The Higgins Method and the Magic Brushpile

Here is a new “Magic Brushpile” video. Please feel free to comment. I also added new video links within the flowchart.

https://higginsgundogs.com.com/about-us/our-method/method-flowchart/

Here is the text that accompanies the video.

 

In order to help understand this “Magic Brushpile” video, please follow the link below. It will take you to the flowchart of the Higgins Method. https://higginsgundogs.com.com/about-us/our-method/method-flowchart/

The Higgins Method of gun dog training is unique. Unlike obedience based training methods, my method is based on building trust and cooperation. In this video, you’ll watch a young dog learn and begin to understand in one session, a new hunting strategy. Steady to flush, shot and fall. 

Keep in mind, what I did with the dog in the “Magic Brushpile” video can take a few sessions. In the video I ran through it quickly so people could see the power of the Brushpile. Don’t be concerned if, with some dogs, it takes 10 or more sessions. There is no hurry.

I have been getting a lot of feedback about the MBP video. I’ve included here, answers to some of the questions people have as they put the “Magic Brushpile” training into practice.

Use the right length check cord, 15 feet. Watch my MBP video again. There I demonstrate the correct use of the check cord. Practice manipulating the check cord. Hook it to your training buddy (a human), and work him or her on the MBP. It’s fun and you both might learn something. This is important. Your job as handler is to control the slack or lack of slack in the check cord with good timing. The check cord is our tool of communication.

When I’m working a dog on the MBP, to help clients understand, I break it up into four goals. First I want to see the dog, while on the check cord, stop himself instead of me using the check cord to stop him. Once he demonstrates that to me three or four times, with many dogs, we’re done for the day. The second goal is for the dog to stop himself after I drop the check cord. I bring him up to about where he has been stopping himself, and gently drop the cord, within a couple of steps, he should stop himself. I will then step on the check cord just before I launch the bird (I don’t want him breaking or moving toward the bird). I now want him to demonstrate this to me three or four times. The third goal is for the dog to stop and defer while the shooter walks out front. This is done with the handler back to managing the check cord again. You need to be there if he needs help (I don’t want him breaking or moving toward the bird). Once he demonstrates that he will stop himself and defer while the shooter walks to front, (remember, at this point, the handler is holding the check cord), I want him to show me a couple more times. Now we’re ready for the final goal. I start him with the check cord and when I get near to the area where he has been stopping, I drop the check cord. If he understands, he will stop on his own and defer while the shooter walks to front, the bird is launched, the gun goes off, the bird hits the ground and the shooter brings the bird and gives it to the dog. Shooters remember, you need to be walking two or three paces behind and to the side 30 to 50 feet of the handler. On the walkup, I don’t want you in the dogs peripheral vision. I want his focus on the MBP.

So it’s:

(1) shooter out front while handler check cords the dog toward the MBP.

(2) Shooter out front, handler drops check cord just before dog stops (then steps on the cord just before bird is launched).

(3) Shooter now behind and to the side while handler check cords the dog toward the MBP. If the dog understands, it should “defer” to the shooter (trusting, asking for help).

(4) Handler starts the dog toward the MPB and drops the cord. Dog should stop, defer to the shooter and remain steady through SWSF and the return of the bird.

Watch my “Magic Brushpile” video 10 more times. There is a ton of information there. Something really important is how I manipulate the check cord. Handlers need to be in touch with the dog. The check cord is our connection. Talk to them with it.

Keep the questions coming.

Higgins


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

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