TRAINING YOUR HUNTING DOG – Tips by James B. Spencer


Vizsla pup with bird

From
Hup! Training Flushing Spaniels the American Way
When your spaniel is doing well with flyer pigeons, start gradually introducing larger birds. From the pigeon, move up to a chukar, then hen pheasants, then rooster pheasants. Introduce dead ones first to see if they are comfortable retrieving them before introducing live birds. Then plant some birds and see if they will flush live birds while quartering. While most spaniels will move comfortably from the pigeons to the pheasants, some are more cautious and do better with the gradual build up of size.
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From Retriever Training Tests

“…Don’t bewilder young puppies with lengths that they might be afraid to even attempt. In all your training, try to build confidence through trial and success. Extend the distance slowly and let your dog enjoy success throughout the process.

Visibility is another important consideration…Squat down and look at the situation from the dog’s point of view to see what I mean. If the background is quite dark – a row of tall trees for example – the dog may have trouble picking out the bird or dummy when it is thrown if the distance is very great. Remember that dogs are color-blind, so spotting a red dummy against a green background is not as easy for them as it is for us.”
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From Retriever Hunt Tests: A Handler’s Guide to Success

“One very important point: If you normally train with an e-collar, remove it when practicing for hunt tests. If your dog goofs up, correct him in one of the old fashioned (before e-collar) ways. In fact, you should hope your dog does indeed goof up so you can correct him. At a real hunt test, he can’t wear an e-collar and you can’t correct him. Thus, if he goofs up at a hunt test and goes unpunished, especially several times, he will almost certainly become both “collar-wise” and “test-wise,” which means that he’ll have figured out that he can get away with things when he isn’t wearing his e-collar (and therefore when he’s at a hunt test).”
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From Point! Training the All-Seasons Birddog
The command “whoa” will be your most used command. It can be used to tame a wild puppy, staunch a point or steady a wing and shot. It can also be used as a last resort for any problems afield.You can teach him the “whoa” command as if it were “stay” at first.

When he is solid with “whoa” with you walking around him, as in “stay,” increase the distance. When he is solid with that, start taking him for walks and ask him to “whoa” randomly. Praise him if he responds immediately and stops, or stop him with the lead and place him where he was originally asked to “whoa.” Continue to ask him to “whoa” on walks until he become proficient. Gradually increase your distance. (A Flexi-Lead is helpful with this.)
When he is ready to be off lead, return to the back yard wall or fence and ask him to “whoa.” If he has a solid understanding of the “whoa” command, then he should stop immediately. Increase your distance gradually until you are able to get a solid “whoa” from a reasonable distance.