Higgins Gundogs & The Higgins Method

I’ve been going to a few of the gundog training forums to answer questions about our method of training. It’s obvious most don’t understand the differences in our dogs and our training. Here is a copy of a recent post I submitted. It’s in response to questions about field trials and obedience training.

Lets start with some foundational differences. In my training and breeding
program, I want dogs with a good balance between drive and cooperation. I don’t
want the threat of an e-collar to always be necessary for compliance. Don’t get
me wrong, I use e-collars. They are necessary for many of the dogs bred in this country.
Here, dogs are bred for drive. Most trainers deal with any lack of cooperation by
adding additional stress with obedience and e-collars.

We all have different venues. Some like hunt tests, some like horseback or
walking field trials, for some it’s tournament hunting and others like hunting
wild or released birds. My dogs are specialists. They and their owners work
together and hunt birds, wild or released. To hunt with a dog that is free to
make the choices necessary (stop to flush, steady to wing, shot & kill) to get
the bird killed is a different venue. No one has higher expectations of the dogs
and the quality of the hunt than me. I call it classic hunting. It’s back to the
beginning. It’s the reason all the other “games” were developed.

Toward this end, even my breeding program is unique. All of my dogs are imports.
I needed dogs that had high drive but were also bred to be cooperative. Dogs
whose primary goal would be to successfully get a bird, not simply do what is
necessary to avoid the pressure of an e-collar.

The answer was falconry dogs. As some of you may know, I have hunted with dogs
and hawks/falcons for 40 years. I looked to the UK where classic falconry over
dogs is still practiced by some of the old school masters. The dogs used have
been bred for generations to cooperate in the hunt. I found some of the best
falconry dogs in the world in Scotland. They turned out to be all I could have
hoped for and more.

My venue and my goal is to promote foothunting over classy dogs. So much so that
I won’t sell one of my dogs to an owner whose primary goal is to field trial or hunt
test him. There is simply too much to lose with these special dogs. 

Well, I’ve ranted enough. Everyone has their own style and goals. These are
some of mine.

Brad Higgins
Higgins Gundogs


About the author
Brad Higgins, professional dog trainer and creator of the unique Higgins Method of dog/handler training.

One Comment on "Higgins Gundogs & The Higgins Method"

  1. Hi Brad .I have just discovered your web site and can relate to what you are saying my hunting buddy’s and myself have impoted a top Drahthaar in pup bitch , see Drahthaar Australia website that has been set up . We now have a 15 month dog each . I have been use ing G . Hickoks method s and things are ok ? But is it to late to use your methods. Darren

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