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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all... I have a new V pup on the way and am in the info gathering stage... I've read in some places that they are a close working hunter liking to stay within sight...which would be real nice in grouse/woodcock cover. I've also read that due to breeding for trials work, Vs are ranging much further than previous generations. My pup is coming from a very strong field trials line... Can anyone tell me what to expect when working in thick cover? Will it take a lot of work to keep him close? Thanks!
 

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A lot is going to depend on you. In fact most of it will depend on you. Which is good because you can control the variables from day one.
Is this your first bird dog?, or the first pup you'll train? If either is a true statement, you're in for a world of fun.
The Vizsla is a close working working dog, and with maturity they'll begin to adjust their range to you and the cover. It's kind of eerie actually. Yes they do tend to range out a little bit more now, but that's not a bad thing. As for staying within sight at all times. No they will not always be within sight, and they weren't that way 25 years ago either.
If your dog is within sight at all times while hunting,the birds are being pushed ahead of both of you, especially grouse. The first sense of pressure and the grouse is gone. The dog has to have his head and be free to adjust his range within reason, and cast out to bring the pressure from an angle. In deep cover you'll have to try and meet him 1/2way. Of course a shotgun in cylinder/Improved cyclinder with barrels less than 26" in length will help. ;)
 

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No... not my first by long shot...but the first in a very long time. I'm 50+.. had GSP and E setter as a youth. Having teenage legs to chase the young ones down is a major plus! ;D I hear you that constant visibility is not required nor desired... having the dog swing around to cut off a bird is one of those things i cant wait to see again! Thanks for the feedback!
 

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A Vizsla definitely won't range like an English Setter, and the GSP's I've hunted over probably range more unless they were kept in with the whistle.
The GSP is a more independent dog, and probably a little harder than a Vizsla to train because of that. If I didn't have Vizslas, the GSP would have been my dog of choice. GSP's are great dogs, and when I looked at the cover here in New England where I hunt, I just didn't think a GSP would be given a proper chance to shine. Excellent dogs!

With a Vizsla, once they finally see the whole picture, Hunt, Point, Shoot, Retrieve, it's like a light switch clicks on in their head. They get wicked serious about the game after that point, and they learn fast. They get picky too. After one of my dogs first encounter with a grouse, he wanted little to do with pen raised pheasants. He'd hunt 'em if you made him, but grouse was what he was after.

They're a dog that has a tendency to run with their nose closer to the ground than is generally accepted on the field trial circuit, but this makes them excellent at running cripples. They will not lose one, and don't second guess them. Mine have skunked me many times on cripples. I thought one direction, they knew different.

You're in for some fun. With careful preperation and intro to the shotgun, it's not inconcievable that you could have your pup in the field this fall getting his feet wet, so to speak. Pick a nice weekday morning a week or so after opening day, and let the dog explore.
I used to fill my vest with a 1/2 dozen quail or so and toss them out behind me as I walked through the woods with my dogs initially just to make sure that their first few "hunting trips" were successful. I'd swing them back around and bring them back along the same route and let them hit the quail. That's a lot of fun. I didn't take my shotgun the first time or two, I'd just let them go bonkers. I think it was slightly illegal though. ;D
 

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I'm getting my first Vizsla next weekend and am planning on running her on quail in southern nevada and possibly pheasant up north when I feel like driving. I'm not a very experienced gun hunter and was wondering what you'd recommend for a first gun. Something not too expensive, but reliable and long-lasting. I'm a falconer, so the V will mostly be used to point for hawks and falcons, but I'd like her to be well rounded and not gun shy. Plus gun hunting sounds like so much fun!

By the way, this is also my first bird dog, so any advise you can give in that department would be greatly appreciated. I've read Gun Dog by Wolters and Versatile Vizsla by Coffman several times, and training sounds like so much fun. Definitely different than training a bird!
 

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Tyler

Advising on a shotgun is very difficult. There are so many variables to consider. The first variable though becomes a constant, and that is how much range you need. Here in Connecticut shots over 25 yards are rare, so I use Cylinder/Improved cylinder on my 12 gauge. My 20 gauge is Improved cylinder/Modified, and my 28 gauge is Skeet/Skeet. These are the relative chokes of each barrel. Pick a name brand and get the model that matches your shooting. You can't go wrong with a Browning or Ruger O/U ( over/under), or whatever autoloader Remington currently has offered.

If you have Richard Wolters original Gun Dog book, you're well on your way. Bypass the bit about banging on pots and pans and shooting blanks while the dog is eating. You'll most likely scare a vizsla puppy doing that. The wing on a string is fun, but a vizsla quickly figures out where the motion is coming for and goes after the rod tip to stop the wing so that they can get it.
A vizsla is a very sensitive, intelligent dog. Treat your dog with kindness and respect, and make her an integrated part of your life. She will want and need to be a big part of your life. Get her on those birds as soon as possible. Put them in wire cages so they can't fly and startle her, and let her find herself. Hide wings around the house and let her find them herself, no prompting. Gently start her on her obediance training for a few minutes at a time.

PS.
Don't teach the sit command, unless you seperate it completely from the stay command. No "sit, sit,stay. Goog Girl". This will save you some time steadying to wing. Emphasize the stay. I haven't taught the sit command in over twenty years.Who cares if the dog sits as long as it stays. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hey Gunnr... opinion requested here... I have a friend who is very active with Vs in field trials. He insists that its best to letem range however they like which is desireable for FTs.... and train em to hunt close if desired later on. Easy to say when they chase em with horses during the FTs! I dont see myself doing FTs... its gonna be about grouse and some pheasant. He says they'll eventually recognize that a closer range is needed when in thick cover and adjust. My thought is to keep a tighter control right from the start. My pup is coming from very high end FT parents. Thanks!
 

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Panderson55

I'm going to agree with your friend, but with a caveat.

By the time I let my dogs "off the chain" for the first time, There has been a ton of obedience work performed, and many, many "play sessions" in the yard with live quail. The dogs have already been running with a 50 foot checkcord attached, and a bell on their collar for a few months, so the picture is being established . Owner+Bell = Bird= Fun. So, by the time I really turn them loose, I'm fairly confident that I can get them back. They've been allowed to have their head, but under control, for months.
If you try to keep the dog too close there is a strong posibility that the dog will "shutdown" on you, and not begin to actually hunt, because it's awaiting your next command. You have to let them off the chain. I'm actually working through this issue with Tika right now. I've tried to run both dogs together but Gunnr requires a firmer hand and more voice. Tika can't seperate Gunnr's commands from those directed at her, so she just heels up and won't range out. I have to work them seperately now. Tika is a much more sensitive dog than Gunnr, and requires very little handling.
It is eerie how a Vizsla will adjust it's range, based on cover and conditions, along with time and experience. It's also eerie that with time and experience they begin to gravitate to more productive cover on their own. It's a symbiotic relationship that develops with time between you and the dog. You have to trust the dog. Mine have proven me wrong so many times through the years that I just let them lead, which is their job after all. I promise you that you will be the limiting factor. They know more about hunting than you or I, and all we're really trying to do is to get them to hunt with/for us.
If all of the "pictures" have been presented properly your dog will associate you with the hunting, and while they may blow some steam off for the first 15-20 minutes, they'll settle down. Swing them through non productive cover for the first 20 minutes and them bring them into the cover you really want to hunt. As they get older and acquire more experience they won't require this little "warm up". They'll move right off from the vehicle and start hunting.
Everyone is afraid of their dog running off, but to hunt effectively they have to be given free rein.
It's a lot easier to bring a dog in, than get one to move off.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Belated huge thanks to Gunnr...hit ya with a couple of questions here and you answered back in great detail. All this before I even have the pup! 3 weeks before he comes home.
 
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