• marc posted an update in the group HGD Community 2 months, 1 week 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.

      • marc replied 2 months ago

        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 months, 1 week 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 2 months, 3 weeks 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 2 months, 3 weeks 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 3 months 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 3 months, 1 week 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

    • Hello Timrau3030, thanks for joining the community. Please feel free to comment, ask questions, etc. We need to get some dialog going here.

      Thanks again for joining.


  • Brad Higgins posted an update in the group HGD Community 4 months, 3 weeks ago

    Hello everyone. Our new certification program is up and running. Here is a link to how it works. Let me know what you think. At this time, I’m working on coming up with a cool award, might be a plaque, a trophy or something else. In any case, it will be unique.

    [bpfb_link url=’http://higginsgundogs.com/higgins-partnership-certifications/’ title=’Higgins Partnership Tests & Certifications | Higgins Gundogs’ image=”]


    • Brad, will we be able to earn these by sending videos to you?

      • Yes, we have a program where you can send in videos covering the specific steps to earning titles.


    • I’m really liking the way it’s broken out.

      Also like the term “defer walk.” This makes people think about deferral and what that means.

      The Walk has been a game changer for the way I can relate to and handle dogs, including strays. I’ve used it on lost dogs I’ve run across, from a pit bull to a herder. It works.

      The most dramatic incident, though, was when I was out hunting and I heard a strange howl from the cliffs above me. At first, I thought it was some predator, but when I looked, it was a German Shorthair who saw me with my dogs and was calling for help.

      I climbed up to see what was going on, and I found that he was on a shaky chunk of lava. Big, loose lava rocks covered the hillside, and it seems that he had run out into the loose rock, but when he felt how unstable they were, he froze. He refused to move off the rock he was standing on.

      Fortunately, I’d put a check cord in my vest. I climbed up the shaky rock to him and put the cord on him. Then I led him off the rocks, doing the closest thing to the Walk that I could under the circumstances. With me in the lead, he had the trust to take a step, then another step, then another, until I got him off the rock pile. I was able to lead him another mile or so back to my Jeep, with his trust.

      He had an e-collar on him with a dead battery, so I figured he was probably out hunting. I called the phone number on his collar and it was disconnected. I put him in the back of my Jeep with my dogs and apart from the fact that he was an intact male and one of mine was also, he seemed happy to have someone taking care of him. Again, he seemed to have innate trust in the guy who had done the Walk with him on those unstable rocks and beyond. Because both dogs would defer to me, I was able to manage the male-male stuff immediately with an “ach” and a look or two.

      I had no idea what to do but I figured I might as well drive back out to the pavement and figure it out there instead of in the dirt as the sun was setting. As I approached the main road, I saw a mass of 4×4 vehicles assembling like they were going out to look for something or someone, so, on a hunch, I drove over and asked the first person I saw, “Hey, you guys aren’t looking for a German Shorthair, are you?”

      The guy’s eyes lit up and he said, “Yeah! Have you seen him?”

      I said, “Yes,” and laughed to myself.

      “Do you know where he is?”

      “Yeah.” He asked where. Then I laughed out loud and pointed. “He’s right there in the back of the Jeep.”

      A few other people had walked over and they were almost dancing with joy when they saw him and that he was okay.

      They told me the dog had been lost the evening before, and they thought he might have been taken by coyotes. It seems he must have been standing on that rock, afraid to move, for a whole day!

      There are many “tools” in the toolkit of dog handling, and they all have important applications. But I have to say, the Defer Walk and related stuff like space claiming, have completely changed the way I am able to handle dogs and gain their trust quickly.

  • Katy Stuehm posted an update in the group HGD Community 5 months, 1 week ago

    Look at these calm puppies managing their energy!
    Yesterday we had our Puppy Partnership Clinic here, and it was great. So nice to meet Ky, Kourtney, Yvonne, Kevin, and Marie and their pups!
    Of course Stewart and Kyle have been here before, and it was wonderful to see how their pups are coming along.
    This clinic is a super way to help owners and their pups connect. We worked on all of the skills in Brad’s Puppy Partnership certification, which resulted in some very well behaved owners and their pups, haha.
    Pups from left to right: Tana Nichols, Bella Cheek, Huck Lusby, and Belle Kranjack. Such a great bunch of pups and their owners.

  • Brad Higgins posted an update in the group HGD Community 5 months, 2 weeks ago

    Here is Alex helping out in the brooder building this morning. We’ve developed a strain of quail that are perfect for dog training and hunting. Very wild acting birds. They tend to stay in the general area where they were released, they don’t bury themselves in heavy cover and they flush aggressively at the slightest pressure.

    Eggs from the flight pens are collected twice a day. When enough eggs are collected (600+/-), they go into the incubators. 17 days later they hatch and are moved to the brooder shed (with Alex’s or Basso’s help of course). Six weeks later they’re transferred out to the flight pens where the process begins again.


  • Kepa posted an update in the group HGD Community 6 months ago

    Hunting with Kepa ( Higgins Gun Dog ) 2016 – 2017 Season Highlights

    We had a great season , harvested a total of 126 birds and shot over a case of shells , all praise goes to my Higgins Gun Dog Kepa , i could not have done it without him . And thanks to Brad Higgins for his unique method that made Kepa and I such great hunting partners .
    Aloha and Happy Hunting

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