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Thread: Training a pointer- Tips and tricks

  1. #1
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    Oct 2013
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    Training a pointer- Tips and tricks

    I think I have a dog being born in the next few days, but won’t likely be taking possession until august long weekend, but I’d like some input or YouTube videos on training techniques and schedules from some of the experienced guys on here.

    Any gear advice? Collars? Bird launchers? From what I’m told there’s a guy nearby who has some pigeons to buy/rent.

    The dog is a male red and white Irish setter

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  3. #2
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    Re: Training a pointer- Tips and tricks

    Gear is pretty limited in Canada at the moment. Might be easier to get it from the US.

    Where are you located? There’s a growing community of pointer owners on the Island and Lower Mainland that would be happy to help a newbie

  4. #3
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    Re: Training a pointer- Tips and tricks

    The first thing I would do is start looking for used crates before you pick up your pup because they're so much cheaper than new,,,,,and because the proper size is critical. I always had two on the go as the pup was growing up. One that was just the right size for the size of the puppy for use in the house for crate training and then a larger one in the truck for travel (safety) to and from the fields that would eventually get switched into the house once the pup outgrew the other one. Then I'd get another one for the truck. You can easily sell them off as they out grow them. I use the smallest crate now for keeping pigeons in when trapping and going to the fields with.

    Btw, you can make a larger crate into a smaller one if it's the one you keep in your house just by dividing it with plywood or something similar. The crate for the house if it's too large needs to be made smaller because if the pup has too much space it will poop or pee in it which you DON'T want the pup to be able to do. Pups won't or at least shouldn't want to pee /poop where they sleep.

    Decide right away if you want to clicker train because that should pretty much start right from Day 1. Have a couple of toys but no squeak toys that work because pups tend to mouth them too hard because they want to make the squeaky noise with them. There's the possibility that could translate when handling live birds. I just punctured them with a knitting needle even though it doesn't take long before your pup will destroy them because pups are so mouthy. I found the rubber chuck it balls to stand up pretty well. A piece of heavy nylon rope with the ends cut off stands up quite well.

    If you want to buy a DVD set that is really good the Jon Hann "Perfect Start and Finish" is good set but pricey. Now a days there are so many good youtube videos that are available. Definitely check out the Standing Stone Kennel trading vids,,,,there's LOTS of them.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDW17KpiN1M

    I bought lots of stuff through the dollar stores like canvas and rubber bumpers, leashes, dogs bowls, etc. I went to a liquidation store to buy a long length of rope which were dirt cheap and some clips to use for long 25' check cords for teaching recall, getting the pup to stay with in range while searching, and teaching "Whoa!" as the pup gets older.

    Get a dog training whistle so you add it in when working on whoa and recall. Then you can stop using or not needing your voice if the growing pup ranges too far. Three tweets for recall, one for whoa.

    Get an e collar if you want to reinforce commands the dog already knows but don't start using it on the pup until it's about 6+ months of age. They can start wearing it a month or so earlier, though, just to make it part of the routine for going out to the fields. The better ones will have a tone, a vibration, a nick, and continuous stimulus modes. Make sure you learn to use it correctly because in the wrong hands used incorrectly could possible have ever lasting adverse affects.

    The other thing the e collar is extremely useful for is to trash break your dog on deer, porcupine, skunks, bears, poisonous snakes or anything else you don't want your dogs to chase or get too close to. This training can save your dogs life if highways are close by and they bolt after a deer or another animal.

    Join a bird dog training group if there's one close enough by you. They ca be invaluable. There's generally a ton of combine experience involved. They will have different training methods because when it comes to training gun/bird dogs it's is not a 'one size fits all' scenario. What works for one breed may not be the way to go with another breed due to breed sensitivity, prey drive, whether the pup/dog is a foodie or not, and just your overall confidence when it comes to training dogs. Even young pups can figure out quite quickly what they can get away with.

    Have fun. Keep your training sessions super short but they can be done a few times per day. You'll be surprised just how much a pup you've only had for a few weeks can learn. Training a pup can be so rewarding as you'll find out! (sorry for the windy response,,,,lol)
    He's NOT your buddy, buddy!

  5. #4
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    Oct 2017
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    Re: Training a pointer- Tips and tricks

    Quote Originally Posted by bandit View Post
    Gear is pretty limited in Canada at the moment. Might be easier to get it from the US.
    Dakota Creek - https://store.dakotacreekretrievers.com - located in Ontario
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    Dakota Creek’s Mirror Image

  6. #5
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    Re: Training a pointer- Tips and tricks

    Quote Originally Posted by bandit View Post
    Gear is pretty limited in Canada at the moment. Might be easier to get it from the US.
    Canadian Gun Dog Supply in Ontario...
    https://www.canadiangundogsupply.com/

  7. #6
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    Re: Training a pointer- Tips and tricks

    Thanks for the replies so far, especially mastercaster. I’m hoping to keep this thread going while training this dog and hopefully update with some photos and videos. I’m going to try and stay away from e-collars if I can. I bought one for my wife’s pug a bunch of years ago because he’d run away into traffic, but I think I can get away without one.

    Is there a brand/model of launcher that is better than another? Other than crates and chew toys, is there anything else I should be putting on a shopping list?

  8. #7
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    Re: Training a pointer- Tips and tricks

    Quote Originally Posted by Bustercluck View Post
    Thanks for the replies so far, especially mastercaster. I’m hoping to keep this thread going while training this dog and hopefully update with some photos and videos. I’m going to try and stay away from e-collars if I can. I bought one for my wife’s pug a bunch of years ago because he’d run away into traffic, but I think I can get away without one.

    Is there a brand/model of launcher that is better than another? Other than crates and chew toys, is there anything else I should be putting on a shopping list?
    Make yourself a place board/s. They are very useful for teaching "Place" and "Whoa" and getting a dog to come back to the heel position when called in when you're standing right beside it. Those dog beds with the 6 inch plastic legs and canvas top work great. I use one made for small dogs so there's only enough room for the dog to stand or sit on. I often use one in the duck blind for the dog to return to and to keep her off the ground if it's muddy or has a puddle in there when it's raining hard. After the dog has retrieved a bird I just tell her "Place" and she goes straight to it and waits for another bird/s to be shot.

    I wouldn't be too hasty on giving up on the thought of using a e collar. Besides using it to reinforce obedience commands or trash breaking it's also a needed tool for part of the process to force fetch a dog which you may want or have to do if your dog doesn't have a high retrieve drive,,,,, especially if you want your dog to have a 100% reliable retrieve. Will your Irish Setter pup come from strong hunting lines? This may not be true but from what I've heard a lot of Irish Setter have been bred more for show these days than for hunting so their prey drive might not be as high as it once was,,,,, not that they can't be both. Some pointing breed dogs do much better in the field once they've been force fetched. Even natural retriever dogs like labs and chessies are often force fetched these days.

    I'd also start saving bubble wrap that Amazon uses to pack their parcels with. It works great to start teaching your pup not to be gun shy. I started using it the week I brought my pup home. I'd bust one while she was totally distracted eating or playing. Then I started using gun shot noises off the computer starting with lower volumes. Then on to the dollar store cap guns. These were great to start field work with.

    As far as launchers go it's hard to go wrong with the DT launchers. I also use a Lucky Launcher 2 which uses 22 blanks and shoots a sponge-like projectile about 40-50 yards. It floats on water, too, but I usually use it for field work. For the water I use Dokkens. Buy the mallard if you only get one.

    If you can, see if anyone you know who hunts with dogs has an extra frozen duck, chukar, or grouse or two in the freezer because they're great to lay down scent with for your young puppy to try and search for and to retrieve.

    Think about signing up with a NAVHDA chapter.
    He's NOT your buddy, buddy!

  9. #8
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    Re: Training a pointer- Tips and tricks

    As far as hunting lines go… that’s why I went with the red and white setter. From what I’ve read the red setters have definitely gone the show route instead of field. Red and whites are hard enough to find as it is, but from what the breeder tells me they're definitely hunters and she does field trials with them. It’s annagh red and whites and she might have a couple more dogs available if anyone is looking. She had 8 males and one female and it sounded like a bunch of the other buyers were looking for females.

    Im not going to rule out the Écollar, I’m just going to try without first and see how it goes. My brother uses one on his griffon and the dog knows exactly when the collar is on and off, when the collar is off he listens less.

    I have contacted the Navhda in Edmonton and I’ll likely join. It’s a bit of a drive for me, but I’m thinking it’ll be a good idea to get involved. There’s also a couple I know I’m town who breed and show dogs who are a bit ahead of me in training so I’m going to pick their brain a bit more And see if we can work together or combine resources.

  10. #9
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    Re: Training a pointer- Tips and tricks

    Quote Originally Posted by Bustercluck View Post

    I have contacted the Navhda in Edmonton and I’ll likely join. It’s a bit of a drive for me, but I’m thinking it’ll be a good idea to get involved. There’s also a couple I know I’m town who breed and show dogs who are a bit ahead of me in training so I’m going to pick their brain a bit more And see if we can work together or combine resources.
    Isaiah on this site is in the process of setting up a lower mainland NAVDHA in case that’s nearer than Edmonton

  11. #10
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    Re: Training a pointer- Tips and tricks

    Quote Originally Posted by bandit View Post
    Isaiah on this site is in the process of setting up a lower mainland NAVDHA in case that’s nearer than Edmonton
    Ya, there's been a FB page set up called Fraser River Basin NAVHDA Interest Group set up and there's already 102 members who have signed on,,,,,mostly BC people and the majority from the lower mainland but some from down south and Alberta and one as far away as Australia!
    He's NOT your buddy, buddy!

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