One of my favorite things in dog training is starting a young puppy. It is such a joy to watch their instincts come to life and see them blossom before your very eyes. Most bird dogs have the natural ability to be a good hunting companion. It is a rare brittany that does not have these instincts deeply ingrained. My kids love to help with the naming of young puppies. Hannah and me decided to name this big boy “Bubba”. We brought him home with his sister “Lexie” to start in our gun dog training program. Both puppies have strong pointing instincts.
Lexie is pictured below pointing a wing on a string. She is quite a bit smaller than her brother Bubba but she makes up for it in attitude. We will be training both of these pups to sell in the fall to hunting homes. They are AKC registered and are up to date on their shots.
Bella 11 weeks Christmas
I got an email update this week from Mike regarding his Bella puppy. He has been reading the book “Bird Dog” by Ben O. Williams that I sent home with him when he picked up the puppy. Mike reports that Bella is adjusting well and is turning out to be quite the little firecracker. She is full of energy and loves to get outside and run. Mike can’t wait for the snow to melt so they can get serious about bird dog training. Bella is pictured below locked up on a point while Mike was working her with the wing and a string. It is amazing how deeply engrained the pointing instinct is with these young brittany puppies. Bella should be a fine hunting dog come next fall when she can really get after some birds.
Wing on a string method for training pointing dogs
Some will argue that wing on a string training can be counter-productive. While I agree that the wing on a string can possibly be over-used and may encourage a dog to sight point. I think it can be a great teaser when a puppy is young to bring out that pointing instinct. I only do it 2-3 times while the puppy is young and usually try to include the bird introduction lessons a few days before or after. Puppies will respond quite readily to the simple wing on a string and it is fun to see how deeply ingrained the pointing instinct is.
Ideally you would tie a quail, chukar or pheasant wing to the end of a fishing pole although a piece of tissue will work as well. It is important to not let the puppy get a hold of the wing. A few flutters out in front of the pup will draw their attention. When the puppy charges in, jerk the wing away to a new spot 10-12 feet away and flutter it again gently. The soft twitching motion will drive the pups crazy and you should see them point very soon thereafter if not instantly. Keep in mind this is just a short game and should only go on for a few minutes. Do not get worried if your puppy does not point. Some bird dogs take a while to point. They all seem to develop at their own pace.