Bird Dog & Retriever News

February / March 2008 issue Page 13

 February/March 2008 Now in our thirteenth year. www.Bdarn.com


 POINTING MANNERS AFIELD
Throughout your pup's first season, continue to pay close attention to staunchness on every bird. Continue the same handling techniques as in the training field. When your pup points staunchly, get the bird in the air quickly and kill it. If your pup bumps the bird, put your gun down, call the pup back to the site of the infraction, and tell it "stay" ("whoa") in a reassuring fashion. Have the pup hold for a few seconds, then take it away from the direction of the bird's flight. The combination of having pointed birds shot for it and being corrected on bumped birds will make the pup more staunch as time passes. This technique will also start to plant the seed of steadiness to wing. Do not expect your pup to steady during the first season. A pup handled this way will be easier to hunt with and more ready to begin steadiness training before its second season.
The amount of handling needed will depend on the individual pup's progress. A sensitive pup requires less handling and will not react well to it. A bolder pup may require more handling. In either case, do not be negative around birds. Use the same staunching technique as before when necessary. If necessary and the cover allows it, you may even want to drag a short check cord to facilitate the staunching procedure. You can use it to handle and reinforce correct pointing manners while your partner shoots, or you can use it to stop the pup and get it back if it bumps and chases. If a pup is particularly bold, you can jolt it firmly at the end of the check cord before calling it back and reestablishing point. If pointing manners break down completely, stop hunting the pup and get back to the training field, pen birds, and a fail-safe approach.
 There is a balance between allowing your pup to have fun and maintaining control. You must convince your pup that a proper point will be rewarded with a kill and retrieve. This is the most important lesson your dog will ever learn. A pointing dog that is not staunch is worthless. Throughout your dog's career, always insist on a staunch point, and if there is any doubt, take corrective measures. In review, staunchness means that your pup holds point until the bird flushes. This is the extent of pointing manners for the pup's first season. Steadiness to wing, steadiness to wing and shot, and stopping to flush will be second-season lessons.
RANGE AND HANDLING
Continue to insist on proper quartering and coming responses throughout the pup's first season. I tend to overhandle pups during their first season, wanting to promote success and avoid a lost pup. This may cause a few wild flushes and missed opportunities at birds,
 but it is for the betterment of the pup.
Use your come and two-blast quartering whistles as in training. The whistle is preferable to your voice because it is less disturbing to birds and carries farther in the woods. Also, your pup has been taught to take it more seriously than your voice. I recommend using the quartering whistle over the come signal nine out of ten times. If the pup is to your right or left, regardless of range, the quartering whistle will probably work well. You do not want to be constantly calling your pup completely in to you. If the pup does line straight out too far, use the come whistle first. When the pup is coming toward you and gets back in acceptable range, give the two-blast whistle and hand signal to put it back into a quartering motion. Save the come signal for absolute situations, when you want the pup to come in to your feet and take a break.
Range is the most often and heatedly debated aspect of a gun

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Copyrights Bird Dog & Retriever News November 2008
Do not reproduce or retransmit in any form, and we surf the web, we'll find you.
Maintained by Dennis Guldan e-mail
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