Flushing Dogs That Choose to Point

Pointing, retrieving, flushing, tracking, behavioral issues, puppy training, etc.

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Flushing Dogs That Choose to Point

Postby Higgins » Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:12 pm

Here is a link to a video of Jax, a nice young Lab pointing his bird. Reagan is the shooter. When it comes to dogs (like Labs) that have been bred to flush birds, I like to give them the freedom to choose their strategy, to work with their strengths. If a flushing dog demonstrates a talent for pointing, and the type of hunting he'll be doing is conducive to it, I say let him point.

https://youtu.be/OhiYEXv6800
Brad Higgins
www.HigginsGundogs.com

Higgins Gundogs hunting etiquette:

Dogs: Stay in touch and handle well. Always honor another dog's point, be steady when necessary and manage the birds for the gun.
Handlers: Be silent in the hunt. Allow the dog the freedom to do his work. Nurture the natural retrieve.
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Re: Flushing Dogs That Choose to Point

Postby PL_Guy » Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:03 am

Hi Brad,

I agree, except that Labs were not bred to be flushing dogs. They were historically bred to be retrievers.

That said there are a number of Labs in the US today which are the product of considered efforts to enhance the behavior Jax displays by selective breeding among the relatively small percentage of Labs found in the general population which exhibit such behavior while maintaining the characteristics which make them such excellent retrievers. A few are achieving some success in retriever hunt tests and AKC field trials as well as titling in the PL organization. Because the FCI and the US breed club consider them to be "retrievers" rather than of a "pointing breed" there are very few venues where dogs that point are tested or compete where PLs are welcome :) NAVHDA - no, VHDF - yes; Some do quite well in some "Run & Gun venues" in the pointing divisions (except NSTRA which won't let them compete!).

Studies to define a possible genetic basis of pointing behavior, including that displayed by such Pointing Labs (PLs), though very preliminary, appear to indicate the genes responsible for "point" in PLs and those in traditional pointing and versatile breeds are not the same.

The fact that such behavior in many Labs is a "late onset" behavior may indicate it is an epigenetic rather than hard-wired genetic phenomenon.

Do you happen to know the Pedigree of Jax?

It isn't unusual for flushing specialist dogs such as springer spaniels to "choose" to "point" when subjected to excess "pressure" while developing "stop to flush" in training. A mutual acquaintance of ours told me a spaniel trainer told him such dogs "are not bred."

Are you familiar with Bill West's old video "Training Labs to Point?"

Jere
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Re: Flushing Dogs That Choose to Point

Postby Densa44 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:37 am

You do know that coyotes both point and back? That is when they are hunting for themselves. Also, "you can teach a dog anything" (a quote from a friend who is a pro) The rub is getting them to stay put when the bird flushes, a coyote, or my old Lab would catch it in the air. Rooster or hen, it didn't matter.
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Re: Flushing Dogs That Choose to Point

Postby PL_Guy » Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:57 am

Densa44 wrote:...Also, "you can teach a dog anything" ...


There are those of us who maintain that the behavior we call a "point' as observed in certain animals which do it without training [teaching] is a genetically (or maybe epigenetically in some) determined behavior which, therefore, can not be trained in animals which do not. That said, it is certain one can train a behavior which simulates (though not always all that convincingly) a natural "point."

Steadiness, OTOH, is not all that prevalent even in animals which point naturally. That is why so much training goes into achieving the steadiness aspects of "on bird manners" in pointing dogs.

Jere
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Re: Flushing Dogs That Choose to Point

Postby Trailsend » Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:37 am

I am going to start off by saying I have no problems with a pointing lab. My question has always been why? There are already a number of versatile breeds. Why not just labs be labs.
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Re: Flushing Dogs That Choose to Point

Postby PL_Guy » Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:00 am

Trailsend wrote:I am going to start off by saying I have no problems with a pointing lab. My question has always been why? There are already a number of versatile breeds. Why not just labs be labs.


Maybe its:
"Variety is the spice of life"
"Some people are followers, others are leaders"
or a number of other such possibilities.

But really, as Higgins pointed out in the beginning, the Lab. population includes some that actually point naturally. It is a no-brainer to put some of these together and see if the behavior can be accentuated. Let the Labs. that point be pointing Labs.

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