Bird Dog & Retriever News

April / May 2003 issue Page 28

 Points On Pointers
By Bob and Jody Iler

This is my first pointer pup. How should I start his early training?
What equipment do I need to train my pointer?
Should I use a wing and pole with my pointing puppy? What about hiding wings in the grass for her to find?
Does my pointing dog need to learn to point, or will she do it naturally?
When should I obedience train my pointing dog? Is this the same as yard work?
When do I introduce the gun in my training?
When can I take my pointer pup hunting ­ how old does he need to be?
What about retrieving with my pointer pup?
My pointer is very soft and timid-tucks his tail and seems frightened sometimes. How should I handle him?
When I take my pointing dog to the field, she is gone in a flash, and I can't control her range-what can I do?
When I go to the field, my pointer hangs close and won't get out and hunt. What should I do?
What if my pointer jumps in and busts birds?
My pointer is blinking birds-what should I do? (And what does the term blinking mean)?
Should I hunt my pointer pup with other pointers?
With pointing dogs, what about air scenting vs ground scenting?
What about the e-collar?
Training gun dogs has been our bread and butter for many years ­ and the development of pointers our specialty. We like to say that we don't break a dog, we develop him. There are many effective ways to train pointers, and no single method has the only claim to fame. In fact, the variety of information available to the average bird dog enthusiast is bound to be confusing. As trainers, we keep an open mind, staying current with new methods and ideas, often incorporating or discarding what does or doesn't work. One thing is clear to us ­ that if we find a video, book, or article confusing ­ the average fellow must find it even more frustrating. Which way to go, what to do?
The one guarantee that we give to our clients is that their dogs will return home as happy and sound as when they arrived at our kennel ­ with tails wagging and spirits intact. It follows that the methods that we use are gentle, kind and often traditional. Simple, tried and true. These are the very reasons that clients bring their dogs to us. Back in 1999, in an article by the same name, we coined the phrase ­ the Silent Method of Dog Training ­ and described our training program and philosophy. It has held us in good stead over the many years of developing class pointers.
A sampling of some of the questions we've been asked over the years are listed at the beginning of this article. Though these only scratch the surface, they are good examples of common concerns. We'd like to address these questions for you in a logical progression. Let's take the first common inquiry that we get:
This is my first pointer pup. How should I start his early training?
The first-time owner of a pointing dog should have a basic idea of the function of the pointer. She has been bred to do the legwork for the hunter, to cover the ground and birdy objectives for him. When she scents the sitting bird, she should lock up on point, and hold that point while the hunter walks around in front to flush the bird, before making his shot. You can trust the pointer with a good nose ­ no matter what your instincts may tell you ­ the dog knows! This then, is to make your hunt easier, and once you see a stylish pointer holding his bird for you ­ hunting will never again be the same. You are now the owner of a pointing dog. You are hooked.
Pointing breeds are many, each with their own strong characteristics that are typical of a particular breed. For example, English Pointers are known to often have great range. German Wirehaired Pointers can also double as waterfowl dogs. And so on. The important thing to remember is that your pup is an individual, and that, generally speaking, many pointing breeds are not early maturers. Whether yours seems to be a 90-day wonder, or a late-bloomer, does not matter. Puppies are like children ­ trying to

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Copyrights Bird Dog & Retriever News May 2003
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