train your dog not bother the yard birds.
You might find trapping farm pigeons difficult or impossible. It is easier to net them at night with a light if you can reach their roosting area with a long handle on a landing net.Good luck. Cj
Last edited by cjhills on Fri Aug 14, 2020 6:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Teaching scent pointing?

Post by averageguy » Fri Aug 14, 2020 5:50 am

PeteGray, Where are you located?

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Re: Teaching scent pointing?

Post by PeteGray97504 » Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:45 am

averageguy wrote:PeteGray, Where are you located?
Medford,OR Image


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Re: Teaching scent pointing?

Post by averageguy » Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:52 am

I suggest you reach out to the NAVHDA Chapter in Eugene. Might be some members who train regularly you can hook up with and or point you to a source for pigeons.

https://www.navhda.org/chapter-locator-map/

Pigeons for Sale on Craigslist

https://eugene.craigslist.org/grd/d/ple ... 49317.html

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Re: Teaching scent pointing?

Post by weimdogman » Fri Aug 14, 2020 2:47 pm

Carole Ptak is around there I believe.

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Re: Teaching scent pointing?

Post by DonF » Sun Aug 16, 2020 2:37 pm

PeteGray97504 wrote:
Thu Aug 13, 2020 5:05 pm
Well,,,,
the pigeon trap is on the way here... I'll be hitting up farmers outside of town... LOL!
I also order Training with Mo. I'm putting a WTB "The perfect start" dvd in the classifieds.

Prey/Bird Drive is NOT an issue.... Last night Duke got into the front yard (busted past my wife at the gate) with our 3 chickens. He was on a FULL sized barred rock faster than my wife could scream "oh "bleep"!" Zero hesitation to engage even that big of a bird. (I was pretty impressed, heck the neighborhood cats don't even mess with our chickens!)
She pulled him off the chicken and held him, so the chicken could make distance. The chicken walked off then held still and Duke went into full point... :roll:
He wasn't disciplined, can't knock a bird dog for wanting a bird, but he was not allowed to "have" the bird.
I know, having chickens is probably not a great idea, but they are 5 years old and I figure if you can make it to 5 as a chicken and still be a pretty regular layer, you deserve to live out your days on your terms.
I have had chicken for years. When a pup come's home they are out around the chickens from the start. Never had one of my dogs kill a chicken. Seldom lock up my chickens either.
I pity the man that has never been loved by a dog!

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Re: Teaching scent pointing?

Post by PeteGray97504 » Sun Aug 16, 2020 8:17 pm

DonF wrote:
PeteGray97504 wrote:
Thu Aug 13, 2020 5:05 pm
Well,,,,
the pigeon trap is on the way here... I'll be hitting up farmers outside of town... LOL!
I also order Training with Mo. I'm putting a WTB "The perfect start" dvd in the classifieds.

Prey/Bird Drive is NOT an issue.... Last night Duke got into the front yard (busted past my wife at the gate) with our 3 chickens. He was on a FULL sized barred rock faster than my wife could scream "oh "bleep"!" Zero hesitation to engage even that big of a bird. (I was pretty impressed, heck the neighborhood cats don't even mess with our chickens!)
She pulled him off the chicken and held him, so the chicken could make distance. The chicken walked off then held still and Duke went into full point... :roll:
He wasn't disciplined, can't knock a bird dog for wanting a bird, but he was not allowed to "have" the bird.
I know, having chickens is probably not a great idea, but they are 5 years old and I figure if you can make it to 5 as a chicken and still be a pretty regular layer, you deserve to live out your days on your terms.
I have had chicken for years. When a pup come's home they are out around the chickens from the start. Never had one of my dogs kill a chicken. Seldom lock up my chickens either.
This guy was 15 months old when we got him.
Apparently he got out from his first owner (who was starving him) and went to a neighbors and killed and ate a couple of their chickens. So he got it in his head that they are a food reward.
I figure later I can trash break him to chickens, but I do not think that now is the time.


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Re: Teaching scent pointing?

Post by DonF » Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:32 am

PeteGray97504 wrote:
Sun Aug 16, 2020 8:17 pm
DonF wrote:
PeteGray97504 wrote:
Thu Aug 13, 2020 5:05 pm
Well,,,,
the pigeon trap is on the way here... I'll be hitting up farmers outside of town... LOL!
I also order Training with Mo. I'm putting a WTB "The perfect start" dvd in the classifieds.

Prey/Bird Drive is NOT an issue.... Last night Duke got into the front yard (busted past my wife at the gate) with our 3 chickens. He was on a FULL sized barred rock faster than my wife could scream "oh "bleep"!" Zero hesitation to engage even that big of a bird. (I was pretty impressed, heck the neighborhood cats don't even mess with our chickens!)
She pulled him off the chicken and held him, so the chicken could make distance. The chicken walked off then held still and Duke went into full point... :roll:
He wasn't disciplined, can't knock a bird dog for wanting a bird, but he was not allowed to "have" the bird.
I know, having chickens is probably not a great idea, but they are 5 years old and I figure if you can make it to 5 as a chicken and still be a pretty regular layer, you deserve to live out your days on your terms.
I have had chicken for years. When a pup come's home they are out around the chickens from the start. Never had one of my dogs kill a chicken. Seldom lock up my chickens either.
This guy was 15 months old when we got him.
Apparently he got out from his first owner (who was starving him) and went to a neighbors and killed and ate a couple of their chickens. So he got it in his head that they are a food reward.
I figure later I can trash break him to chickens, but I do not think that now is the time.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Came into contact with my Missy over chicken's, she was a stray no one could catch helping herself to my chickens. Once I found out the deal with her I determined I was gonna catch her and she what I could do, Border collie. I did catch her, she was simply hungry and killing my chicken's was an easy meal for her. Once I started feeding her, she quit on the chickens. had her maybe four or five years now and she's never bothered them again. But, she spent a lot of time with me out and around them too. Today she goes in the hen house if she wants. When I had Duke here, he liked to fetch them to me but he never hurt one. He too send a lot of time around them with me. I think Duke did it because he had a lot of prey drive. Missy did it because she was hungry. Wirehair's I don't know what to think if they haven't been raised around chicken's. Then my understanding about them is prey drive is so high, you just might not be sure when one decide's to take out a chicken. I'm pretty sure if a dog has a history of chasing down birds and killing them it would be a hard fix! My chicken's free range around here and seldom run from the dog's and now and then when one does, the dog's ignre them.
I pity the man that has never been loved by a dog!

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