Bird Dog & Retriever News

June / July 2003 issue Page 28

 ven catch an occasional bird to wet their appetite. As they become bolder, the checkcord will go back on, and you'll proceed as you would with the confident pup.
You'll notice that we don't include pheasants in our program at this point. Young pups need to start small and work up to the larger birds. Pheasants, especially cackling roosters with spurs, will often intimidate the soft pup. Even the whirring of a quail's wings can cause some pups to beat a hasty retreat. It's always better to go slow and not create a problem.
You may have heard that the best training is done on wild birds. First of all, this is next to impossible for the average pointer owner to do. Secondly, you have no control over a training session in that scenario. There may or may not be birds in the area. If not, pup has had a fun excursion and no more - if there are a lot of birds, such as in the Dakotas, young pups will "blow their minds" and learn nothing from this overload. Pups need to learn to hunt and to handle, to use their nose and the wind, and each time they get out for a training session, they must find birds and have a positive experience. Save the wild birds for pup's first season or two, and then be judicious about where you take her. There should be some birds, but not too many, in the beginning.
You should spend about a month, several times a week if possible, on these training sessions. The amount of time you spend is not as important as the quality of the session. More is not always better. Successful sessions where pup points the bird and handles well for you should stop after the second bird is pointed and flushed. Human nature sometimes causes us to think, "Well, this went so well, we'll just do it all again!" And then when we push it, mistakes happen. Best to end on a successful note, keeping things simple and fun.
In the next column, we'll focus on gun development of the young pup while adding yard work to the equation.
See you then!
Bob and Jody Iler have been training bird dogs at Green Valley Kennels in Dubuque, Iowa for over 35 years. Bob was a junior high school teacher for 10 years before training gun dogs full-time. He and Jody train together in the yard and field. Jody also does obedience training for all breeds. Bob judges AKC field trials and hunt tests and they campaign their dogs in these events.
Bob and Jody raise German Shorthaired Pointers. They specialize in the training of pointing dogs and their "Silent Method of Dog Training." They also write articles on bird dogs and are currently working on a book.

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Copyrights Bird Dog & Retriever News May 2003
Do not reproduce or retransmit in any form, and we surf the web, we'll find you.
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