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Pigeons Without Launchers

Pigeons Without Launchers

Postby Thinblueline » Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:05 am

As I try to work my young French Brittany through a gun sensitivity issue, I also have the issue that he has had very little bird exposure and at 7 1/2 months old, he still does not point. I bought four feral pigeons and clipped their wings and pulled tail feathers, but those birds were more for letting him chase and to get him “bird crazy” before I start to reintroduce the gun, starting with a blank pistol.

Now I’ve had the good fortune of a former co-worker allowing me access to a dozen and a half homer pigeons of his to use anytime I want. I know when planting these birds I have to tuck their heads under a wing, stretch their legs out, and lay them on their head down side.

I had done that with one of the feral pigeons and my dog charged right in, and could have caught him because the pigeon was still laying there with his head in his wing, but I was able to rush in and give him a kick to get him flying before the dog got him. My question is, many of you say a dog sometimes has to flush a bunch of birds before they’ll realize they can’t catch them and start pointing them. How do I plant these pigeons so they will stay where I plant them, but yet be ready to fly before the dog can actually catch them?

Do you have to wait a certain period for the pigeons to pop their heads out of their wing, and if so, won’t they just take off when they do? Should I just walk the dog in on a check cord and when he hits the scent, stop him, even if he’s not pointing? Is there something I can do to get him to point while on the check cord, after I’ve stopped him from rushing in, and if so, doesn’t that still leave in place the dog’s desire to want to rush in and catch the bird when he’s off cord, because he hasn’t learned he can’t catch them?

I don’t mind exposing him over and over to these pigeons until he finally starts to point, I’m just trying to figure out how to do that without him harming this guy’s birds. Sorry about all the questions.
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Re: Pigeons Without Launchers

Postby fishvik » Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:22 am

I would start with the pigeon on a tether or attached to a length of garden hose that will let the pigeon fly. Tie some paracord around the pigeons feet with two slip knots. Tie another length of line to the middle of the cord between the pigeons feet. Attach a length of garden hose (12-18") to the other end of the line. This will allow the pigeon to fly but not far. Use a check cord and work the pup into the bird. It will allow the pigeon to fly over and over again.
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Re: Pigeons Without Launchers

Postby Settertude » Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:38 am

fishvik wrote:I would start with the pigeon on a tether or attached to a length of garden hose that will let the pigeon fly. Tie some paracord around the pigeons feet with two slip knots. Tie another length of line to the middle of the cord between the pigeons feet. Attach a length of garden hose (12-18") to the other end of the line. This will allow the pigeon to fly but not far. Use a check cord and work the pup into the bird. It will allow the pigeon to fly over and over again.

What fishvik said.
This is what I have done using a piece of cardboard. Its easy to dial it in for optimum flight characteristics.
:-)
Nice intro to 'stop to flush' training and getting a pup real excited about birds.
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Re: Pigeons Without Launchers

Postby shags » Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:48 am

Just be careful that the carded/hosed birds can’t fly into a tree or into a power line. Bad news for all concerned.

Alternatively, you can use a pigeon pole. Tie a cord as long as is practical to a pvc or bamboo pole, and stick that into the ground. Tether the bird to the other end. Usually pigeons are good for 2-3 flushes, and you can move the pole to different areas so the dog doesn’t get sticky, and you can use multiple poles as long as you space them. We’ve used poles with anywhere from 15 to 50 foot tethers.
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Re: Pigeons Without Launchers

Postby gonehuntin' » Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:43 am

He should be on a check cord. End of problem.
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Re: Pigeons Without Launchers

Postby Thinblueline » Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:13 pm

gonehuntin' wrote:He should be on a check cord. End of problem.


He would be, but as you work the dog into the pigeon and he hits the scent cone without pointing, I’m asking how you handle that.
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Re: Pigeons Without Launchers

Postby oldbeek » Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:18 pm

System with a helper to train to gun. Have a helper with bag of homers. Helper has the dog with him. You are 30 yards off with blank pistol. Helper teases the dog with pigeon and tosses it up. As bird is flying off you fire the cap and watch for ANY reaction from the dog. Even if dog stops chase, back off further and do it again. You want NO reaction at all before moving closer and going to shotgun. If you have a neighbor with homers and you can convince him you are not going to hurt the bird, that would be great. Personally I only have 6 birds and use them over and over.
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Re: Pigeons Without Launchers

Postby Sharon » Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:45 pm

Thinblueline wrote: ............................My question is, many of you say a dog sometimes has to flush a bunch of birds before they’ll realize they can’t catch them and start pointing them. How do I plant these pigeons so they will stay where I plant them, but yet be ready to fly before the dog can actually catch them?.........................


Takes some practice to learn how to dizzy effectively to serve your purpose. I dizzy lightly. This means the bird may walk around a bit before the bird takes off , but usually a point can happen first.

Thinblueline wrote: ................as you work the dog into the pigeon and he hits the scent cone without pointing, I’m asking how you handle that.


Maybe the real question is "Why isn't he pointing and what can you do about that? Maybe I've been lucky but never had a dog that didn't at least hesitate/point.

The key is to have hard flying pigeons that take off as soon as the dog gets close and doesn't point. The plan is that the birds will teach the dog that he can't catch them and the dog will start to hesitate/creep at which point the cc goes on.
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Re: Pigeons Without Launchers

Postby gonehuntin' » Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:08 pm

Thinblueline wrote:
gonehuntin' wrote:He should be on a check cord. End of problem.


He would be, but as you work the dog into the pigeon and he hits the scent cone without pointing, I’m asking how you handle that.


With most dog's you can take care of that with auto launchers but I understand you don't have them. Also, don't think that every dog points naturally. 98% do, but you get those few that don't. Most of us don't have access to a ton of birds. One way is to STOP him from busting the birds. The greatest thing in the world for a young dog is a pinch collar and cc. When the dog homes in on the birds, he punishes himself.

Now, before I do this, I like to work the dog on a fishing pole with a tethered pigeon. It is easiest with two people. Have one control the rod and bird, the other (you) the dog and CC. Bring the dog up to the bird on a bare lawn, other guy holding the pole. When the dog breaks for the bird, don't say a word, just have the guy flip the bird in the air so it flies off. You can control the flight by the amount of line out on the rod. Land the bird and do it again. Do this a half dozen times a day, letting the dog inflict his own punishment with the pinch collar and teaching him that two things happen when he breaks for the bird. 1) he pinches his neck. 2) The bird flies off. Doesn't take much and the dog gets the idea in a hurry.
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Re: Pigeons Without Launchers

Postby shags » Mon Nov 20, 2017 5:01 am

If you use a “planted”pole, you don’t need another guy.

If you have a little bit of cover, and no hawks, the bird can rest on the pole between sessions.
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Re: Pigeons Without Launchers

Postby cjhills » Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:57 am

gonehuntin' wrote:
Thinblueline wrote:
gonehuntin' wrote:He should be on a check cord. End of problem.


He would be, but as you work the dog into the pigeon and he hits the scent cone without pointing, I’m asking how you handle that.


With most dog's you can take care of that with auto launchers but I understand you don't have them. Also, don't think that every dog points naturally. 98% do, but you get those few that don't. Most of us don't have access to a ton of birds. One way is to STOP him from busting the birds. The greatest thing in the world for a young dog is a pinch collar and cc. When the dog homes in on the birds, he punishes himself.

Now, before I do this, I like to work the dog on a fishing pole with a tethered pigeon. It is easiest with two people. Have one control the rod and bird, the other (you) the dog and CC. Bring the dog up to the bird on a bare lawn, other guy holding the pole. When the dog breaks for the bird, don't say a word, just have the guy flip the bird in the air so it flies off. You can control the flight by the amount of line out on the rod. Land the bird and do it again. Do this a half dozen times a day, letting the dog inflict his own punishment with the pinch collar and teaching him that two things happen when he breaks for the bird. 1) he pinches his neck. 2) The bird flies off. Doesn't take much and the dog gets the idea in a hurry.

Might be teaching your young puppy to be bird shy when he gets pinched every time the bird flies.
Some pups start a bit later and all the phony training methods have the potential to cause problems.
Learn how to dizzy and plant the birds. We have a solid whoa on our puppies and gently give the whoa command if they don't stop when they make game. This gives them confidence and they learn quickly that I am there to help get the bird. Of course there is a possibility that the dog might get your friends bird and you need to have a bird you can shoot occasionally
You may be expecting more than this dog is ready for. My young puppy with a lot of bird exposure did not point until 8 month old. When he did he was steady to wing and shot ................Cj
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Re: Pigeons Without Launchers

Postby Settertude » Mon Nov 20, 2017 8:08 am

I agree. I’m against any punishment around birds.
In a nutshell, it seems to me, birds teach and we encourage.
Training ought to work around those principals.
IMO.
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Re: Pigeons Without Launchers

Postby ezzy333 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:45 am

Just to clear things up a little, I have never seen a pup have a negative reaction to Gonehunting's method and it has been used on hundreds of dogs. As trainers we all have learned to go slow and be patient but I also see many cases where we carry things to far with the excuse we might ruin the pup. I find that hard to do. Granted, there are things that don't help and we try our darnest to avoid those, but a one time error, can't think of a time it ruined a pup. There are a few that may be much more likely, such as bad gun introduction, but overall don't ever let fear control how you train your pup. Consistent behavior on your part will result in consistent behavior by your dog. It just takes time and repeated exposure.

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Re: Pigeons Without Launchers

Postby gonehuntin' » Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:11 am

cjhills wrote: Might be teaching your young puppy to be bird shy when he gets pinched every time the bird flies.
Some pups start a bit later and all the phony training methods have the potential to cause problems.


"Phony training method"; really? I have NEVER seen this cause a problem with any dog. If you have, you're doing something wrong. A far more productive method than working with a dizzied pigeon. You control the bird and the dog.
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Re: Pigeons Without Launchers

Postby cjhills » Mon Nov 20, 2017 2:38 pm

Sorry, if I ruffle some feathers.
We all have our own ways of training. What Ever works.
But if you don't think flying birds on a fishing rod, birds with cardboard or garden hose tie to their leg or birds out of a launcher are phony to a dog, you are fooling yourself.
If you think a dog wearing a pinch collar snapped to a checkcord believes he is punishing himself you are also fooling yourself. He knows who has the other end of the checkcord.
I have seen dogs get the wrong message from many different training methods including being intmidated by launchers popped in their face by well meaning trainers.
PIgeons are cheap throw some pigeons and let him chase. you can work on gun and bird conditioning at the same time. when he gets a little tired of chasing stop the chase. Take him out and shoot a bird or two. Good flying Chukars work good for this. When you see him get birdy stop him if he gets to close. If you have done your yard training you should be able to walk in front, shoot the bird and he will probably break and retrieve the bird.
To me 5 months old may be a little young for this. I have never seen a well bred pointing dog that did not have some natural point
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Re: Pigeons Without Launchers

Postby ezzy333 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:30 pm

CJ, I know you are experienced and have training method you like but that does not give you license to tell the rest of us are phony and that you know what a dog is thinking and it agrees with you. I do not care what the dog is thinking other than knowing to point when it smells a bird, learns that movement triggers the bird to flush, and learns that I am going to insist on that every time we are in the field. Good trainers can mask the artificial enough by making sure the bird flys when it should just like a bird that is loose and bad manners hurt whenever it thinks it can cheat on you.

You go ahead and concern yourself about how wild the bird is while many of us are teaching the dog that wildness has nothing to do with its behavior since the bird is going to fly regardless.

Happy Training to you and everyone else on here and especially to the newer ones who are asking for help. And with that in mind just remember you are not helping any one when you start telling people successful trainers are phony when they are answering questions.
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Re: Pigeons Without Launchers

Postby cjhills » Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:11 pm

Ezzy:
I have never seen a bird in the wild flying around with a garden hose tied to it's leg or a piece of card board. Nor have I seen one hooked up to a fishing pole or tied to a pole stuck in the ground. That is why I called it phony. Because it is and the dogs do know. I don't need a license to call it like I see it and I do have a pretty good idea what the dog is thinking by his reaction. As do most people who spend time with their dogs. If we didn't how could we train. I pretty much know if I do x the dog is likely to do y.
We use the checkcord primarily to catch the puppy when we want to quit.
Never said it did not work for trainers who have worked out a way to do it. There are as many ways to train dogs as there are trainers. Most do a very good job. For the amateur training his own dog his best chance is to get obedience on the dog before he goes to the field.
We see many dogs that are afraid of the launchers because somebody let them get to close before they launched the bird.
I have seen young puppies pressured way too much. You will never make a mistake by going to slow. Almost all my dogs have had accidentally flushed birds shot over them before they start formal training. We work to keep them confidant and stylish. If they show any concern with the launcher noise we backoff for awhile. We do not insult or embarrass them. That is important to me.
My feeling about giving information is to try to make it simple and less stressful on the owner and the dog. We are not teaching the dog to do anything he does not already know. We just need to get him to do it when we want him to
Sorry, you seem to be so offended. Did not mean it that way I just see things a little different than you. I like to keep it simple............CJ
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Re: Pigeons Without Launchers

Postby Sharon » Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:44 pm

cjHills:

You give excellent advice on here. I learn a lot . However, you have to be careful when using
loaded words - "phony training methods". If I had posted just above your post, I also would have thought you were referring to my method "as phony" too. Good advice for everyone is to think about the post that is ahead of yours when replying, and choose your words carefully on a forum.
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Re: Pigeons Without Launchers

Postby polmaise » Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:56 pm

Thinblueline wrote:As I try to work my young French Brittany through a gun sensitivity issue,

Perhaps that old saying that 'One at a time is good fishing' :wink:
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Re: Pigeons Without Launchers

Postby cjhills » Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:52 pm

Sharon wrote:cjHills:

You give excellent advice on here. I learn a lot . However, you have to be careful when using
loaded words - "phony training methods". If I had posted just above your post, I also would have thought you were referring to my method "as phony" too. Good advice for everyone is to think about the post that is ahead of yours when replying, and choose your words carefully on a forum.

Sharon
You are right. I meant to say phony training birds,not methods.......Cj
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Re: Pigeons Without Launchers

Postby DonF » Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:32 am

Thinblueline wrote:
gonehuntin' wrote:He should be on a check cord. End of problem.


He would be, but as you work the dog into the pigeon and he hits the scent cone without pointing, I’m asking how you handle that.


You have the check cord. Soon as it indicates it smells game, stop the dog! Consider this. You want the dog to stop on scent, stop the dog when it indicates a bird. To stop the dog, stop the check cord and you immediately circle to the rear of the dog. You go right at the dog and you cannot stop forward movement. You can only stop the dog from the rear. Do not say anything at all, just get the dog stopped! Do not put down a bird, pen raised game bird or pigeon unless you can control either the dog or the bird. Best thing I can tell you is get remote traps of find someone to train with that has them. Pen raised game birds stint from traps, might fly and might not! Use pigeons, feral are best to start. Much less likely to come out of the trap and land on the ground. Homer's for advanced dogs as now and then they do pop up and land right away.
'
You go to traps, quit thinking like a hunter trying to get his dog to do what he want's, think like a bird! Very important. Let the dog run on the bird without you controlling the dog with the check cord, let the dog drag the cord. Soon as the dog indicate's a bird, pop the bird! The only way for the dog not to flush is to point before you pop the bird. If the dog get's withing say 20"+/-, pop the bird! Important to do that, it's what a wild bird would do! When the dog is ready, it will point! Don't force the issue, let the dog come in it's own time.

When you take the dog for walks, take it where there are lot's of dicky birds, sparrow ect. Let your dog do what ever it want's with them. At some point you'll notice it's getting cautious with them, leave it alone to do as it will. The dicky birds will not let your dog catch them. What you are doing here and with the remote launcher is teaching the dog it cannot catch the bird so the dog, if well bred, will extend the hesitation on scent until the hesitation becomes a point. Then circle the dog and come at the bird to flush it. Your dog will not hold when you start circling. Simply pop the bird and start over. Don't say anything at all to the dog while doing this. When the dog breaks, do not try to stop it. Shut up and watch. Very important, yelling whoa at the dog then simply encourages it to chase and undoes your whoa work!

Do not think like a hunter, think like a bird! The bird will not be caught!
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Re: Pigeons Without Launchers

Postby cjhills » Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:19 am

DonF wrote:
Thinblueline wrote:
gonehuntin' wrote:He should be on a check cord. End of problem.


He would be, but as you work the dog into the pigeon and he hits the scent cone without pointing, I’m asking how you handle that.


You have the check cord. Soon as it indicates it smells game, stop the dog! Consider this. You want the dog to stop on scent, stop the dog when it indicates a bird. To stop the dog, stop the check cord and you immediately circle to the rear of the dog. You go right at the dog and you cannot stop forward movement. You can only stop the dog from the rear. Do not say anything at all, just get the dog stopped! Do not put down a bird, pen raised game bird or pigeon unless you can control either the dog or the bird. Best thing I can tell you is get remote traps of find someone to train with that has them. Pen raised game birds stint from traps, might fly and might not! Use pigeons, feral are best to start. Much less likely to come out of the trap and land on the ground. Homer's for advanced dogs as now and then they do pop up and land right away.
'
You go to traps, quit thinking like a hunter trying to get his dog to do what he want's, think like a bird! Very important. Let the dog run on the bird without you controlling the dog with the check cord, let the dog drag the cord. Soon as the dog indicate's a bird, pop the bird! The only way for the dog not to flush is to point before you pop the bird. If the dog get's withing say 20"+/-, pop the bird! Important to do that, it's what a wild bird would do! When the dog is ready, it will point! Don't force the issue, let the dog come in it's own time.

When you take the dog for walks, take it where there are lot's of dicky birds, sparrow ect. Let your dog do what ever it want's with them. At some point you'll notice it's getting cautious with them, leave it alone to do as it will. The dicky birds will not let your dog catch them. What you are doing here and with the remote launcher is teaching the dog it cannot catch the bird so the dog, if well bred, will extend the hesitation on scent until the hesitation becomes a point. Then circle the dog and come at the bird to flush it. Your dog will not hold when you start circling. Simply pop the bird and start over. Don't say anything at all to the dog while doing this. When the dog breaks, do not try to stop it. Shut up and watch. Very important, yelling whoa at the dog then simply encourages it to chase and undoes your whoa work!

Do not think like a hunter, think like a bird! The bird will not be caught!

Don:
This is where I have problem.
Do you let a 7 month old puppy who has had very little bird experience get to 20" from the launcher before You launch the bird? I have seen dogs really intimidated by the launcher noise and bird in their face. What if you are a little late and the launcher hits the pup in the face.
Also Still waitng for RG to elaborate on the meaning of "heck to pay", This Is a very important part of training and may make a huge difference in the dogs future............Cj
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Re: Pigeons Without Launchers

Postby DonF » Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:08 am

Do you let a 7 mo old pup get 20" from the launcher before releasing the bird? Do you believe that a wild game bird will let the pup get that close? I don't think so. Quit thinking like a handler/trainer and think like a bird! Pup get's within 20' of the trap in any direction, pop the bird. It does not matter if the pup has scent and knows the bird or if it has no scent, pop the bird. Go out and try getting within 20' of a wild bird! Change your thinking. when you train with a remote, don't think like a trainer, think like a wild bird!
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Re: Pigeons Without Launchers

Postby cjhills » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:27 am

Don:
Your post says 20" ..................Cj
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Re: Pigeons Without Launchers

Postby RayGubernat » Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:58 pm

DonF wrote:Do you let a 7 mo old pup get 20" from the launcher before releasing the bird? Do you believe that a wild game bird will let the pup get that close? I don't think so. Quit thinking like a handler/trainer and think like a bird! Pup get's within 20' of the trap in any direction, pop the bird. It does not matter if the pup has scent and knows the bird or if it has no scent, pop the bird. Go out and try getting within 20' of a wild bird! Change your thinking. when you train with a remote, don't think like a trainer, think like a wild bird!



Don -

FWIW, that sounds pretty right to me.

When I am introducing a youngster to birds in traps...I bring them in so they encounter the scent cone perpendicular to and downwind from the bird. My finger is on the release trigger. The instant the dog gives any indication at all that it scents the bird, the bird is GONE if the dog does not instantly stop...and sometimes, even if it does stop. If the dog does not cooperate and comes in from another direction, I do exactly what you do...pop the bird...regardless.

When a bird is in the air...the dog already knows it is supposed to stop and "assume the position", and if it "forgets"... there is the verbal "whoa' the e-collar whoa and/or the checkcord. Some of us call that a "stop to flush". So, even if the dog does not scent that particular bird, the training is still all good. Heck, even if you are a little slow on the draw with the launcher remote and the bird in the air is actually a "stop to bump', the lesson is still learned to a large degree.

So it is kinda irrelevant, as far as executing a whoa, if the dog scents the bird or not. Scent of bird means whoa, sight of bird in air means whoa. Whoa means whoa.

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