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Will she ever hunt?

 
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ducky
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Joined: 24 Mar 2003
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PostPosted: 06/22/03, 2:39 am    Post subject: Will she ever hunt? Reply with quote

Hi,

We have a 5 month old pup. She is a smart dog and a great little companion. We bought her from a very reputable breeder and brought her home at 8 weeks old. The problem is she doesn't seem to have any interest in birds. I know she is young yet but my husband is very concerned about it.

We take her out in the field a lot and work with scent training and retreiving. She's a great retreiver and she has a good nose. She could care less about birds though. Tonight some pheasants got up right in front of her and she hardly noticed. She doesn't like to go in tall grass and pretty much walks at your heals.

My husband is starting to fear that she'll never "get it". We can teach her a lot of things but we can't teach her to be interested in hunting. Please tell me there is hope for this dog! Is she just too young? What should we be doing to help her? We love her to death but if she won't hunt ... she will have to go to a non-hunting family I guess Sad
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Baron
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PostPosted: 06/22/03, 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ducky,

At 5 mo. old your pup should certainly be interested in birds. However, some dogs are late bloomers and will finally “turn on” at some point. Lets hope your pup falls into that category.

Does your pup show any interest in chasing any small animals (rabbits, songbirds, squirrels, etc.)? Have you been exposing your pup to game birds regularly? You mentioned you had been working on “scent training” with her. Please explain what that is.
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ducky
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PostPosted: 06/22/03, 1:53 pm    Post subject: Will she ever hunt? Reply with quote

Hi, thanks for the response. The only interest she shows in mammals or birds is the ones she can see moving. Once they are out of sight she has no interest. As for "scent training", we have put commercial bird scent on dummies, rags, etc. and placed them about, we have used hot dogs scattered about, we have taken her to a commercial pheasant farm and walked her about, and placed scent on her rope toy that we use for retrieving practice. We have routinely brought her to the field where grouse and/or pheasants are present. On several occasions these birds have gotten up close to her and with exception of being startled by the noise and a short chase (<10 ft) of the flying bird there was no interest. In the begining it was easy to chalk it up to puupyhood but it is getting harder to do it. Thoughts?
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Baron
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PostPosted: 06/22/03, 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, that’s not very encouraging, but it’s not hopeless either. First, I would forget about the scent training. If you were training a retriever, it might help, but that is not what she needs. It takes birds to make a bird dog, period.

You need to get the pup excited about birds. Get yourself a couple of quail. Put them in a small cage. Sit the cage out and let the pup nose around the cage. Hopefully, the fluttering of the birds will trigger her prey drive. Let her pounce on the cage and try to get at the birds. Only leave the cage out for a couple of minutes, then put it away while she is still interested and excited.

Also, get yourself a few pigeons to work with. Put a pigeon in a harness and attach a line to it. Bring the pup up on a check cord and have someone hold her so she can’t actually catch the bird. Pitch the bird down on the ground in front of the dog. Let it flutter, fly, and walk around in front of her. Try to really tease her with the bird so she really wants it. Do this everyday for at least a week or until she is really crazy about birds. Then, start taking her to the field. Plant a few birds in launchers (pigeons work best), and work the pup into them. When she hits scent, and start to move in on the bird, launch it and let her chase if she wants to. Don’t worry if she doesn’t point. Right now you just want to build some desire in her.

If these methods don’t heighten her interest in birds, you may have to pull the flight feathers from one wing or duct tape one wing to the bird’s body, toss it down in front of the dog, and let her catch it. I don’t advocate letting a dog catch birds, but if all else fails, use it as a last resort. What do you have to lose at that point?

If the dog gets fired up after catching the bird, start using the other techniques and don’t let it catch anymore birds.

I hope some of this helps. Good luck with your pup.
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dualgwp
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PostPosted: 06/24/03, 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Baron is right on here.... Birds make a Bird dog!

A well bred pup should be born with the instincts to hunt... but it has to be shown what to hunt.

We always take our little ones out and put them on quail when they are young, usually around 10 -14 wks old. They are allowed to chase wing clipped birds and catch one if they can. Once that light is "on", you never want to let them catch a bird again. I've done this with older pups (from 6 mos - 1 yr old) that have had no exposure to real bird as well.

Your pup just needs the opportunity to find out what a bird is.... forget the "smells in the bottle", just not the same thing and useless for this situation. Go find someone that has some birds, or go buy a couple, clip the wing, toss it in some short grass and bring out your pup. Let her learn what it's all about...let her find out what great fun this is...once that light comes on... you'll have the beginnings of a bird dog. Let her nose it, chase it, mouth it... stay out of the picture and let her do her thing. If the first birds seems to pique her interest, take the second bird and put it in some higher grass and bring her around to it... this time make her work a bit to find it...you should be pleasantly surprised.

If you have a pro trainer near you, they will usually be happy to help you out. Where do you live?

Bernee Brawn
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possumjack
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PostPosted: 06/24/03, 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't forget to check with your state's game and fish department before you buy and or release game birds for training purposes. Some states have very strict regulations cocerning the purchase and release of game birds, especially during closed seasons. Good luck with your pup.
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dualgwp
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PostPosted: 06/24/03, 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't want to get illegal here, but if you are only trying to get one or two quail... don't wory about fish and game...

there are rules... and I am a believer in the rules, but there are differences between someone wanting 100 birds for release, and someone needing a couple to ignite a puppy!

But thanks for the heads us and the reminder concerning fish and game. Always best to know what is the law.
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Hunters Edge
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PostPosted: 07/02/03, 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ducky,
First you made sure to mention you purchased the pup from a reputable breeder. The information that have been given is correct but would highly suggest contacting the breeder with your concerns. He or she should have answers or suggestions and possibly will work with you to insure the pup will have the prey drive your husband is wanting.
Understand if you just take a pup out in high weeds it is going to walk behind so you stop and allways walk behing the pup. This is orientation or introduction to something new high weeds or fields. Now if you continue to let it walk behind you, you are the one that is cementing the behaviour for your dog or pup to follow. There are some good books that will detail how to introduce this but basically just stand and when the dog goes follow it not the other way around. Also try finding fields less high and work up to the higher weeds this can be of help as well. Yes there are late bloomers but just as you can make a dog gun shy you can also instill the wrong behaviour. Teach the dog what you want in the field if all else fails do not walk in paths but walk about 20 yards apart and you call the pup then allow your significan other to call her just do not cement it is ok to walk behind and try not to force her to walk up front because you want to build desire and the only way is to make it desirable, fun. So do not kick it trying to get it to go in front bad idea. Also if you do the calling part back and forth or just jaunts in the field make them brief 10 minutes top and take plenty of water for the dog.

Anyway I would highly suggest contacting the breeder.
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