4 month old training issues

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Elhewramblinman
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4 month old training issues

Post by Elhewramblinman » Sun Mar 13, 2022 5:59 pm

I have a now four month old Elhew pointer. I have been using pen raised quail and today got some barn pigeons. I realized quickly that the quail were a no no because they do not fly the best.
I set up the pigeon pole with one solid point. The dog spends the rest of the time trying to or catching the pigeon. Again, these barn pigeons were not flying worth a crap.
Any suggestions of yard work or drills I should be doing that I’m not? I understand dogs mature differently but trying to make sure I’m giving the dog every chance to succeed.


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Garrison
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Re: 4 month old training issues

Post by Garrison » Sun Mar 13, 2022 8:17 pm

Sounds like the captive bird situation and the manner in which you are using them may be causing you more problems than they are worth at the moment. At four months, I am not all that concerned about getting my dogs on a whole lot of birds beyond their initial introduction and I am certainly not worried about wether they are pointing them or not when we do find them, I actually prefer not. If there is any inclination that a puppy needs to be corrected around game at 4 months, (like don’t catch that bird that is tethered to a pole or sitting on the ground) then something is wrong. Right now all you need is them wanting birds, and it doesn’t take too many of them, or to even be planted.

You should be out having fun with your pup in the field and working on coming and going. No expectations around game, except hopefully finding them if they are in the area and blowing them up if they are so inclined. If the birds don’t fly well you are making your future job much more difficult.

I want to see some drive and independence, some cooperation without asking for it (keep your mouth shut), in a dog that is experiencing nothing but good times in the field and around game at 4 months. Performance around birds and rules can come later. Work on your recall “here” when it’s time for some water or time to load up, and the occasional “whoop” (come this way when you make a turn). Teaching and good times now, enforcing rules and bird work will comes later.

Garrison
Last edited by Garrison on Mon Mar 14, 2022 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Garrison
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Re: 4 month old training issues

Post by Garrison » Sun Mar 13, 2022 8:37 pm

I posted a good video on the use of launchers a while back, you should watch it so you can prepare for next steps.

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Elhewramblinman
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Re: 4 month old training issues

Post by Elhewramblinman » Sun Mar 13, 2022 9:43 pm

Thanks for the advice. It was very helpful. I have been trying to find launchers for a month now with absolutely no luck. If you run into someone wanting to get rid of one or two let me know.


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Elhewramblinman
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Re: 4 month old training issues

Post by Elhewramblinman » Sun Mar 13, 2022 9:44 pm

Thanks Garrison. If you know of or see someone wanting to sell a launcher let me know. Their nowhere to be found.


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cjhills
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Re: 4 month old training issues

Post by cjhills » Mon Mar 14, 2022 6:28 am

Exactly my problem with a pigeon pole, the dog points, then what? I don't get how anything good happens. If the dog chases he is for sure gonna catch. Maybe I am missing something.
Don't worry about training yet. Confidence and fun are much more important..........Cj

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Re: 4 month old training issues

Post by shags » Mon Mar 14, 2022 7:24 am

@cjhills maybe what you're missing is a check cord 8)

The best pigeon pole set up I've seen is in a grassy field. The pole is 12-15 ft tall and the cord for the pigeons long, 25-30 feet at least. The young dog is on a cc and is restrained if he bumps the bird. This particular trainer didn't use correction per se on these young dogs, just restraint to disallow chase. With more advanced dogs, they'd point, he'd flush, bird would fly as far as the tether allows, trainer would blank, and heel the dog off to let him search a different area of that birdfield. Then bring the dog around to where the pigeon landed for another go.

Pigeons would only be used twice or maybe three times per session depending on the birds' strength in flying. Multiple poles can be set up at appropriate distance if the trainer wanted the dog to have more contacts.

With long tethers, be careful to place your set up where your pigeon can't get tangled out of reach in a tree or overhead wires.

Something to remember is to not use the pole in the same place all the time. Move it to different fields or at least to different areas frequently as using the same spot over and over can make the dog training wise and sticky. There goes confidence and independence, right out the window.

OP, you got good advice from other responders about not doing too much training at 4 months. Now's the time to build confidence and boldness in your pup with lots of walks afield. Let him ramble and explore. Good luck with your pup and enjoy the ride :)

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Re: 4 month old training issues

Post by cjhills » Mon Mar 14, 2022 9:07 pm

Shags
You are right. I don't use a checkcord on a 4 month old puppy. I want the dog to understand the cord and know to stop from a light tug on the checkcord if I use one. Otherwise an excited, birdy puppy tries to drag you all over. I don't do check cord training until the puppy is
older, if at all........Cj

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Re: 4 month old training issues

Post by RayGubernat » Tue Mar 15, 2022 9:53 am

I guess I do it a little different than some. My pups don't even SEE a bird until they are 6-8 months old, and then only in a VERY controlled situation.

I start doing heel/whoa drills in the yard when the pup is about 16 weeks old. I use a "pigging string", which is a poor man's version of the Smith "Wonder Lead". I do the drills after the manner of Paul Long. The springy lead helps a lot with the drill. I also do "come in" and "go away" drills. The "come in" drills are done with a checkcord and treats. the "go away" drills are focused around the dogs going to their kennels.

I am not a big fan of allowing a up to chase. The only reason I see to allow chase in a pointing dog would be if the pup did not have enough desire. Chasing birds will build desire, but a well bred pointing dog should not need that to be done, and I feel that allowing chase is counterproductive, because you are going to have to use pressure to stop it. Why allow the dog to do something you are going to have to train it NOT to do in the very near future??

Just one more way to get from here to there.\

RayG

PS - If your pup is being "educated" by wild birds...there is no real downside to allowing it to bust and chase becasue a dog is not going to catch fully feathered wild birds and will fairly quickly realize that its best option will be to stop, stand and point the bird, so the human partner can "get" the bird.

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Re: 4 month old training issues

Post by Garrison » Tue Mar 15, 2022 1:01 pm

RayGubernat wrote:
Tue Mar 15, 2022 9:53 am
I guess I do it a little different than some. My pups don't even SEE a bird until they are 6-8 months old, and then only in a VERY controlled situation.

I start doing heel/whoa drills in the yard when the pup is about 16 weeks old. I use a "pigging string", which is a poor man's version of the Smith "Wonder Lead". I do the drills after the manner of Paul Long. The springy lead helps a lot with the drill. I also do "come in" and "go away" drills. The "come in" drills are done with a checkcord and treats. the "go away" drills are focused around the dogs going to their kennels.

I am not a big fan of allowing a up to chase. The only reason I see to allow chase in a pointing dog would be if the pup did not have enough desire. Chasing birds will build desire, but a well bred pointing dog should not need that to be done, and I feel that allowing chase is counterproductive, because you are going to have to use pressure to stop it. Why allow the dog to do something you are going to have to train it NOT to do in the very near future??

Just one more way to get from here to there.\

RayG

PS - If your pup is being "educated" by wild birds...there is no real downside to allowing it to bust and chase becasue a dog is not going to catch fully feathered wild birds and will fairly quickly realize that its best option will be to stop, stand and point the bird, so the human partner can "get" the bird.
Ray,

Do you allow them to chase for conditioning/proofing the gun?

Garrison
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Willie T
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Re: 4 month old training issues

Post by Willie T » Tue Mar 15, 2022 4:46 pm

RayGubernat wrote:
Tue Mar 15, 2022 9:53 am
I guess I do it a little different than some. My pups don't even SEE a bird until they are 6-8 months old, and then only in a VERY controlled situation.

I start doing heel/whoa drills in the yard when the pup is about 16 weeks old. I use a "pigging string", which is a poor man's version of the Smith "Wonder Lead". I do the drills after the manner of Paul Long. The springy lead helps a lot with the drill. I also do "come in" and "go away" drills. The "come in" drills are done with a checkcord and treats. the "go away" drills are focused around the dogs going to their kennels.

I am not a big fan of allowing a up to chase. The only reason I see to allow chase in a pointing dog would be if the pup did not have enough desire. Chasing birds will build desire, but a well bred pointing dog should not need that to be done, and I feel that allowing chase is counterproductive, because you are going to have to use pressure to stop it. Why allow the dog to do something you are going to have to train it NOT to do in the very near future??

Just one more way to get from here to there.\

RayG

PS - If your pup is being "educated" by wild birds...there is no real downside to allowing it to bust and chase becasue a dog is not going to catch fully feathered wild birds and will fairly quickly realize that its best option will be to stop, stand and point the bird, so the human partner can "get" the bird.
Wisdom from the GOAT
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xN9Bj7x0jx4

Ray, I’m not trying to be argumentative here but you may find this of interest. If you don’t want to watch the whole video, skip to the 4 minute mark through 5:45. It is why most of us view puppies chasing as part of the normal progression of bringing one along. The pointer pups he is discussing are among the finest and most well bred in the world. Before you dismiss what he has to say, skip to the 19 minute mark if you are not familiar with who the fellow is. This fellows credentials will probably never be equaled.

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Re: 4 month old training issues

Post by Garrison » Tue Mar 15, 2022 6:13 pm

We have had a similar discussion previously about a pup that wasn’t pointing and allowing a chase, I actually posted the same video you did Willie. There are some folks here (RayG, gonehuntin, Mask etc.) that have loads of professional/“amateur” but give the pros all they want experience, and own dogs that many of us wish we owned. Who take the “don’t let them chase” approach if they are birdy. There are also some very well known trainers, a couple who I have been lucky enough to know, who take the “let them chase and let the birds teach them” approach.

If I am understanding the reasoning correctly, the arguments are as follows.

Don’t let them chase because we have to take the chase out of them later and no good comes from allowing a behavior we don’t want to happen, happen. The dog needs to know how to grow roots and stand it’s birds under all circumstances. It seems the command whoa, is usually a part of this training.

On the other side, I have often heard the argument that allowing the dog to chase and letting the birds train the dog will help keep the dog’s style/intensity and create a more honest dog when the handler is out of sight. They often say things like, the dog will tell you when it’s ready to be broke out, and when it’s time we start rolling them to a stop on the wild flush or stop to flush drills. Whoa is usually not part of the training with this style, in favor of a cue with a collar on the neck or flank.

Seems obvious both styles of training produce results. For the reasons stated? I don’t know. I think and Ray may have alluded to it in his post, the division often seems to lie in the wild bird vs pen raised realm. A wild bird won’t allow a dog to catch it, and there is less of a chance of losing ground with a caught bird and pen raised birds especially in a trial situation can and will test how broke a dog is more than a wild bird ever will. I see the reasoning behind both. I only hunt wild birds, so allowing the birds to do it makes the most sense to me.

Garrison
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Re: 4 month old training issues

Post by Willie T » Wed Mar 16, 2022 5:45 am

Thanks for bringing me up to speed Garrison. I’ve never seen a pointing dog that didn’t chase as a puppy and I will leave it at that. To the OP. They come here born with both the chase and the point already in them. Your job is to help them balance the point with the chase. Some dogs have more natural point than others and they are heavily sought after, like the Elhew and Miller pointers. Catching training birds will tip that balance in the wrong direction. When a dog catches a training bird it is 100 percent on the trainer. Anticipate that and never set your training up where your pup can catch its birds on its own.
Good luck with your new pointer.
Willie

Elhewramblinman
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Re: 4 month old training issues

Post by Elhewramblinman » Wed Mar 16, 2022 6:00 am

Thanks for all the great responses and opinions. I guess one blessing is that his bird drive is 100% and does not need motivation from me. I have spent a small fortune on a bird launcher this morning. I’m trying to post a video of him on a planted bird from yesterday. Y’all be looking for it in here so y’all can check him out.


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Re: 4 month old training issues

Post by RayGubernat » Sat Mar 19, 2022 9:14 pm

Willie T wrote:
Tue Mar 15, 2022 4:46 pm


Ray, I’m not trying to be argumentative here but you may find this of interest. If you don’t want to watch the whole video, skip to the 4 minute mark through 5:45. It is why most of us view puppies chasing as part of the normal progression of bringing one along. The pointer pups he is discussing are among the finest and most well bred in the world. Before you dismiss what he has to say, skip to the 19 minute mark if you are not familiar with who the fellow is. This fellows credentials will probably never be equaled.
WillieT-

I have seen the video and others like it. One thing that is NEVER mentioned when all age field trial trainers are talked about is culling. All age folks go through dozens of superior pups to find just one that can perform at that high level. Ferrel Miller gang runs his puppies. He takes out twenty or thirty pups and lets them run while he follows on horseback. When he turns to come home the puppies turn and come with him...or not. The ones that come with him get put back in the kennel and fed. When all age trainers go to the prairies they may take 20 or 30 young dogs with them. All of these young dogs are of the finest breeding. That trainer may come home with 3 or 4 dogs. Robert Whele's Elhew kennels whelped thousands of pups over his lifetime to produce a relative handful of champion shooting dogs. Only a very select few field trialers ever got their hands on the very best of the Elhew breeding. Folks like you or me would never ever see one of those select individuals. It is very much the same with Mr. Miller and the all age dogs he has produced.

At its heart, producing top level field trial dogs is a numbers game. The folks who made pointers into the bird finding machines they are today went through dozens, no, hundreds of dogs to come up with a few, very special individuals. An open all age champion is a very special dog and in some ways, something of a freak of nature. I personally do not have the wherewithall or the desire to go through that many pups and derbies, but I am very happy to glean the result of that effort for the one pup I need every few years.

RayG

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