• Brad Higgins uploaded 1 new audio to HGD Community 2 weeks ago

    Here is an excerpt from a recent interview. Special thanks to Alan Peterson for putting this together.

    If you like it, let me know. We can start doing a podcast.

  • Brad Higgins posted a new activity comment 1 month, 1 week ago

    Yes, I would work him on some good flying, pen raised birds. When he points, be quiet, turn around and leave. See what he chooses to do. If you’re not interested in WHY he blinks, you will fail.

  • Brad Higgins posted a new activity comment 1 month, 2 weeks ago

    Hello John. I see this problem with dogs that have been pressured around birds. Easy to fix in most cases. First we need to know exactly what makes him leave the bird. Is it your approach, did the bird move, did you say anything, is it after a certain amount of time, etc. There is a specific negative association that is causing him to blink. Any ideas?

    • All I know now is that he holds Point for a few seconds, then releases without me saying anything. Could be that he does so when I’m walking up on him, but he releases so quickly that it’s hard to tell. Should I be diagnosing him further with pen birds? Tough to tell when he’s on wild bird dog because I can’t see what the bird is doing.

      • Yes, I would work him on some good flying, pen raised birds. When he points, be quiet, turn around and leave. See what he chooses to do. If you’re not interested in WHY he blinks, you will fail.

  • Katy and Profile picture of Brad HigginsBrad Higgins are now friends 1 month, 2 weeks ago

  • Brad Higgins posted a new activity comment 1 month, 2 weeks ago

    Hello Marc,

    All in all, nice work. I’d like to go through it with you. First, at 34 seconds in, you swung on the bird before looking at the dog first. Rule #1, Always be looking at the dog on flush. You must be certain he is steady on the flush before looking at the bird. Only takes a split second. This is the hardest thing for us hunters to do. We want to hurry and get our eyes on the target. Slow down. There is plenty of time. Also, I would have probably walked out wide and approached the bird from the right. Would have beed easier to keep my eye on the dog at the flush.

    After you sent the dog for the retrieve the first time (39 seconds in), you walked toward him. Remember what I said. Send him, turn around and walk away. He did not bring it to you the first time because you did not walk away and wait. I like what you did then. You sent him back in and at 2:17, you walked away and waited. Out he came with the bird. Good work.

    • Thanks for the excellent debrief Brad. I shoot lefty, so approaching from the left is a better sight window for me. This is our first few times on pheasant in fields. I have been an upland ruffed grouse for my entire life (as is young Mauser). That’s where I’ve developed the “quick draw”. To me, that was actually slow! I will concentrate on paying attention to Mauser on flush. He caught a weak cock bird last week, and he’s probably thinking he can catch them without me. I still have some quail in my Johnny house at my place, and extra hay bales. Time for a “magic hay bale” lesson session. Thanks again for pointing out my errors!

  • Here is an excerpt from a recent interview I did. It’s about how dogs see obedience and the pressure associated with it.

  • Brad Higgins posted a new activity comment 1 month, 3 weeks ago

    Hello Marc. I like these easy ones. The best way to get a natural retrieve is to not ask for it. When he leaves for a retrieve, you turn around and walk the other way slowly. DON’T SAY ANYTHING! When he gets to the bird, he will look up to see where you are. If he sees you walking away, he will pick up the bird and come to you. When he is on his way, drop down on one knee, still facing away. DON’T SAY ANYTHING! He will come to you with his bird.

    When you talk to him and verbally try to encourage him to bring the bird, you are making a handling mistake. He sees that encouragement as pressure and it breaks his focus. He brings birds to you that you didn’t shoot because you did not pressure him for those. Case closed.

    Try this and let me know how it goes. Thanks for keeping in touch on our Community page.

    Higgins

    • LOL! I’m glad I didn’t make you sweat! Thanks. Now that you provided the answer I think I may have read that in your blog a while ago. I makes perfect sense. I’ll take him out tomorrow and see what happens. Film at 11.

        • Hello Marc,

          All in all, nice work. I’d like to go through it with you. First, at 34 seconds in, you swung on the bird before looking at the dog first. Rule #1, Always be looking at the dog on flush. You must be certain he is steady on the flush before looking at the bird. Only takes a split second. This is the hardest thing for us hunters to do. We want to hurry and get our eyes on the target. Slow down. There is plenty of time. Also, I would have probably walked out wide and approached the bird from the right. Would have beed easier to keep my eye on the dog at the flush.

          After you sent the dog for the retrieve the first time (39 seconds in), you walked toward him. Remember what I said. Send him, turn around and walk away. He did not bring it to you the first time because you did not walk away and wait. I like what you did then. You sent him back in and at 2:17, you walked away and waited. Out he came with the bird. Good work.

          • Thanks for the excellent debrief Brad. I shoot lefty, so approaching from the left is a better sight window for me. This is our first few times on pheasant in fields. I have been an upland ruffed grouse for my entire life (as is young Mauser). That’s where I’ve developed the “quick draw”. To me, that was actually slow! I will concentrate on paying attention to Mauser on flush. He caught a weak cock bird last week, and he’s probably thinking he can catch them without me. I still have some quail in my Johnny house at my place, and extra hay bales. Time for a “magic hay bale” lesson session. Thanks again for pointing out my errors!

  • Brad Higgins posted a new activity comment 2 months ago

    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.

    • Brad,

      I have a follow up question now that I’ve been working with him for a few weeks on this.

      As a reminder, I am dealing with a gun shy pointer. He’s finding the planted birds naturally, and holding point pretty well. However, when he (occasionally I) flush the bird he does not chase. This makes it somewhat difficult to fire a shotgun at a distance!

      Any suggestions here? Other than having a second person fire the gun from a long way off?

  • Brad Higgins posted a new activity comment 2 months ago

    Nice work Reagan.

  • Brad Higgins posted a new activity comment 2 months ago

    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 a new activity comment 2 months ago

    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.

  • Brad Higgins posted a new activity comment 2 months ago

    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!

  • Brad Higgins posted a new activity comment 2 months ago

    Good work Sandy. Steady to flush.

  • 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.

  • I would shoot a couple of birds the pup is chasing. Be careful.

    I like to make sure the pup associates the bang of the gun with getting the bird.

    Where is this guy’s other 10%? 🙂

    Higgins

  • 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

  • Our new black European Pointer pups are 12 weeks old now. All are hunting aggressively, managing their birds, pointing and retrieving birds on land & water. These pups are beautifully balanced and socialized and […]

  • Brad Higgins posted a new activity comment 4 months ago

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

    Higgins

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