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gspman

Game Farm travails - pointer puppy training advice needed

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Here's the situation. I go to the game farm in the early morning with Dixie (gsp pup) to shoot the 6 chukars I've ordered. Lots of dew. No breeze. If you guessed poor scenting conditions, wet feathers and poor flyers you are correct.

First bird: Pup goes in on point right on top of the bird, holds point for 5 seconds, then busts it, chases and catches. This is not good.

Second bird: She is whoa'd firmly as soon as she catches scent, she stays on point until I flush. I actually get to shoot this one and she goes in for the retrieve. As a typical pup, she wants the bird for herself and won't come in so we need work on retrieving to hand (not overly concerned about this right now).

The rest of the birds: Pup points off the bird an acceptable distance given the scenting conditions, then is reminded to whoa, I flush the chukar, pup breaks and chases and catches the bird. I cannot shoot the bird because the pup is instantly in pursuit and the bird is flying low and slow. Pup catches the bird and brings it back to my general vicinity. Repeat until no more birds.

The good news is she's pointing relatively steady. The bad news is this isn't what I was envisioning for our first day afield.

Critique my situation. What would you do in the scenarios mentioned above?

My thought is to let the pup establish point, then have a partner put the checkcord on the her and restrain her (or I could stake her down if I'm alone) until after the flush and shot, then release the checkcord so she can go for the retrieve. When she picks up the bird I can reel her in gently with the checkcord and work on the retrieve to hand a little too. I guess another option would be to use some launchers to get the birds in the air a little higher but the pup will still be on them quickly unless they fly harder and faster. The best solution would be wild birds but that won't happen for a while yet.

It's been about 10 yrs since I had a pup. I forgot alot of this stuff and my expectations were not in alignment with reality. Anyways I can put this advice to work next weekend at the FM hunt.

Any and all advice is appreciated.

gspman

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"My thought is to let the pup establish point, then have a partner put the checkcord on the her and restrain her (or I could stake her down if I'm alone) until after the flush and shot, then release the checkcord so she can go for the retrieve. When she picks up the bird I can reel her in gently with the checkcord and work on the retrieve to hand a little too. I guess another option would be to use some launchers to get the birds in the air a little higher but the pup will still be on them quickly unless they fly harder and faster. The best solution would be wild birds but that won't happen for a while yet."

That is exactly what you want to do. Actually if you have access to launchers remote perferably, you can control the situation much better. This way you can let her go in without the check cord and if she takes a step after she has established point you flush the bird and not shoot it. At this stage it is more important to establish good pointing habits than it is to make sure she retrieves. I know its hard to not shoot a bird but if she is catching birds that haven't been pointed or someone is shooting them for her, she has no motivation to hold that point. If you can get a hold of pigeons, they will fly away instead of landing in the same field. This way she will learn that a flushed bird is a bird she will not get her mouth on.

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Thanks Setterguy. Glad to see I'm thinking at least somewhat correctly. Other than the one blow up she did point her birds correctly, I just didn't dare shoot after the flush. I think the thing that messed us up was the poor scenting conditions and the birds were not flying well at all. Thanks again.

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