| 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. and will address
those questions in upcoming issues.