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Took Finn out today, he’s been kind of house bound the past week or two. He had a ball on the snow that is left on the ground.
Dog Snow Dog breed Carnivore Fawn

The boy decided it was warm enough to go after some type of mink, or weasel, in the stream. The thing jumped in the water and was making some noise, so Finn went after it. Luckily he didn’t find it.
Tomorrow is supposed to be bitter cold. Glad I was able to get him out today.
Snow Water Natural landscape Branch Twig
 

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Going to be cold here in NC the next week as well. Everyone is petrified that we may get snow on Sunday. Coming from the northeast, I find it hilarious.
 

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I've been reading and lurking for a while, but this seemed like a good opening. I'm Nate, and this is Bella:
Dog Snow Dog breed Carnivore Dog supply

Bella is just shy of a year old, and my wife and I live with her in Southern Vermont. This is basically her first winter, and she has taken surprisingly well to the snow and cold. At 30F she's perfectly fine lounging around, at 10-20F she's happy if moving, but at 0F she starts wondering pretty soon if she might do better sitting in front of the woodstove. It's been a fairly warm winter so far, but the high tomorrow looks to be right around 0F. We'll probably try for a single short walk at the warmest point of the day rather than our usual morning and afternoon routine.
 

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She’s beautiful! Very nice photo. Will you be working her on Grouse?
We don’t often get snow like you do in VT. When we do I like to get the dogs out in it. They have a blast.
 

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She’s beautiful! Very nice photo. Will you be working her on Grouse?
Thanks! Grouse hunting is indeed part of the plan, but I'm not sure how well it's going to work. We bump into a grouse about half the time we go out, but it's rare that she gets close to one that's still on the ground. More often, I hear them fly from 30-40 yards away, and then when we get close she excitedly sniffs on the ground where the bird was. Even with perfect training, I'm not sure they are ever going to hold for a point.

We did take the long drive with her out to South Dakota for pheasants last fall when she was 8 months, and while she wasn't too effective as a pointer, she had a great time and flushed a lot of wild birds. The birds we found were usually deep in the cattails, and typically preferred to run rather than fly. Again, I'm not sure how well even a well trained dog would have done --- better certainly, but it would still be difficult.

We then did some hunting of released pheasants on public land in Massachusetts after we came back, and that went much closer to plan. We don't have her holding points or anything, but the instinct is there, and she's definitely extremely excited to go out and find birds, and has the nose to do it. I'm planning to make some posts in the future asking about how to help her turn the corner from flushing to pointing.
 

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Thanks! Grouse hunting is indeed part of the plan, but I'm not sure how well it's going to work. We bump into a grouse about half the time we go out, but it's rare that she gets close to one that's still on the ground. More often, I hear them fly from 30-40 yards away, and then when we get close she excitedly sniffs on the ground where the bird was. Even with perfect training, I'm not sure they are ever going to hold for a point.

We did take the long drive with her out to South Dakota for pheasants last fall when she was 8 months, and while she wasn't too effective as a pointer, she had a great time and flushed a lot of wild birds. The birds we found were usually deep in the cattails, and typically preferred to run rather than fly. Again, I'm not sure how well even a well trained dog would have done --- better certainly, but it would still be difficult.

We then did some hunting of released pheasants on public land in Massachusetts after we came back, and that went much closer to plan. We don't have her holding points or anything, but the instinct is there, and she's definitely extremely excited to go out and find birds, and has the nose to do it. I'm planning to make some posts in the future asking about how to help her turn the corner from flushing to pointing.
A couple things you can do right now is add in whoa with her everyday training. I'm not even talking about formal whoa training, you can watch videos on that. I'm talking about just getting her used to the command. Get her on a bird wing or even her favorite toy- whoa is basically teaching her not to creep and to wait for you, the shooter, to determine when that bird flushes. Not her. Never shoot a bird that she flushed- she HAS to point it or she will not see the reward (which is, a mouthful of feathers). She has learned to hunt for herself, and she needs to learn to hunt with you.
 

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A couple things you can do right now is add in whoa with her everyday training. I'm not even talking about formal whoa training, you can watch videos on that. I'm talking about just getting her used to the command.
We do that, although probably not as much as we should. We haven't worked on perfect staunchness, but in most cases she responds appropriately. We use it somewhat randomly once or twice a walk just for practice, and also use it regularly when playing fetch with a frozen pigeon. In that case, I command her to whoa, she freezes, I walk a bit farther, throw the bird into deep grass, then release her with "OK, fetch". She searches, usually finds it, and usually brings it back to me.

What I'm less sure about is how to work on having her hold her brief instinctive points. I don't want to do anything that makes her less excited by finding birds. The usual answer is "lots of birds", but I think the answer has to be amended with "lots of planted birds that will hold for a point". Maybe there is somewhere with enough wild ruffed grouse in dense cover this could work for training, but I don't think a wild pheasant in cattails is ever going to hold well enough for this to be a viable training strategy.

Any strategies you'd suggest for progressing farther with whoa training without live birds? I have a lot of hunting experience, but very little experience with trained pointers. Is working with a whoa board helpful now that she nows basically what the command means? Part of the problem might be that I feel bad just giving her arbitrary commands when we're in the woods. I'm happy to have her whoa when we get close to a road, or when we see something I don't want her to chase, but I feel wrong using the command just for practice. Maybe I need to get over this!
 

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as for training without live birds, i used the wrapping the check cord around belly method for a summer (hot here in Houston) and it seemed to have worked. i wrap the check cord, walk with the dog, say whoa, wait couple of steps, if they don`t stop, there is a tug on the check cord, sending the message to stop. praise, tap the head and move on, repeat. i did then the same thing with birds starting in the fall, eventually removing the check cord from the belly. if they moved afterwards toward the bird, i would pick them up and set them back to the place where there were meant to stop walking.

i do whoa just for practice when we are out walking, just as i do recall for the same reason. you actually should not feel bad about it since you do it in a low stress environment and praise a lot once your dog does listen to the command, so you set the dog up for success while keeping them very happy about themselves.
 
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