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Discussion Starter #1
I have a question or two from a non hunter who wants to their pup to learn some hunting basics. I have read Gun Dog by Wolters & How to help Gun Dogs Train Themselves by Bailey. Pumpkin spends a good bit of time in the woods on our property & by/in the creek. She points naturally (not usually at birds), but is also a crazy digger! I have been discouraging it, which Bailey says to do, primarily so she doesn't translate diggin in the woods to being OK to dig in the yard, plants etc. From a hunter's perspective, should all diggin be discouraged as it relates to hunting training? Pumkin will find holes, and I'll turn around, and the only thing you can see is here rear end & tail sticking up out of the ground! 5 seconds is all it takes. I'm waiting 4herto come out with an angry animal attached to her nose! Also, Pumpkin is now 13 wks. Are their any books on how to use/introduce a whistle, how many whistles for certain commands etc.? Would it be better for me to find a trainer who knows something about hunting, rather than just standard obedience? I'm introducing basic commands, but our sit & come is iffy without treats. What age to begin more fromal sessions? Thanks so much!
 

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Hi Kelly,

I am by no means an expert but just through experience I have learnt not to push too much when they are pups. My V is 7 months old and only now am I starting to see his concentration levels rise and him take in what I am teaching him. Any training I did before this was quite light and more around general manners.

We alternate between obedience and gundog training and I find the gundog side of things really hard. We started obedience at 12 weeks but gundog training only this month. At first the obedience wasn't really obedience just about having fun with your puppy and them socialising with others.

To get started I used a whistle from the beginning with 3 pips as a recall. You'll find they pick this up pretty quick and it's really useful on walks.

You can practice the retrieve trying to make sure the dog stays still when you first throw the dummy then goes for the retrieve when you say.

If you can find a gundog training that would be great. Make sure they aren't too strict as I think this can be an issue. Try and get her booked into some general obedience classes too.

Sure someone on here knows a bit more about the gundog side of things but above is the experience I've had with my pup.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks chestersmu! Useful information :) I know Pumpkin is still very, very young, but I wanted to just get her used to certain things like the whistle. Where do you buy them? We do have a store fairly close that specializes in all things hunting & hunting dog related. Maybe there? I have found a few gun dog trainers, but at least one of them is VERY pricey. I'm not saying the price isn't warranted, but at this stage, I am just thinking about very basic training that helps lay the foundation for when Pumpkin is more mature physically & mentally. For example, I don't want to introduce words or signals that serve to confuse her later. Thanks for the input!
 

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Kellygh

Everything really depends on far you want to go.

The book you have by Richard Wolters is a very good book. If you analyze Pumpkin, where is she timeline wise with Wolters' schedule?

Dogs will dig, V's being no exception. You just kind of hope they grow out of it.

Now for some reality.
Pumpkin was born with the "basics". Left on her own, instinct and drive would take over, and she'd hunt something. Maybe not what you want, but she's going to hunt.
You don't teach a dog to hunt, you teach it to hunt with you.
Everything is about control and loss of control. A hard hitting, driving dog is just on the edge of no control. What this means is that the dog is on it's own. It has the nose, and instincts, so it has to be given it's head and let go. Lot of trust here.
This doesn't mean that it isn't obedient, and can't be called back at a moments notice. It just means it's out there working on it's own, but with you at the same time. Be prepared to meet the dog 1/2 way to the best of physical abilities.

Pumpkin is old enough now to be introduced to birds. Get some poultry carriers, some quail/pigeon harnesses, a collar with a bell or electronic tone and start. Wolters book outlines it very well.
It's also time to up her game so to speak. Start working her at heel, and on the check cord. Short sessions done throughout the day.
Work the fetch and retrieve, and make sure to seperate them in her mind, and yours. Fetch is the send, retrieve the return.
Get some dead quail, if you can, and start dragging them around the yard. Let Pumpkin out, and watch her. Let her work out the scent on her own. maybe at the end of the scent trail put some quail in a poultry carrier.

As for the obedience side. It can't be understated that Pumpkin will have to be solid. That is your end goal.
Everything most dogs are expected to do on a leash, Pumpkin will have to do off the leash, at a distance, and sometimes out of sight. That is your objective. You can drop the "sit" command. Exchange it with the "Stay" command.
If you've been commanding "sit stay" to make Pumpkin sit and stay in one spot. You might want to stop doing that. Drop the sit part, or she may sit down on a point when you command the stay some day.

I'm not a "whistle guy". I find them very annoying in the field, and they aren't really necessary. I just roll along with the dog, a voice command here and there, some clapping and a whistle to bring them in, but mostly it's pretty quiet.
That's me though.

Don't be afraid to train your own dog. Hook up with your local Vizsla club and start doing hunt tests and derby's and fun runs with Pumpkin. Go slow, use lots of praise and lots of birds.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks so much, Gunnr, for the feedback! I have a lot of questions, but I have been short on time (like now). I just wanted to thank you, and I hope to have some time in the next day or so to respond, with semi-coherent thought/?s, without screaming kids etc. around me :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Going to try and post a pic of Pumpkin here.. My youngest daughter looked at the eyes (that caught the flash), and said "Pumpkin is a monster." If nothing happens or something weird posts, I apologize.
 

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Not a monster, though lol--totally adorable, and looks like a really sharp dog from the intensity of the gaze and posture.
 
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