Dave Walker is one of my bird dog training heroes. We have had the pleasure of hosting his bird dog training seminars in our area for the past several years. He is one of the most successful pro trainers and field trial competitors still alive today. He has that uncanny ability to read a dog’s body language and understand what they are thinking. This puts him head and shoulders above the rest as I think reading a dog is the most important skill to acquire in bird dog training. You have to know when to back off, or when the dog is ready to kick it up one notch. Dave Walker can do it, flawlessly.
Join us this summer for our 2013 Utah Bird Dog Training Camp. Dave Walker will grace us with two solid days of bird dog instruction and hands on classes. Dave Walker uses live birds in his training and prefers to work with you (the handler) and your dog as a team. He will save you a lot of time and trouble and can even help your through those training trouble spots. He will be going over steady to wing and shot, force fetching, backing and honoring, and introduction to birds and gun. This seminar is for all ages and skill levels, puppies to finished dogs. Don’t miss out on this chance. Click for more details about the 2013 Dave Walker Bird Dog Seminar.
Bandit is coming along nicely in his bird dog training. For the first month or two I was planting birds for him and letting him flush and chase birds. Now he is a little older and I am making him stand his birds. As soon as he establishes point I do not let him advance any closer to the bird. If he moves, I pick him up and bring him back to the location of the original point. This really helps in teaching him that he is not allowed to break until I give the release command.
When he is standing his birds I make a point to walk out in front of him a little more each time. Now I am able to walk around in front of him and even kick the brush a little bit. I usually have a friend help with holding him as I advance further and further to the front. If he moves or takes a step he goes back to the location of the first point. When I do flush the bird, I make him remain in place and watch the bird fly away. We have started adding in the firing of the blank pistol from some distance. The point being that the birds flushes, and then a shot is fired. Setting up the positive association of gun fire equals birds.
We are proud to welcome the latest addition to Annabella Kennels. Bandit come to us from Dave Walker kennels in Idaho. Bandit is a direct son of the late DC Chick’s Blaze’N Sawtooth Sam, JH who was by NFC Beans Blaze HOF. This is very well bred young brittany puppy who we hope to groom into a dual champion and foundation stud dog. He has been a joy so far and is loving his birds. He had a natural retrieve to hand the first time out and is very intense on birds. We hope to campaign Bandit in both field trials, AKC hunt tests as well as show competitions. He has the pedigree and the makings of greatness.
We love to hear how our puppies are growing and developing into great bird dogs and family companions. We received this photo this week from some folks that bought a female from Annie and Buster’s first litter. The name their puppy “Bella” and have spoiled her rotten I am sure. She is turning out to be a great hunting partner for Michael. Pictured above is a recent pheasant hunt. Mike says..
She pointed and retreived 5 for 6 today. The last one was a runner and she got him up in front of my son, he shot it and found her with the rooster pinned to the ground with both front feet. Off to Northeastern Colo. tommorrow. Regards, Mike
There is a famous brittany man named Ben O Williams in Montana who is know for running several dogs at a time. He not only trains like this but he often hunts his dogs in a similar fashion. He feels like they can learn much from each other and learn faster too. He doesn’t mind if they make mistakes and blow some birds. The idea is that they learn quickly to honor and back or there will be no birds in the bag (ie: no birds to retrieve).
Lately I have been running two dogs at a time when I go training or hunting. I wanted to try it out for myself and like Ben, I just love to watch the dogs work. The more the better. My dogs seem to be learning to back and honor points a lot better. Sure we have had a few covey flushes and birds blown, but it has been worth it. I try to mix up the tandem each time as well. Sometimes two dogs of a similar age, but more often I pair an older more experienced dog with a younger inexperienced dog. Try it out if you have more than one dog, you will find it quite enjoyable.
The past few months we have been using the new Dogtra PL-1 pheasant launchers that we purchased for bird dog training. They are meant for use with large gamebirds but also work great for singles with pigeons. What has worked the very best is using the launchers for multiple quail or chukar to simulate a covey flush. The tone helps to locate the launcher when planted in heavy cover or to make sure the right launcher is activated. We use a set of three of these launchers from Dogtra in our gun dog training. We have found that sets of three are best for training sessions. We do a drill or method three times and then put the dog up. It helps to leave them hungry for more and limiting them to 3 helps to avoid burn them out or boring a young dog.
I was able to play with another Buster X Annie puppy this week. Bailey was on her way home to AZ from spending the 4th of July in Montana. She wanted to spend some time with us and see some birds. Bailey did great and pointed nicely. She even had a good retrieve on a pigeon and pointed a couple of bobwhite quail.
Lizzy is coming along nicely in her bird dog training. She is standing her birds nicely and pointing with a lot more style. We have a pretty good group that gets together to train dogs with the Utah Bird Dog Club. Training is a lot more fun when you get a group together to help each other and to share information. Lizzy has gone through the gun introduction and is even going to a conformation show in Blackfoot, Idaho this month. We feel like Lizzy is our best shot at owning a dual champion. She is a joy to be around and shows such confidence and style in the field.
This is one of Annie and Buster’s puppies “Bella”. I got to spend some time with her and her owners on Saturday at a training day in Nephi, UT. Travis Proctor and friends were there evaluating some very nice english pointers and setters. It was fun to get to see Bella and how she is growing up so fast. She is a little taller than Annie and seems to have some of Busters long legs. We were able to throw a quail out for her and work with her on her retrieve. She did really well for her first bird introduction and retrieved the quail right back to Mike. This is Mike telling Bella what a good job she did.
The snow has finally melted and it is time to get outside and train puppies. Lizzy is working on being steady to wing. She is a very birdy dog and loves to get out and hunt. I have 50 wild pigeons coming in this week for training birds. Also, there are about a hundred quail in my pens that will be flight ready in a couple months. This should give us plenty of birds for spring and summer gun dog training.