Finally pulled the trigger! A pointing lab duck dog?

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Finally pulled the trigger! A pointing lab duck dog?

Postby dysco » Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:30 am

My house has been littered with training books for years, but our timing has sucked with school, finding a job, moving to a new town, buying a house, and having a baby. I can't think of any other complications, so I finally put a deposit down on the best lab pup I could find locally. The sire is a rockstar and the dam is... pretty OK by all accounts. :wink:

So in a random sampling of 5 5-week-old pups in 30 minutes this afternoon I picked the one closest in look and personality to the sire (Who was really a great dog in person). She seemed to be a favorite in the house. She also happened to be a female. So I've made all the choices that are somewhat up to chance. I have 2 weeks to get my act together for when she gets here so we can have a fun first season this winter and a rockin' second season next year.

The sire's line is made up of hard-core pointing labs; an alphabet soup of awesome. I hunt ducks almost daily in season. I finally got out on a pheasant trip to North Dakota last year (amazing) and I will do at least one big pheasant trip a year and 3-4 days walking for pheasant between duck hunts on the plains. I would like to train her to point as opposed to being mildly surprised when she does lock up like the golden I hunted over in North Dakota. I'll also be going as far as I can for waterfowl training, particularly steady to shot, heel, and blind retrieves/handling.

I am going to use the Wolters books (Water Dog & Game Dog) as a guide for waterfowl and upland, but he never mentions pointing that I've seen. Where do I start and what can I do early on to give her the best start for pointing upland?

It's a 3 hour drive minimum to the nearest game farm that doesn't require a membership, but I'm not opposed to doing it monthly. I have everything I need locally for training otherwise in terms of space.

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Re: Finally pulled the trigger! A pointing lab duck dog?

Postby Rick Hall » Sun Jun 23, 2013 4:33 am

Until those with more pointing Lab experience chime in, I'll note that Julie Knutson's Training the Pointing Labrador is often touted as the Bible on your subject: http://www.gundogsupply.com/training-the-pointing-labrador-julie-knutson-book.html
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Re: Finally pulled the trigger! A pointing lab duck dog?

Postby dysco » Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:17 pm

Thanks, Rick. I kept researching last night and found that Poudre River Gundogs has training videos. They aren't cheap, but the videos he has on his site are a lot better than the Hickox videos for me which I watched last night. None of the dogs look beaten down during training, but that may just be what he shows in video and Hickox was demonstrating the truth of it. Not sure how to take that. Incidentally they do 30 minute training sessions for $50 and are within 4 hours of us (The sire was from their kennel).

http://pointinglabtraining.com/Pages%20 ... ng-DVD.htm

According to the outline, it's pretty much the same as waterfowl training except "whoa" and a lot more live birds than I was expecting. He also mentions teaching how to work cover and where to look extra hard for birds. I may have to start trapping the town pigeons.

I'm still looking for advice on this, but I'm also doing my own research.
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Re: Finally pulled the trigger! A pointing lab duck dog?

Postby Duckdon » Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:35 pm

So is it true? Do most Pointing Labs drowned or do they learn to break point when duck hunting? Sorry, a lame excuse for trying to be funny. :lol3: Let the adventure begin and keep us posted. Thanks for sharing. Don
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Re: Finally pulled the trigger! A pointing lab duck dog?

Postby mkeller » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:57 pm

I have a full bred pointing black lab and he has been awesome in both the upland fields and duck blind! He has been an absolute pleasure to train and hunt with. You will love the versitilty of the dog. All the guys at the upland hunt club ran pointers and setters and old "Ridge" would hold his own. He didn't have the stamia as the smaller frame dogs but his drive and nose was respected by the other owners. Funny thing is they expected my dog to flush but he would point/hold just as tight as their dogs but then would go and retrieve like his hair was on fire. The transition to the duck blind was pretty seemless as he is a natural retriever and loves it. It is kind of crazy he will lock up on upland birds but will retrieve every dead duck in the county. In the upland fields he always retrieved cripples and would never point them. Its almost like the instincts take over and he knew the difference between live/dead and reacts accordingly. I would expect your dog to do the same. When i first got him he was strictly a upland dog but now shares the duck blind with us (i just started waterfowl hunting a few years back). Enjoy your new best friend!

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Re: Finally pulled the trigger! A pointing lab duck dog?

Postby younggun6632 » Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:01 pm

I have a 18 month old YML out of solid pointing backgrounds. In the short time I've had a pointing lab I've thoroughly enjoyed it. I would second Julie Knutson's books. I'd consider selling you mine, but I still reference it from time to time. Julie walks you through step by step. My advice is birds make a bird dog. Birds early, birds often. Second get involved with a trainer and retriever club. I saw you're from Colorado. Julie Knutson and Bearpoint kennels are in the state and aren't more than 3-4 hours from you. Last time I checked Bearpoint had 4 of the 10 pointing pointing lab Hall of Fame dogs. Again, get Julie's books and read and re-read them.

Just out of curiosity what breeder did you get yours from?
What are some big names off the pedigree?

P.S. if you choose to run your pup in APLA they always have a test in Larkspur, CO every year.
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Re: Finally pulled the trigger! A pointing lab duck dog?

Postby dysco » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:55 pm

Thanks for the encouragement! I didn't put the recommended book together with Bearpoint. ...not that I know anything about the Colorado dog training scene other than from the internet. A local hunter (literally a few blocks away) put an ad in the paper for a pup from his 2-pup litter. I was the second person to call. We didn't get her, but the dam looked great and had a great temperament and he raved about the sire. He told me about a litter from the owners of the sire so we drove 2 hours to meet them. Both were more or less hobby breedings with good health clearances. I think she'll be great, of course. :biggrin:

The sire is out of Kiowa Creek's Jesse James and OD's Cobra Jet Sally. The dam is out of local hunting stock.

Since we're up in the mountains on the banks of the wild Arkansas river, she'll be pulling ducks out of rapids between icy banks in a couple years. This year I'll keep it pretty mellow and wait to see what she's capable of. We're naming her Eddy.

We'll see about tests. I have a lot on my plate with a 4-month old human. :eek:
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Re: Finally pulled the trigger! A pointing lab duck dog?

Postby Elvis Kiwi » Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:40 am

Ive owned pig dogs, sheep dogs, and now on my/our 3rd bird dog. had lab/gsp gsp/huntaway huntaway /golden retriever and now a cocker. walters is a God in my eyes, havent read the other author mentioned.
one thing I will strongly recomend is get a ROCK SOLID sit on your pup. make it a game and stick with it. most trouble can be nipped in the bud if it is rock solid even under excitement. eg its hard to runamuck when you are sitting
cant run over road in front of a car when you are sitting
just please dont sit your dog if a fight looks like coming (I did and my dog got savaged doing what I told him)
you could sit your dog when the natural semi point shows???
I believe the trick to getting a dog pointing that isnt bred for it is to extend the pause/semi point somehow.
good luck with both the new editions to your household.
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Re: Finally pulled the trigger! A pointing lab duck dog?

Postby Rick Hall » Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:39 am

Elvis Kiwi wrote:I believe the trick to getting a dog pointing that isnt bred for it is to extend the pause/semi point somehow.


That's the "trick" to training the great majority of all pointing dogs. Very few are whelped naturally staunch and stay that way. But pointing doggers teach their charges to "whoa" standing, so they'll not sit on point. In fact, whether to teach "sit" at all is a bone of great contention among pointing dog folks, because "sit" can become Pup's default get-out-of-trouble action and they might do when feeling pressured by the steadying process.
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Re: Finally pulled the trigger! A pointing lab duck dog?

Postby Elvis Kiwi » Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:04 pm

hmmmm interesting point(no pun intended)
to my mind having the pup sit when unsure and under pressure is far better than run back to truck/kennel/bossman when unsure or under pressure. to my way of thinking if you are reading your dog/pup correctly you SHOULD be able to be there to assist the stress level stay low.Having not owned a pointer as such I was just giving a general go to command that for me at least is a must have. another place that sit is great is around stock...dogs eyes wander to a sheep....tail starts to go.... sit down, move over and let dog know thats a big no no. my dogs are taught on the lead not to even look at stock or they get a clip round the ear. having the ability to "stop" the dog anywhere anytime can and will save you alot of grief in the long run.
there is also the debate/different teaching
stand vs sit vs lie down....
all good thoughts to confuse us all.
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Re: Finally pulled the trigger! A pointing lab duck dog?

Postby loner » Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:28 pm

right now i have a pointing lab + a german wirehair. the lab i taught all the retrieving stuff first, then the whoa- mistake!
the wirehair gets whoa everytime i feed him since he was little + he whoas great. whoa is what makes a pointing dog steady, if you can't whoa him on a bird he will break + catch the bird which will teach him not to point. good luck with your new pup!
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Re: Finally pulled the trigger! A pointing lab duck dog?

Postby Rick Hall » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:54 am

Elvis Kiwi wrote:hmmmm interesting point(no pun intended)
to my mind having the pup sit when unsure and under pressure is far better than run back to truck/kennel/bossman when unsure or under pressure...


Many/most pointing doggers simply use "whoa" (IE: hold your ground standing) as you're suggesting "sit" might be applied. Mine "heel" standing and handle to what would be a "sit" whistle for my retrievers by stopping standing and looking for my cast.

I do, in fact, teach my pointing dogs "sit," but it's so seldom used in our daily activities that its far from a conditioned default.
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Re: Finally pulled the trigger! A pointing lab duck dog?

Postby Elvis Kiwi » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:18 pm

this place is great...all positive comments given and taken in the spirit of kinship. man I wish I had found it years ago when we got our first bird dog.
it is so nice not to have guys knocking what you say as they think otherwise.
I have owned a few dawgs over the years, back as a teenager my shorthaired border collie (other wise known as a heading dog)
was the first that really got the bug into me. I mustered cattle with him one day,caught pigs with him the next(great nose to find and would bail pigs till we got there and hold anything up to 100lb on his own if asked) and I finished a shepherds trial with him the next. who said you cant teach a dawg multi tasking!!!
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Re: Finally pulled the trigger! A pointing lab duck dog?

Postby dysco » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:42 pm

2 weeks to go! Holy cow they grow fast!

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Got the Knutson book. The breeder recommended it, too. Also found some crates (3 free!, the small one new), a couple collars, check cord, training tab, and a custom leash from a friend who makes them, along with some chewy things. A few more chewy things to go, a bag of food, and we're totally ready.


...and I've decided to build a pigeon coop. :eek:
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Re: Finally pulled the trigger! A pointing lab duck dog?

Postby dysco » Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:46 am

An update at 12 weeks:
Kennel training is going well. She even naps in it during the day.

We are getting better at potty training, but are averaging an accident a day. We're learning to be a better team about that.
She's still howling to be let out and going #1 and 2 several times at night. Is that normal? Our 6 month old human sleeps 9 hours straight. :lol3:

She went from being a siren in the crate in the pickup bed to handling REALLY rocky roads on the way to puppy walks in grouse country without a peep. After the first ride, I held her in my lap for a couple trips, then moved the crate into the cab of the pickup, then finally moved the crate to the bed.

She has figured out how to get over, under, or through every obstacle in the mountains that I can get past, including belly-deep streams, high banks, and deadfall. She's struggling with swimming but I think that's because the water is really cold in the beaver ponds she's been to. She can swim but doesn't love to yet.

She has sit down with some distractions present, comes when called in the woods, and we're working on "here". I've always said "let's go" as an action command with her and she gets that she's supposed to do something when I say it- usually it's her cue to start moving on a hike. We're going to start heel next week.

Retrieving drive is present but she still tries to take the bumper past me on the way back. She also won't retrieve if she's tired so I have to throw the bumper early in our walks.

And finally, she's shown interest in birds! She flushed a grouse and then chased the flying bird to a tree. It was awesome. I have no illusions that she'll be ready for the grouse opener on Sept 1, but we're going to do a 1-day thing near the end of September with a trainer near Denver for intro to birds and guns. That'll give us a better idea if she's ready for a Nodak pheasant trip.

Searching for marmot poo at 12,000 feet...
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Re: Finally pulled the trigger! A pointing lab duck dog?

Postby Elvis Kiwi » Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:00 am

great report. pleased to hear its going well for you both.
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Re: Finally pulled the trigger! A pointing lab duck dog?

Postby B.E.Nelli » Wed Aug 14, 2013 5:35 am

Try covering her kennel with a blanket at night. Also throw an old t-shirt you mowed or sweated in with her too. This instantly made my pup stop crying at night.
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Re: Finally pulled the trigger! A pointing lab duck dog?

Postby dysco » Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:16 pm

B.E.Nelli wrote:Try covering her kennel with a blanket at night. Also throw an old t-shirt you mowed or sweated in with her too. This instantly made my pup stop crying at night.

She doesn't really whine at night, but she does make a bunch of noise if she has to go out. She goes straight outside, goes #1&2, then comes back for an ear scratch and back to the kennel. Last night she went 6 hours, some nights it's every 2-3 hours.
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Re: Finally pulled the trigger! A pointing lab duck dog?

Postby B.E.Nelli » Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:24 pm

Ohh gotchya...well can't really fault her if she isn't abusing the privilege of going out. Little pups have tiny bladders, so I would expect that to go away soon. Maybe limit her water intake an hour or two before bed.
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Re: Finally pulled the trigger! A pointing lab duck dog?

Postby dysco » Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:24 pm

Yesterday we fed her in the afternoon instead of the normal 6pm. She slept through the night. It probably didn't hurt that she's been playing with another dog all day. We should get a second puppy. :lol3:
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Re: Finally pulled the trigger! A pointing lab duck dog?

Postby Elvis Kiwi » Sat Aug 17, 2013 3:21 am

sounds like you are onto something with the feeding times. a good trick/tip is to "tell" your dog to do the biz or something like that while you are at this stage. it can be plurry handy later on if away on a trip etc to be able to stop car and have it wee on command if you get my meaning, also handy to get that over with before you get into duck blind etc.
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Re: Finally pulled the trigger! A pointing lab duck dog?

Postby dysco » Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:38 pm

We do the command, and she gets it some of the time. It turns out she's great in the kennel on road trips so I don't think that'll be a big issue. Something just changed that made a big difference- her stools hardened up. We had told the vet that some of her stools were liquid and some were formed. He said that's common. She's eating the same food she's been on since she was weaned. Over the last 4-5 days her stools have become far more solid than before and she's going all night in the crate. Apparently she had a bug or something that I wasn't experienced enough to catch and properly explain to the vet. At least that's over with.

She will swim 8-12' for bumpers now in ponds (haven't tried farther) and has retrieved from shallow parts of the river where swimming isn't required but she's not a fan of running on the rocks yet. For a pup who still trips over her own feet regularly I'm not going to push that. :lol3:

With intro to birds and guns at the end of the Sept I wonder if she'll be ready to bring in a few teal from our marshy spot in October... I think she might be ready for it if the birds are dead in the water.
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Re: Finally pulled the trigger! A pointing lab duck dog?

Postby dysco » Thu Sep 05, 2013 5:51 pm

First bird!

We've been conditioning to shot over 2 sessions with shotgun primer only. She didn't care about the primer over 5 close shots yesterday. I figured I'd try a 20ga on her. One flinch and then fine for the second shot while fetching the bumper at the beginning of our walk today. I felt pretty comfy shooting with her behind me for the first two, and she flushed up the third and found it in the weeds once she figured out what we were after. She flushed it, it went 30 yards through the trees and landed. She went after it on the high side, I got in a good position and it was over. No retrieve, but she did almost get it off the ground to run away with it. :lol3:

Holy smokes was she birdy on the way back. A changed dog.

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Double posting this pic. Sue me. :biggrin:
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Re: Finally pulled the trigger! A pointing lab duck dog?

Postby dysco » Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:44 pm

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Eddy's 13 months old now. She has complex double marks wired and is starting to take casts for the third mark in a triple when she's stumped (one in tall weeds, one in the water out of sight, one on the other side of a canal). She will fetch to pile in the yard without FF; in fact, I can throw 10 bumpers to a corner of the back yard, go sit on the couch with the front door open and she'll go get the all on the fetch command. We're pretty solid on sit on shot when practicing for upland, and she LOVES busting cover. She'll deliver exciting marks to hand and frozen birds to hand, but drops bumpers a lot, particularly when she's going back to get a second mark. She'll also take a line to visible marks, but isn't quite dialed into the concept of lining to blinds yet.

I hunted her way too much too young and lost sight of my season goals for her. We started the E-collar at 8 months and it has made a huge difference in training and how we communicate. Everything is better. Her basic obedience is really dialed in, and the first thing we fixed was getting into the truck at the first command. I had stopped taking her out because she'd refuse to get back in the truck after hunting. She had been playing keepaway with birds from about 5 months on and I was flummoxed. She even stopped fetching bumpers. About 8 weeks ago we had a breakthrough and, starting with a chuck-it, she turned her fetch instinct back up to 11. When I broke out the bumper she was bringing back gobs of weeds with it and doing all sorts of acrobatics to get it back to me as fast as possible. I'm training for upland, decoys, and jumping canals, so there are a lot of different situations to cover. The only thing I haven't touched on yet is sitting still for long periods and working through decoys in the water. Really I'm trying to motivate myself to put on waders and watch the sun rise without the possibility of shooting anything.

She retrieves fewer weeds now...
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Re: Finally pulled the trigger! A pointing lab duck dog?

Postby dysco » Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:53 pm

Rick Hall wrote:Until those with more pointing Lab experience chime in, I'll note that Julie Knutson's Training the Pointing Labrador is often touted as the Bible on your subject: http://www.gundogsupply.com/training-the-pointing-labrador-julie-knutson-book.html

I read ten or twelve hunting dog training books before getting my dog. I also got this book that Rick mentioned. That's the only training book that's still on my desk. The others are piled on the shelf after finishing them in a night or two. Training the Pointing Laborador is so dense that I haven't yet finished it. It's full of good information, but takes time to digest, and often repeats concepts to drill them into your head so you can appropriately drill them into your dog's head. It gave me great insight into how to go about training, and I've used the perspective that Julie Knutson provides more than the actual training to get my dog where she is now. Lacking actual live birds anywhere near me here in the mountains (and building a pigeon coop, but not finishing it because it seemed like too much drama with a little kid and a busy work schedule) I can't follow all of the plan, but I can get close. Now that Eddy and I are working like a team for training, I'm going to take another crack at the book and the training plan.

So, great book, but read it well before you get the dog. Then read it again a chapter at a time through training.
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