My dog won't pointI need some advice. I have a 2 year old GSP that I am currently training. Depending on scenting conditions and wind direction, every so often he will take off out of sight range on wild birds because he is winding the bird and bump the bird before I even get a chance to see the bird. In an attempt to solve this problem I have been planting quail for him in a remote launcher and bringing him in on a check cord. If he doesn't point the bird after he has picked up the scent I whoa him and I flush immediately. If he points the bird I steady him and shoot it. I am hoping that he will make the connection between pointing and dead birds (if I hit). Right now we are at 50/50. 2 birds pointed and shot and 2 birds flushed.
My problem is this. I am unsure what to do if he does not point. What should I do after the dog has failed to point the bird and forced me to flush the bird? I do not want to reprimand him for fear of him associating the reprimand with finding the bird. By the other side of the coin, I do not want to praise him for using his nose but flushing the bird. I have considered whoaing him at the point where he picked up the scent and holding him there for a period after the bird is flushed. Any of your advice would be geatly appreciated. Thank you.
You are doing the right thing by not shooting a bird your dog doesn't point. If you are forced to flush a bird in that situation, make sure your dog is,
A) on a check cord so he can be prevented from chase.
B) picked up & brought back to the spot where you first saw him wind the bird.
Speak calmly to the dog. Be firm & unemotional as the bird is flushed via remote device. Do not let the dog advance, but DO NOT yank the cord back either. A few repetitions of this and he should put it together.
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