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For those who train their dogs steady to wing and shot. When do you begin breaking your dogs? Either by age or what do you look for as far as maturity to know they’re ready? To the pro’s and trialers on here. What are you looking for?

I’ve done whoa post work with my Goldie and have recently transitioned to some flank collar work. Just trying to get her loosened up with the collar on her flank at this point. She has been real tight so far.

The process Ive used is the silent command system/huntsmith. Whoa post teaches that flank stimulation means stop and overlays to flank collar stim means stop, once they have that down introduce the verbal command with the stim. This teaches and enforces whoa. Then can begin taking the chase away with stim not verbal and advance on from there.

My Goldie hunts hard, she’s athletic, and
stands birds well, she’s naturally backed from early on. I’ve killed birds over her. My concern is taking any run out of her, she’s got a lot of check in and I want to let her independence fully develop. I think “snappy” would be the term for her run and I don’t want to pull her in at all.

Backing

Finds on her own

So this is where she’s at, you see I let her break when the birds go up. I’m in no rush but I just wanted some input and see what the trial crowd generally looks for before breaking a dog. Shes 15 months.
 

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So this is where she’s at, you see I let her break when the birds go up. I’m in no rush but I just wanted some input and see what the trial crowd generally looks for before breaking a dog. Shes 15 months.
Well if your in "no rush" why would you want to upset your's and her life with all that fancy dancy steadying stuff. If this is not going to be a AA trial dog then why bother. On the other hand if you plan to compete in trials I would put the "no Rush" away and get busy "breakin". In my estimation you should have started back some time ago!.

Hal
 

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Well if your in "no rush" why would you want to upset your's and her life with all that fancy dancy steadying stuff. If this is not going to be a AA trial dog then why bother. On the other hand if you plan to compete in trials I would put the "no Rush" away and get busy "breakin". In my estimation you should have started back some time ago!.

Hal
There are also foot handled shooting dog/gun dog stakes along with cover dog trials and master level hunt tests that all require a dog steady to wing and shot. I will also add that a dog that is steady will help put birds in the bag, and knowing the poster hunts and hunts late season spooky birds it would have merit outside of dog games.

I like to have two seasons of hunting in a dog before I think about breaking them out. That dog needs to develop and learn to search for birds before I put anything new in its brain. And two seasons of letting them run after flushed birds takes a lot of the chase out of them.
 

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I will answer some of your questions but first let me address my concerns.

One you are encouraging delay of chase by letting it go on by repetitive or repetition creates behavior.

Second continually checking in and wanting independence I would consider milk runs. Not to eliminate check-ins completely but to limit it and create independence, run and increase memory.

Lastly to correct steadiness without sacrificing drive or run, I would suggest stop to flush.

FYI also even though my pups/dogs were collar conditioned, many other dogs I did not know. So I always used a checkcord to teach stop to flush. As well as the reason you posted about your concern. Once taught about 30 to 45 minutes, and that means not having to use the whoa command or the checkcord.

If the dog broke or did not stop on flush repeat training scenario. Rarely did a second time was needed but each dog is different or more importantly their memory.

Good luck with your pup.
 

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I had my current dog broke to the release after the fall at 16 months old. I went to that route because when the dog breaks training and takes off on the chase at the shot it doesn't bother me. She has not kept up that level since that age as I started work on other things in training to try and prepare for NAVHDA testing. I will be bringing her back to that level this season as I work her towards the UT test.

As far as getting her there originally, I just went with how she took to it all. I didn't have a timeframe in mind to meet the goal. She just seemed to pick up on things pretty quickly and I was able to work with it and progress. None of it hurt her drive at all. I think with having the ability to train on NAVHDA grounds and make sure there was a bird for her to retrieve during the drills really helped to foster the drive along with the steadiness. If she did well she got feathers in the mouth, if she didn't I would go pick the bird up and not let her get it. It was amazing how much that changed certain aspects of her working.

So thats how it worked for me. There are a hell of a lot more experienced people in this forum though who may have some good advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well if your in "no rush" why would you want to upset your's and her life with all that fancy dancy steadying stuff. If this is not going to be a AA trial dog then why bother. On the other hand if you plan to compete in trials I would put the "no Rush" away and get busy "breakin". In my estimation you should have started back some time ago!.

Hal
I'm surprised by your response.

I wasn't aware training to a certain standard was considered "fancy dancy." I'm sure you don't consider a retrieve to hand "fancy dancy." I doubt you would just tell a hunting client to pick up the bird themselves, "if its just a hunting dog, why bother?"

"Some time ago," well, I'll be sure to break my next dog when its about yay big.
 

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There are also foot handled shooting dog/gun dog stakes along with cover dog trials and master level hunt tests that all require a dog steady to wing and shot. I will also add that a dog that is steady will help put birds in the bag, and knowing the poster hunts and hunts late season spooky birds it would have merit outside of dog games.

I like to have two seasons of hunting in a dog before I think about breaking them out. That dog needs to develop and learn to search for birds before I put anything new in its brain. And two seasons of letting them run after flushed birds takes a lot of the chase out of them.
This makes sense to me.
 

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Some let the dog go for a year or two before any formal training to build drive and run.This helps to get more out of a dog for competition.

Some say get after them right away.

Some say each dog is different and you need to be observant of the dogs demeanor,body language
 

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In my estimation you should have started back some time ago!.
I'm surprised by your response.
If pay close attention to the video you will see the dog is anticipating the excitement of the chase. That is the beginning of sloppiness around birds..
By 15 months of age I believe a dog should be broke, because now I have some thing to develop. Force Fetch and steady to W&S. Once those things are done a dog can be trained to run properly. A dog that is breaking running in can not learn to properly mark the fall of the bird. So it needs to be steady.
For me waiting to see how much drive can be developed in one or two seasons of hunting and chasing, i must have had some doubts about the breeding of this pup in first place.
A dog needs to learn how to learn to really grow in strength. FF and Steadying will teach a dog how to learn. If a dog can not handle that learning stress then, chances are you have a weak candidate.

Hal
 

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Look at it from a safety point as well. If your dog breaks before you shoot he may jump up into where you intend to pull the trigger or a follow up shot as well. Thats why I train steady to fall.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
If pay close attention to the video you will see the dog is anticipating the excitement of the chase. That is the beginning of sloppiness around birds..
By 15 months of age I believe a dog should be broke, because now I have some thing to develop. Force Fetch and steady to W&S. Once those things are done a dog can be trained to run properly. A dog that is breaking running in can not learn to properly mark the fall of the bird. So it needs to be steady.
For me waiting to see how much drive can be developed in one or two seasons of hunting and chasing, i must have had some doubts about the breeding of this pup in first place.
A dog needs to learn how to learn to really grow in strength. FF and Steadying will teach a dog how to learn. If a dog can not handle that learning stress then, chances are you have a weak candidate.

Hal
Yea, I get what you're saying on the anticipation. You can see she begins to break on that hen before it actually goes up. But the way I see it, she can learn from that also. Creep and the bird will be gone. The dog needs to learn to learn is a good point as well. So if you want a dog broke by 15 months sws, when do you start and what methods would you use for a pointing breed?

I think it would be different if I had several prospects to work at a time and weed out all but the very best. But this pup won't be sent down the road to somebody else. My wife thinks she's an angel and I like what I see from her. She's done a nice job progressing on handling wild birds. She's hunts well and without handling her she stays in front, I just thought she'd run bigger.
 

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Listen to this interview Andy.
He believes that you want a dog to chase and flush birds.
This is discussed in the beginning of the interview
 

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This story on one of the most famous setters in current times is interesting also.
Knocking birds,not much run,and no run pattern.Then a few years later bo is the dog to try and beat leaving all behind two years in a row.
A strong desire to chase and knock birds is not a bad situation and can become a bird finding machine with time,patience,and work.
A very interesting story about this bird dog.
 

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But this pup won't be sent down the road to somebody else. My wife thinks she's an angel and I like what I see from her. She's done a nice job progressing on handling wild birds.
"Time and Tide" are the old adage of breaking a dog to wing and shot. Time being the length of time needed to complete the job. and Tide being the amount of money needed to invest in the project. I cannot tell you the number of wives that I know that balk at that much Tide being spent on their lil angels.
Good luck with your project.

Hal
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Knocking birds,not much run,and no run pattern.Then a few years later bo is the dog to try and beat leaving all behind two years in a row.
A strong desire to chase and knock birds is not a bad situation and can become a bird finding machine with time,patience,and work.
A very interesting story about this bird dog.
So you’re saying Goldie will probably win at Ames.
 

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A lot can happen overtime!
Goldie has a lot of what some like to see.Also Bo needed run in his game and trips to the prairie combined with harnessing Bo after a find elevated his drive.Make him hungry so to speak.They did this and and he ran faster,harder,and farther.
Next time you go out put bella down and leave Goldie in the crate so she can watch everything at a long distance.
Move fast and go far with bella and fire a few caps when your way out.
Then work your way back to the truck and meander slowly with a few pauses the last 100 yards looking away or where you came from.Then put bella up and put Goldies jewelry on and cut her lose and move fast.
Let me know if you see a difference in Goldie.I have had good luck with this.
I have seen a noticeable difference in Penny this December and plan on more this spring.I also put a bird in her face before I put her down.And use wings when it isn't hunting season
 

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For me the breaking process starts the 1st time I clip the check cord to pup and is over when he is finished. There are many steps between pup and a finished performer. You need to have a plan from start to finish. No short cuts. If dog is not completely staunch he is not ready for higher learning.
 
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