Question about hunting dogs

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Question about hunting dogs

Postby Karen_P » Tue Sep 06, 2005 12:31 pm

This might sound like a stupid question, but my experience is limited to watching trial dogs train. If you bring a trial dog to the breakaway, they're usually so pumped up they're hopping on their hind legs. You let them go and they're gone. They fly down the hedgerows hunting at incredible speeds.

What do hunting dogs do?

Here's my reason for asking. I took Courage out to the club yesterday and walked the field instead of running him off the ATV. I took my own sweet time because range has been a huge problem (or lack of range I should say). Within minutes he was 100 yards out, hunting, and visually checking in with me. He doesn't have the enthusiasm at the breakaway that a trial dog has, but he has a great nose (he had a beautiful find yesterday and held for the flush) and he is starting to cover ground, just not at top speed.

I can't imagine ever hunting over Blaze, but the more I think about it, the more I think Courage would make a great hunting dog. He can certainly find birds, his range is good for a foot hunter, and his pace is good for a foot hunter....but what do I know! I've never hunted!

Opinions???
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Postby JimC » Tue Sep 06, 2005 2:44 pm

Ryker's slow to get started, almost cautious, especially in a new area. But after a couple of minutes he's casting from side to side and hunting for birds, just not at a frantic pace. He is very thorough. The trainers we've been working with have GSPs, ESs and Pointers that take off like they've been shot from cannon when released.

Some hunters prefer dogs that cover a lot of ground quickly and others prefer dogs that are slower and more meticulous. If I was twenty I might prefer a dog that covers a lot of ground. Since I'm not, slow and meticulous works for me.
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Postby Jacksbuddy » Tue Sep 06, 2005 3:39 pm

I am trying to get Jack to slow down and am guessing that only age will do that. I don't mind if he goes a hundred miles an hour as long as he stays within fifty yards or so. It's when he takes off into another field and leaves me 200 yds behind that bugs me. The thing is he has gone on point 80-90 yds ahead of me and held point until I have reached him. He comes from a ft bloodline so maybe I am trying to make him into a gundog when he would prefer to be an ft dog.
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"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog."
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Postby CJ » Wed Sep 07, 2005 9:57 am

A lot of that "pace" or excitement thing is the dogs personality combined with their know;edge/experience. Courage is a bird dog and doing what his genetic programming is telling him to do. Since he hasnt REALLY been hunted he's only going off the drive he's gained from previous experience. I would venture a guess that if you did start hunting and he started hearing the boom and seeing the birds drop for him to go pick up.... his attitude would change a ton. Just as an example, my dogs... Their experience tells them that when I wear certain things, or am carrying a shotgun... it's hunting time, and they respond to it accordingly (they get amped up). When they see me coming to them with their e-collars late in the afternoon, they know it's time for a walk and they get excited in a different way. When I walk towards their kennel early in the AM or around 6:30 PM, they know I'm going to feed them and respond accordingly (go and wait at their food bowls).
I said all that to say, once he is actually hunted... things will change, and you will probably see more enthusiasm. It will likely be triggered by certain attire, a certian place, or the sight of a shotgun. But they associate things in much the same way we do. Certain sights remind of us events, people, or movies we've seen and we end up getting whatever feeling thats associated with those memories. Given the way he's acting now... all he needs is 2-3 times out with some birds falling each time and you'll have an amped up hunting dog on your hands.
Anyway, that's my LTHO.....
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Postby Karen_P » Wed Sep 07, 2005 4:45 pm

I have to tell you, I never get bored watching these guys point game birds....and when it's one of your own! That's exciting!

Courage had such a nice find this past weekend. All of a sudden he swapped ends and sure enough there was a quail in the hedgerow. I've never seen him point a game bird before....tweeties in the backyard, but not a game bird, and what a difference in his intensity! Tweeties are definitely for stalking/chasing.

I actually held back and waited to see if he'd flush and chase, actually wanted him to because of his lack-luster approach to this, but he held and then missed the flush.

I think my boy needs MORE BIRDS!
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Postby Dave » Wed Sep 07, 2005 9:39 pm

I would say a slower more thoughrough dog is what most foot hunters want . I'm too old to want a field trial dog out on a Sunday hunt :P Dave
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