Training a Dog to Hunt


PDA






Bobson
January 26, 2013, 11:03 PM
This is a long post - I apologize in advance.

I noticed a few members here hunt with a dog. That's something I always thought was really neat - essentially having a hunting partner who's always up for a hunt. Ever since I read Where the Red Fern Grows as a kid, I knew I'd love to have a hunting dog someday. Well here I am about to turn 28 years old and that interest hasn't faded, but grown. Problem is, I don't know anyone who hunts with a dog, and never have. Heck, for a great majority of my life, I didn't know anyone who hunted, period.

So my wife and I have been considering getting a dog for a few months now. We've come to the conclusion that when we do get a dog, it will be a labrador retriever. Temperament is most of the reason, as we have a two year old daughter who has been demonstrating her love for dogs since she first began to speak. We also want a dog that will fill the alert us if scum enters our home without an invitation niche, and my wife wants a dog with the energy to accompany her on jogs or bike rides. A lab seems to be a great fit all the way around.

Bonus: Labs just happen to be excellent gun dogs. Problem is I don't know squat about training a dog to retrieve, point, and whatever else hunting dogs do. Well I realize this isn't exactly a dog forum; but I was hoping someone here can point me in the right direction.

Please note that this isn't something I'm taking lightly. I want to figure out everything I can before I get a dog - and maybe we won't get a dog yet anyway. Mostly want to learn right now. If I do pursue this, I'd like the dog to accompany me on hunts for rabbits, occasional pheasant or grouse, maybe even coyotes if possible (or beneficial).

Again, just looking for someone to point me in the right direction, and possibly throw any firsthand knowledge or experience my way. Thanks a lot, sorry for the long post.

If you enjoyed reading about "Training a Dog to Hunt" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Liberty1776
January 27, 2013, 12:12 AM
A lab is a great choice and my personal preference there is a female yellow Lab. I'd suggest Gun Dog by Richard Wolters for a good start. Things I personally find useful - establish a personal relationship with your dog.
Begin with correcting with a grunt, hiss and reduce to a gesture or look - seriously. You can always escalate, but if a low-level correction works, your' way ahead. Don't underestimate your dog's intelligence or capacity to understand. Keep it as fun as possible. Do not underestimate or ignore the qualities and abilities that already are in your dog from centuries of breeding. My Brittany (current hunting dog) knew more about hunting from the time he hit the ground than I could ever train into him - natural hunter, pointer and retriever and all I had to do was go along for the ride and shoot good... very rewarding relationship.

Ms_Dragon
January 27, 2013, 07:33 AM
I've owned and bred a number of larger "hunting breeds" here in Australia.

Some I have exhibited.

My thoughts are...well it depends on what and how you are hunting.

Mainly I use dogs to bail up feral pigs outside of using traps.
Here in Aus there are people who will swear on certain cross breeds.
These can be:

Great dane x wolfhound X bull mastiff. - in any sort of percentages.

The Australian developed Bull Arab. - Generally a very good hunting dog with the ability to run all day. Will track, find, bay, and lug large boars and will work in a team without ripping the other dogs throats out.
The down side of the Bull Arab is that they don't or can't came up with a recognized type.
I have seen so many different supposed pure Bull Arabs and they just don't look the same.
To be honest they look like bitsa mutts that lean more towards a lean, leggy mastiff type of any sort of coloration.

I have bred, hunted and exhibited Rhodesian Ridgebacks.
I owned a whole pack of these all housed together until the bitches were in season.
They are a hound.........a hounds first question when telling it to do something will always be..WHY?
You need to be Alpha with a soft hand.
Socialize the animal or it will become an issue with people and animals who aren't "family".
The Boars in Africa who developed the breed said that only one in one hundred dogs (males) have the heart and guts to hunt.
Their packs of Rhodesian Ridgebacks that they used to hunt lions ( which the breed was developed for) were made up of bitches.
Having intimate experience with the breed I have seen this is true.
Males are large impressive animals BUT they are big, dumb and happy.
Bitches, however, are all business.
Never was my person, family or property better guarded than when I had my pack of RR bitches loose in the yard.
Sure the RR dog would bark but it'd be from a safe distance on the fringes.
More cheerleader than participant.

There are many breeds of hunting dog out there and within that breed there will be lines that are bred for the ring and then there will be lines bred for work (hunting) who won't look anywhere near as pretty as their ring bred counterparts but will have their working instincts intact.

It's up to you to choose which you value more.

redneck2
January 27, 2013, 07:47 AM
I had a lab that was THE best dog ever. Got him at 1 1/2 years old. Had a few bad habits that I broke very quickly. After just a few months he would heel, lay down, sit & stay, and retrieve with hand signals. All with zero voice commands.

I read the book Waterdog This guy had a dog that won the national field trials at 9 months old. I'd strongly suggest a good training book. He did things differently than I would. His way worked. For example, keep training sessions to 10-15 minutes. Dog gets bored and you lose what you gained.

LNK
January 27, 2013, 08:00 AM
I applaud you wanting a dog to hunt with as well as a family companion/security system. Just remember that hunting with your dog makes up less than 1% of the time you have with a dog.

Couple of questions you need to ask yourself. What am I going to hunt? Do I really like dog hair all over the house?(because if it is a shedding breed, it will be). How much time can you really spend with your dog? Bonding with the dog, and training obedience are the most critical things. Must be done early and correctly. The hunting part you can do if the dog listens to you.

Just a quick story, and I'll leave you to it. My wife and kids love dogs, but one child was allegic to something in dog hair(?). So we had to have dogs that were "hypo-allergenic", so in addition to a piece-of-shi-tzu, we have a standard poodle (very smart dog). We vacationed in TN a couple of years ago and rescued a stray (hound) of some sort that hung around the place we rented(we did try to find out where he came from, but he wouldn't tell us). Now we have a male shedding hound type dog also. Funny thing is, the child with allergies was the biggest proponent of the rescue. He is a very good dog that we didn't have to house train.

So if you are thinking about getting "a" dog. Be prepared to have more than one. Especially if the dog will be left home alone during the day. As a lonely dog can become a destructive dog. Dogs are social creatures, and like to be around people and other dogs.

Good luck with your quest....If you ask me, dogs are all the proof I need that there is a god.....

LNK

buck460XVR
January 27, 2013, 11:58 AM
Just remember that hunting with your dog makes up less than 1% of the time you have with a dog.



Yep. Unfortunately, hunting breeds with the desire and drive to be great hunters have that drive and energy 100% of the time. Labs are no exception. They need to be exercised and challenged continuously, especially for the first two years of their life, or the will become bored. A bored dog becomes destructive or annoying. Your wife's desire to have a jogging partner will go a long way to help with this. Discipline is paramount to not only your happiness, but also the dog's. Good dogs like and respond well to firm discipline. Start early and be consistent. This means one needs to train their family as well as the dog on what is proper and what is not. If your pup comes from good hunting stock, the hunting part will come natural and will be much easier than the obedience.

avs11054
January 27, 2013, 01:45 PM
I got a lab. He is kind of wild, so I haven't tried to train him to hunt. But they are the smartest dogs in the world. It is absolutely amazing how much my dog knows in the way of words and sounds.

My dog is scared of his own shadow, but somebody breaking down my door wouldn't know that with how loud he barks.

Good luck on training yours to hunt. That was my goal with mine.

Steve H
January 27, 2013, 01:50 PM
Many many many years ago I used to hunt along with my dog. Black lab. Before I started I sat and talked for a long time with a trainer/breeder. Smart move IMHO on my part. The dog wound up going into field trials and stud service. The trainer forgot more than I will ever know. The one thing that I remember more than anything he said was........ training the dog is easy, training the owner is the hard part. Remember, breeding is the key to a good dog.

Patocazador
January 27, 2013, 03:16 PM
Labs are the most popular dog in the country .. with good reason. They are smart, tractable, trainable and not aggressive. BUT, since they are popular, there are tons of puppy mills churning out tons of inferior puppies with all sorts of problems including medical problems (hip dysplasia, EIC, elbow problems, etc.), personality disorders (snapping, shaking, etc.) and others.
Get a dog from a breeder of hunting dogs not pets not show dogs. These dogs are bred for a purpose not just for sale. You will pay more than a newspaper classified one but you will get a superior product. Do as Liberty 1776 said: "A lab is a great choice and my personal preference there is a female yellow Lab. I'd suggest Gun Dog by Richard Wolters for a good start." Read this book twice prior to contacting a breeder and don't be in a hurry. You've already waited a long time.
When you pick out the breeder, tell him what sort of person you are, temperament, what you hunt, where you live (apartment, house, estate with 100 acres .. whatever). Let him meet your family and then let him pick out your pup. You or a family member will pick the cutest one or the one that is picked on or whatever. The breeder can match up the right pup for your family.
Ask the breeder to recommend a trainer and contact him to see if you can ask him questions in person while he is training dogs, That way you can see what is involved and how tough it is. This will let you decide if you should attempt to train your first dog on your own. If you are like I was, you ruin the first dog because of your inability to "read" the dogs actions.

It's a big commitment, prepare for it properly.

Bobson
January 27, 2013, 04:53 PM
I appreciate all the advice here, so thank you to all who offered it up. I especially appreciate the suggestion to give a breeder an opportunity to get to know us, and pick the dog for us. That's something that probably wouldn't have ever occurred to me, but it sounds like an excellent way to go about this. When we are ready to move forward and get a dog, I'll give that some very serious consideration.

For now, I'll start with those books. I'm sorry to say I've ruined a dog before, and paid the price for it in the form of being attacked by a rottweiler I thought of as my pet several years ago. I'm not rushing into this, but its a matter of time until we get a family pet. I just want to make sure we do it right, whether it becomes a hunting dog or not.

As a side note, I'm primarily interested in hunting rabbits with a dog, and I've read that most labs will do this poorly, at best. I'm going to give a beagle some consideration too. While I've always had an interest in pheasant and duck hunting, I'll most likely just dabble in those areas.

wgp
January 27, 2013, 05:42 PM
I hunted for years without a dog (upland birds). Then my buddy got a Brittany and I mooched off of him. Finally I decided I needed a dog and bought a female yellow Lab. Wonderful dog, great in the house, great with kids, but as it turned out, not a great hunting dog for what I hunted. I did not train her well, she did not see enough birds to really understand what was going on, and she was a retriever, not a pointing dog.

When she was gone I had realized to hunt quail and pheasant I really wanted a dog that would hunt birds and point. I like the Brittanys but preferred shorter hair (less maintenance), and I did not like the characteristics of the English Pointers I had seen, so I got a German Shorthair. If the Lab was good, this dog was great. Her disposition is even better and her pointing made a huge difference in my hunting. She has been a wonderful dog.

My GSP is now too old to hunt and is likely not long for the world but if I ever got another hunting dog it would be another GSP. Any of the Wolters books would help you in your training, and my basic suggestion is to get the dog on birds, wild or pen-raised, as much as possible as soon as possible. Consider getting professional training -- not all of us are good at it or have the necessary time to spend.

Deer_Freak
January 27, 2013, 05:51 PM
Hunting dogs do not stay in the house around your children. True hunting dogs are kept in a pen and not really socialized beyond being able to catch the dog. A socialized dog will stay under your feet. You want the dog to get away from you to find game. The only social training I give a hunting dog is I blow my truck horn when I feed the dogs. That way if the dog is lost it will hear my truck horn and come to the truck. Yes, we use GPS collars and all the technology we can but nothing is perfect. We still lose dogs for a short period of time.

sixgunner455
January 28, 2013, 12:32 AM
Hunting dogs do not stay in the house around your children. True hunting dogs are kept in a pen and not really socialized beyond being able to catch the dog. A socialized dog will stay under your feet. You want the dog to get away from you to find game. The only social training I give a hunting dog is I blow my truck horn when I feed the dogs. That way if the dog is lost it will hear my truck horn and come to the truck. Yes, we use GPS collars and all the technology we can but nothing is perfect. We still lose dogs for a short period of time.

Horse pucky.

*you* may do what you do that way, but that is by no means what the definition of a *true hunting dog* is, and I would suggest, Bobson, that you ignore this.

Dogs are smart, and they learn what you teach them. It is very possible and normal to have a socialized house pet that is also your hunting buddy/partner/helper.

Patocazador
January 28, 2013, 10:57 AM
Horse pucky.

*you* may do what you do that way, but that is by no means what the definition of a *true hunting dog* is, and I would suggest, Bobson, that you ignore this.

Dogs are smart, and they learn what you teach them. It is very possible and normal to have a socialized house pet that is also your hunting buddy/partner/helper.
sixgunner is correct. Hounds aren't always ideal house dogs but bird dogs and retrievers usually are. Special precautions need to be taken with electrical cords, small objects, stuffed toys, etc. but they can be excellent around kids and in the house.

MtnCreek
January 28, 2013, 11:17 AM
The only social training I give a hunting dog is I blow my truck horn when I feed the dogs. That way if the dog is lost it will hear my truck horn and come to the truck. Yes, we use GPS collars and all the technology we can but nothing is perfect. We still lose dogs for a short period of time.

Coon or bear hunter? Leave your jacket laying on the ground. Next morning, he'll be laying on it.

Zeke/PA
January 30, 2013, 03:26 PM
What are you going to hunt?
Birds ( grouse,ringnecks) and/or rabbits?
A Beagle is very hard to beat and they also make great house pets to boot.
When you learn your dog, you'll be able to tell when he/she is near game.
At home we ALWAYS had a Beagle, house pet (spoiled rotten) one day, rabbit machine the next.
I was into English Pointers for quite some time but that's another story.

sixgunner455
January 30, 2013, 04:02 PM
You don't have to train a dog how to hunt. They do that instinctively. What you have to do is learn how your dog hunts, how to hunt with your dog, and encourage your dog to cooperate with what you want to accomplish.

You have to train both of you.

Deer_Freak
January 30, 2013, 04:37 PM
And my truck will be next to the coat. I don't leave my dogs, ever. Those of you that think you can have a good working pointer as a house pet are seriously deluded. Retrievers? Yes! They can be kept in the house with the family. Any dog that you want to find game should not be kept in the house. Anyone who says they can I want to see the champion markings on the dog papers, not just I say so. Prove it!

03Shadowbob
January 30, 2013, 06:06 PM
Start at a very young age. Take them with you everywhere. In the woods, we tie bells to the collar. After you shoot something, regardless of how far it went, get him or her to smell the area and blood where you shot it. Gives lots of encouragement and correction when you are tracking the game especially when the game is found regardless of who found it. Have the dog smell the animal, the ground, let it chew on the ears a bit and kick the blood and wound. When cleaning the game make sure you give some of the innards ( not stomach, insets tines, etc) to the dog and encourage him more.
This past season it took 3 outings to get her to track successfully.

Pilot
January 30, 2013, 06:22 PM
so I got a German Shorthair. If the Lab was good, this dog was great. Her disposition is even better and her pointing made a huge difference in my hunting. She has been a wonderful dog.


I will echo this statement. I had a German Shorthaired Pointer for almost 16 years, and I bird hunted him but he was also a great house dog and pet. However, as others have said you do need to exercise them DAILY. They are going to get it one way or another, and if they don't get it running around outside, they will do so inside, and can get into stuff. They will also get bored if left alone for long periods of time so either have access to an outdoor run or don't leave them alone for entire days at a time.

buck460XVR
January 31, 2013, 08:52 AM
Those of you that think you can have a good working pointer as a house pet are seriously deluded.


There's some delusion going on in this thread, but it ain't in the heads of those of us with bird dogs. I've had GSPs and GWPs for over 40 years....sometimes more than one at a time. All of them have been great house pets as well as exceptional bird dogs. Some of the GWPs were also trained to blood trail wounded deer while on a leash. They excelled at that also. My two boys grew up with a great emotional attachment to the dog we had at the time, had them sleeping at the foot of their bed for protection and shot many birds from behind them. No delusion there. Sorry, but to many of us, that beats the 'ell outta just honkin' the horn at em' when they got lost. But then, none of my bird dogs ever got lost.

Pilot
January 31, 2013, 09:00 AM
Those of you that think you can have a good working pointer as a house pet are seriously deluded.

Really sir? Please read my previous post. My German Shorthaired Pointer was an exceptional house pet. I like that fact that this breed aren't "barkers", meaning they don't bark at ever little thing in our outside the property, and only bark when it means something. To ME that is essential in a dog as a house pet and family member.

Pointers just need exercise, and since I have some land, I could run him on the property every day, so he'd get his exercise. After that they are just like any other dog.

T.R.
January 31, 2013, 09:07 AM
These books were very helpful to me when we trained our springer spaniel. If you're interested, I'll sell both for one price of $15. which includes shipping.

TR

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c146/rushmoreman/book-TrainGunDog.jpg

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c146/rushmoreman/book-GunDog-1.jpg

41magsnub
January 31, 2013, 10:54 AM
+1 on the comments regarding a hunting dog can also be a house dog. I have an 8mo GWP who is turning out to be a phenomenal hunting dog so far. She points like a champ and is a natural retriever. She has plenty of drive out in the field.

She is my buddy who sometimes goes and finds birds for me... she lives in my house and is perfectly manageable as a house dog as long as she gets some exercise most everyday. That can be a run out in a field or if I work late the chuck-it thrower and glow in the dark ball in the little park by my house gets it done just fine. I can get away with skipping an exercise day if I have to and she is fine, I skip two days and she complains about it.

mnhntr
January 31, 2013, 11:02 AM
I have always had and trained labs. I currently have a Lab and a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. I have always used my dogs for waterfowl and grouse/pheasant hunting. Having lived in AZ my opinion would be different if I still lived there. I would actually take a German Shorthair over a lab for the awesome quail and dove and upland bird hunting there. Can the lab do it? Yes is it his primary purpose in life? No A good short haired pointing dog can take the heat better and do a better job upland hunting. If you were going to waterfowl hunt and hunt the cold north I would say get a Lab. But in your situation I would definately be looking for a German Shorthair.

mnhntr
January 31, 2013, 11:08 AM
This is partially true. If you are speaking of bird dogs you are way off base. If you are talking about hounds you are right on target. Hunting hounds are not tolerent of small children or other animals. They are bread and trained to not be nice or they would not be good at their job. We hunt with an uncles Blue Tick hounds for coyotes and bobcats and I would not want them in the house around my kids.
Hunting dogs do not stay in the house around your children. True hunting dogs are kept in a pen and not really socialized beyond being able to catch the dog. A socialized dog will stay under your feet. You want the dog to get away from you to find game. The only social training I give a hunting dog is I blow my truck horn when I feed the dogs. That way if the dog is lost it will hear my truck horn and come to the truck. Yes, we use GPS collars and all the technology we can but nothing is perfect. We still lose dogs for a short period of time.

Zeke/PA
January 31, 2013, 11:49 AM
I was asscociated with a professional trainer for quite some time awhile back and the gleaned knowledge was priceless.
The dogs were pointing breeds, mostly English Pointers and I have fond memories of some great bird hunting.
Teach a dog?
Actually, a well bred dog has the hunting/pointing instinct at birth.
(ever see a pointer pup point a butterfly?)
TRAINING amounts to the dogs disapline as in not "breaking" birds and being steady to "flush,wing and shot".
A BIG thing was/is teaching the pup what the word "WHOA" means.
Really GOOD dog work is a pleasure to behold.
Why don't I own a pointer today?
Simple, there are no birds anymore.

Deer_Freak
January 31, 2013, 12:33 PM
Zeke is dead on. When I look at puppies I take a frozen quail wing with me. I hang the quail wing on a stick. If the puppies will not point the wing I am not interested. We are talking puppies that have just been weaned. We also have the same problem of no birds in this area. I am getting a few birds on my property by releasing pen raised quail. Their survival rate is very low but I still release 10 or 20 every time I find cheap birds.

In my experience hounds are actually better pets than pointers. I used to keep a large lemon pointer in my racing stable. No one could get in the barn until I caught the dog. My current dog is half Australian Shepard and half pointer. You would not want your kids near my dog. As a matter of fact, you would not want to be left alone with the dog. I have had to bail her out of doggie jail more than once.

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e253/DTL_03/princess.jpg
Known Felon

03Shadowbob
January 31, 2013, 06:15 PM
Just depends on the dog. Our family has had more than one dog meet its maker because they weren't tolerant of people, got out of the pin and tried to chase someone down. They ate a bullet and rightly so. If anyone's dog comes at me that way, there won't be a need for doggie jail.
Our labs have always stayed in the house.

Bobson
January 31, 2013, 07:12 PM
Well there have been a few questions I haven't addressed. I'll get specific on what I have in mind, and whoever would like to address these points can feel free. These are in order of priority, BTW.

- A great pet. Will do well with my two year old daughter (not alone or anything, just in general).
- Will be socialized with other dogs, and with strangers, both at a young age.
- Will alert us to unwelcome visitors at any time of day or night.
- I'd like to bring this dog along on the occasional hunt. Maybe once or twice a month at most, likely for rabbits most of the time. Maybe some type of upland bird on occasion.

The thing is, as I said before, I don't know anyone who hunts with a dog, nor have I ever. So aside from bird dogs pointing or retrieving, I don't know what the dog is supposed to do. Particularly on rabbit hunts. I know a lab would be best for most (if not all) of those four factors, which is why we're more or less set on a lab at this point.

Deer_Freak
January 31, 2013, 07:58 PM
Just depends on the dog. Our family has had more than one dog meet its maker because they weren't tolerant of people, got out of the pin and tried to chase someone down. They ate a bullet and rightly so. If anyone's dog comes at me that way, there won't be a need for doggie jail.
Our labs have always stayed in the house.

The way I see it is the dog lives here and you don't. In NC I have the right to protect my property. Anyone even brandishing a firearm around my dog is subject to have a bad day. To start off with you had to knock down a locked gate to get near the dog. I would just assume anyone who broke down my gate to be looking for trouble. They will definitely be looking down the barrel of shotgun until a deputy arrives to take them to jail.

I crawled under a junk car to drag that dog out when she was a puppy. She turned out to be worth the effort. I got her because I knew she would grow up to be a good watchdog.

03Shadowbob
January 31, 2013, 08:16 PM
Deer freak I agree 100% when it comes to your dog on your property. When it is not on your property then different story

Patocazador
January 31, 2013, 09:04 PM
Well there have been a few questions I haven't addressed. I'll get specific on what I have in mind, and whoever would like to address these points can feel free. These are in order of priority, BTW.

- A great pet. Will do well with my two year old daughter (not alone or anything, just in general).
- Will be socialized with other dogs, and with strangers, both at a young age.
- Will alert us to unwelcome visitors at any time of day or night.
- I'd like to bring this dog along on the occasional hunt. Maybe once or twice a month at most, likely for rabbits most of the time. Maybe some type of upland bird on occasion.

The thing is, as I said before, I don't know anyone who hunts with a dog, nor have I ever. So aside from bird dogs pointing or retrieving, I don't know what the dog is supposed to do. Particularly on rabbit hunts. I know a lab would be best for most (if not all) of those four factors, which is why we're more or less set on a lab at this point.
It sounds like you just want a dog for your family that might hunt but it's OK if it doesn't. I had a stray poodle/terrier cross come up when it was abandoned at about 5 months old. I eventually trained it to retrieve by using "force-fetch" techniques. It was exceptionally smart but was wacko when stressed and would bite anyone when in the "trance".
I suggest you go to the pound and pick out a non-pitbull, non-rottweiler, non-ankle biter type puppy and raise it in the house and see if it will hunt later. Either that or buy a hunting stock Labrador or Brittany and send it to a trainer early on. Stay away from in-bred show dogs or puppy mill dogs.

sixgunner455
February 1, 2013, 12:48 PM
Bobson, I suggest you don't get a lab if you want to hunt rabbits. Not that a lab won't chase a rabbit, but it's kind of a big dog to send into a brush pile after them.

I'd suggest you look into getting a Brittany, specifically a French one. There's a breeder in Scottsdale. Sending you his email in a PM.

Zeke/PA
February 5, 2013, 05:05 PM
TR,
That dog in the pictures IS an English Pointer , a breed VERY close to my heart.

bailer
February 6, 2013, 08:17 AM
Since you're in az, google desert point kennel. The guy is doing a heck of a job breeding gsps that are also good, calm family dogs.

My pup is almost 1, and doing very well on birds in his first season. As I type, he's curled up at the foot of my 10 year olds bed.

Bobson
February 6, 2013, 12:16 PM
I talked with a few different people regarding French Brittany Spaniels (came highly recommended by sixgunner) and GSPs, which a few of you mentioned so far. Because we live in an apartment, and will until I finish law school (four years from now), I was advised to steer away from those two breeds, as they are much better suited to a home with a big backyard or even acreage. As a result, we came back around to a lab... and we found one!

We picked up Piper on Saturday night. She's a purebred lab, registered with the AKC. Dad comes from English stock, mom comes from American. No champion blood here, but this is the smartest puppy I've ever met. She walks at heel naturally, learned to sit on Monday, and is doing outstanding on house-breaking; definitely picking it up faster than any other dog I've known or heard of. She's had just a few accidents in the apartment so far, and she can already "hold it" around three hours while awake during the day, closer to six hours at night. Yesterday she went to the door and let me know she was ready to go out and pee. For three days in the home, that's stellar as far as I'm concerned. She was born Dec. 20.

All three of us love her. She's a joy to have around, and she loves our daughter. Here's the two of them, taken this morning.

ETA: Here's a picture of the terrain we've been hunting. Sorry about the Sun filling the picture so much. I'm no photographer, and this is the best picture I took Saturday morning. As a point of reference, the cactus in the middle of the picture was about up to my knee, maybe a bit shorter. Point is, there aren't many brush piles where we hunt - mostly just loose undergrowth.

bailer
February 6, 2013, 01:21 PM
Nice pup. I agree on the apartment. I love my gsp, but without a yard, pool and doggy door I would have second thoughts.

Zeke/PA
February 6, 2013, 07:48 PM
Gun Dog/ House dog?
If we had birds, I would have a "pointer dog" and I would name her Kim II.
She would be a constant companion and sleep at my feet.
BUT, when we got into birds, KimII would function as an EXCEPTIONAL "Pointer Dog" as in steady to "flush, wing and shot" and retreive at my command.
English Pointer of course.

sixgunner455
February 7, 2013, 02:59 AM
Didn't realize you were in an apartment.

Cute pup and kid.

JW1969
February 7, 2013, 11:41 AM
Hello all. I hunt jagdterriers and a DD. I have working champions that stay in the house from time to time. I'd be happy to post their credentials to prove their accomplishments.

But working titles have as little to do with a dogs hunting ability as where a dog sleeps. I think it's important that people do what works for what they do. But I can hunt upland game, rabbit, varmits, hog and blood track with a dog under twenty pounds that sleeps in the house.

These dogs will retrieve with the best of them on land or in the water. They have a soft mouth, and will retreive to hand with manners that would impress most. I can take the same dog out at night at heel while spotlighting rabbits and sent them into the briars after the shot to fetch them. They will push canecutters through whatever it takes and sometimes circle them right back to you. They are outstanding hogdogs and on balance beat any cur or hound I have ever hunted. Most will work to ground and some even tree. But best of all, it makes no difference where they sleep.

They do not have the type of off switch that some breeds do, and are not what I would call a good pet. Sometimes they sleep in the kennel, and they don't seem to mind. What they want most in life is work. I believe a dogs drive, instinct and training have more to do with how a dog will perform in the feild that where it sleeps. But I respect the difference of oppinion.

grubbylabs
February 8, 2013, 03:54 PM
JW1969 I also have a DD and so far he is an outstanding dog. He is a 4 legged tracking machine. He also loves to retrieve, and hang out with me in the house.

I have also done a lot with labs, they are the first dog I started with, and I think they make wonderful pets. So long as Bobson got his from a reputable breeder he will be happy.

The fact that they are one of if not the most popular breeds means that they are also some of the worst. People breed them indiscriminate and care nothing about improving the breed. Not to mention the AKC show people who think a lab needs to be 100lbs plus.

As far as the AKC is concerned the only qualification for breeding is that both are papered. Well that is horse pucky, a dog needs to have something to contribute and fit the breed standards before it is considered for breeding stock. The fact that people don't think about this is the reason why when I breed one I do hundreds of dollars worth of genetic and health testing on a dog before they are considered for breeding.

I know of two many people who have bought a lab for hunting only to realize after the wife and kids are attached to it, that it will never be able to hunt because of one or more genetic issues, or bad hips or elbows.

I strongly encourage any one who is in the market for a dog of any kind to find a breeder who not only hunt tests their dogs, but also get the health clearances for the common issues found within their breed of choice.

buck460XVR
February 8, 2013, 04:58 PM
The fact that they are one of if not the most popular breeds means that they are also some of the worst.


Just heard on the radio yesterday that Labs were the #1 most popular breed in the U.S., and have been for the last 27 years.:eek:

Says a lot for the breed and it's versatility. But Grubbylabs is correct, being popular means everyone and their sister is breeding them....many times indiscriminately. But no popular breed is immune. One reason that if a pup is acquired from anyone other than a reputable breeder with a money-back/different pup guarantee, one needs to be prepared to get stuck with a stinker.....either behaviorally or health-wise.

JW1969
February 8, 2013, 05:33 PM
Well there's two posts I can agree with. I remember years ago there were some old timers that said a hunting dog shouldn't ever be in the house. I'm pretty sure it had more to do with their old ladies not wanting them indoors than it affected their performance. Works better for me if I invite them all in...It never takes very long before my better half is insisting that I drop everything and take the dogs out.:)

JW1969
February 25, 2013, 11:30 AM
Here's a video of a ten month old gyp and her first exposure to duck. In fairness she's been hunted on dove some... but had no formal retrieve training. She weighs about fourteen pounds soaking wet and sleeps in the house.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPTPJZTdyMw&feature=youtu.be

303tom
February 28, 2013, 11:41 AM
I have Med. to Small Hounds 4 of em & everyone is just as much a house dog/pet as they are hunters, each & or any of or all of them will go hunting in a heart beat............

Brian Olsen
March 4, 2013, 04:48 PM
I have always had a bird dog. I like using springers. I guess thats because the first dog I had was a springer and have gotten new ones ever since. Springers are flushing dogs so it is important that they work at a close range.
I received a tip from someone once and its the only training I ever had to do. When the puppy is old enough (maybe 3 to 6 months) take it to a field or woods and just walk along. When the puppy starts to get to far away hide behind a tree or lay down so the dog can't see you. When he turns around he will come running back to find you. Just get up and do it again. My dogs only venture out about 30 yds or so. The rest is dog instinct and reading the clues the dog gives off. (Acts birdy ect.). I say this to you because litterly its the only training i do and you only have a short time frame to do it when it still a puppy. Even if you have a pointer or flusher and you don't have time to train the dog if you do this you will have many years of fun hunting. This should work with most dogs. If you can't or don't get the rest of the training done you will still have great hunting.

ps I do get the dog used to gun shots starting with .22s etc.

If you enjoyed reading about "Training a Dog to Hunt" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!