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TProGuy

Pointer Not Pointing

10 posts in this topic

I've got a GSP that is almost 18 months old now. The issue I have is his lack of pointing. This is my first pointer, so exactly how to handle this is where I need everyone's help. A relative of mine has one of his sisters, and she points like a champ.

He will point a grouse wing, both visually and by scent when working with him out in the yard...probably 90% of the time. I have done many training sessions with chukkars out in fields and in wooded areas, and he won't point them. I've had him out grouse hunting each of the last 3 weekends without a single point. He gets "birdy" and finds both the grouse and chukkars right away, so obviously his nose works, and he knows how to find them...this is what gets frustrating.

Is this something he will grow out of (lack of pointing) and start to change as he gets older, or is there something I should be doing to help him along. Money has been tight lately, so time spent with a professional trainer has been out of the question. I am seriously thinking about saving up and getting him some time with a professional over the winter or next spring.

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you may have over did it with the wing instead of using live

birds, especially if your using the wing on a string method. You could try using a check cord and working him into planted birds and using that to correct him for not pointing.

is your dog getting birdy and not locking up and just going in to flush or picking up the bird?

when you are planting the chuckars what type of grass and terrain are you planting them in (tall or short)? Are you using a bird launcher to launch the bird and get it to fly well?

how is this dogs prey drive? does he chase and notice other birds or game?

this is my opinion but most chuckars I buy and train with dont fly well. I would try using some pigeons or something else and see if you notice a difference.

there is alot of variables here with your dog, but you should be seeing good solid points by now at its age.

again ditch the wing and use live birds, at your dogs age the wing is probably only going to make things worse and cause it to creep and chase instead of locking up

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I have pretty much quit the grouse wing...maybe once or twice in the last several months, and it wasn't a real staple earlier either...just once in a while. In the last several months, the few times I have used it, I take it and plant it in taller grass or in bushes, not on a string.

His drive is great...he is always noticing and wanting to pursue other birds, squirrels, etc. When he gets birdy and finds the birds, he doesn't lock up at all, he just goes in after them.

I have been using the check cord lately when we have been practicing, to control him as he approaches the birds. He just wants to chase them when he gets a whiff of them. Desire and effort don't seem to be an issue...everything he does seems to be at 100 MPH. I have tried to get him to slow down, thinking it may help, but that definitely is easier said than done.

The chukkars have been planted in a variety of cover...short grass, taller grass, thick brush, etc. When they get up, they seem to fly really well...but once in a while getting them up in the air is an issue.

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With out knowing all that was done it could be that it was inadvertently trained not to point or it just isn't a strong poitner. By 18 months this dog should be pointing birds. I'd get rid of the wing on a string. It's more of a gimmic than anything. If you want this dog to point do not shoot any bird that this dog does not handle properly.

If you are using planted birds for training under no circumstances should you allow the dog to catch a bird. Use a checkcord or a remote launcher. If you have a launcher bring the dog in cross wind on a check cord and the instant it smells the bird and reacts launch the bird. If no launcher is available you'll need to make the dog point by stopping it with the cord and making it stand there. Also for training it helps to have a partner to train with.

At this point I'd forget about retrieving until you get this dog pointing.

It could be a long hunting season but the only way to get this dog on track is to not shoot birds it does not point.

Good luck,

gspman

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Thanks, guys...

Obviously this is a frustrating time for me and my hunting buddy. Grooming a good hunting dog certainly is a never ending process, and it seems that I still have a lot of work on my hands. One thing is for sure, I know it all cannot be fixed quickly, but I will definitely find myself leaving my bow in the truck a bit more than planned this fall and getting a lot more work in with the pooch, both in the practice fields and in the woods, especially in areas that I know the birds are. He is so incredibly intelligent, eager to please, and an amazingly well behaved dog, especially for his age, so I'd hate to see it all go for nothing.

Please feel free to add any more suggestions, and I will try to post updates from time to time.

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what about working with another pointer?

maybe he will back and/or honor another dogs point.

both of my GSP's naturally honor, and even did so at a very young age

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Do the gspman method then throw a clip winged pigeon and shoot the starter pistol as a reward when it points. The dog should get a reward for pointing.

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I forgot one thing. You could take it to a pro for an eval and some advice to get it back on track.

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Again, thanks for all the info!

I have one more thing to ask...

I just found out that I am going to have an opportunity to go grouse hunting for 5 days with some friends, starting on Tuesday.

Knowing what I have told you guys on here about the problem I have been having, what would you do? Should I bring the dog with to get him more field experience, hoping that the time afield will help him figure things out? Or, should I leave him at home, because the opportunity to continue hunting without properly handling birds could possibly further complicate the problem at hand?

I desperately want to bring him with, as I love being with him and hunting grouse with dogs, but the latter question keeps popping into my mind, and with this being as frustrating as it has been, I really don't want to make matters worse, either.

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I have a young female gsp pup who is acting similarly. She's only 7 months old and full of energy. She does have a natural instinct to stop when she scents a planted pigeon, but does not lock up solidly like my other pups did at this age. One thing I would add to what others have said is to use your "whoa" command. My female is whoa broke very well, and has been since a young age. Now, when I first recognize that she smells a bird, I give her the "whoa", and she stops...immediately. After she stops, as I walk in she'll often work into the point as she fine tunes the location of the scent. So, my advice: if this dog isn't completely whoa broke, it may be time for some more yard work.

As for the grouse hunting trip, if it were me, I'd take her along and maybe control the when and where she goes out. And like others have said, don't shoot a bird she doesn't point.

NWBuck

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