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bird hunting training

PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 1:46 pm
by jennivieve
Hi all,
Can any of you bird hunters out there point me in the direction of some good resources to work on pointing and retrieving for Brittanies? All I've come across is force breaking, which I'm not wild about.

Our Schatzi is about 16 months old and has been hunting a few times. She has good instincts, but will not retrieve any birds. She points (and holds occasionally) and flushes well. We are hoping to work with her more this fall, but I need some more advice! :)

Our Doc is also birdy, but unreliable off leash, so we're sticking to basic obedience with him for now. :D One more question: any more strategies for discouraging counter surfing? We have had a rapid increase in this behavior in the last few weeks. I'm sure Doc picked up this behavior as a stray and we have not had much recurrence till recently. He's a gentle soul who gets his feelings hurt easily, so I hate to be too hard on him, but we need to stop the counter surfing.

THanks, Jen

PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 2:04 pm
by Karen_P
Dave Jones of Chief's Brittanys has tons of great information on his website:

Go to the "Free Training Tips" menu item. He has step by step instructions, all age apprpriate with warnings about what can go wrong and how to handle it. He also has a pretty good message board.

PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 6:03 pm
by DualCH Brits
Hey Jen

Welcome. The Idaho Brittany Club is a great bunch of folks and the club has members who are interested in all aspects of the field work, from companion hunt training all the way to hard core field trialling. The club hosts two hunt tests per year in addition to two field trials a year and they often have monthly training days beginning in Feb/March (weather permitting) all the way through til Nov. where the club members get together and help each other out. Contacting Sharon Millspaugh Or Larry Sandusky will be a good way for you to get started on the right foot with your dogs. These two will be more then happy to help get you connected with the right people to help you out.

Not all training needs to be force breaking and these guys are a wealth of experience and information to draw from.

Here is the link to the Club site and officers page where the phone numbers are listed.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 12:17 pm
by Beth
Can't help with the hunting but with the counter surfing, line the counter with cookie sheets so if they jump up and hit a cookie sheet it comes down with them and makes a ton of noise and make make enough noise to scare them and let you know what is going on. Good luck. Also, my Brit was trained and the trainer said he wouldn't force him to retrieve. A few times out he figured it out and has retrieved ever since. My Dad hunts with him and he thought he just picked it up watching the other dogs. He also had a few dogs swipe his birds (I don't think they are supposed to do that) but apparently he didn't like it and that may have motivated him too.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 5:50 pm
by jennivieve
Thanks for the tip on the counter surfing! That is a great idea.


PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 8:28 pm
by Scuppers Dad
Hi Jen,

A couple of thoughts/comments... Maybe they'll help??

First - I am NOT a believer in force training - so you may have to take a "step back" to take two steps forward... If it were me, I'd buy a couple of training dummies. Keep them smaller, so they are easy to retrieve and attach a small lanyard to them (they are easier to throw ;) )

Next - to Schatzi - this needs to be "playing" and not "training" for the first couple of sessions.

Anyway - on a long check cord - give the dummy a toss, and chances are (if I read your post right?) - she'll go after it.. Let her run to get it. As soon as she "mouths it" - call "HERE" in an excited tone. She'll probably:

1) Look at you like you are nuts, and want to either lay down and play with it or

2) Try to take it elsewhere (away from you), or

3) Drop it. If she drops it, let her come and give her an "OK" - but immediately walk back and with her on the cord at "heal" - go to the dummy on the ground with her. She'll mouth it again (it's a "toy" at this stage), and as soon as she does - back away a few steps, say HERE and she'll bring it. When she does - PRAISE HER LIKE SHE JUST WALKED ON WATER (and maybe a treat, which is outside your play norm, is a real treat!). Now - walk back to where you threw the dummy the first time, and do it again!! Do not throw it from the place where she gave it to you (remember - you had to retrieve it - she didn't!).

OK - so if she does 1 or 2 above and doesn't come when you call HERE once, but still has the dummy.. Give her about 1-1.5 seconds - and if she still isn't coming - say "No" (don't yell it, it's "playing") - and give the checkcord a slight tug. She'll figure out what you want - to come "here"! (Remember - this is a game for right now!)

I'd suggest you can do this anywhere.. In the backyard, in the house - anywhere. As she gets used to bring things back in play - you'll extend that to your training regime and include your command for giving whatever she has in her mouth to you ("Give", or "leave it", or whatever..) later..

After she brings things back (balls, dummies, butterflies, whatever ;) ) - she'll understand that she has to move to get it (not you) - and bring them back to where you are...

As for training - Dave Jones' site is an excellent recommendation..!!!

Anyway - I hope this helps... Just sharing what seems to have worked for me..

Best to you,


PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 4:28 pm
by jennivieve
Thanks. I'll try it! Do you have the dog on a long line as well or just the dummy?

PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 5:56 pm
by Scuppers Dad
Hi Jen,

Great question! Yes - use a long line (check cord) and let them drag it. At the start, it's easier to give a little "tug" if your Brit doesn't respond to "HERE" when you first call her (see my post above). In the house - with a ball or whatever - no, no leash or long-line - as again, you just want to reinforce two things - it's play and whatever you throw - you need it back to where "YOU" are if your Brit wants you to throw it again ;)

Later - the "retrieve" will become part of your "training" - but your dog will then understand that they have to bring it to you after the "chase", as it's part of the game you have been playing with them (and "hunting" should be better than "playtime" - which it is to both the dog and the hunter! ;) )

Hope this helps!


PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 11:03 am
by dwilliams
Good Morning,

I wanted to let you know about a trainer in Moses Lake that we were referred to - RJ at Quicksilver Kennels. If you google the kennel name, you will come across his website. We have two male Brittanys, both 2 1/2 years old. We took Samson to RJ about 2 months ago and we are going to pick him up on Friday. RJ has done an amazing job with him and Samson apparently has turned into a marvelous bird dog. RJ is very good with understanding the Brittany breed and I know he has had much success with training other Brittanys. Dave, if you read this, Edge and I wanted to let you know that Max is doing wonderful and we are very glad that we adopted him. He has a wonderful, kind spirit and is a perfect addition to our family. He is pretty bored without Samson around to play with, but that will change on Friday. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and I will continue to keep you posted on our boys.

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 5:02 pm
by Dave
I am reading these :wink: . Give max a big pet for me . Please post some pictures for us , or email me some . I knew Max is a good boy . :P Dave

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:51 pm
by CJ
+1 for Helen's post, but I know that Boise is pretty good hike from your neck of ID. They do, however, have some "training days" that they hold for about a month or two in concert with GSPCI in the spring. Not sure what it'll be like this year, but before I left ID last year, they had been alternating from week to week between Sat & Sun sessions. Load of very helpful amature trainers and birds available to help you learn how to train your dogs. Sounds like square one would be not letting them flush the birds. That's a bad habbit to get into and hard (but far from impossible) to get out of once they learn they can do it. Anywho, Larry or Rod Meaves are probably the people to get ahold of for info on that. It might be worth the drive over for a few weekend mornings to get started.