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 Post subject: How to approch a young dog on point?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 8:46 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:59 pm
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Location: Underhill VT
My friend has a young Griff, which is doing a real good job.. The problem that he has, is the dog points and holds well until he gets there, but then starts to creep when he goes in to flush the bird. He hunts by himself most of the time so I suggested trynig to approch the dog from the front or side... I relize that more whoa training and work on planted birds will help. Any suggestions out there.


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 Post subject: Re: How to approch a young dog on point?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 8:59 am 
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I agree about the front/side approach. Also go in slow and calm and don't go kicking up a storm. As far as the planted birds go, I would try to stick to wild and not shoot unless the dog held. I would wait til after the first season to plant birds and introduce whoa.


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 Post subject: Re: How to approch a young dog on point?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 9:11 pm 
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I thought Whoa was a basic command taught very early on for basic control. Why wouldn't you use Whoa to steady a dog on point?

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 Post subject: Re: How to approch a young dog on point?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:42 pm 
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I just don't start it til after their first hunting season. I teach them come, no (I actually say AY!), kennel, and not to piss in the house from day 1. I use a whoa post technique in the summer after they turn a year. I use the command for safety 90% of the time. I'm sure a lot of people start it sooner I just like the approach of letting the birds do most of the training...wild ones. They do a better job than I do so I pretty much don't say a thing when I approach. I love watching a pups wheels turn in his head, get more intense, and figure out they ain't gonna catch it.


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 Post subject: Re: How to approch a young dog on point?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:37 pm 
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barrowsr -- the reason I don't use "whoa" is because it's unnecessary, and it shuts down the dog's brain. I let my dogs think. They're excellent predators. They know that, once I come around in front of them, they stay back and wait for me to shoot the bird. They learned this by choreographed scenarios developed by Brad Higgins (see below). Great stuff.

Obedience commands are for "heel", "here", "kennel", etc. I don't use them on birds. Ever. Hunting, ideally, uses all the dog's natural predatory capabilities, coupled with our ability to shoot a bird, which the dog doesn't have. Obedience training is for other things.

I know that most people do use "whoa". Once I learned a better way, I will never use it again. It's counterproductive, to say the least. See this: http://higginsgundogs.com/about-us/our-method/

Back to RUFFVT: Approach the bird by curving around the dog. Passing close by the dog is an invitation, even a command, to move forward, in dog language. That's what the pack leader does if subordinate members of a wolf pack are waiting to attack prey. The pack leader walks by, and the rest of the pack moves forward.

Steer a wide circle around the dog, and approach the bird from the side, in front of the dog. Will this make your dog perfect? No. But at least you won't be, in effect, TELLING the dog to move forward. :)

Dogs are pack predators that utilize complex, usually silent, communication of gestures and body language. It's fascinating, and learning about it makes training a lot more fun for the dog and the trainer.

These aren't gundog specific, but Turid Rugaas' books are a great read. She understands a lot about dog language, and how to use it. Also see the link above, for gundog-related stuff.

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 Post subject: Re: How to approch a young dog on point?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:16 pm 
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One more thing... If you can come around the dog in a wide half-circle, then step BETWEEN the dog and the bird you are flushing, that works even better, assuming the dog has learned that your leadership results in good things for the dog, i.e. that's how the dog gets a bird.

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 Post subject: Re: How to approch a young dog on point?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:35 pm 
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I didn't enforce the whoa command in my dogs first year of hunting either. Towards the end of the season he realized that he wasn't going to catch anything by sneaking up on them and was more steady.

His second season was another story. I refused to shoot anything that he didn't hold for and would nick him when he crept along with saying whoa. He'll be 4 this February and holds his points solid as a rock

I'm a member of a Pheasant club so exposure to birds is not a problem. Having access to allot of birds makes the training process much easier


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 Post subject: Re: How to approch a young dog on point?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:01 pm 
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I do not use "whoa" at all. My young Pointer is steady to flush, wing, shot and fall, and she does not know what "whoa" means. Much easier, and she can manage the birds as she gets wiser to their behavior, without losing that steadiness. See the link above.

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 Post subject: Re: How to approch a young dog on point?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:57 pm 
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If your dog doesn't know whoa you can't stop them from charging into a dangerous situation. Come won't do any good if the danger is between you and your dog. Gotta stop them sometimes fast.


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 Post subject: Re: How to approch a young dog on point?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 9:31 am 
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Dang Barry, the whoa command is the command my 23 month old GSP does best, and now I find out the command I use to keep him out of traffic and safe is just a waste of time. Who knew!

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 Post subject: Re: How to approch a young dog on point?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 1:12 pm 
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I don’t use whoa much because it means to me--don’t move your feet. A great part of my birds run so ideally I want the dog to learn this and move with them instead of holding that classic point because I whoa the dog.

Having said that, there are two commands that are absolutely indispensable for me. Come and stop. I use sit for stop. And I mean when the dog gets either of those two commands, they don’t decide if they want to--they do it right now no matter what the conditions are. Some would be amazed how fast a dog can plant their butt on a whistle command for sit, and actually seem to enjoy and take pride in the accomplishment, and the same with come once they understand the situation.

Every year I run into people looking for their dog, see cases of dogs getting run over by cars, or dogs running through fences or other hazards, or getting into trouble other ways. Anyway, I would rather hunt alone than with an out of control dog.


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 Post subject: Re: How to approch a young dog on point?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 7:20 pm 
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I think the dog is picking up something off your friend that says it's ok.
1.) Whoa means Whoa. I should be able to light you on fire...and you still whoa. Back to basics doesn't hurt any dog.
2.) When he disobeys, NO ONE should shoot that bird. Some dogs will understand that on their own. Bust a bird, no shot...no satisfaction.
3.) When he busts a bird, you don't shoot and return him to where he busted the bird, whoa him and make him stay there. If he does it again., end the hunt. Take out another dog and go back to basics.
4.) Teach your dog to read your eyes, mind and stare.
5.) Teach him to release and relocate by your TOUCH only....later, when you and the dog are one.....a head nod or a wink can be the signal.
6.) Circle around the dog and walk towards his nose with the "aire" that the only option is Whoa..."so you and I pin this bird." You are both a pack and YOU are the leader going in for the kill. His job is to block.

People fight returning to basics, but that is the key. Often times unless someone is shooting hundreds of birds a season or in training over a dog...THE HUNTER...is to anxious to kill the busted bird, thus training the dog that busting birds is acceptable.


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