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.
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