Handling In Birdy Places, Chasing

We had a recent question in the forum about handling a dog in the field that wants to break at shot or fall. Keep in mind, breaking at shot or fall is normal and required for dogs that we train to the level of “steady to wing”. The dog in question has been trained in my method to another level, “steady to wing, shot and fall”. She is to remain steady through the shot and/or fall of the bird. Here, in part, is the question and my response.

https://higginsgundogs.com.com/forum/higgins-gundogs-group1/members-only-questions-answers-forum6/transition-from-hunting-pen-raised-birds-vs-wild-birds-thread132/

 

****** has been good at staying steady to wing but if the bird isn’t shot she will sometimes break and want to chase the bird. At this point I usually have my shotgun in my hands, not my ecollar transmitter, to stop or recall her when this happens. When she was young she learned (due to my lack of handling experience) that she can sometimes chase and capture pen raised birds so she now has a propensity to want to chase them if I’m not closely watching her. What should I do to improve this situation?

 

Hello *****,
This is why it’s important to have the ecollar clipped to your vest for easy, quick timing. This is not a dog problem, it’s a handler problem. After I pull the trigger, my hand is back on the transmitter quickly, just in case. So quick in fact that, after taking the shot, I’ve had to ask, did I hit it? After pulling the trigger my eyes were back on the dog before the shot reached the bird. That, is timing (faster than speeding bullet…lol).
Remember, the ecollar recall is only used with those dogs that insist on trying to chase the bird. It is the only “command” used in my method. The dogs are very familiar with, and clearly understand the recall because it has been used in many different sitations including around the house, at the park, in the yard, etc.
If they have been handled well, clearly understand the rules, have been shown with the checkcord how to be successful but still attempt a chasing strategy, the ecollar recall is required. In practice, once they are clearly committed to the chase (three or four paces in), we give them a “here” command. If they heard it and clearly chose to ignore it, we tap the ecollar. From the dog’s perspective, it has nothing to do with birds, the flush, the scent or even the chase. It is simply the well understood recall. Soon, they backchain and associate it (chasing will be unsuccessful) all the way back to entering the birdy area. Basically, they begin to understand the new strategy for success. “If I don’t chase it, I’ll get it in my mouth”.

Higgins


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

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