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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to say in advance how much I appreciate this forum! The members who read & respond to my posts, questions, & often long-winded remarks have been invaluable! That being said, I am feeling discouraged about my bird crazy V pup :-\
Pumpkin is 9m. She's been very biddable to date, & I am so proud of her. The small part of not being proud is a reflection on me & not Pumpkin. I am a novice, know-nothing, trying to instill good basics in a hunting pointer. Pumpkin has been very good on recall & basic commands, even in the field, until today. My husband picked up birds today, only ones left in 100rd mile radius, because it's been 6 wks + since Pumpkin has been on birds. Today P was a pup I have not seen before! She did not listen worth a ****, diving in on birds, & otherwise trying to drag me to **** & back on a check cord! P's behavior was the antithesis of anything I have ever seen or experienced. She has always been excited about birds, but today, it was like she was unhinged. I tied the check cord to the stair rail while loading the golf cart for our "field trip," and she chewed through the check cord in less than 4m. The whole time she was whining, shaking, & seemingly off in a bird world that no human "master" exists. She continues to excel in finding birds, but....I need help! I have reached out to some trainers, but in the mean time, does anyone have any suggestions? When birds are not in the picture (even when they were in the past), P listens well. Today showcased an unruly pup running hog wild! Should I be worried? Suggestions? ThanK you :) P.S. I wanted to add that when P knows we have birds, she will not eat. She will not accept food at home or treats in the field. I finally got her to eat MAYBE 1 3/4 cups today. She looks like we don't feed her--at least tonight anyway.
 

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As you know, I know nothing about training a hunting dog!

But I have been through the training blues too and I especially remember that between 6 months and 2 years (yes a long time i know!!!) if often seemed like 1 step forward, 2 steps backwards (and i think i posted about that a few times on here too). A good week was two steps forwards one step backwards but we never seemed to have weeks that were only in the forwards direction.

As far as the not eating when there are birds about - Merc is very food-motivated. However he also refuses to eat if he is super-excited. Sounds like Pumpkin is getting way too excited about birds - I have no solutions for you just sympathy!

Hang in there....... I'm sure it will get better. Don't be too hard on yourself either. I've been told that vizslas are puppies for 2 years and not really mature till 4. Merc is 3.5 now and is coming along (finally) in leaps and bounds. He was beautifully behaved when we were out and about on the weekend but back to being a lunatic when i got home tonight.
 

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kellygh

This is normal, and everyone that has trained a bird dog of any breed goes through it, and keeps going through it.

The only suggestion I can offer is to somehow, or the other, not let her know the birds are around. Which could be impossible. Additionally, when she gets that way in the field, it's back on the leash, take her away from the birds, and work her at the heel like a drill sargeant for a few minutes. Get her mind back, and refocused on you, then bring her bak into the birds.

One more tip is to let her blow off some steam and energy in an area away from where you've released the birds, and then bring her into the birds from the upwind direction.
 

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I agree with previous post. Ebba has just turned 6 months and we are anxiously waiting for the "teenage" phase to kick in. We were told by our puppy trainer that they normally enter this phase between 6-12 months and then again at 18-24 months. They will stop listening to you and behave like little nightmares! Everything you taught them will go out the window.
I don't know about training dogs to hunt, but I think the best thing you can do is just hang in there and keep training. Eventually she'll go back to normal, and even if it seems like she isn't listening to you, it is ESSENTIAL that you stick to the same routines.
This teenage behaviour is the reason why you unfortunately find a lot of puppies being abandoned or sold for a cheap price online at exactly that age. People don't know what's happening and think they've ended up with a psycho dog!

Just try to get through it and look forward to having a perfect dog in a few months. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks y'all for the feedback & encouragement! I have been prepared for the ups & downs of training, but I just wasn't prepared for such a drastic change. I think my worry stems much more from lack of confidence in my knowledge & skill than anything Pumpkin does or does not do. I did try to remove her from the birds & get her to refocus, but it was not far away enough from the scene of action. I could hardly get her to look at me. I could get her to heel & down with too much effort, but the whole time she was looking around me, whining, & shaking like a leaf. At least she's excited though ;D ha! I will have her burn more steam next time. Both my husband & I thought she had not gotten enough exercise before we took her out. Good suggestion. I let P out to pee this morning, and 1st thing, I had to peel her off the back end of the land cruiser (birds came home in that car). She pees, comes running back to the car, scaling the sides & back on her hind legs. When I caught her, I told her "off", and she did get off; however, she would not recall, and again, she is shaking, whining, & running circles around the car. Sigh.... :-\ We love our pup to pieces, so I have renewed energy to find a trainer for me & P! I have contacted Maurice Lindley & have my fingers crossed. Thanks Mercutio, Gunnr, & jammin!
 

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;D All we have to do is say the word "Bird" and he goes nuts. Even in the house he will pick those big ears up, eyes wide open and start looking around and tap dancing! Too funny!
 

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kelly,
this weekend I took Kian to the farm for some control training and for him to find a few birds.
Let me tell you that when he sees the birds or hears them wrestling around in their box on the the back of the trainers 4 wheeler he will literally rip my arm out of it's socket to get at them.
That's when I take him into another field away from the trainer and the 4 wheeler and take him for a walk. I let him calm down for a few minutes. I look at his eyes. With Kian his pupils get dilated and all you see is black. I wait for him to just bring it down a few levels then I will let him off leash and do some control work with him in the field, separate from where the trainer is planting birds.
He runs around nose to the ground looking for birds.
Once he's had a good run we take him to the other field and let him do his thing.

Oh and last year when Kian was about Pumpkin's age he was the exact same way, we used to use a big prong type collar with him just to bring him back to our level.

I think it's just the fact that there are birds around that get him going. But once he's told to "find the birdies" he takes off like the Crazy that he is.

Good luck and keep working at it.
 

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kellygh

One word of caution,and apologies for not including it in my post.

Don't do anything that could possibly diminsh Pumpkins birdiness, even it means letting her get away with nonsense. If she has that much drive, you want to keep that working for you at virtually all costs.

Pumpkin is only 9 months old. She is going to be unsteady, flighty, unresponsive, and otherwise seemingly ill behaved. She is just learning though,and has a lot to process. Right now she's running on instinct, in time she'll quiet down.
Expect and anticipate this behavior and you'll learn the very subtle clues as to when Pumpkin is about to lose her marbles, and you better stand a chance of getting her back under control.. Also expect Pumpkin to get ahold of some of those birds and uhh,,,,,, it's going to get a little messy. She doesn't mean it, she just doesn't know any better. Any birds that she mauls, or kills should be kept in plastic bags in the freezer for retrieval training. Don't let you're Mother in Law in the freezer though, Mine freaked out. Actually, so did my mom.
 

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Try and have patience! It's easier said then done, I know! We took Mason out to a local NAVHDA training day, probably about 25 other dogs there, barking on the chain gang, whining, just a crzy circus of a situation to train in. He wouldn't listen, wouldn't point, all he wanted to do was go play with the other dogs! We got him to retrieve a few birds, swim but that was it. I left the training day frustrated as ****, I felt all the work I had done before this was a complete waste of time.
The following week we voluteered at a junior pheasant hunt, Mason spent time on the chain gang, just watching the other dogs work. I didn't hunt him during the hunt, only because I didn't want the kids hunt ruined by an un-trained puppy. After the hunt we grabbed our shotguns and decided to hunt some of the "lucky" birds that were missed by the kids. I had NO plans of Mason finding any birds after the way he acted the previous week. My wife and I started walking the fields, about 100 yards into the field Mason stops, spins around and sticks his nose on the ground, up goes a pheasant! I was a total dumba#$% and had my shotgun in my right hand, not ready to shoot, my wife was in the same boat! All three of us watched the pheasant fly away. He ended up finding 3 other birds, we got all 3 of them.
Now I always trust my bird dog :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Gunnr--Drawing the line between potentially diminishing birdiness & letting P get away w/ nonsense is exactly where my inexperience shines through. I have a difficult time making that determination in the moment. Let her get away with things that create bad habits or risk her feeling punished when she gives into her instinct? Ugh! I had her back out in the field yesterday, and she was much better; however, we did not have birds (at least that she was aware of). She did hit on some trails from the previous day, and she found what appeared to be quail carnage. Hawk? Maurice Lindley agreed to help us/me. I'm very excited about that & look forward to getting his book. Now I just have to ask him how much $$ :-\ He is willing to work with us as a team (encourages it). A lot of trainers (mostly retriever within 100miles) will offer a train day in the field as a group here & there, but many expect you will drop off your dog for a period of time. Not for me or P. I'm the one who needs the help for Pete's sake!

Mason--thank you for the valuable advice. Patience is hard for me even after 3 kids ;D P makes 4, and in many ways, she is the better behaved. I'm not sure why I was surprised that she might act her age in the field sometimes, but I guess I have been spoiled & overestimated how well she listens to me. It was one of the very few times where I wanted to say 'the **** with soft nature' and yank her ass up! Not beat her or anything, but she was the one yanking me. My frustration was evident, and I know that does not help. Thank you for the patience reminder. Sometimes it's the simple things, eh? How old is Mason? I would like to go to a NAVHDA event and observe. I don't think we have any events in our area for a while, but I will keep my eyes peeled. Watching is very helpful to me. Are you training Mason yourself? Is this your first V? The one thing I do trust in P is her ability to find the bird :)

Again, thanks everyone for the great advice & encouragement!!!
 

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kellygh i had 2 smile when i read your original post, it took me right back to the time when scooby who was 99.9% of the time excellent at recall decided he wanted a duck !!! it was winter and he chased this duck on land for about 15mins and then he swam around the pond for a further 45mins, I shouted, whistled till I was blue in the face and it didn't make a blind bit of notice, he was very cold and tired when he did finally did come out ! :eek:
It was much later that I remember someone saying 'its not getting them to hunt that's the problem its stopping them that's the hard bit' how true that is!! :D
Good luck and keep smiling.
 

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Hi Kelly,
Mason is 13 months old. I'm trying to train him myself with the help of the local NAVHDA, although the many, if not most of the NAVHDA members are going to field trial their dogs, therefore they are looking for a much different outcome for their dog. I'm looking to have a hunting dog who is also my buddy. I'm lucky enough to have 2 hunting friends who have dogs who are about the same age as Mason (2 GSP's) so we are able to train with them. The best part is, Mason is used to the other dogs, so he is more focused on training and has hunted with them, he now relates the other dogs to bird hunting. Because he is still young, I limit his training sessions to 15-20 minutes at a time otherwise he loses focus. I work with him EVERYDAY on his basic obedience, sit, stay, down, here, place, etc.

Good luck and keep us posted......
 

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The collar is a Dogtra 2500 T&B. It's a little on the big side (the part with the actual stimulator), but it doesn't seem to bother him.

Believe it or not, we live about 30 miles east of San Diego and we had two mornings with snow! It's all about elevation when it comes to snow out here, it's usually gone by 10am, but still fun for the crazy V to run around in!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I took Pumpkin to see Maurice Lindley this past weekend. Wow! I'm so glad I did! He seems to be a dog whisper in the pointing dog world--at least in our territory! He evaluated Pumpkin in the field on pigeons. He told me not worry if she didn't point, especially since she's never seen pigeons before & in new territory. Just trying to gauge how comfortable P is in the field & her excitement about birds. She startled on the 1st pigeon launch but gave chase. He seemed to like this & the fact that she immediately came back to smell where the bird was. 2nd pigeon launch had same reaction but no startle. 3rd pigeon, after he teased her with one, left me feeling giddy when she was right on point! He is a man of very few words with dogs in the field, but he gave me lots of feedback. He agreed to work with Pumpkin moving forward saying the "pup looks good." He said he does all obedience work with Vs away from birds until they are 15-18m (sometimes 20m). "The dog lets me know when they are mature enough to handle formal training." Maurice said he just wants P to be very excited about birds and to never restrain her from a chase. He mentioned the soft, sometimes unforgiving nature of the V, and said he will never rush a dog to meet an owners time table. I'm feeling much better! We will be going back in about 2 wks. I had so much fun talking with other hunting dog owners there for training w/ some leaving their dogs. Saw the biggest GSP I have ever seen! A moose. Said to be almost ruined by a trainer who was e-collar happy in Montana. He's also training a standard poodle! Don't often see them used as hunters anymore. Intersting talking to some field trial folks too. Anyway, I appreciate all the feedback. Thank you, Gunnr, for all your spot-on advice! You are a tremendous asset to this forum-especially as it relates to hunting & training. Thanks!
 
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