Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I've trained several hunting dogs in my life and helped several others train also. I helped a professional dog trainer for a while in trade with learning some tricks of the trade. The main lesson I came away with was THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A GOOD DOG AND A GREAT DOG IS ABOUT 400 BIRDS. Over the years I've found out how true that is.
My training method is simply honing their natural abilities and than getting them out on wild birds as much as possible. Of course that consists of not shooting flushed birds while hunting if you want the dog to be a staunch pointer and all of those other training tips that are pretty comomon sense. But who had to be trained for that? Not the dog.
You've heard the saying "trust your dog." I think that is the most important part of all hunting relationships between man and his dog. Sixteen years ago I was hunting behind my brittany, Rookie. We were hunting Brownlee for chukars but there was an important football game going on at the same time. So I was wearing radio ear phones. Probably not the smartest way to hunt but I ended up learning a lot from that day. Since I wasn't hearing chukars flying or talking, or other people flushing birds my way I had to focus completely on my dog. I got my limit of birds that day because I totally relied on Rookie.
Our dogs are much better predators than us. Trust their senses. You might lead them towards a covey you saw land but as a rule let them find the birds for you and they soon will become bird finding machines.