This is Deva, our new 4 month old Pointer pup. This is her first steadiness session on the checkcord (basically the beginning of her Magic Brushpile work, http://higginsgundogs.com/about-us/our-method/method-flowchart/ ) and the beginning of her steadiness training. Before this, as per the flowchart, she learned how to hunt and find birds, she handles well in the field, likes the gun and has a nice “here” command on the checkcord.
The most important thing to watch here is the checkcord work. Once she finds a bird and decelerates, (gets careful and stealthy), I don’t want to have the checkcord tight. Watch the checkcords shadow. A loose checkcord means she is choosing to be careful. If I have to constantly restrain her, she isn’t learning anything.
You’ll see here, we are introducing the Flush/Stop cue. She is allowed to flush the birds but only on my verbal “alright”. If some prefer that the shooter flushes the birds, just keep her there while the shooter goes in and flushes.
At this stage, the shooter does the retrieve. Dogs see retrieving as chasing birds. I don’t want to confuse her here. Retrieving comes last in the training process, after steadiness. You’ll notice in the video, she does not realize the shooter is going to do the retrieve, bringing her bird back and giving it to her. 3 birds later, she understood the teamwork and stood, solid as a rock.
The collar she is wearing is a GPS collar. No e-collars, commands or hand signals are used.
Here is a video showing how I train handlers. Because I create human and dog hunting teams, it’s important that each member understand their role and responsibilities. Once the dog understands how to be successful with our unique hunting strategy, it’s time to train the owner/handlers.
Special thanks to Katy Stuehm of Griffonpoint kennel, the breeder of Cabi, Reagan Olivares, shooter supreme, Griffinpoint Cabi and of course Joe Drew for giving me the opportunity to do my magic.
Since I put up the most recent “Magic Brushpile” video, ( http://youtu.be/8vDfeE1405c ) there has been a lot of interest in what I call the “bang machine” (Zinger launcher). I know, they’re expensive. With electronics, about $600. That’s why I’ve started a bang machine rental program.
If this is something you might be interested in, or you’d like more information, please let me know.
In order to help understand this “Magic Brushpile” video, please follow the link below. It will take you to the flowchart of the Higgins Method. http://higginsgundogs.com/about-us/our-method/method-flowchart/
The Higgins Method of gun dog training is unique. Unlike obedience based training methods, my method is based on building trust and cooperation. In this video, you’ll watch a young dog learn and begin to understand in one session, a new hunting strategy. Steady to flush, shot and fall.
Keep in mind, what I did with the dog in the “Magic Brushpile” video can take a few sessions. In the video I ran through it quickly so people could see the power of the Brushpile. Don’t be concerned if, with some dogs, it takes 10 or more sessions. There is no hurry.
I have been getting a lot of feedback about the MBP video. I’ve included here, answers to some of the questions people have as they put the “Magic Brushpile” training into practice.
Use the right length check cord, 15 feet. Watch my MBP video again. There I demonstrate the correct use of the check cord. Practice manipulating the check cord. Hook it to your training buddy (a human), and work him or her on the MBP. It’s fun and you both might learn something. This is important. Your job as handler is to control the slack or lack of slack in the check cord with good timing. The check cord is our tool of communication.
When I’m working a dog on the MBP, to help clients understand, I break it up into four goals. First I want to see the dog, while on the check cord, stop himself instead of me using the check cord to stop him. Once he demonstrates that to me three or four times, with many dogs, we’re done for the day. The second goal is for the dog to stop himself after I drop the check cord. I bring him up to about where he has been stopping himself, and gently drop the cord, within a couple of steps, he should stop himself. I will then step on the check cord just before I launch the bird (I don’t want him breaking or moving toward the bird). I now want him to demonstrate this to me three or four times. The third goal is for the dog to stop and defer while the shooter walks out front. This is done with the handler back to managing the check cord again. You need to be there if he needs help (I don’t want him breaking or moving toward the bird). Once he demonstrates that he will stop himself and defer while the shooter walks to front, (remember, at this point, the handler is holding the check cord), I want him to show me a couple more times. Now we’re ready for the final goal. I start him with the check cord and when I get near to the area where he has been stopping, I drop the check cord. If he understands, he will stop on his own and defer while the shooter walks to front, the bird is launched, the gun goes off, the bird hits the ground and the shooter brings the bird and gives it to the dog. Shooters remember, you need to be walking two or three paces behind and to the side 30 to 50 feet of the handler. On the walkup, I don’t want you in the dogs peripheral vision. I want his focus on the MBP.
(1) shooter out front while handler check cords the dog toward the MBP.
(2) Shooter out front, handler drops check cord just before dog stops (then steps on the cord just before bird is launched).
(3) Shooter now behind and to the side while handler check cords the dog toward the MBP. If the dog understands, it should “defer” to the shooter (trusting, asking for help).
(4) Handler starts the dog toward the MPB and drops the cord. Dog should stop, defer to the shooter and remain steady through SWSF and the return of the bird.
Watch my “Magic Brushpile” video 10 more times. There is a ton of information there. Something really important is how I manipulate the check cord. Handlers need to be in touch with the dog. The check cord is our connection. Talk to them with it.
Keep the questions coming.
If you would like to help support and promote the Higgins Method of gundog training, please consider donating to the cause. We will continue to offer our unique content to help dogs and their owners work together.
Higgins Gundogs provides gundog and owner training, using quiet, low pressure techniques based on dog psychology. We offer guide service in Lincoln, CA, as well as seminars, online video training, and of course our renown Higgins Remote Releaser. Our goal is to give you the tools, knowledge and confidence to train and handle your hunting dog yourself. Thanks for visiting us.