Steady to Flush - Page 2

Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs

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If the dog anticipates and sits as you approach the bird launcher even though no bird was launched, reinforce the "Heel" command with your leash, not with the Tri-Tronics collar. Then heel the dog past the launcher several times without releasing the bird. Be sure to remain on the upwind side.

Once the dog is trying to sit quickly at the sight of the flush, remove your leash and stop giving the "Sit" command. If the dog does not sit on its own, use low-level electrical stimulation a couple of seconds after the launch and then, if necessary, verbally remind it to "Sit."

When the dog will sit to flush without use of the collar, begin launching dead birds so you can reward the dog with a retrieve when it is steady. Progress to adding gunfire a moment after the bird hits the ground. Pause briefly before you send the dog to retrieve.

The next step is to have the dog sit facing you about 40 feet away. Place the bird launcher about five feet in front of where you will be standing. Call the dog, and after it has come about ten feet, launch the bird and command "Sit."

At first, don't let the dog come farther than ten feet before launching the bird or the dog will have too much momentum, making it hard for you to stop it. If the dog does keep coming, command, "Sit."

Gradually extend the distance you allow the dog to run before you launch the bird. Repeat this drill until the dog is sitting automatically at the sight of a launched bird without being commanded to sit.

Shot Fliers
Now you can tie it all together: sit-to-flush, steadiness, and the retrieve. Place the bird launcher in some cover. Bring the dog into it on the downwind side and, when the dog winds the bird, launch it.

By now your dog should be rock steady at the sight of a flushing bird, so shoot the bird and send the dog to retrieve it. If the dog should break at the gunfire, reinforce, "Sit" with the Tri-Tronics collar and pick up the bird yourself. This is an excellent time to use a multiple launcher. Progressing across the field from one launcher to the next will help counteract the young dog's natural tendency to try to return to the spot where it found the last bird. In addition, introducing another flush soon after the first one will cause the dog to believe that you know where the birds are, and the dog will want to hunt with you.
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