Training guide information

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Training guide information

Postby reader4 » Wed Apr 07, 2021 3:04 pm

This came from the prior post about what to do next with the 11-month griff, but I didn't want to hijack the thread. I've seen many suggestions about the Perfection Kennels guides. I don't own any of them but I have seen many of the videos they put out online. I have the sense that a lot of their work relies on abundant access to birds, especially homers, and some equipment like launchers. This has kept me away from investing in their information because I don't have ready access to those same resources.

Can anyone comment on the "prerequisites" or equipment requirements for following their techniques? Do the videos address accommodations for folks like us? If not, can you comment on other guides or techniques that might meet us where we are?

For context: My locale precludes a bird coop. The closest area for running off-leash is 20min away but it's a dog park -- not a good place for training. I'm lucky to have a dedicated training grounds within 45min and my schedule lets me get there a few times per month. If I need birds I have another 30+min driving. Thankfully, someone from our training group can get them for organized training days. Probably not optimal but it's what I can accommodate. So for me the progressions need to be based around work I can do in the backyard and transfer to the field without launchers, lots of homers, etc. I've worked from multiple sources including some oldies like the "orange book" and experience with retrievers, but I can't say if that's been successful yet... mine is only just a year old...
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Re: Training guide information

Postby SwitchGrassWPG » Wed Apr 07, 2021 6:04 pm

Pretty hard to make a bird dog without birds and a few tools of the trade can help the process. Stay away from the wing on a string game and trying to use dead birds for other than retrieving training. Any system you try to follow will require both. Read and watch multiple sources/methods and figure out what works best for you and your dog. Obedience is always something that can be worked in the yard and sometime steadiness, without birds.

Perhaps you can reach out to any pointing dog clubs in your area and find some like-minded folks who have some of the needed resources or access to them. In reality, you can train a dog by yourself, but it's a whole lot easier and more enjoyable if you can find a couple folks to do it with.
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Re: Training guide information

Postby orhunter » Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:44 pm

I was in your shoes and basically still am but now I can catch my own pigeons although I don’t like training with them. Gotta use whatcha got. With my last Griff we started our first hunting season, she was nine months, she’d been around three or four pen raised birds at most and only a few quail and maybe a pheasant and a grouse. She was green as any dog can be at 9 months. By early November she was a fire breathing dragon because we had tons of Chukars and Huns back then. A short trip to ND chasing ditch parrots was what fanned the flames. Wild birds make all the difference. Without those, our dogs will never shine. I look at serious training as something we do after a pup’s first hunting season. We don’t know what we’re working with till we give ‘em a chance to show us what they have.
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Re: Training guide information

Postby HMR » Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:13 am

Gun dog it yourself podcast has a great episode on city bird dogs. I recommend checking it out. ... 0498920681
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Re: Training guide information

Postby Dmog » Thu Apr 08, 2021 1:42 pm

You are at a disadvantage without access to birds during that that first year. I personally wouldn't go down the path of training without birds to plant, so can offer no help in how to even do that. So many dots get connected with the proper use of a few birds. Remote launching birds is worth its weight in gold and allows you to potentially lessen the overall need for birds. I have never housed birds(well there was the failed attempt of Chukars. Those little suckers can fly pretty good at a very young age...) but got access to where feral pigeons were roosting. Put out a trap with feed in it and with some luck, you have a weekend worth of birds. I have heard of people catching them on their roost at night with flashlights.

1. Trainer with an open mind that puts the time in to read the dog and adjust plans accordingly.
2. Dog that has sound breeding for the task at hand.
3. Check cord and leash
4. 3-6 birds every other weekend for the first year. The more the better to a point as this can be overdone.
5. Shotgun
6. variety of fields, woods, streams, and lakes.

1. ecollar
2. remote bird launchers
3. starter pistol shoots 22 blanks
4. access to wild birds(release/preserve birds will work initially)
5. various retrieval dummies
6. place platform
7. ecollar with gps
8. pinch collar
9. Kennel

Nice to have:
1. Training table
2. Bird coop
3. NAVHDA nearby or other training groups
4. 3 bird launchers
5. Dog blinds and marsh platforms
6. Second ecollar
7. other obedient dogs to train with and around
8. stake out
9. More shotguns
10. another dog

I am sure the list is not complete but is what came to my mind at present.
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Re: Training guide information

Postby AverageGuy » Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:53 pm

I recommend Perfection Kennel DVDs and use them myself. I do not know how to train a birddog without access to birds.

Before I built my pigeon coops and acquired homing pigeons, I used feral pigeons. I rigged two extra large wire dog crates covered with chicken wire on saw horses in my machine shed. Ran a couple of dowel rods through for perches. I could put 15 feral pigeons in each one and those feral would fly strong even after a month in those crates. Of course I lost every one of them the moment I turned them loose but I could train one dog for a month with 30 birds and $150 a month is cheap training.

I do not see any realistic path for you other than solve for a consistent alternative to using birds in your training. It is possible you might find someone willing to let you train with their birds in exchange for money or assistance of some sort. But there is no method of training that does not require and utilize birds.
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Re: Training guide information

Postby Coveyrise64 » Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:46 pm

I second the Perfection Kennels videos if you have the time and resources. If it were me in your situation I would invest the time and money saved on travel, equipment, birds, and send your pup to a Perfection Kennels Start Program. You would be amazed how much your dog, even as a puppy will learn. I've seen dogs that have only gone through 2 days of their Start Clinic that made huge improvements.

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Re: Training guide information

Postby Sooty42 » Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:59 pm

What level of training are you trying to achieve (this might help people answer your question better)? Natural ability test, pass the UT, have a meat dog that does the basics well? I would think if your dog has the right stuff and you can make it to a training day with birds once or twice a month that your dog would be ready for a NA test or be a basic hunting dog next season. This is assuming your dog has had lots of opportunity to free search off leash in his first year on larger tracts of land where you didn’t have to hack on him (even if he didn’t get into birds much).

If you are trying to achieve a higher level of training then refer to what everyone else is saying.
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Re: Training guide information

Postby birddogger2 » Fri Apr 09, 2021 8:48 am

reader -0

As mentioned previously, training a bird dog without free access to birds can be a real challenge. I know it can be done...because I did it for years. takes work and planning and...time.

The only place I could safely run my dogs was over an hour away and the nearest birds were about a half hour away, in another direction. That meant that on Friday, after work, I would go and pick up birds and on Saturday or Sunday, I would drive to the training area and work the dog. I would do short, two to five minute obedience type drills in the yard pretty much every day in the morning while I let the dogs run as I did poopy patrol and again in the evening as I did a second patrol and fed them up.

You may not be able to have a bird coop on your property, but i am sure you can keep a half dozen or more birds in a crate for a day or two in your garage or shed. I modified a medium kennel crate(the largest with a top handle) to house birds. I could keep ten quail for several days in the crate with water and feed. The crate bottom was fitted with a raised plywood floor of 1/2" hardware cloth to provide space for bird poop and I cut a doorway in the back with a swinging plywood door, so I could take birds, feed and water in and out. After the birds were used, I would pop the floor our, wash it, the feeder and waterer and have it ready for the next batch of birds.

A half dozen pigeons or chuckar would fit in there just fine also. I could then use a bird in a trap in the yard, either on a tether or to let fly. I generally used pigeons or chuckars on tethers. If I had extra feral pigeons, I would generally let them fly.

I was fortunate to have plenty of feral pigeons in the area. They hung out during the day, on the overhead power and phone lines for the most part. I bought a pigeon trap and baited it, with very limited success until I bought a few pigeons and kept one in the trap. The bird in the trap attracted his buddies much better than just the feed.

I found that doing actual bird work once a week and/or free running the dog was sufficient. Not ideal, of course, but sufficient. My back yard was fenced in and the inside edge of the fence looked like a motocross track because the dogs would do laps around it after they were let out of their kennels. But they stayed in decent shape. so that was fine.

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Re: Training guide information

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Fri Apr 09, 2021 8:32 pm

Send the dog to a pro for 3-4 months. You'll put nearly as much in training equipment as you would with a trainer plus you STILL will have no access to birds. If takes BIRDS to make a bird dog. Period. There is not way around that.
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Re: Training guide information

Postby J D Patrick » Sun Apr 11, 2021 6:16 am

here's a third for the Perfection Kennels methods - they work for me

and birds are needed - I plan life around getting access to birds
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Re: Training guide information

Postby ryanr » Wed Apr 21, 2021 1:22 pm

Coveyrise64 wrote:I second the Perfection Kennels videos if you have the time and resources. If it were me in your situation I would invest the time and money saved on travel, equipment, birds, and send your pup to a Perfection Kennels Start Program. You would be amazed how much your dog, even as a puppy will learn. I've seen dogs that have only gone through 2 days of their Start Clinic that made huge improvements.

I second CR's thoughts. You need to spend the money to send the dog for training, otherwise you're really just going to spin your wheels with how little time and access to birds you have to offer.
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