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.
“The chief glory of the sport is to shoot over a brace of raking pointers, matched for speed and style, sweeping over the rough places like swallows, and passing each other as if they were fine ladies not introduced.”
William Arkwright, The Pointer and His Predecessors, 1906
Some have asked why I teach dogs to retrieve as the last step in their training when conventional training dictates that it should be taught as one of the initial obedience commands for pointing dogs.
When the fetch “command” is taught in the beginning, before the dog learns to be cooperative and steady, it is by definition, obedience. From the dog’s perspective, he is being forced to perform these tasks to avoid trainer induced pressure. However, when the retrieve is encouraged after the dog has learned to trust the owner and understands that being steady leads to success, in his eyes, retrieving is a reward, not an e-collar enforced obedience drill. It is much easier to retain the dog’s natural enthusiasm for retrieving when he does it naturally.
The same holds true for the flush/stop cue for the pointing dogs. In the UK and here at Higgins Gundogs, this style of hunting, where the dog on point is cued to flush the bird for the shooter, then stop on the flush, is practiced. The dogs see this cue in the same way they see a cue to retrieve. Basically, they see it as a cue to procure the prey. Keep in mind why dogs point. It is the pause before the pounce. In conventional training here in the US, the dog is never allowed to pounce. His entire reason for pointing is taken away and replaced with pressure and obedience. It’s no wonder some of the softer dogs can loose style and intensity in these situations.
It’s interesting that this method of allowing the dogs to pounce, but only on cue, makes them much steadier overall. Enthusiasm, style and intensity increase when he knows his reason for pointing will be realized, it’s just a matter of waiting for the cue. This is dog work on another level. I call it more than “physically steady”, this is when they become “mentally steady”.
I was going through some older video for the upcoming members section of the website when I came across this. Some of you will remember Mambo. He always enjoyed helping other dogs “get it right”. Mambo is no longer with us but he will always be a Higgins Gundog.
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Higgins Gundogs provides gundog and owner training, using quiet, low pressure techniques based on dog psychology. We offer guide service in Lincoln, CA, as well as seminars, online video training, and of course our renown Higgins Remote Releaser. Our goal is to give you the tools, knowledge and confidence to train and handle your hunting dog yourself. Thanks for visiting us.