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.
Nothing is more fun than bringing home a new bird dog puppy. It marks the beginning of a 12-14 year relationship with mans best friend. Your new dog will be loyal and a pleasure to own if you get things started in the right direction. The foundation of the first year will effect the outcome of the entire structure, much like building a house. If your foundation is shaky, so will your dog be. If your foundation is strong and well-built, as will be your dog. Here are a few ideass to help you get started right.
The first few weeks can sometimes be the most trying but can also be the most enjoyable. Potty training and basic obedience are often the main focus during this period. We prefer the “crate training method” when house training your young dog. Giving your pup his own private den will help a lot in laying the ground rules in your house. Dogs need a place to retreat for comfort and security. They rarely soil this den so it is very helpful with potty training.
We believe the best thing you can do for your puppies first 6-12 months is socialization. The more people, animals, and environments you can introduce him to, the better. Everything should be fun and positive during this time period. Try to avoid high pressure situations and set your puppy up for success. He is going to make mistakes, relax and don’t make a big deal about it. Enjoy this time with your puppy.
This is also a great time to introduce your dog to birds. Pigeons and quail are best because they are smaller and less intimidating. The goal is to build prey drive and confidence in your young bird dog. He will learn that birds are fun, they smell good, and they are fun to catch and carry around. Pointing will come along in due time. Some trainers let puppies chase and flush birds till they point on their own. While others begin holding the puppy on point with a check cord after they become confident around birds.
You can’t make a bird dog without using birds in the training process. If you want lot’s of bird dog, then you should use lot’s of birds. The time you invest now will help produce a well mannered brag dog when your dog is 4-5 years old. The number one mistake new bird dog owners make is rushing the first year. They want the dog broke to wing and shot at 6 months old. It is not gonna happen. And you will ruin a great dog in the process. Relax, let him be a puppy and enjoy the first year. Take your time.
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.
Had a great day dog training with Lizzy this week. Put a few hen pheasants out in some cattails and just wanted to see her use her nose. She has a very strong prey drive and loves birds. She has been exposed to pigeons, quail, pheasants and chukar. She did very well and dug right into the cover to find these two hens. We let a few go, but when the situation was just right we shot a couple for her. Her first retrieve was excellent. She picked up the big fat hen pheasant without hesitation and brought it to hand. Needless to say I was very pleased. I thought it was a good first hunt for a 7 month old brittany puppy.
Snowy Day Dog Runnning
One challenge of living in a climate where there is 4 seasons is roading the dogs in the snow and cold. We have to be careful and attentive because the deer tend to move lower when a big snow falls. This can present some distractions when training and roading the dogs. It can also be a good time to break the dogs from chasing deer and rabbits. A gentle reminder from the e-collar usually does the trick after they learn that chasing deer is uncomfortable. Another potential hazard in our area with winter are the presence of bobcat and fox trap sets.
12 inches of new snow
This morning we woke up to 12 inches of new snow. It makes things interesting with simple chores like cleaning the kennels. First we have to dig the kennels out of the snow. Our kennels have an indoor outdoor access so the dogs can get out of the weather in addition to their K-9 Kondo insulated dog houses. We also use a heated water bucket with a thermostat to keep their water from freezing solid on the sub-zero nights. Lizzy is enjoying the snow very much and loves to bound through it checking the area for tweety birds. I can tell she is gonna run big as she gets older.