It's been along winter and you have been patiently waiting to start that new pup on training to become a bird dog.
Here is the question I hear "what do I do with my pointing dog to get them to point." The answer is easy... give them the opportunity and time to bring out what their genetics have given them.
Here is a brief description of what we do :
We like to see birds introduced to birds in a controlled manner. We will harness the bird ( we use pigeons) to that the bird can not flap and scare a pup. Let the pup find the bird in medium high grass, keep quite and let the pup figure the smell out and let the pup pick it up and play with it. This is the first exposure so we want this to be a positive experience.
After several sessions of your pup looking/smelling and finding a bird we will change the game. Now we will have an extra bird that is hobbled or has wings clipped. When your pup comes in to smell the planted bird we will restrain it with the check cord. Then when the pup stops struggling to get the planted bird we will toss the hobbled bird. This is the pups first contact with a flying bird and the bird will fly a few yards and land. Let the pup chase it and grab it. Gentley grab your check cord and softly coax the pup back to you and praise them. When you want the bird give them a treat and they will drop the bird.
What we have done so far is so the pup that by stopping on scent that a bird will fly and will land(for now). This is an important part in the learning process. We will now make the pup hold its point on the scent bird longer and longer. If the pup moves we pick them up and put them back to where the point started. When it holds we toss a clipped bird.
A couple key points to remember when training.
* We want the pup to scent point not sight point...so use the wind to your advantage.
* Pointing is instinct on learned. We are just giving the pup a chance to bring that instinct out.
* Use a safe area where your dog can run freely.
* If you or your dog is struggling at this stage seek help before going further.
After several sessions of the last step we are ready to intoduce a few more steps....
We will get into the next step in the next Blog issue.