Hi Brad. Because you have taught me to think outside the box and to try to look at things from the dog’s perspective I have would like your thoughts on this. My Brittany is as steady as can be when on point. If we flush a bird and it isn’t killed and we decide to go after it my dog will almost always find it and hold point till we catch up and flush the bird. Ever so often he will move in and catch the bird before we get there and bring it back with his actions mimicking that when I send him out with a “dead bird” command, where a bird can’t be found, is still alive but has crawled into a brush pile or thick brush. I have come to a conclusion that a dog knows when a bird is wounded or killed because of the different pheromone that are present on a wounded or dead bird. So after a couple of hundred birds that my dog has retrieved am I off base in thinking that my dog moves in and will catch a bird that has been shot and wounded, and never moves in on a “fresh bird” because in his mind he knows the bird is wounded because he is smelling the same pheromones that are present when he is on a retrieve or searching in “dead bird” mode. I am just trying to figure out what is running through his brain and I want your opinion on this because I am sure that there are many hunters out there that might get upset at their dog because after they pursue a bird that they felt they missed only to have their dog move in and catch it like it is in “dead bird” mode. How much do you feel pheromones being released by wounded birds play a part in a dog’s actions? Thanks in advance for your response.
Yes I believe dogs can tell if a bird is wounded. More than that, I believe that dogs can tell by scent, one bird from another. If they’re stalking a covey, they can follow a specific bird. To prove it, try this. Next time you shoot a bird your dog has stalked and pointed, keep him there, go out and retrieve the bird back to him. On your way back, switch the bird with another. When you try to give him the wrong bird, he will refuse it, and instead, will begin looking for the right bird. We have a lot to learn from the dogs. We’ve barely scratched the surface.