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Hi Guys

I wanted to let you all know that I picked up Maggie (english setter) last week and I love her. She is about 2 1/2 years old and is almost finished. I took her out a few days last week and she pointed pheasant and chukkar with ease. Maggie was mostly trained on grouse and woodcock in VT. She has a little to much range for me right now, so I need to work with her on that and she doesnt fully retrieve yet. She will hunt dead, get mouthy with the bird and then bring back to me to around 5 or 10 yards.

The big question I have to the list is when you are hunting Pheasants(I live in NJ, so they are pen raised birds) would you recommend keeping Maggie steady to wing and shot or just steady to wing. Most folks at the club say steady to wing, not shot. Also the pheasants run a lot once they have been out for a day or so. I also letting her relocate the birds.

At the end of the day I know its my preference if I want Maggie steady to wing and shot or just wing. However I wanted to hear from the list the pro's and con's.

Thanks in advance. Once I figure out how to post some pics, I will.

John
 

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Personally I don't train my dogs to be st4ady to wing or shot. I have seen too many birds, especially Pheasants wounded and lost because the dog was not right on them when they hit the ground. Down side you have to be very careful with inexperienced hunters.
 

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I steady to both, my logic being that often the shot will involve a second bird and I want the dog to ask for directions as to which one I want it to retrieve first.

tom
 

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Training to be steady to wing and shot is really personal preference. What do you want out of YOUR dog? I personally do not train to be steady to wing or shot, one of my dogs just naturally is but was not specificly trained to do so. On wild birds I prefer the dog to feel free to reposition on a moving bird on its own. Often times the cover is thick enough I can't see the dog or the bird to know what is happening, letting the dog decide when to move helps them cut off more running birds than if I try to meddle.
As to your retrieving issue, if you know someone who has a good retrieving dog try hunting your dogs together. Often times the competition between dogs will give a new dog the drive to get the bird and hold it all the way to your hand. I believe that hunting a young/inexperienced dog with a seasoned veteran can really bump up the learning curve. Good Luck!
 

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I prefer steadying to both wing and shot, especially on preserve and covey birds. The preserve birds don't always get off the ground as high as a wild bird and the chance of the dog getting shot is just too great for my liking. Had one close call many years ago and this changed my mind. One may think they won't do this but at $8-$18 a bird, one often has a change of mind. As Tom says, I can also direct the steady dog to the bird I want retrieved first such as the wounded second bird rather than the dead first. Another plus to a steady dog is not having the distraction of a close, fast moving object catch your eye, in this case the dog. Having this happen does not help the wing shooting and leads to increased misses and winged birds. As for wounded birds, I certainly don't lose any more than those with dogs that break on the flush and generally have a much higher retrieval percentage. This is due to several factors but one large one is training. Most people do not train their dog to track and expect the dog to do it naturally. In time the dog should pick it up but birds will be lost. Any one of my adult dogs (versatile and non-versatile breeds) can, most have, pass the tracking portion of a NAVHDA Utility test with a Prize 1 score. A steady dog also seems to mark birds better, even those breeds not known for marking ability. Add in force breaking and the retrieve and tracking problems will be reduced greatly.
Again, do what you wish but you asked for reasons why one should or should not steady to wing or shot. It requires much more work to steady a dog all the way but since you have to spend time with the dog anyways, this shouldn't be too much of a problem.
 

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I prefer the dog to feel free to reposition on a moving bird on its own
Repositioning when a bird moves/runs is completly different from breaking when a bird flushes. I expect my dog to sit when a bird flushes or if I shoot and this has nothing to do with holding a point.

tom
 

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Although I have been hunting one thing or another for many years, I am currently training my first gun dog. I have been pretty active this year in training days, seminars, ect. my fiftteen month old pup has seen about 320 birds so far.

I think I see things somewhat differently than I did last year. You kind of notice more. Body language, relative positions, cause and effect, ect.

One of the trips I took this year was out west. Our group got paired with another and the gaggle totaled fifteen. The cover was heavy, the terrain somewhat hilly. I smelled trouble and was not entirley comfortable. So my dog and I gave the others alot of room. Of the other three dogs, not one was under four years old. What one hunter called his "seasoned pointer" was actually trained to be a flusher! That was the first bird dog I have ever seen get shot. There were many varibles that contributed to that event. Sloppy dog work was only one.

Somethings we can control and somethings we cant. We have some work ahead of us yet, but I intend to fishish my dog. Personally, I think a finished dog is a hell of alot more stylish too!

JMHO
 

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The steady I will also agree your opinion. Myself at least steady to wing, depending on clients style of hunting and dogs ability, shot questionable. The dog needs to respect the bird and its hunting partner. The retrieve, here's a simple trick, depending on prior owner, and how well they assoc. HERE, the dog is gonna come in when you call it, so we will play a trick. Dog goes in points, you kill the bird, dog snatches it up, you tell it here, coming in turn around and go oppisite way, meaning dog is coming in north to south, you turn step up pace a little an dyou go south. Dog will be shocked, and step it up to catch up with dad, watch out of the corner of your eye, and turn once it gets close enough to kneel and praise, let it hold the bird, encourage the retrieve, then get the bird and send on. Before you know it, a: the retrieve will happen faster, cause dads gonna leave, b: the dog will be retrieving to hand. Now the ob kicks in bigtime here, so there is never a garuntee, but if its doing it natural, you'll probabaly get more from attrition, and encouragement. Promise. Thanks Jonesy more ques?? [email protected]
 

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Congrats on your new friend! Post some pics when you get the time.

If you say the dog is nearly finished, I'd vote to have the dog finished. That's to say steady on wing and shot. You don't want someone shooting your new hunting partner. Also, when your friends are amazed at the training, lie and tell them you did it yourself.

How far does she range? Try different environments. Thick heavy cover and open fields. See if there's a difference. Also, before hunting let the dog run some of the energy off. That will usually settle the dog down to it's natural range.
 

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Ranging is not bad. This is a pointing dog so as long as does not do Field Trial "run to the target" type runs, let it range and hunt.

It is easy to take out range out of the hunting dog with electric collar. It is much harder to put it back once you realized that this is not what you really want.

I also noticed that my dog is much better retriever with other dogs around and he knows which birds were "his" and retrieves them almost to the hand. When he is alone, things are not that smooth. On the other hand, I noticed that he is better hunter by himself than around other dogs.

When I take people hunting with me, I always tell them to shoot birds only when they get to their height and nothing below.
 

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This is my first post in this forum so hello all!

Congratulations on the new dog, definitely post some pics!

I am currently working with my first dog so I am not an expert, but I have developed a few opinions in the past two years of training my rescued English pointer (she has required lots of work). As far as steadiness, I have two comments that echo other's sentiments. First, before I got her steady we had serious difficulty with retrieving, as she never marked the bird down. The result was, that we ended up wasting time with her racing all over creation, often in the wrong direction. Very annoying! Now that she is steady she marks the bird and goes straight to it even in the thick partridge coverts. Secondly, I find the best part about partridge hunting is the dog work, so I just plain enjoy finishing the sequence with the dog delivering to hand... on command.

My second comment is on the range issue. I used to think my pointer ranged too far because I often couldn't see her. However, this year, I have come to realize that this was a result of my inexperience and lack of confidence in the dog. If the dog is steady and wants to hunt for you, then it will do its best to hold that bird until you get there, in sight or out of sight. Now that I know that she is steady and won't bust birds on her own, I have no problem being unable to see her in thick coverts. Nothing more exciting then hearing the bell stop, working your way to the dog and finding her working the bird. Just something to consider before you try to alter the dogs current range.

Michael
 

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As far as the comments of the dog getting shot I eliminate that with one simple thing. I am very picky with who I let hunt around my dogs. If you even come close to shoting one of them we will have a problem and most likely you will never hunt with me again.

As for the retrieving issue force break the dog. I force broke a 3 year old rescue dog that would not retrieve at all. Now she is a retrieving machine.
 

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The only time you should really be concerned about range of your dog (assuming pointing itself is not an issue) is when you have roads, semi-frozen lakes etc close by. It is not worth loosing dog for a bird,any bird.

In addition to bell, I aslo use beeper for points and location. Once the dog gets further out, the bell is not that useful anymore.
 

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Regarding the retrieve, I agree it is a good thing to hunt with a good retriever and if your dog is like mine, he/she will be jealous when the other dog gets the praise and he/she gets ignored for the retrieve.

Funniest thing I saw was out in NE when I was hunting with a women who had 2 Munsters. They were sisters and retrieved the pheasants together, one bird in both mouths all the way back, running in perfect harmony. The owner said they just both wanted the praise and both got it this way. :)
 

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Tom posted
I steady to both, my logic being that often the shot will involve a second bird and I want the dog to ask for directions as to which one I want it to retrieve first.
Who can argue with that? Additionally you might not want your dog dashing off in to areas where there may be danger, or indeed other unflushed birds. I also don't want my dogs to get into a tugging match with someone elses should they both run in at the same time. I have seen this happen, and a squalid and undignified spectacle it is.

For the last few nights I've been flight shooting woodpigeon coming in to roost, specifically to further steady a young Lab. I'm sending him for any runners first, and then for dead birds lying in cover. One fell outside the wood over a really crappy and rusty old wire fence; I don't want a young dog in that lot.

And this is him, FTCh(to be!!) Sydenham Alder aka Jack


Regards
Eug
 

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Never could see the need to go through all of the effort. I like the dog to point, hold their point until I shoot. Then I want them to go retrieve the bird. Can't see why I should wait for the dog to go get the bird.
 

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as I read Zeeks simple and sensible comment I thought about something I hadn't thought about before.

My dog is not steady to wing or shot and I have been undecided and lazy about changing the situation. I'm thinking I'll keep it this way. Here's the thing - I miss alot. I just do. I hope I'll get better. Right now I swear my shot just bounces off the birds and they get away. Sometimes flying around a bend so I can't see where they come down. My dog taking off the instant the bird flies means she's out ahead of the bend and can have a better idea where the bird comes down so she can relocate. I don't know about wild but here the stocked pheasants sometimes fly really far.

I wouldn't let anyone I don't trust shoot over her either way.
GSPgal
 

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Chaco 1 or anybody else with experience, I am training my first bird dog- a french Brit. She is 3 and 1/2 months. Could you explain the force break procedure for a newbie? Thanks
 

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Rusty*

Why don't you wait at least til the dog is about a year old or more before force breaking. Let puppy be a puppy. At 3+ months the dog barely knows its calling name.You should really teach retrieving in more conventional ways when the dog is young and resort to the force breaking when nothing else is work.

Until the dog is at least year old, you should socialize, work on COME etc.
 

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I agree that force breaking should not be done until the dog is at least one year old, maybe more. This is not for reasons of physical maturity rather mental. Force breaking puts tremendous mental and even psychological pressures on the dog and doing so at too young of an age can cause some real problems down the line. My personal criteria is to wait to force break until the end of the hunting season following the dog's first birthday. Part of this is mainly to allow the dog to mature as the dog will generally be around a year and a half old and have had to excercise its mind a fair amount. another benefit is many dogs will briefly turn off birds for a bit and this way the dog will have its sulking done before its spring training and tests/trials start. If you live in the South were you don't have the winters we do in the North, you may pick the summer time to do this as it is often too hot to do training then.
 
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