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Hello fellow V owners,

This is my first post, and the first and only forum that I am a part of. I was glad to find this site dedicated to the Vizsla and wish I had found it sooner. My question involves training a puppy. My little guy, George, is 15 weeks old. I have purchased "Game Dog" and "Gun Dog", and had figured that I would need to use a combo of both because a Vizsla is so versatile. The one thing "Game Dog" stresses is not to move on to a new command until the previous one is learned very well. George is very good at sit, stay, come, and heel. He also responds well to the single blast on the whistle for sit and double blast for come. My question is what should my next step be? If I continue with Game Dog plan, it would be learning directions (although he is not overly eager to retrieve all the time). Or should I introduce the "whoa" command and a wing on a string. I constructed a pigeon hut and will have live birds on hand when it will be necessary, but I am just curious of what my next step should be, and if he is where he should be at his age. Any advise is very much appreciated!

-Nick
 

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our little friend is 4 months old. So a little older then yours!

Saturday we had a familyday, organized by the breeder.
The breeder organized a gundog test. To see if the dog is interesting in birds.

In the field where two pheasants. When it was our turn to go in the fields the breeder said: 'he is young, don't expect anything'.. but Drago surprised us. He perfectly pointed the pheasants! And we were very very proud!!
According to the breeder he has a lot of passion to work for us. I asked him want kind of training we should do. He said; your focus should be on obedience.
At this young age you can't expect to much from your doggy. Yesterday at the doggy training our trainer agreed. We should not push him to retrieve stuff. We can do that, but after his turns to 9 months.

So what we do atm is sit, stay, down, follow, come-whistle and sit-whistle.
We even practice him making a 'smell-trace'.This can be done with some pieces of meet or fish. At the end of the trace Drago will find something very tasty... later on we will take the 'candy' away and replace it for a dummy.

Last game we play with him is playing with the Frisbee. Drago loves to run and search for it and in the end to retrieve it!
 

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Nick

A 15 weeks old, with all that he's accomplished, I would dial it down a notch and just let him explore himself. Have lots of fun with him.

Begin to introduce the whoa, and get him on live birds, in cages and maybe a launcher ( Don't let him get too close to the launcher the first few times, or it may startle him). keep up the obediance work in short sessions and avoid burning him out. If he hasn't been exposed to water work, start to introduce him to water.
Don't expect a whole lot out of him on the birds, but expect to be pleasantly surprised. Keep your expectations low and just let him have fun.
In Wolter's book, excellent resources, the progression path is based on age, but it doesn't have to be followed too dogmatically. If you're ready to introduce the next lesson play with the timeline a little bit. I wouldn't begin the blind retrieval work until the natural retrieve instinct is in high gear.
Play around with moving him by direction, either hand or whistle, but keep the pressure very low.
The whoa is more easily introduced and enforced from the ground, or table if you use the NAVHDA Green Book. Birds in cages are excellent for this, and provide a lot of opportunity to interact and instill the lessons. I find it's easier to control the variables when the bird is in a cage, and the dog is walked up to it.
The wing on a string is to begin to develop/reinforce the pointing process by sight and movement. I think you're going to find that the wing on string exercise will be short lived with your pup. All of my V's very quickly figured out that the rod was causing the movement and switched their attention to stopping the rod to get the wing.

Keep changing his retrieval toy, and if necessary apply some game scent to it to increase his interest. Use any object you can find. Let him develop the retrieve to the best of his natural ability. If you can get some Nerf footballs the are really good because they are about the same size as the birds he will be retrieving one day.
I personally wouldn't spend a lot of time on the blind retrieve. That's me though. I can get my V's through the water lillies and grass with a handful of rocks.

I would be taking George out to the woods and starting to introduce him to his "workplace", and gently work all of the commands into the outings.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the advice guys! I really appreciate it. I took George out this morning to the land he will mostly hunt (where I built the pigeon shed). We were out for a few hours and he loved it. He didn't find any birds, but I don't think he was actively searching. He just had a lot of fun running around, and I practiced his obedience drills while he was in the field which he responded well.
I guess I need to get some live birds to introduce to him. Does anyone know a good place to get homing pigeons from? I am going to do the wing on a string soon, but like Gunnr said I'm sure that won't last long and I'll need some real birds. Thanks.
 

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Seems like u are on the right path. A few things I would do is:

Forget the wing on a string completely. It has nothing to do with a bird dog and scent pointing. In fact it accomplishes the opposite. You are reinforcing sight pointing not scent pointing. It's great for that first puppy point picture but that is it.

As your dog is still very young don't over whelm him with commands at 15 weeks all he needs is come and kennel. He needs canine and strange human socialization with dogs that are non aggressive and kind people. Take him to parks, petsmart, into the woods, and fields. Right now it's about fun and exploring the world.

Also I would never teach a gun dog to sit or down until they are years old and polished gun dogs. While they are basic obedience commands, you do not want a young dog in training or in a hunt test or field trial to sit or lay down on point. It can and will happen. Leave sitting to the retriever guys.(as in Labrador, goldens, etc)

A good video to assist you is perfect start. Google it it's good. Also join a local NAVHDA and your local v club

Good luck in your training
 
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