True Confessions

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True Confessions

Postby orhunter » Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:12 pm

Like I mentioned, I don't read training books. But, I read a lot of other stuff training related and never miss an opportunity to learn from someone else. Even if I don't agree, I'm still learning.

One book I've been recommending for years was through the recommendation of others and not because I read it and thought it was a great book. That book is, Joan Bailey's, How To Help Gun Dogs Train Themselves. Now I can say I've read it. The theme of the book pretty much followed the path I expected it would and I wouldn't change any of the advice I've given over the years based on the content. Me'n Joan pretty much see eye to eye on training in general. I would say the biggest difference between what Joan teaches and the other books and philosophies, is her dedication to making good hunting dogs and not good test dogs through artificial means. She and I have a common dislike for pen raised birds being used around puppies as well as other contrived techniques. That's why I don't often get involved with ongoing training discussions. If I have an opinion on something, I'll state it but not going to argue fine points with anyone. I'll leave it to the reader to sort out anything useful. Good and bad advice comes from many sources. Any advice I may give is based on creating a great hunting dog with testing as an afterthought. If yer not going to hunt the heck out of your pup, don't read my training posts, they're not for you.
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Re: True Confessions

Postby Willie T » Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:11 pm

I completely see eye to eye with your point of view. Wish you were closer to Texas Orhunter. I think I would enjoy sitting down and talking about bird dogs with you.
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Re: True Confessions

Postby LongHammer » Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:26 pm

As long as we are confessing I only train OB with limited handling. I think if you want a hunting dog take it hunting as often as you can where you want to hunt. A good dog is born with the tools exposure to wild animals sharpens them. Books aren't written for dogs they don't have thumbs to turn the pages.
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Re: True Confessions

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:05 am

Willie T wrote:I completely see eye to eye with your point of view. Wish you were closer to Texas Orhunter. I think I would enjoy sitting down and talking about bird dogs with you.


Having sat down with Orhunter and having talking about bird dogs I can say it is an enjoyable experience!

However I can't really recommend Joan's book for anyone who is looking for ways to teach OB, steadiness, force fetching, handling, etc. beyond whatever your dog would do pretty much on it's own without a lot of interference from the owner. But that's is the book's strength - to encourage good dog behavior without a lot of fingerprints from the handler.

It sort of depends on what your goals are. When I first bought the book years ago I wanted a manual to help get my dog ready for rough hunting conditions (and master hunt tests and the UT) and gun dogs just don't train themselves to do that. I guess that's why I just haven't recommended it over the years.

But I have no problem recommending Orhunter to you.
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Re: True Confessions

Postby AverageGuy » Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:47 am

I ran across Joan's book too late to do me much good. I bought it not all that long ago after seeing Orhunter recommend it on this board. I was already doing all the early conditioning/exposure exercises she recommends so I did not pick up anything new. But it is a great book for persons getting their first puppy.

Like Bruce mentions I have looked elsewhere to pick up ideas/methods addressing the finer points of training for Steady to WSF (Perfect Start/Perfect Finish DVDs and Clinics), and Blind Retrieve Handling. I used John Jeanneney's book to give me some ideas around training for blood tracking. I find DVDs far better than books these days. I pick and choose and use some things I developed on my own. And I continue to try new things.

I agree that exposure/opportunity is what a well bred puppy needs most to be all it can be. Training comes into play alot more in waterfowl hunting than it does in upland bird hunting and that brings some differences in how people approach training is my observation. Many an excellent wild upland bird dog has been made by teaching it to come when called, hunt dead and retrieve to the handlers feet and then otherwise been left to learn its craft through bird contacts. But a complete and versatile waterfowl dog needs alot more than that, and blood tracking benefits from some training to help the dog understand that situation as well.

Using the methods I learned (and adapted some) in Jon Hann's DVDs I have had excellent success using pigeons and launchers in natural cover to fire up a puppy's search, nose, bird lust and pointing. I use the birds and the tools in as natural a presentation as possible staying silent. It has brought excellent results for me over several puppies in a row now. I let the puppy drag a check cord so I can avoid a protracted game of keep away when birds are shot, but I do not check cord the puppy into points, nor do I say anything. Either the puppy points and holds or the bird is launched and it flies away. It is utterly simple and I continue to be amazed at how mis-understood it is. It looks nothing like the hold onto the check cord, Whoa hollering command restraints I see too often at training days. And pigeons get up and fly away so the puppy is never rewarded for chasing exhausted low flying birds to the ground and catching them as pen raised quail and chukars are prone to do. Which again means the handler can remain silent and let the puppy learn on its own how fruitless chasing strong flying birds is. They quickly learn to break off and go looking for the next bird. So I have a much different view on the productivity of properly using birds and launchers than some others do. The approach rewards the exact behavior we want and sets up the puppy to be much more apt to handle wild birds in a manner which can then provide shooting and retrieves in its first season. Good behavior leading to birds in the puppy's mouth only feeds more of the same.

And I get my puppies into wild game on a daily basis. Small game and fur are often more easily found and are just as useful as wild birds during the early phases of working with puppies as anything that wakes up their nose, tracking, pointing, searching skills is a good thing.

So that is my $.02 cents. Looking forward to your visit OrHunter. Bruce your invite has not expired either.
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Re: True Confessions

Postby orhunter » Tue Mar 20, 2018 5:10 pm

Appreciate the feedback. About the only criticism/comment I have is the lack of hands on guidance and possibly treating a pup as though it's a fragile piece fine crystal. None of us wants a fragile pup and we need to do what we can to bring out the boldness a good hunting dog needs as quickly as possible. If I have to pamper a pup, I don't want it. I believe in giving a pup the earliest opportunities to develop mental toughness for the challenges ahead. What they do with the opportunity is up to them. There's a difference between force and creating opportunity. A pup's exposure should allow every facet to develop at the time the pup decides it can handle it. To hold back on anything isn't trusting the pup's pedigree. This goes for gun exposure also.
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Re: True Confessions

Postby Spindog » Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:06 am

I will need to get his book. a Few years ago I spent 3 days hunting with an old wise man with some beautiful English Pointers. He was very hands off. Told me to let the bird teach the dog. He said limit intervention because it can only diminish their confidence boldness and "style". Taking the approach with my new dog. Been running him all winter on Grouse. Its been a long winter with some birdless days but now that the Woodcock are back in Michigan tings are picking up. I really like this kind of stuff. Such a thrill to watch a bird dog stalk a wild bird. You can see the pleasure they have when the hit scent.
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Re: True Confessions

Postby Meridiandave » Sun Apr 01, 2018 1:22 pm

Before I commented on this thread, I went and bought the book and read it. This book was a total Meehhh for me.

Now in all fairness, I have a level of bias against the Bailey's. I guess that is my confession. I think they are largely responsible for the Griffon struggles in the late 70's and 80's. I came to this conclusion after reading her book: "Griffon, Gun Dog Supreme."

She makes claims in this book that there is one pointing gene, a claim not supported by Genetic research (the latest study has at least two genes playing major roles and leaves open the possibility of more playing minor roles.. She makes the same claim about retrieving.

Even on her claim on pigeons and pen reared birds, she even qualifies that. She states the ametuers wont know what to do with it. I do agree, as well as every breeder I know would, that search training is best done with wild birds. However, since going to NAHVDA trainings and training with my friend, the proper use of pigeons can be invaluable in shortening the learning curve and getting young dogs pointed in the right direction. These birds can be used to awaken drive in young dogs.
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Re: True Confessions

Postby huntindog1 » Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:57 am

I got the book a while back this winter when I went thru buying all kinds of used books on all the book sites, some really good used deals out there, kind of over did it.

I am just finished with a couple and starting this Joan Baily book.

I have read alot of books over the years alot of them are all saying the same thing just in different ways and some put more emphasis on somethings than others.

I tend to just let the dog train themselves as thats why I paid alot of money for a good bloodline. As in the end I am just a hunter. The last two dogs of mine I am basically
just along for the ride a happy one at that.
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Re: True Confessions

Postby jarbo03 » Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:25 am

I have not read the book. I have always used a very hands off method on upland birds, felt running them on wild birds is the best way to learn. Beyond that, does the book have a way to translate that to a finished trained retriever, which is a very hands on approach. Always interested in learning new ways.
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