Michigan Sportsman Forum banner
1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,588 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been reading a lot of the posts, and I'm completely shocked at some of the things I keep reading, and even experiencing for that matter.

The other day I met a dog on a walk who was about 4 months old, and ALL puppy. I immediately got him to sit with really really basic training methods, and the owner was shocked because he couldn't get her to do anything. I continued to talk to him a while and he told me that he planned on hunting her this fall. I just sorta stood there in disbelief, he can't get her to sit or to settle down, but he plans on shooting birds over her in two months.

Then I come here and I read that people are having trouble with "come" or dogs are starting to show that they may be gun shy. So now I question my house dog, he's 9 months old, he'll sit, stay until I tell him OK, lay down to about ten feet away and do basic tricks. I'm pretty happy with this training. I have no intention of hunting him, so it does make me a bit different in my goals.

I'm far from a good trainer, so I'm interested in hearing some of the more experienced guys here. What should someone expect out of a first year pup?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
710 Posts
Well, she is my first dog our first year consisted of basic obedience, marking, simple singles and doubles, whistle trained, force fetch, collar conditioned, introduced to birds, gun, water, boats, spending the night in a blind. At 9 months old she had her first, second and third duck retrieves, she had her first wild and preserve upland experiences, her first flush (I missed) and she really started to put it together by the end of the season. But there was no pressure for her to perform in any way, it was all fun. Yes, I got mad a few times when she didn't listen but other than that a lot of time in the woods looking for birds and having fun. This year will be a little more serious but she is still a pup and learning just like I am.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,717 Posts
I've been reading a lot of the posts, and I'm completely shocked at some of the things I keep reading, and even experiencing for that matter.

The other day I met a dog on a walk who was about 4 months old, and ALL puppy. I immediately got him to sit with really really basic training methods, and the owner was shocked because he couldn't get her to do anything. I continued to talk to him a while and he told me that he planned on hunting her this fall. I just sorta stood there in disbelief, he can't get her to sit or to settle down, but he plans on shooting birds over her in two months.

Then I come here and I read that people are having trouble with "come" or dogs are starting to show that they may be gun shy. So now I question my house dog, he's 9 months old, he'll sit, stay until I tell him OK, lay down to about ten feet away and do basic tricks. I'm pretty happy with this training. I have no intention of hunting him, so it does make me a bit different in my goals.

I'm far from a good trainer, so I'm interested in hearing some of the more experienced guys here. What should someone expect out of a first year pup?
What kind of dog? I think it all depends on what type of hunting you are doing. Upland hunting requires a lot less training than duck hunting.

I for one hunted both of my dogs at 6-8 months respectively. They are GSP's. They were reliably pointing pigeons and were gunfire conditioned before the season came along. I don't think you can hurt a dog by waiting too long but, why not get them into some birds early if you can.

Give us a little more info and see what the responses are.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,330 Posts
I expect nothing at all the first season, at least on the bird side. I expect the pup to obey a few commands like come and kennel up. Let them chase and run until their hearts content and act the fool whenever however. To me prairie birds are a good starter, they hold fairly well, fly out of the county in most cases, and the line of sight helps both dog and hunter in learning each other.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,757 Posts
I had my GSP in the woods as early as 4 months, but that was on a check cord and just to let her kind of snuffle around. I'm pretty sure I shot the .22 once or twice per outing at that age, but nothing any louder until the following year. She wasn't "set loose" on birds until 1 year. She's now 4, loves birds, and never a sign of gun-shyness. I think the key is to make it a fun, positive TRAINING (key = NOT HUNTING) experience if you're going to work with a pup that young.

Take that for what it's worth: In my biased eyes she's a great dog, but she still has a LONG way to go, even at 4!

KW
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,332 Posts
My new pup appears to be extremely fast developing (scent pointing at 14 weeks and steady to wing) but I'm not going to push him too hard or expect too much this season.

I probably won't shoot over him to be on the safe-side but hopefully will have him noise conditioned enough to fire a blank on flush. I'd also like him to respond to the whistle and to generally handle in the woods. I will most likely begin some collar conditioning during the season. He'll should also have an inkling of what whoa means by then. Retrieving is easily my lowest priority and probably won't start working on it for another 6 months to a year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,332 Posts
...Take that for what it's worth: In my biased eyes she's a great dog, but she still has a LONG way to go, even at 4!
KW
Nothing to fear: my first pointer made massive progress after the age of 4. It can be done!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,588 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
my question was very general. I'm not training a dog for the field.

I know each dog is different, but I'm just curious how much you should expect out of a first year dog. I'm just wondering at what point expectations begin to be unrealistic for a first year dog.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,705 Posts
I fully expect to kill birds over my pup this Fall. She will be 5.5 months old opening day. She has pointed woodcock several times so far and a couple long enough that I was the one doing the flushing, I'd kill those birds for her.
She comes when called for the most part, turns to the whistle, digs a hole and lays down when on the stakeout, and kennels when I put her on the tailgate.
I've graduated her to having the big blank gun(.32 cal) fired over her.
All she needs now is several hundred grouse contacts this year and it's off to the races!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,313 Posts
Again it depends on the type of hunting dog.
I got my dog at 7 weeks old in August of 2006. Started commands at home the day we got her, crate, sit, come. Always with expectations based on her age. At that age all of those commands should result in positive things like treats and affection from handler. Spent a lot of time dipping her into the world. I took her to a lot of places with different sounds and lots of people and let her experience it all.
Started puppy obedience classes and upland training with a trainer at 3 months. Stopped the puppy obedience class when I was asked to do things that would adversely effect hunt training (They insisted that the dog always be at my side when I gave a sit command. Not what you want with a flushing dog).
She was 90% steady to flush and shot by may of 2007.
Never had a problem with come command. Sit command always starts off with short times and gets longer as the dog progresses. As with most dogs we had problems with steadiness on birds. Over time that is worked out. My biggest problem I had and still work on with my dog is healing in the field. She is fine when we walk around the neighborhood but once we hit the field she just wants to go.

It does not sound like your dog has been introduced to birds. If you ever introduce your dog to birds and your dog likes birds you may find your heal, sit, and come commands all go out the window in the presence of a bird.:D

For the most part people that have problems with basic commands do so because they don't insist on the dog complying with the command. Kind of like the parents you hear in the store telling their kid not to do something or else, over and over and over while the kid stands there and does it anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,313 Posts
my question was very general. I'm not training a dog for the field.

I know each dog is different, but I'm just curious how much you should expect out of a first year dog. I'm just wondering at what point expectations begin to be unrealistic for a first year dog.
Again it depends on the dog and the handler. Some dogs move along at a faster pace and may be ready to have birds shot over it when its 5 or 6 months old other dogs may take longer because issues come up in training that have to be dealt with. Like FF some dogs get this done with in a couple weeks some may take a couple months. Some dogs are retrieving at 3 months old others may not have the confidence to do it at that age.

I would think it unrealistic for a 1 year old or less dog to be doing quad retrieves and 150 yard blinds. Are there dogs that can do this by the age of one year? possibly. Would I ask this of my dog? No.

But I do think by the time a dog is 6 months old it can be trained to be steady on point or flush, and to retrieve the bird to hand. To come when called, and to heal.
Are there dogs out there that can't do this by the age of 6 months? yes.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,389 Posts
For a pet or hunting dog.
1, HOUSE BROKE
2, crate trained without whinning or making a fuss.
3, well socialized to the family and welcome guest. Including neighbors.
4, well mannered on the leash. More so for a pet. pulling to some extent overlooked with a hunting dog.


For a hunting dog?
1, I would expect all the basic commands to be followed. (voice and Whistle)
2, a good productive search pattern.
3, very strong pointing instinct without steady to wing/shot.
4, If f/f'd Id expect to see reliable, enthusiastic retrieving.
As for hunting untrained dogs. It's risky. But some people say it's good for them. Some people say that it's not. I don't know.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
131 Posts
Great topic, we just got our first gsp, she is just 9weeks old. we don't want to start her down any "wrong" paths, any "good" trainers around Grand Rapids? Thanks in advance for any tips...realize we want her to enjoy life as a pup for a while
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,686 Posts
I dont expect anything out of a year old. in fact i dont start training until they are a year,, wwhy someone may ask?

Training a dog to hunt and be whoa broke and retreive puts alot of pressure on a dog.. young dogs have a tendacy to lose their drive or boldness or become nervous around birds from too much pressure. so why rush a puppy into a hunting machine when you have the next ten years to do so.. Let a puppy be a puppy..

I canshow you a dog that has had too much pressure put on him when he was too young.. and he is a flagging machine..

Like i always say. everyone has their own theories and techniques choose what works best for you
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,313 Posts
Please train your young dog. You don't have to put a shock collar on your pup to get started. I guarantee you, if you keep training sessions short (5 minutes) and fun no punishment for failure just tons of praise and hugs for success, the pup will have a ball and will bond with you during this very impressionable age. If the pup was still with it's mom the mother would be training it. Mother dogs start the training process when the dog is born so why would you not continue the process when you get the pup?

Training is not just about E-collars, FF, finding birds and retrieving them. For a young pup you should be introducing them to the world.

Things you can work on with your young pup.
1. Don't sit train your pointing dog.
2. Teach your dog to come. If he won't come get another family member with you and start playing with a rolled up sock toss it back and forth and make fun noises. A young dog will want to be where the fun is and when he joins in tell him good come. If you think about a litter of pups what do they do when two of the pups are wrestling and having a good time the others run to join in.
2. Teach the dog the kennel or crate command. When you send him to the kennel give him a treat. As he gets better at the command give the treat every few times he goes to his kennel.
3. Play fetch with your young dog sending him on his name to retrieve, no need for steadiness or retrieve to hand just play the game. Just a few fetches at a time always leave the pup wanting more.
4. Do not tell your young pup no if they pickup and carry something they should not have, just take a rolled up sock and trade with them.
5. Teach him the potty command say it every time you take him out and tell him good potty when he goes.
6. Coax them to play in a kiddie pool with a couple inches of water.
7. Do not play tug of war with your pup if you plan on hunting it. I also don't like squeaker toys for pups they teach munching.

If you don't train your young pup to do his part in the pack he will train himself and you may not be happy with what he learns on his own.

JMO
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,080 Posts
I dont expect anything out of a year old. in fact i dont start training until they are a year,, wwhy someone may ask?



Like i always say. everyone has their own theories and techniques choose what works best for you

Pretty much the school of thought I now subscribe to. My Rommel dog is 14 weeks old... other than "here", "leave it", "give" and getting used to dragging a checkcord and some leash work,he won't be taught any skills or commands until he hits about 10 months. Meanwhile he will have alot of socialization with people and dogs, and have many chances to run, will see a few pen raised and wild birds along the way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,868 Posts
I think a lot depends on the trainer (handler) and the dog. Ive seen dogs as young as 6 months who are steady way beyond some dogs that are 2 years old.

Myself, im on my second dog. My first is 15 months old and I "think" ready to hunt his first season. My other 4 month old...noway.

But I do "think" my 4 month old I have is a good bit ahead of my other dog when he was 4 months.

All and all for a guy like me the first year is all about fun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,534 Posts
It's a loaded question depends on the breeding, time, access to birds,etc.. Most importantly it depends on what-type of final outcome the owner wants. Look at it this way a 6 month old who competes has to be steady to wing and shot, deliver to hand basically be a semi finished dog. That's great for a guy who wants to compete on the other hand some guys are satisfied with a dog who would be considered started. Both dogs would be a pleasure to hunt behind of course as long as they were producing game.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
558 Posts
Different training thoughts and processes,depending on what type,,,,Retriever/Pointer/ Flusher,, My experience is with retrievers that also upland hunt,and whether they point or flush,also makes a difference in how I sequence the training.Generally the first few months are more conditioning them to learn/be responsive to me etc.I have hunted one as early as 5 mths....another as late as Five years.And each did/does very well. Paco
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top