I am looking towards a Vizsla as my next dog and currently have a Brittany that I use as a stalking dog on deer. Our un-official season (no closed season some deer species) runs for about 6 months (Autumn/Winter +/- a bit), outside these periods it gets too hot and snakes are too greater risk.
During the off period I concentrate on control, ie: walking off lead at heel, sending out, recall, stay, etc. basically general obedience and increasing the bond/relationship.
I've found that my girl doesn't need any training to hunt , this she will do but control is the thing that needs constant attention to maintain.
Retrieving is probably a little different, but surely a few dummies thrown will suffuce if control and obedience is maintained.
Gunnr--That's great that y'all raise your own birds! After reading anther of your post describing ordering, raising, type of pen they need, I'm feeling like it's too much for us this year. I'm hoping this summer we will have more time, nicer weather/more daylight, to really think about & plan how we could raise some of our own birds. Over the long haul, it is certainly cost effective. Do you raise any other kinds of birds besides quail? Do pigeons do well in the southern heat? Just wondering if dog training involves getting on different kinds of birds.
Waldo--Thanks for the reply. Working on commands is a must do for us as Pumpkin gets older (6m). I am trying to keep things fun for her since she is so young; however, I will continue to work on obedience. We finish our puppy class tomorrow night, and I have enrolled her in a pre-agility class. This will allow me to continue work on obedience/socialization/commands w/ distraction while being a little more upbeat. We are a long way from a heel off leash. Other commands have been fairly easy, but getting them w/ distractions is around 65%. We have not focused on retrieving :-\ Maybe we should start? Been warm in Dixie, & P has already found a snake. Copperheads are the main worry here.
You don't have to raise them from day old chicks. It's an odds on bet that somewhere near you there is a grower.
Look up "Chicken Tractor" and you can have one put together in a weekend for 3 week old birds. Make sure to build it stout enough to hose a raccoon. If you can build it to keep a raccoon in the cage, you can keep one out.
I've raised Chukar, Quail, and Pheasant. I can trap pigeons whenever I want them, so I don't raise them.
As long as the birds, of any species just about, can escape the sun, have plenty of clean water and get up off the ground, they'll be alright. Birds are pretty tough, but they can be stressed easily.
Gunnr--How do you trap pigeons? I will have to look that up out of curiosity. The most pigeons I have ever seen has been in Warsaw, Poland. Thousands would descend upon the city square and they were truly something out of the Science Monitor. 3 toes here, 7 there, and seemingly the most filthy, inbred pests! I don't have a problem with a bird being shot & it's done; however, I am having a harder time watching quail suffer :'( They are so pretty & sweet sounding! We have had about 20 over the past 2 weekends, and I am always rooting for them knowing their demise is likely. My husband took Pumpkin out yesterday with some folks from the Vizsla Club of the Carolinas, and he said it was bird carnage. I know it sounds ridiculous, and I should get over it, but it would be a lot easier if chukar, pheasants, & quail were ugly. BTW, when you are "planting" birds for your young &/or inexperienced hunters to find, how far out do you plant them? Yesterday, my husband said folks were planting the birds pretty close range, like 50-65ft away, but we have been hiding them much farther out for Pumpkin at home. Is there some rule of thumb about that? Pumpkin always finds them, but I'm always worried we will do something out of protocol or something wrong. She is all over the birds in no time, & will hold a point for minutes (seemingly forever). Today she let a quail dwaddle in front of her (like a chicken pecking feed off the ground) before moving in on it. Is that normal? She will hold a point long after I'm tired of waiting. She seems to thrive on the find & point, but the chase seems predicated on the bird is giving a show/flight. Thanks so much for all the helpful info. I will look up chicken tractor as well.
I wanted to add with one more question. When we get birds for Pumpkin, we do not clip their wings. We generally use a "kick cage" (not sure of proper term) or dizzy them so they don't fly right away. Out of the 20 or so birds, P has caught 3-4. We do not encourage or discourage, but we were told you should let them get their mouth on them as pups. P did not shred the ones she caught. Pumpkin plucked the feathers off one and carried it around for a while, but she never tried to maul or eat one. My question is are we suppose to let her/set conditions for her to kill a bird everytime? She seems to have an inate drive regardless of actually getting the bird. Just wondering. One of the V people I have met (working on her SH title w/ her female) thought I was crazy when I said we let some of the birds go/get away. The benefits in my mind were P found a couple of them again (in the same field) over the next 2 days. Thanks loads for all the feedback!
Pigeons are trapped in a pigeon trap. I borrow it from a friend that has racing pigeons and homers, and traps pigeons to add to his flock.
Once a dog has been introduced to quail and hunts them, as you indicate Pumpkin has already, I may dizzy some of them and toss them into rough cover in addition to just flushing a bunch
and letting them land where they will. You're doing it the right way. You want a hunting dog, not a trials dog. The more Pumpkin is allowed to develop on her own, the better. Don't change what you are doing.
50 -65 ft. seems really close too me, unless the dogs are very young, or they're just putting so many birds into the air to work on the gun. Without watching it, it's hard for me to tell where at the folks were in training the dogs.
Yes she will let the bird dawddle around in front of her. She's actually not supposed to move in on her own. If the bird moves she should remain in position until you arrive, changing only the position and attitude of her head. Encourage this, she's doing it naturally and that's great.
I had a pheasant walk right underneath my dog Boone, after Boone had established his point, and then sat there. I'm not sur who was more confused at that situation. Boone, or me.
Chasing birds on the ground is bad form, tracking a cripple is somrthing entirely different though. If Pumpking is waiting for the bird to go up, that's great. You're well on your way. They shouldn't chase the birds.
From what you've indicated it's time for Pumpkin to up her game a little bit. Plant a few birds, and free release the rest. Let her hunt them by foot scent.
If your area to work Pumpkin is fairly private, release the birds and give them an hour or so. Make sure to let some juvenile males out because they are the most vocal and will begin to call the quail back together fairly quick.
Don't clip the wings. It's not necessary, and creates an un natural condition.Pumpkin will catch some of the birds, it's unavoidable,and handling a live bird is good experience for her.
My own personal philosophy is that I do not let the dog dispatch the bird. Sometimes it happens, and as they get older they will learn to snap the necks all on their own, but I would rather that they have a "soft mouth" and deliver the bird to me. I'll dispatch the bird. That's just me.
You will meet many folks that have a different agenda than you do, and as such their philosophies and techniques will differ. What's important is that you have an end goal in mind with everything you want to accomplish with Pumpkin over the next two years.
The person working on obtaining titles has a more compressed time frame than you will, ergo they need to maximize every training opportunity and work on the dog as though it's being judged. It's a different game altogether. Learn from them, and apply those components that align with your personal goals.
I don't have a personal problem with letting some of the birds "escape", and I usually mark their approximate location and will bring my dogs back later in the day, or the next day. In my mind it creates a more real scenario. Preparing a dog for a trial is different than training one to hunt. There are no judges looking to quantify "drive, nose, stamina, style, birdiness, etc." There is just you.
Keep doing what your doing and I think you'll be fine. Slow, consistent and steady training works very well with Vizsla's.
Thank you, again, Gunnr for the very helpful replies! We bought Pumpkin as a companion with a goal to do some hunting, take her running, hiking, fishing, and otherwise do things we like as an active family. After some "training" by me, reading (including books you mentioned in a post), and watching/getting to know Pumpkin, I was thinking I might like to do some hunt tests with her? It seems like fun (for P too), and I think she would be very good at it. We don't have an agenda in taking titles, because we are not a breeder or have a financial incentive as a handler etc. We are not on a time line except Pumpkin's. I have resisted efforts to put her on a "schedule" based on other V people's recommendations & declined an invitation by a handler/trainer/breeder to take P for a few days of training on birds. We want to be a part of any training, and I don't think P is ready for that even if a consideration. I think she would come home stressed at the very least. Anyway...the one dead bird I have seen P with had it's neck broken by my husband. It was crippled after P got her mouth on it. She doesn't maul or try to eat them. In fact, she pruned it! Pulled all the feathers out, and the bird looked as shiny & clean like a piece of chicken at the store! I thought it was kinda weird. She carried it around in her mouth after pruning it, and then she just left it in the woods. I can't say about the other birds w/ other folk, since I wasn't there. Maybe we should start putting her on the check cord? While she is patient & does not dive-in on point, P does want to chase once the bird takes flight. She is off, and it will take me 2 sometimes 3x telling her to come before she recalls. Sorry for the long posts but appreciate the time very much!! I just want P to be happy, use her talents to keep her healthy mentally & physically, and not mess her up along the way. P has been a biddable dog to date, but I have heard a lot of horror stories. A V owner & breeder in our pup class let her boyfriend take her 4 y/o V hunting when she was younger, and she said it almost ruined her. She thought she was ready but apparently all the gun action was too much. She said it was a yr before she would point a bird again. Yikes!
At the end of the day she is your dog,and yours alone. It's not for anyone other than you to dictate her activities.
You are her "Advocate" and are doing a fine job.
You can put her on a check cord to steady her to wing, but if you're able to call her back after a a few tries you're well on your way. Let her get "Birdy" for now, and maybe just slightly over the edge of out of control. She's still young and has plenty of time to settle down.
I know that I always advocate the position to train a Vizsla to hunt is best. However, there is no reason at all to actually have to shoot the birds. Simply put, training to hunt gives a person a "plan", or a "program" if you will, to follow.
Training with a plan, or goal, is more productive than training without a goal. It provides structure and regularity which the dogs thrive under. It also allows an owner to see just what these dogs are all about. They'll soon discover that the "Sissy pants, over sensitive, velcro stigma associated with Vizslas " is nonsense.
These are tough, independent, free thinking dogs when engaged in hunting, and that's and why they run their owners through the ringer as puppies. They have to, it's their nature.
My husband will be shooting birds! He grew up w/ Labs & ducks, but he has learned the V is different. He's amazed @ how powerful Pumpkin is & not because she levels my son every day from a stand still w/in 2 minutes of getting off the bus! She's no sissy pants and the most biddable dog I've owned. I think hunt tests would be fun as an activity; however, the people I am meeting involved w/ HTs & trials don't think of it as an activity. It's serious biz, work, titles, and not some hobby! I'm clueless which is good & bad. The hunting path is how we move, and when in doubt, I just let it be until I find out. J. Bailey's book How To Help Gun Dogs Train Themselves has been helpful. A Hospice patient who was an avid hunter asked me if we had dogs. I talked about P, and he said "don't worry about nothing, those birds will train that dog." That's been true! Up until 2 wkends ago, P has been hunting tweety birds. She used to go hog wild in a field @ 10-15wks, but she soon learned that scares the tweets away. She self corrected and is very careful & patient these days. Amazing! One last question & I'll quite rambling & writing more posts. As a horse rider, I have always used the word "whoa." I tend to make more of a "hup" sound to P which she knows means hold-up; however, If I begin to move forward she will move too. If I tell her to wait again, she will stop but move again when I do. This is why I try not to use the word whoa unless practicing on leash like suggested in the aforementioned book. When I say "practice," I just mean in day-to-day stuff like going in & out doors. I tend to use the "hup" sound when off leash , because I don't want to reinforce a bad habit. I don't know if &/or how to correct her moving forward without an O.K. when off leash. Make sense? Thanks so much!
If a pup @ 6m already generally gets what it means to "hold-up," does it matter at such a young age that she doesn't wait till I tell her "oK" to move ahead? Seems like a total give w/ "whoa" is an advanced command???
It will take time to completely develop the "Whoa", and 6 months is way too early. Once the "Stay" command is taught it is a natural transition to the whoa. "Whoa....stay.....",and then soon just whoa. Watch out for the "Sit" command though. Sometimes Sit and Stay will be taught together, "sit..... stay....." In the field though the "stay" may given and the dog sits thinking it missed a command.
You steady her with a "Check Cord, but cut her a little slack until the Whoa/Stay is taught without the birds as a distraction.
Put her on the checkcord and start her at the walk/heel. Then Whoa her and hold her in place. Move off again at the walk/heel and repeat. She will soon begin to respond to pressure and the absence of pressure just like a horse.
Once you're getting along well introduce "Stay". As she stays you move around her in a circle and gently reinforce the stay. If she moves, put her back on exactly the same spot, and position she was in before she moved and start again. She'll pick it up quick. Begin to add distractions like tossing something in your hands, or waving a piece of paper, and progress to throwing a dummy.
When she's solid here, from the toss of the dummy work in the fetch retrieve components,and bring it all together.
Use Whoa and Stay, as you would Whoa, Halt and Stand with your horse to make the transition easier on you. Pumkin will pick it up and make the transition herself.
As with the horse, Pumpkin will learn your body language, and alot becomes non verbal over time.
On your horse "whoa" is really for you, the change in seat, slack of the rein and release of bit pressure is what "Whoas" the horse and brings it down. No bit for Pumpkin though, although a hunt collar for a dog can draw similarities to a Bitless Bridle for a horse. Then again a shock collar could be interesting on a horse, but I'd press the button from the roof of the barn. ;D
Ha! I would like to experiment with the shock collar on a pony my daughter is riding (she's a beginner) who absolutely pays no mind to her! Then again, if I were a school pony with all these kids on my back, kicking legs & grabbing mouth, I wouldn't do a **** thing either ;D Poor fella.
As always, thanks for the most helpful info! I will practice what you have explained well. Makes sense. In puppy class, they do teach the sit & stay together :-\ P did fine with that scenario, but I haven't been practicing it. I will ask her to stay at the top of the driveway with the command & hand signal. She listens in that situation. I can see how confusion arises w/ some commands. We also had to bring a mat to class to teach "place." When I would ask for a command inside for practice, such as down or place, sometimes P would basically run through every command she has learned...sit..down...place...back to down in quick secession. She was probably focused on the treat & figured I'll do them all and get it right ;D It was kinda of funny, but it is also the reason I don't have little training sessions indoors. If she sees me standing, asking attention w/ clicker in hand, she is anticipating a treat above all. I only treat her intermittently with commands she knows reliably, but when in doubt, she will run through a quick show like a circus act! Again, thank you! Too bad you don't live in the Carolinas, but I do appreciate the advice I get here.
Ponies are evil little creatures. "Spawns of the Devil" with Napolean complexes. Cute, but evil.
There used to be a little Pony at our last boarding facility. The little snot would bite the bellys of the bigger horses as they came in, through the lower rails of the fence. He was in a sepeate area of his own.
They changed the fencing one day, which allowed the taller horses to reach over a section of the Pony's paddock. Big mistake!
The little snot reached through that lower rail to bite our horse, and ours reached over that fence, grabbed that Pony by the neck in his teeth and started shaking him and pulling him through that fence. What a commotion. Of course all of the other boarders were saying "poor pony" out loud, but were secretly happy that he finally got what had been coming to him. ;D A few had missed dressage events and 3 days due to the bites being in the girth strap area.
Enforcing the Sit is up to you. Pumpkin will learn to seperate them in time, but it's just something to watch for and understand if it happens, sitting on the point that is. I don't teach "sit" myself.
I'm enjoying reading this! Copper doesn't go through all the motions until he gets it right, but rather looks at me and procrastinates! If I give the command in a stern voice, it usually gets the job done. I'm sure he knows what is being asked and the only time I'm 100% sure he will respond is when the e collar is on him and he has been beeped.
I think that both the treats and the beeps are good training aid, I'm just trying now to ween him off of them. I will only use them if I really need to be sure he will listen (like when a car is coming down the street) or if he was extra special good! I guess I just need to spend more time with him and it will follow naturally.
Bites in the girth area ?? Ouch! Wicked little pony did get what was coming! Ponies can be evil little creatures. I learned to ride (meaning toughen up) on an adorable medium pony who made it his business to drag me around & dump me at least once per lesson! I was afraid to really get after him until I finally had enough. He stopped in front of a jump, and I gave him several good whacks with the crop. My coach, mom, & others at the barn (who had been watching me be humiliated by this pony for months) were all jumping up & down, whistling, and cheering like I had put in a flawless trip. I was a new kid ;D Jake was the cantankerous type who would turn his rump to you w/ ears pinned when you would try to get him out of his stall. Randomly see if he could get a taste when picking his feet or brushing. I hated that cute pony I hope my daughter develops some guts so I can tame my desire to yank her off that pony, so I can get on him & pop him myself; otherwise, I may resort to the shock system. I really am an animal lover though-ha!
Yes, I think it will come together for P. When she runs through her little show, it is usually when she is already overstimulated. I'm going to start putting in some more time with the leash/checkcord exercise(s) you recommended. I can't say that sit has been big with me, but I ask my youngest kids to make her sit for a treat. Out for another V playdate this wk-end w/ the V club of Carolinas. P doesn't really play though. She is not timid, or nasty, but she is a little aloof with other dogs in the field. She was like that in puppy class. Some days I'm thinking more socialization to help that (which I will do regardless), but other days, I think she is just strung a little tighter...intense???
Linescreamer--the clicker and treats have been a great training aids for us. I generally treat P 1/4 of the time w/ commands she knows & completes consistently. She is very good about coming (save for the few occasions on quail), but I still like to reinforce w/ a treat & "yes" or "good girl" for the reason you mentioned. I like to keep her wondering/thinking for those occasions where she might hesitate in a higher risk situation--especially since she is still a young pup. I have found some healthy treats that breakup easily, so the tiniest crumble will do. I have no experience with the e collar, but I am looking for one that fits a pony