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How to Train a Flusher

Dear Trainers,
I have recently purchased my first dog. He is a staunch, firey-eyed Golden. He has been very quick to pick up on the basic commands taught him, sit, heel, down. And he has been very sharp on retrieving bumpers up to 40 yards. I couldn't be more pleased with the quality of dog I got and with his progress. Now to my dilema. I want a Golden with more of an upland flare. I will be moving back to my homestate of Kansas soon and would like him to be more pheasant and quail oriented. I know your probably saying, well why didn't you buy a Shorthair. Well I prefer the retrievers over the pointers. Is there any special route of training I should pursue? Is there any special way to approach upland training for a retreiver. I know he will probably never point, but a good flusher would suit me fine. What would you suggest? Books, tapes, contacts in the Idaho area? Also I have been taking him hunting as of late. He loves to get out and run. He is only about five months old, is this to early? Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.
Craig Walle


First off five months is not to young to expose your pup to hunting. As long as his association with gunfire doesn't upset him, it will be a benefit to him.

When developing a flushing dog you have to make the dog drive hard and aggressive for the bird. I start young retrievers with planted pigeons or quail that have one wing taped down. When the pup find the source of the odor a big chase ensues and the pup wins by catching the shackled bird. After a few repetitions the dog quickly learns to charge into cover to catch the bird. You also get to work some retrieving here when the bird is caught.

Dogs that learn early on that they may catch a planted bird will hunt and flush wild birds very aggressively. This is why you never want a pointer to catch planted birds.

The most important thing to do with a young dog is to get him into a lot of birds, wild or planted, to raise his drive and hone his hunting instinct.

Best of luck,

Bill Corcoran
Highland Retriever Kennel
Highland Retriever Kennel

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