Partridge Gone Wild

Here is a short video of some of our training partridge. These birds are about as close to wild as you can get.

Good dog work depends on good, wild acting birds. No dog will ever come close to catching one of these. I often invite them to try.

 

 


The Higgins Method and the Magic Brushpile

Here is a new “Magic Brushpile” video. Please feel free to comment. I also added new video links within the flowchart.

http://higginsgundogs.com/about-us/our-method/method-flowchart/

Here is the text that accompanies the video.

 

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.

So it’s:

(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.

Higgins


Glencuan Will Learning the “Stop Moving” Cue

Here is a short video of Will working on the whistle cued, “Stop Moving”. This will be necessary information when we begin asking him to flush the birds then immediately stop moving (no chasing). Remember, whenever possible, we don’t tell the dog’s what to do (that’s obedience, the removal of free will), we want to tell them what to stop doing. In other words, we want them to use their free will and try a different strategy for success. They already know how to do this. It’s inherent in all predators.


Ruger Managing a Running Chukar

Here is Ruger’s first experience learning to manage a running chukar. His job here, as with all running birds, is to manage the bird with just enough pressure to get it to stop, but not so much as to make it flush. If you look closely, you can see the bird running in front of the dog. You can also hear me helping him control his energy. He listens and responds to my timing and the tone of my voice. I don’t use any type of “whoa” training in my program so if Ruger decided to break and try to catch or chase the bird, he is free to do so, and he knows it. He did a great job. He managed the bird carefully and chose to stop at the perfect time (he was not stopped by the dragging check cord). The bird stopped running and held for the shooter. Ruger was then steady to wing and shot. A great example of trust and free will. He knows I’m there to help him make successful decisions. Once the bird was shot, he was released to retrieve (successfully get the bird in his mouth).


Hunt Training

I’m in the process of categorizing some of our training videos for the upcoming member section. Here is one that shows a young dog just finishing up the magic brushpile work and is now back in the field. I’ve also included here, a link to the flowchart so you can see just where she is in her training.

http://higginsgundogs.com/about-us/our-method/method-flowchart/

Please feel free to post any questions or comments.

Back to the Field, Video #2 from Higgins Gundogs on Vimeo.


Gamekeeping, Pheasant Restoration

Here is a link to our Gamekeeping video.


VIDEO: Ithaca, From 8 Week Old Pup to SWSF

 

Here is a recent video of one of our young pups. She has not been introduced to an e-collar or any kind of stand or “whoa” command. She has been trained by the birds and she knows she needs me to be successful (getting the bird in her mouth). Get pushy and the reward leaves. Wait (defer to the shooter), ask me to go out front, and I’ll kill the bird and share it with you.

You’ll see some interesting dog thinkin’ here. This pup chases a bird, gives up, comes back and asks for a do-over. We see this a lot in the beginning, when dogs are learning they need us.

Brad Higgins

Higgins Gundogs


VIDEO: Glen, Learning to Hunt

This is a recent video of our new pup from Scotland. It begins when he was 12 weeks old and covers a four week time frame. He is now 16 weeks old and has had a lot of fun learning to hunt and manage his birds. No obedience, commands or pressure. We have the gun introduced and are now shooting birds over him. He loves quail and partridge and has become a bold, confident hunter. He even retrieved his first pheasant this week. I shot it over him but didn’t kill it cleanly. He found it far out in heavy cover and brought it back alive.

He is now ready to begin learning about steadiness. We’ll start with the Magic Brushpile.