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    • Rick

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troutkingmaster

Introduction to birds

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I have a 14 week old lab pup who has been introduced to guns (only a 22 handgun at this point) and goes crazy for pheasant wings. I can hide them in long grass and she will sniff them out pretty well. My question is do I need to worry about introducing her to live birds soon or can I continue what I have been doing with the wings and wait til a warmer stretch of weather for the live birds? I don't want to risk losing enthusiasm etc. because she hasn't seen live birds.

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I don't think you'll need to worry about it for a while. I use bumpers and frozen pigeons at home. When he was 5 months old, I brought him to Cannon River Kennels for a two week Intro to Live Birds & Guns program that not only gave him lots of live birds to work with, but got him to associate gunfire with live birds so he doesn't just tolerate gunfire, he gets excited about it. You can find out more in this recent thread

The biggest key, I think, to preventing your pup from getting bored with training is to keep the sessions short and positive. Also structure them to guarantee success. Get a check cord so when the pooch decides to run off with the wing or the bumper, you can reel him in and force compliance.

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There is no reason you can't expose her to live birds now. I have a pup about the same age and have been getting her out into wildlife areas since the first week home. On these walks I have done gun intro and can now shoot a 12ga over her. She has tons of bird drive and quickly learning how and where to find them with many contacts to date. You can carry some training bumpers on your walks to give her some marks and retrieves to mix things up a bit. As lenny mentioned, the check cord is a good idea to work on obedience at the same time. Good luck with your pup.

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Thanks for the info, I didn't see in the other post what CRK charges for the intro to birds & guns course, do you recall?

It was $400 for 2 weeks, including birds.

There are a several great trainers in the area. If you go that route, pick 3 or 4 that you're interested in and make an appointment to visit them. Bird & Gun intro isnt' rocket science so it's hard to go wrong. I went that route because it would be very difficult for me to provide my dog the same exposure to either live birds OR gunfire on a daily basis like that. I worked with bumpers every day and frozen pigeons about twice a week.

Since that time my dog has been to South Dakota twice, a game farm three times, and 2 Minnesota WMA hunts and has had 50 or 60 birds shot over him and he's done very well. All before he was 8 months old. I'm sending him back to CRK in a few weeks for force fetching and collar conditioning and then any training beyond that will all be by me.

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