Steadiness = Managing Your Dog’s Energy

This is an excerpt from a recent post on my blog. He was commenting on a recent video I posted,

He wrote in part:

I noticed the woman flushing was almost creeping in on tiptoes when in front of her dog. Others take a much more positive or aggressive approach. Do you have an opinion on whether there is a best way to approach and flush a pointed bird?


My answer:

To answer your question, whenever we are working with a dog and especially when we go in front of a dog on point, our focus is in managing the dog’s energy or excitement. Flushing the bird is secondary. This gets a little deep but stick with me. Unlike obedience or “whoa” trainers, my goal is to help the dog control himself so he doesn’t break and flush or chase the bird. A “whoa” trainer’s goal is different. He has no interest in helping the dog be successful (getting the bird in his mouth), he wants the dog to be obedient to the “whoa” command. In training, he wants the dogs energy or excitement level to surpass it’s ability to be steady so he can enforce obedience with an e-collar shock.

If I am good at managing the dogs level of energy, he doesn’t break and doesn’t require the use of an e-collar. The same energy or excitement that gives you a stylish, intense point, is the same energy that, when left uncontrolled, will rise beyond the dogs ability to remain still, causing the dog to break or chase.

Ok, now back to your question. Martha and Katy (the shooter), being good Higgins Gundog Handlers, were effectively managing Sophia’s energy. They felt she was pretty excited (being new to coveys of chukar) and they were helping her control herself. Remember, it’s always a balancing act. We want the dogs to display all the style and intensity they possess. Equally important is we don’t want to push the dog over the top and cause them to break.

What we do here is dog training at another level. It all boils down to building a relationship with your dog based on mutual trust. This is the nature of the dog.

Brad Higgins
Higgins Gundogs

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

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