• Edward A. Jesson posted an update in the group HGD Community 3 days, 23 hours ago

    Brad,

    Thanks for taking the time to talk to me the other day about my gun shy pointer. As a quick follow up (to you and to anyone else who might have experience with this!) when letting him be a puppy again, i.e. chase birds, potentially catch a few, is it best for me to be throwing the birds (be it quail or pigeons) or should I let him find planted birds “naturally”?

    • Hello Ed.
      He needs to find planted birds naturally. Good birds that will fly when pressured by the dog. He needs to catch a few. We need to help him forget the negative association he made between hunting and that loud noise. We do this by building drive. When we have him bumping, chasing and having fun again, we begin reassociating the bang (at a distance) at the most exciting time, a split second before he catches a bird. His drive for the bird must be higher than his fear of the gunshot.

  • Kepa posted an update in the group HGD Community 1 week ago

    Hunting with Kepa (Higgins Gundog’s)
    2016-2017 Season Highlights

  • sandy jordan posted an update in the group HGD Community 1 week ago

    PS..i watched your video and read the article…i know you’re going to roll your eyes when i say this, but i think he sometimes has trouble with mouthfeel…especially if there are too many loose feathers in his mouth…

  • sandy jordan posted an update in the group HGD Community 1 week ago

    Brad, I’ve got a guy (a good shooter) ready to train with me…as i understand it, when Brock stops i get within his peripheral vision then close enough to hold the check cord…once the shooter is in position i encourage Brock to come with me for the flush, hold him until the shooter brings down the bird, then encourage him to retrieve it…
    While he usually is pretty reliable retrieving, this past week he seemed reluctant to carry the bird back to me without a lot of encouragement…any suggestions there?

    • Stop pressuring (encouraging) the dog to retrieve. I never have to ask for a retrieve. When we’re ready to practice retrieving, I let the dog go on the fall and walk away in the opposite direction. More on that later.

      Back to your main question. You’re working on steadiness and building trust. Stay with the dog (on the check cord) and have the SHOOTER retrieve the bird back and give it to the dog. The shooter walks back to the dogs and when about 5 feet from the dog, tosses the bird to the ground at his feet. The dog is not released to retrieve yet. This checkcord work is building trust, the foundation of my method. Once the dog has the bird, go for a walk with him. let him carry his bird if he likes. Retrieving is not a problem unless you make it one. By the time he is steady, he will retrieve naturally. Retrieving is simply a byproduct of trust.

  • sandy jordan posted an update in the group HGD Community 1 week, 2 days ago

    Brad, you were almost right that Brock would hold steady with 5 more birds…got 5 hen pheasants as you suggested…he jumped the first one and chased it about 100 yes, thru the fence and caught it in the
    drainage along the road..pointed the next 4 birds!! I was alone so I flushed the birds, shot (missed) while he HELD STEADY! He waited for release on 2 and bolted after the other 2 after the gunshots…😃

  • marc posted an update in the group HGD Community 1 week, 4 days ago

    Great post Brad. Here’s an example of Mauser (on his 2nd birthday) first scenting a pheasant from the hedgerow, then stalking it until he decides he’s close enough. I offer him only praise, and he was rewarded with the bird. He does not know the word “whoa”, although I catch myself saying it sometimes! He is trained with your methods, and we are a happy team!

    • Looks good Marc. Be sure he remains steady to flush. Remember rule #2. On any flush, don’t look at the bird, look at your dog first. Make sure he remains steady to flush before you turn to shoot the bird.

      • Thanks Brad. I believe he remained steady until the first shot. He was on the move during the second, for sure. That was the first time I missed with the first shot (way behind it!). I’ll pay more attention next time to him the next time!

    • No problem there Marc. He waited for the first shot which was his release cue. This works well in wild bird hunting. The second shot is safe because there will be plenty of room between the bird and the dog for a safe shot. After just a few more birds, he will teach himself to be steady to shot and he will release himself on the fall.

  • Brad Higgins posted an update in the group HGD Community 2 weeks, 1 day ago

    I talk about how important stalking is when it comes to predators and their prey. Conventional trainers (everyone but me  ), believe that any movement after scenting the bird is “creeping” and is a major sin. Their rule is that a dog must “stop at first scent”. These people are missing out on the best part of the hunt, the stalk.

    The difference between “creeping” and stalking in the intent. If the dog is moving forward with the intent to flush, catch or chase the bird, then I would agree, their word “creeping” is a bad thing. Stalking is completely different. The dog moves forward cautiously after the initial point with intent to stop the birds from running and set them up for the flush. This is the art of the hunt. He must move forward carefully, just enough to stop the birds from running and set them up for the flush. He must be careful though. If he is careless or pushes too much, he knows the birds will flush prematurely and all is lost. This is where we come in to help him be successful in this new hunting strategy. Once the bird or birds are set, he has learned to wait for the shooters verbal cue to flush/stop, (the Higgins Gundog’s strategy). 

    Stalking is the ultimate in style, intensity and drive. When a dog points the prey, it’s not the end of their bird work, it is only the beginning. Here is a video showing how the pros do it. This is an Ethiopian wolf.

  • BarryD posted an update in the group HGD Community 3 weeks, 2 days ago

    Oh now I’m confused. I thought I was part of the Community before, but according to the page, I just joined.

    Hi, everyone!

    Adrian is learning to live in town. Her temperament is great, and I have been taking her out in the hills with the other two dogs. She checks in with me regularly and handles beautifully with little effort on my part. She’s learning a recall quickly and while she’s a curious and independent dog, she’s also as biddable as any dog I’ve ever seen, probably better than any.

    More to come…

  • Kepa posted an update in the group HGD Community 3 weeks, 5 days ago

    Hunting with Kepa (Higgins Gundogs)
    The Higgins Method – The Stop to Flush Strategy, why and how it works, demonstated by Kepa on Valley Quail in the following video.

    By Reagan Olivares
    Aloha and Happy Hunting

  • Brad Higgins posted an update in the group HGD Community 1 month ago


    In this video, Josie has just begun learning her new strategy. Instead of smelling a bird, accelerating, flushing and chasing, she has become stealthy and careful.

    To get to this point, first, we released birds in the hunting field and turned her loose to learn about hunting and the prey (birds). She was allowed to build the necessary associations to success (that smell is the scent of a bird, scent moves downwind, the differences between air scent and ground scent, etc.). Once the birds taught her how to hunt, we needed to change her strategy of bumping and chasing, to one that included us. We did this by showing her that we can be a useful addition. We have the ability to kill her bird for her.

    In this video, she can be seen learning to manage her bird including stalking and pointing. She was given total freedom to make decisions and learn from the bird. If she got too pushy, the bird would have left causing her to fail. Keep in mind that she points for a reason. It is simply a natural pause before the pounce. If we expect the dog to point (pause), then, in order for her to show us all of her natural drive, intensity and style, we must allow her the reward of the flush. All of our Higgins trained gundogs are allowed to flush the birds but only after our verbal “alright” cue. We want an aggressive flush followed by an immediate stop on flush. We call it the “flush/stop” cue.

    Josie did a nice job and even included a couple of nice natural retrieves. With the Higgins Method of learning, all of this is accomplished in a couple of days, and is remembered forever.

    To learn more please visit us at http://www.HigginsGundogs.com

  • Kepa posted an update in the group HGD Community 1 month, 2 weeks ago

    Hunting with Kepa , Higgins Gun Dogs

    The Higgins Method is a steadiness strategy based on trust. Not obedience, e-collars, or whoa commands. Kepa demonstrates some intense mental steadiness to wing, shot, and fall on wild valley quail. Mental steadiness at this level can only be achieved by leaving the dog alone and trusting that he or she knows how to handle the situation. When a Higgins Gundog needs your help, it will ask for it. Then, you go and you do everything in your power to get that bird in his or her mouth. This is how a great hunting partnership between you and your dog is started.

    Trust is a two way street. Be sure you show your dog that he or she can trust that you will do the right things to get that bird in his or her mouth. The dog will give you everything he or she has every time you go in the field . Aloha

    By – Reagan Olivares
    Happy Hunting to all Higgins Gun Dogs

  • JB joined the group HGD Community 2 months ago

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