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Hi Folks--
I have been reading the forums for quite a while now and have received quite a bit of useful advice, however, I have a question of my own. My 16 month old boy Jozsi (Joz) just came back from a month of bird hunting instruction and now he is in my hands and I would love some more advice on the type of continued training I should be doing with him. Our trainer is very well sought after and gave me many good instructions for continuation of his training, but I hate to relentlessly bug him with questions and new ideas, plus he mainly trains setters so some more specific advice with a V would be useful. Joz is extremely excited when it comes to birds and absolutely loves to retrieve, however, he is not showing too much instinct for pointing. I have 2 frozen birds, one of which is a pheasant which I have not begun using yet. I mainly do retrieval and also plant the bird and bring him out on a 30ft lead wondering (drunkenly) through the field in efforts to help him quarter and get used to that. He is doing excellent at this. Recall is very good too, both "here" as well as whistle is used. Overhead gun shot is good, at least with a .22 pistol. I have not fired a shotgun above him yet.
Does anyone have any other tips, ideas, comments that could help us out. This will be his first season and I really want to keep it fun for him so he remains excited, but I also would like to have a bit of control. He has been on live birds while away, I have no access to this.

Thanks!
 

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Look into joing a local club; ie. North American Versitile Hunting Dog Assoc. (NAVHDA) or something similar. You can also usually obtain live birds through someone at one of these clubs or they can at least "point" you in the right direction.

I attend one of their NA tests a couple weeks ago and spent a lot of time just talking to advanced bird dog handlers learning from them.

Don't worry too much about "quartering" V's are pointers not springers. Your pup doesn't have to have a mechanical cast/search pattern. Let your dog come up with his own search patters. When he gets better/older he will learn to use the wind, the terrain, and his nose to search out the most likely places where the birds are.

When it comes to gunfire, the technique that I am using is to get Strider completely focused on a dead bird, get him all psyched up, throw it into the air and have my son shoot his 20 ga. 50 yds + away as Strider is running mach 3 out to the bird. He doesn't even "hear" the gunshot. As he gets better, I just keep moving the gun in closer and closer. He is so in the zone, he doesn't know it is there.

I can't stress too much to seek out others in your region with the same passions. Being able to go to meetings and training events is the best way to train you and your V.
Good Luck,
Tim
 
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