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We have a 6 month old (our third Vizsla). We don't hunt now (I'm not sure anyone would want to see me with a gun;) and did not with the other two. But they all have been well bred and are of course hunters. I don't remember what happened with our first but it was 30+ years ago and we had 4 little kids, two jobs and lived in a city, so I don't remember much of anything. She pointed at pigeons and probably wondered why I never shot them. Our second was a male who initially pointed but mostly loved to chase birds at the beach. I feel that we somewhat extinguished his bird enthusiasm because we needed a recall that worked even when he had something else on his mind. As he got older he barely noticed birds. Our new puppy points at small birds, doesn't pay any attention to the geese who relax on the soccer field, runs after all gulls, and other sea birds at the beach (and for that reason is not at liberty on the beach until he remembers what whoa means.)

Any advice for the non-hunters who still respect the breeding and instincts of the dog and want to encourage those? I know we are not going to win any hunting trials, the point is to let him be the dog he is (and me be the non shooter I am). He has 2 GSP friends and they all seem to think they are hunting when we walk in the woods or our local park- maybe that is all that matters. I should mention that we also live with a large parrot, so it is important that the puppy knows who is a bird and who is King.

I did look through old posts and found “What’s the Point”. I will definitely read that. Thank you.
 

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I would say to get involved with a hunt club, or organization, in your area and train with them.
Most, if not all, shooting trials have a "dedicated gun" that is the only person shooting, or even allowed to handle the gun. You never have to shoot a bird, or own a shotgun to participate.
As for extinguishing the desire, that's a tough call. With your new puppy, I personally would be using those seagulls for training. The "whoa" comes later. Birds that flush and take flight can be used to bring out the point.
In the summer time we kept our dogs in covered kennels outside during the day. It was a daily experience to find them both sleeping, or just lying n their kennels doing nothing, while songbirds and Bluejays were flitting in and out cleaning up uneaten dog food. Never stopped them one bit from going after birds in the field. As they get older, they know the game.
 

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Also teaming up with people whose dogs are more advanced on birds can help. i don`t shoot hunt myself, so had to find ways to get my boys trained, one of them was over 2 years old when we first started, and turned out to be very driven. I ended up spending some time with our bird dog trainer myself in order to learn some tricks and just generic understanding, got several magazine subscriptions (i.e. Pointing Dog Journal, Gundog Magazine), bought some books, joined the local Navhda chapter as in our area the vizsla club is rather inactive and Navdha has organized several training days. I would also look up whether there is a hunt test in your area (they tend to take place in the winter, you can search for them on the akc website) and just go watch, bring your pup with you, visit with other owners, you may find locally people who can help you further with training. Good luck, it seems a lot at the beginning, but if you like outdoors it becomes addictive. by now when people ask whether i hunt i say i consider myself a shoot less hunter in training, haha.
 
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