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Lacking desire to hunt

I have a two and half year old Griffon male who's hunting behavior (or lack thereof) is perplexing. This dog has a wonderful disposition, minds well, loves to practice retrieve on land or water, goes bonkers over live birds, but just doesn't seem to want to hunt. He occasionally goes on brief hunting sprees, but they are brief, lasting no more than a half hour at most. He will not go into thick cover and generally balks at leaving my side in any cover that blocks his view of where he's headed. I just returned from pheasant hunting in western Nebraska, hoping that getting him on lots of birds would help him make the connection between hunting work and birds. Conditions weren't ideal, with snow, thicker/taller cover than he likes and birds did not hold. He showed promise in a couple of brief periods but overall it was pretty disappointing. I need some advice as to where should I go with dog from here? Any suggestions?

It sounds to me like too much training and not enough hunting. You may have a problem with too much obedience and not enough play also.

Take your boy out and let him run and frolic and play. If he hangs out by you let him. Ignore him, as in no commands or attention at all. Take him to a place he can run big and look for birds. Even if none are there, that is what is called "hunting".

Males mature at a much slower pace than females. At 2 1/2 he is still very much a puppy in his head though his body looks grown. From what you describe in Nebraska, he is starting to get the hang of it. Give him more time to look for birds. I have also seen many people be so intense on doing things right they forget they have a creature that has ideas of his own sometimes. It brings to mind the old sisters that kept a tomcat in the house all the time with them. One sister went on vacation and met a man she fell in love with and got married. She sent a telegram to her sister from her honeymoon that only had for words on it. It said "let that tomcat out!"

Your boy is young and will have to learn to work on his own and you will have to learn to let him. All a "parent" can do is trust in the training they have instilled and then let the "child" experience life. Trust in him. You will not be disappointed.

Terry Germany
JC&T Shooting Sports

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