Bird Dog & Retriever News

April / May 2003 issue Page 30

 est and curiosity? Is he like a little boy who gets into everything and looks at you sheepishly, covered with mud? Or is he more cautious, waiting for you to lead the way and show him it's okay? Does he drop his tail at new and different things? If you've determined that your pup is bold, and have access to a field and small game birds such as quail, we'd recommend this: hobble a quail (wings and legs) so that it can't scare the pup, and hide it conspicuously in a grassy area. Let pup run loose and have fun finding the bird. He may or may not point at this stage ­ all you are doing is seeing how he reacts to the bird. Let him play and mouth the quail. If he's very excited, next time, hobble only the quail's wings, and let him run and chase the quail. If he does that with excitement, then try what we call a "dead planted" quail. Tuck the unfettered quail's head underneath a wing, and shake it gently back and forth, rotating your wrist. Lay the bird gently on its side, head under wing, in the grass and let the pup find it. If he noses it and chases it when it flies, you're in. Initially, it's okay for pup to chase and catch a bird or two in order to whet his appetite and fuel his enthusiasm. After that, spooky quail should be released in the field for him to find, so that he doesn't consistently catch them, as this will often soften his point. Don't overdo this. Let him find birds and have fun, learning about bird scent and also a bit about the hunting game itself. A word of caution: at this early stage, using pigeons may frighten a very young pup. At any point in this process, if he shows indecision or fear, don't continue. If your pup is on the softer side put this on hold for now.
For those of you who impatiently await real bird dog training for your pup ­ these things may not seem important to you. But remember the dog that covers the ground for you and holds a beautiful point, motionless, while you hurry up to him? Keep that picture in your mind as you do these seemingly insignificant things in your pup's training. Good dog training takes time ­ time for the pup to grow and mature, and time on your part as his trainer to show him what you want at the proper time for him. The dog that gets out and hunts for you with style and snap ­ must first run and play in fields and woods as a young pup. He will not have had too much restraint put on him too soon ­ he will be happy and exuberant and out there, where the birds are. Which are what pointers are supposed to do.
In the next issue, we'll cover the second phase of your pup's training, from the age of five months to a year, as well as what you'll need to make the job simple and effective. We can be reached for subscriber questions at bobandjody@juno.com. and will address those questions in upcoming issues.

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Copyrights Bird Dog & Retriever News May 2003
Do not reproduce or retransmit in any form, and we surf the web, we'll find you.
Maintained by Dennis Guldan e-mail
Bird Dog & Retriever News, 563 17th Ave NW, New Brighton, MN 55112,
Phone/Fax 651-636-8045 Adv deadline 1st of the month prior to the issue.