Using Higgins Remote Releasers
With the Higgins Remote Releaser, just work your dog into the area and remotely open it. They open slowly without making any noise. The dog’s focus remains on the bird. The bird will go when he feels pressured by the dog or the handler, just like a wild bird. The dogs figure this out right away and begin being careful around birds, naturally. Training with remote releasers is fun and promotes good timing on the part of the trainer too. You never know exactly what that bird is going to do or when he is going to do it, just like a wild bird. Keeps the dogs thinking too. They don’t get bored like they can on too many launcher drills.
In the past, carded pigeon have been the closest simulation to working a dog on wild birds. Gamebird are not typically used because they tend to hide when carded and usually won’t flush well. Pigeons are used because they tend to flush when pressured and if they are homing pigeons, they are reusable. But there are problems with carded pigeons. First, it’s tough to get good, spooky pigeons. If you use weak or tame birds, they won’t flush and you end up kicking around to try and get them to flush. Secondly, after they flush, they fly a short distance before the card causes them to land again getting the dog excited and wanting to chase. The cover must be right too. Too heavy and they get caught up. Can’t use them around trees either. In addition, after working carded pigeons, you have to try and catch them up. Not an easy task sometimes. With the Higgins Remote Releasers, the bird is free. You or the dog won’t get very close and the birds act wild. Any pressure and they are up and gone. No card to bring them down again. Another great benefit in using releasers is that you are no longer limited to pigeons. Any gamebird can be released. The releasers work in almost any cover and trees are not an issue.
Here are some of the ways we use the releasers:
For a typical training session, we’ll put Releasers out loaded with pigeons. Then we checkcord a dog into the area of a releaser and open it before the dog scents the bird. Usually, the bird will stay (If not, it’s a stand command, stop to flush). When the dog catches scent and points, he quickly learns to be steady and not pressure the bird. He knows that bird is free and could go at any time, just like a wild bird.
Maurice Lindley states, “The flush is totally natural with no noise; the bird is presented to the dog much as a wild bird would behave. This Releaser really helps me achieve the correct timing.”
“When I get close to the area where the Releaser is located,” Lindley explains, ” I press the button and open it. Now I can keep my total focus on the dog; that alone makes the timing of the release or flush so much better, and timing is such a critical factor in training. I think it will help trainers learn and maintain good timing. I’m also finding that the Releaser’s design allows the dog much more scent from the bird.”
Maurice Lindley explains how he most often uses the Higgins Releaser in a typical training situation. “I load my homing pigeons in the Releasers and plant them in fairly light cover, nothing too thick. When I checkcord the dog into the area of the ‘plant’ I press the button on the transmitter and open the Releaser. Sometimes the pigeon sits and other times it will flush, like wild birds do. If the dog moves in too close or if the pigeon sees me approaching, it will flush.”
“I appreciate the Releaser’s versatility. It allows you to work a good many stop-to-flush as well as pointing situations, and the dog gets just enough pointing opportunities mixed in with the stops-to-flush so that the dog doesn’t sour on working the Releasers, as can happen when a dog gets ‘launcher wise’. Plus it is compatible with the launcher electronics I already have.”
Brad Higgins explains how he uses them with quail to simulate a covey flush of wild birds. “I put out one or two Releasers, each loaded with three or four quail. Now before I take the dog into the field, I open the Releasers. They open slowly and quietly. The quail won’t flush. By waiting a few minutes, the birds will usually walk away from the Releasers as a group and find a place to hide. When I bring the dog out, the birds act more like wild birds because they haven’t recently flushed or become tired or stressed.”
Maurice Lindley adds that even if a quail should just “sit there in the Releaser instead of walking off or flying, the dog is not apt to catch it. If the dog crowds it, the bird will flush and I stop the dog with the checkcord and stand it still. It’s a forgiving tool; it doesn’t require the precise timing to get the desired results, making training easier and much more natural.”