Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs
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|If you don't have helpers, groomed rows will prove even more useful because the pup will naturally work right and left in the low rows, taking the course of least resistance. If you don't have access to a field you can groom, improvise. An old logging road will suffice. Plant birds in the woods to the left and right of the road, giving the pup a reason to get off the trail. Help the pup in the beginning by walking into the woods, encouraging the young dog to quest for birds. |
Teasers and groomed rows are useful for training pointing breeds also, with a few modifications in technique. Because you don't want pointing breeds to catch birds, plant flyers or use release traps with live birds instead of planting Velcro-wing birds. Again, place the traps or flyers at the outside edge of desired range. Each helper will alternately tease the pointer to his side, where the dog will find birds. Don't plant birds in the middle of the field, as that will only encourage the dog to run straight ahead instead of quartering.
Once again, helpers are beneficial but certainly not mandatory. By running the dog on a 30-foot check cord, you can steer it left and right by giving two short beeps on the whistle then twitching the cord. Shortly, the dog will start changing direction after the beeps but before the twitch. Logging roads can also be used for this training.
One problem hunters often encounter once a dog has experience is the dog's desire to get downfield in a hurry. This is particularly true for gundogs that spend a lot of time at hunt clubs. The dogs soon come to know the birds are "out there." A dog running straight out in front and not quartering leaves holes in its pattern-holes in which a wise rooster may be hunkered down.
Of course the hunter doesn't always have the luxury of hunting into the wind. But by always being cognizant of wind direction and making sure your dog is trained to run efficient upwind patterns, the odds of success will most certainly shift in your favor.
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