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Discussion Starter #1
I`m new to the Vizsla breed and new to hunting. I only got into hunting after I got my Vizsla. We have been hunting regularly in Wisconsin with moderate success - lots of flushed grouse and woodcock.

My Vizsla runs around like crazy, and not sure if it`s intentional but the birds get spooked and they flush. He has no restraint and doesn`t point. I recently went out hunting with two seasoned pointers, and was amazed by their work. They smelled the birds, pointed. Just what you would expect from a pointer.

Now, I`m beginning to think I may have messed up. He has only been trained on dead bird feathers. He has an excellent nose. Is it too late to teach him restraint? I`m sending him off to a trainer this week. Could the live birds make all the difference? After a conversation with the trainer, I was told it might not be too late as Vizslas mature slowly.

What are your thoughts?
 

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Pointing is the natural instinct to hesitate and slowly creep or stalk before the pounce/flush. The instinct will go away when the dog learns that it's a whole lot more fun to flush the birds, so in part training a pointer is capturing that natural behavior, encouraging it, and developing it. Your dog needs to learn that by holding point and allowing you to flush the bird, you will shoot the bird and he will be rewarded by the retrieve. A bird in mouth is worth two flying away in the bush or something like that.

It's definitely not too late and getting a trainer that knows vizslas will help. Training with Mo is a book that was recommended to me on the forum when I was first looking into getting a V. I really like his (Mo Lindley) method because it emphasizes letting the birds teach the dogs, which is exactly how those seasoned pointers you hunted with have gotten so good. It's a whole lot of obedience for sure, but it also comes down to experience. I'll let the folks who really know what they're doing give more advice, but to me it sounds like you have a dog with great drive, you just need to harness it with training.
 

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Going from working with dead only, to hunting wild is a big jump for a dog. You missed a lot of steps in between. Some dogs still have to adjust, when going from pen raised to wild, but they have the basic steps down.
Him running like a wild man flushing birds isn't all that bad. At least you know he wants to hunt. He just has to learn how to hunt with you as a team.
 

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I didn't start working Ruby until she was 16 months old due to her being a mid-summer pup, she seemed a bit "clueless" at first, or rather it was me that wasn't seeing her working it out. After her first working season she came on leaps and bounds and everybody on the shoots we work just love to watch her when she's hunting/quartering/pointing, I never trained her to do any of those, it just came natural to her, so at 18 month I'd definitely say "all is not lost" ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I definitely know that he has potential. I know he can point too - just not at birds yet. He can point and stalk house flies all day long.

Does anyone know where I can acquire some live pigeons in the midwest?
 

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Craigslist is usually my first stop when looking for birds. http://zoomthelist.com/index.php?q=pigeons&state-search-all=WI&date-range=ALL&u=Search
Many folks raising pigeons do so for racing and won't sell to dog trainers. It's up to you whether or not you disclose that, but I like to be up front about it myself.

Some people actually go out at night with flashlights, ladders, and nets trying to catch pigeons under overpasses. If you go that route, please document your experience for our entertainment! I've also heard of people in rural areas talking to farmers and catching them in their barns.

You might also check out your local vizsla club, pointer club, or a group like NAVHDA and see who they recommend for birds.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
@ einspänner : Thanks for the info. I plan to get some birds. I contacted some quail and chukkar farms, awaiting their reply.

I dropped off my boy at the trainer yesterday. We released about half a dozen homing pigeons. It caught him by surprise and startled him. Then he tried chasing a few and then stopped and went on point. The trainer said he liked what he saw. The trainer also liked his confidence and manners. I`ll keep everyone updated on how he progresses. This is an adventure.

The birds will teach my boy, and he will teach me.
 

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While he is away training, you can ask the trainer which books and/or dvds would be good for you. There is no reason you both can't be learning at the same time.
 
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