• Brad Higgins posted a new activity comment 3 days, 9 hours 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 Higgins posted a new activity comment 3 days, 19 hours ago

    Nice work Reagan.

  • Brad Higgins posted a new activity comment 4 days, 16 hours 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 5 days, 17 hours 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 1 week, 1 day 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.

    • 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 1 week, 1 day ago

    Good work Sandy. Steady to flush.

  • 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.

  • 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%? 🙂


  • 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

  • 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 2 months, 1 week ago

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


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

    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 2 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?

    • 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.

  • Brad Higgins posted an update in the group HGD Community 3 months, 3 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.


  • Brad Higgins posted a new activity comment 4 months, 1 week ago

    Hello Andy. Good to see you here. I’m looking forward to working with you and Otto.

  • Brad Higgins posted a new activity comment 4 months, 1 week ago

    Good timing on those “alright” cues Miss Katy.

  • Brad Higgins posted an update in the group HGD Community 4 months, 1 week ago


  • Brad Higgins posted an update in the group HGD Community 4 months, 1 week ago


  • Brad Higgins posted an update in the group HGD Community 4 months, 1 week ago

    Flagging can be a beautiful thing, if you know what you’re looking at. This is why reading a dog is so important. He’s talking to you if you’ll just listen.

    Stalking is the strategy of all “ambush” predators (as opposed to the strategy of the “pursuit” predators). The point is actually a pause before the pounce. In this instance, the dog is setting up for his “flush/stop” cue. I can’t expect him to pounce until he knows where the target is. In this case, the wind had changed after he found scent. As you can see, he managed it well and didn’t panic. Beautiful style and intensity.

    This is HGD Ch.Firle Oak California Chrome “REX”. He recently earned his Higgins Gundog title. Rex is owned by Jeff & Pam Bucher.

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