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MNpurple

Slowing the dog down?

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I've got a lab that isnt quite 2 years old yet. 95% of the time she works very close to me and comes back to check in from time to time, I love her this way, but lately she has been picking up scents from quite some distance away and I just can't keep up with her!

For example yesterday about 4 times we were working some cover when it was obvious she "turned on" to a scent. She started working the trail back and forth at a fast pace and each and every time she ended up flushing the pheasant 75-100 yards from where she first picked up the scent. I'm assuming she is picking up the trail of a running bird although maybe not. Two other times I hollered at her to "woah" and she waited until I got up next to her and then I sent her after the scent again but by then the bird was gone. We were always working into the wind.

So how do I get her to work a scent slower, so I can keep up with her? I have an e-cloar that I don't even use anymore but I sure dont want to zap her for following a trail. Or do I just need to start wearing running shoes? Maybe work with the wind at our backs?

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Hey mnpurple, you might just need a pair of running shoes. Your dog in my eyes is doing the right thing. A good flusher should make scent and then drive hard to the bird to make the bird flush. Unfortunately pheas doesn't like that game so he runs dragging pup right along behind. You are right not to shock the dog esp. one that young. Like you said if you slow them up you risk losing the bird when he doubles back . You need to keep the preasure on that bird and keep the dog right on his tail. That means you right on dogs tail, that sometimes means double time for you. Some guys do hold thier dogs back and it is probably a must if you are hunting in large groups. But if you are alone you will deffinately see more birds if you just let your dog stay on them... That's why hunting behind a pointer can be so enjoyable sometimes. They point and wait for you...that is of coarse if the bird holds...I say run em and gun em! at least until your dog has a little more experience.. I don't know if that helps but I'm sure you will get a lot of different opinions on how to handle this one ...Good luck, and have a great season ..uplander

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My lab is 8 this year and on a running bird especially in thinner cover it is tough to tame him down. The drive is to find the bird, and the hotter the scent the hotter he gets. I have tried nicking him to slow him down, didn't work.

Several years ago we were working a fence line along a CRP field, Duey got on a bird and it took him out into the CRP I could see the grass parting as he worked his way through it and hear his tail wack, wack, wacking faster and faster the closer he got. The next thing I see is the Rooster come shooting out to the edge and making a bee line right down the field road. OUt comes Duey nose to the ground until he sees it and then its off to the races. He ran right though the hottest setting I have. Hundred yards later, Rooster gets to the gravel road, flushes, Duey stops looks for me and doesn't hear a shot, sees me still walking down the field road and romps back to me with that "did you see him" look and starts hunting again.

I have a friend whose lab starts to creep when a bird starts to run them, fun to watch, but many times the bird never slows down and it flushes wild anyway. I have heard you can use a check cord to hold them back and train them to slow down, but I have never tried it. Once in a while you get lucky and the bird flushes back towards you but not often.

I would advise, ( from personal experience) not to run. A badger hole and a hyper extended knee taught me that lesson. Still feel it once in a while after a long day.

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I agree with grab the net. I try to avoid running at all costs and let the dog work. Badger dens wreak havoc on knees.

You're doing the right thing by working into the wind. Obviously if a bird is running while you're pushing into the wind, the bird has been pressured before and it's going to be tough to get them any closer.

I was on a public land last week with my Lab and GSP. My lab stays within 30 yards at all times. She got very birdy by a small water hole and almost like clock-work, my GSP went wide into the wind and circled back only to kick the bird out 40 yards away. She never had a chance to catch the birds scent for as windy as it's been.

I would start with a check cord and some farm birds (pigeons or pheasants). If it doesn't work out, I would slowly introduce the collar on the lowest setting. I had to do this with my GSP as she would tend to range out too far and I couldn't call her back. As soon as the collar is on, I rarely have to use it now that she knows what it is.

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Hey purple. I think our dogs are siblings, you got yours from bushwacker? My dog does the same thing. He gets on a scent, he has a great nose, almost too good, but hes like a dog on a mission once he picks up the scent. Not much you can do. I do have a e-collar on him, when he gets kind of hardheaded and doesnt listen I give him a nick, it seems to work. Hes starting to understand what I want, I think it takes a little more experience on the dogs end. Mine progressed a lot this season from when he was a pup last year, so its kind of a learning exp. for both of us.

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fishroger, yep same litter, sounds like they are very much the same. Her biggest improvement this year over last is her ability to follow a track/trail. Sometimes she gets running back and forth so much I think she is just playing, but it usually never fails, a bird eventually flushes. Just need to learn to trust that she's way better at finding them than me:)

Thanks for the input guys. I think the more experience she gets the better she will be. Maybe this is a good reason for me to get in a little better shape! And your too late, the first outting of the year I experienced the badger hole moving a little too fast, that knee still hurts, I'm lucking I'm still hunting this year!

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I've got a lab that isnt quite 2 years old yet. 95% of the time she works very close to me and comes back to check in from time to time, I love her this way, but lately she has been picking up scents from quite some distance away and I just can't keep up with her!

For example yesterday about 4 times we were working some cover when it was obvious she "turned on" to a scent. She started working the trail back and forth at a fast pace and each and every time she ended up flushing the pheasant 75-100 yards from where she first picked up the scent. I'm assuming she is picking up the trail of a running bird although maybe not. Two other times I hollered at her to "woah" and she waited until I got up next to her and then I sent her after the scent again but by then the bird was gone. We were always working into the wind.

So how do I get her to work a scent slower, so I can keep up with her? I have an e-cloar that I don't even use anymore but I sure dont want to zap her for following a trail. Or do I just need to start wearing running shoes? Maybe work with the wind at our backs?

Why are you know longer using your collar?

No matter how old the dog, no matter how well he is trained or no matter how good you think the dog listens or responds to you, once the dog is collar conditioned the collar NEVER, EVER comes off.

The only exception to this rule, the dogs last hunt.

I think you just have to scoot a little bit to get in range. On a runner like that where it be a pheasant or grouse it is pretty tough to get a dog off the scent that you have taught him to find.

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Labs in my expereince are "here and now", dogs. If the sent is strong they run for it, if its week they work for it.They are for the most part waterfowl dogs that love water and hunt there best for ducks. My best buddy was a lab that I used for both grouse and ducks. Grouse though not the same as phesants act alot alike. They run or they flush.Though grouse never seem to run as far as phesants. To hold my dog back, I use a check cord in the feild while training. It only took a few times for the dog to learn that even if he wanted to get ahead of me he couldn't. I think you need to drive home the comand "Woah". It is the same with upland dogs. they learn woah as an important part of holding a flush. you dont need a E collar to do this. just a nice long piece of check cord and a few trips to the feild with sented dummys hiddin in the grass up wind from your dog. he/she will get the hint as soon as he/she rushes for the sent but can only go so far and then hears the woah comand no matter how strong of a feeling they have to rush forward.Because of the woah comand and the check cord. Over excitement is called birdy behavier and its a good trait. It just needs a little tweeking.

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I agree w/ Pickelfarmer... Although I'd rather not be "that guy" out there w/ my lab dragging his checkcord around the field, it helps a LOT w/ teaching him to slow down (most importantly, without hindering his drive to hunt and find birds). Tucker's in his 1st full year of pheasant hunting and now, about 1/2 way through the season, the "light is coming on" to the short "whoa whistle". (Not to mention that a $6 check cord is a heck of a lot cheaper than a good e-collar!)

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I like the check cord and choke chain, when you dog gets to the end of the cord give a little tug. I like to use the command "come around" A few times doing that and you dog will get the point. I use beeper collars and and can use that. If I cammand "come around" and she don't I beep her. She knows if she don't listen to the beep she gets a nick. I usually have to nick her once maybe twice all season and she remebers what the beeper is all about. i know the cord is a pain when you are hunting but so is a dog that breaks 50 yards out when you are hunting with a group of people. best is to work your dog with the cord by yourself. Really work her with it and she will come around for you.

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Interesting post since I have two labs, one 13 years old and one 4 years old. Neither one wears an ecollar. I'm more of the 'pick up the pace' when they get on a hot trail. When they're on a hot scent, I can call them back and put them on heel, then send them off again once we get to the point where they came back, but after doing that two or three times, with all the racket, that bird is gone, you'll never get him. Better to watch your dogs get hot, and pick up the pace. 90% of the time they'll flush that bird within 50 yards. I can hotfoot it for that distance.

People keep talking about 'hunting into the wind'. To me thats overrated, what do you do when you hit the far end of the field? You hunt with the wind to your back. When I hunt a field I'm more concerned about where the food and cover for the birds are. And if you want to slow down your hard charging lab, hunt with the wind to your back.

Guys have mentioned badger holes - been there done that, my brother and I have a jihad going against badgers in SoDak. And don't forget grown over gopher mounds.

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People keep talking about 'hunting into the wind'. To me thats overrated, what do you do when you hit the far end of the field? You hunt with the wind to your back. When I hunt a field I'm more concerned about where the food and cover for the birds are. And if you want to slow down your hard charging lab, hunt with the wind to your back.

I'm not talking about HUNTING into the wind. Just training. Its alot easier to TRAIN into the wind than against it. Hunting is a whole other story, its game on and where the wind blows nobody knows. I like the fact that you dont use an E callor. I think alot of guys give in to easy and buy one to make there training easier. Not me. I know that some dogs might need one as a last resort and for that I can see but as a last resort only not as a starter tool. You give, In my opinion some great advise on hunting labs. Hope your season went and is going well.

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Obviously this is one more post describing improper use of an e collar, an e collar used correctly for training not punishment is the most effective dog training tool on the market set correctly it should do less harm/stress to the dog than tugging on his leash would do to his neck. Not to hijack your post but too many people get frustrated and think lighting up a dog everytime he does something undesirable is the proper use of an e collar. I have seen many people jerk on a training lead or leash with more force than any e collar could ever deliver (or is that many jerk$ pull on a training collar?).

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I've been running into some of the same issues the last 2 weekends with my Brittany. He has been working too far ahead and becoming more and more stubborn when it comes to commands like whoa and heel. He didn't wear the E collar 2 weeks ago, and this weekend he did wear it, but it was completely dead. As dusk was approaching and we were driving to out last spot, we could see dozens of pheants coming out of the corn stubble and into the grasses on the edge of the WMA. Before we could get into range, my dog would not leave the trail of a bird in the cattails. After the yelling and pushing cattails I was trying to avoid, I could see the birds busting out in front of us. He just doesn't seem to want to listen when he is on a bird. It seems lately that I am hunting for him, instead of him hunting for me. I don't want to shock him or call him off running birds, but even a former track star like me can only take so much high stepping through the cattails. Any ideas on how to slow a pointing dog down?

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Obviously this is one more post describing improper use of an e collar, an e collar used correctly for training not punishment is the most effective dog training tool on the market set correctly it should do less harm/stress to the dog than tugging on his leash would do to his neck. Not to hijack your post but too many people get frustrated and think lighting up a dog everytime he does something undesirable is the proper use of an e collar. I have seen many people jerk on a training lead or leash with more force than any e collar could ever deliver (or is that many jerk$ pull on a training collar?).

I agree 110% with you thellcon. I I'm not saying that E collars are bad. I have never used one but I know that todays EC's are much more dog friendly than the ones that were made back in the early 90's. They left a sour taste in my mouth because of there settings. Pretty much HOT and well Hot. the ones today have alot better control and it seems they are a good tool to use with a dog that will not respond to other meathods. I also agree with the leash statement you made. I've also seen guys tug and pull on a leash and it makes my neck hurt watching it. I like the check cord cuz thats what I used training my labs and it worked but there are alot of other ways thats for sure. Sounds like your right on track and know how to use your training tools. Hope you have/had a good season.

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Buy a 35' piece of 1/2" braided nylon rope and put a good brass swivel/clasp on the end to clip to the dog. Do not put any knots in the rope. Let the dog pull the rope everywhere while hunting - it'll slow him down and will wear him down. All you need to do is step on the rope to slow him down or stop him. Repetition is the key here - solid basic obedience skills in the dog and repetition will teach him to wait for the gun.

Patience is your ticket to ride in this situation.

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