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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a black lab, and I'm working with him on hand signals for blind retrieves. I also want to teach him to quarter back and forth sort of like a spaniel for upland. I have some ideas on how to do it from some research I've done but I am wondering if any of y'all have any good ideas. Thanks in advance.

Matt
 

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does he naturally get out in from of you.

If so put him on a 20ft lead in a field let him get out there then start walking in a zig zag pattern in the field, giving him constant good boys when he moves to the right spot. You can add hand signals while your doing this...he'll eventually get the idea.

Wolters book: "Gun Dog" will show you how to do this.
 

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Good luck. I love to see a good field dog in action. The last dog I hunted with would find a covy and then come back and tell us. She would squat with her tail between her legs and whine. I think she must have got whipped pretty good for busting covy's befor Paul got her. After you told her to go and show, she would lead you right to them. I have never seen any thing like it before. Most dogs would point and wait for you to find them. Keep us informed of your progress.
 

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Hi,

The long lead method discribed above will work fine. But, if you can round up a couple of buddies, or even kids, then the method used to train Springers is probably faster and can teach more to the dog.

What you want to do is line everybody up in a line like this: X 0 X. You and the dog in the middle, your assistants are the X's. If you have a young dog keep the seperation shorter, say 20-25 yards between the assistants to start. Now have your dog sit. Springers start with their back to the field facing you. I would recommend this for your Lab also (this is so you can send him either direction without trouble). Now the instant you and the dog make eye contact, give him a broad sweep of the hand on the side you want him to go to. The assistants should call here-here, or hey-hey and wave their arms or hat (do not use the dogs' name, that is probably the command you use to send the dog for the retrive). If you need to, walk with your dog to the person if you have to, calling him with. There is no reason to walk forward at this point, keep the line stationary. Remember, we are teaching the dog to quarter. Keep up the praise!! As the dog gets to the person, use your whistle to give a short toot-toot on your whistle. This will teach the dog to turn on the whistle to go back the other way. Now the other assistant can call the dog and you move back the other way. When the dog gets to the other end, then toot-toot, and back. Do this for several passes. Then stop. Remember, we want to keep this fun and exciting for the dog. Always end it on a good note, so you can praise the day-lights out of your dog.

As the dog gets better at this, then you can start moving down field during the exercise to teach him to move forward. Remeber to keep the dog in front of you at all times. If he tries to circle behind, then backpeddle to keep him in front. In about a weeks time he should have at least a fair grasp of what is wanted and will start quartering by himself. Keep walking with him as needed till he gets it.

If your dog is retriving well another thing your helpers can do is carry some dummies with them, and when the dog is going towards them, give one a toss every once in a while to show the dog that fun things are found in front of people, not behind them. Plus it will keep the dog working closer to you. Always thow to the front or the outside of the helper, never in. This teaches the dog to always go all the way, instead of turning short. In a short time your dog will be quartering fine all by himself.

I know this is a long winded post, but it's far easier to demonstrate than to write down.

HTH,
Dale

Forgot to say, any book by Wolters is a great teaching aid, and fine investment!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you one and all. I guess I was on the right track to begin with since I own both "Gun Dog" and "Water Dog". I'll have Jack (the lab) out today after work.
 

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Lab have to learn to hunt pheasant from experience , get her on some birds. Once they get used to seeing you carry your shotgun and experience success in different kinds of cover they will hunt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I took Jack out last season a couple of times for pheasant. We didn't shoot anything but he did have a hen explode up right in front of his nose. Immediately after that happened he knew what he was looking for. Now it is tough to keep him in close. Should I use the 20' lead to train him to stay in closer and not run off over hill and dale?

Fattire75
I know what you mean though about a lab just needing experience. Hey, I used to go to school in Denver. Fat Tire is one of my favorite beers. You ever try 90 Schilling? If you haven't yet I highly reccomend it.
 

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The gun dog book will show you how to get them to hunt close. For a lab you may want to get a shock collar as they will naturally go after the first shot and continue until it comes down. With pheasant that may be in the next county with chukar that may be in another state (long story about hunting the snake river).

The lead should help you get his remote controll installed.
 

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The book Game Dog goes into detail about using a Lab to quarter a field for birds. I'm currently reading Water Dog by Wolters and a lot of the info in Water Dog is in the book Game Dog. I suspect the same is true for information in Game Dog and Gun Dog. Probably either book will give you the information you want. These books are about 20 to 30 years old, but I've heard they are still pretty much the "Bible" in the hunting dog world.
 

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Getting them to stay close is the problem. I didn't even know there were pheasant on my property but apparently someone turned some pen raised birds loose & they wandered over here. First my young female lab flushed what I thought was a covey of quail but it was only one big bird, then imagine my surprize when she brought me a rooster pheasant (a different bird). I have hunted pheasant a lot with labs in Washington state & N. Dakota. ON the retreiving end, it is important to teach them that THEY have to search until they find the bird. I let mine look until they find the bird. A good lab has an incredible ability to find downed birds. You want them to develope that ability. Often the dog has a much better idea of how to find it than you do!
 
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