This month we are going to continue with our staunchness on point training by adding gun fire and the use of game birds to the mix. First, we will talk about adding gun fire to our staunchness training. You have already exposed your pup to gunfire in your preliminary yard training. (If you are reading this “tip” and have not introduced your dog to gun fire, please go to our archives to March 2014 “Tip of the Month”. Here we discuss properly introducing your dog to gun fire and preventing gun shyness).
You will set up the staunchness drill we discussed last month again using pigeons (homers or feral). When the bird is released from the launcher, fire a blank from the training pistol. You are teaching the dog the proper hunting scenario; point, flush and shot. Your dog is on the long check cord, hold him and let him watch (mark) the birds flight away from him/her. Remember, the dog has learned, from our fly away and previous staunchness drill, that he cannot catch the bird. However, the dog will no doubt regress to want to chase. Thus, the importance of the check cord you hold so he cannot do so. At this point we are beginning to teach steadiness to the wing.
Pigeons are a great bird to use in training, especially in initial staunchness training. They are plentiful and economical in comparison to purchasing pen raised game birds. However, we want our dog to learn about the characteristics of game birds. Therefore, after our dog has mastered this drill with pigeons, we can substitute pen raised quail or chukars. It is important that your dog establishes point and holds it consistently before going to game birds. We do not want the dog to be able to rush in and catch the bird upon the flush thus the continued use of the launcher and check cord.
Stop by again next month as we will add the retrieve to our staunchness on point training. See you then.