The getting started course is grouped into two categories
One with how to get started in researching and preparing yourself for your puppy and the other on how to start once you have your puppy.
Before you have a dog
As with anything, mindset is maybe one of the biggest keys to success in gundog training. Remember, each dog is different and things you see in this course are suggestions for how to approach but it is far from one size fits all. We can help you train your bird dog and notice the small tendencies that most would not recognize without years of practice. Please don’t be afraid to reach out if you have questions.
You will want to understand how to reward your dog as well
Training really is not too hard, just remember it's about positive and negative reinforcement. Praise when they do well and negative pressure when they misbehave, and of course we do NOT suggest using treats.
Here are some tactics for the handler as well when it comes to chasing down birds.
And of course you can not train without an intro to gear
Bonus: Handling Birds
How to Find your dog
One thing that we often suggest as advice to people who are beginning to search for a dog is to ask themselves the hard questions. Have the answer to what kind of breed you want and why you want it. Maybe it’s a disposition, maybe it’s a hair issue, oftentimes we suggest not picking on color and really looking for the right healthy genetics that are going to make you happy as an owner. Talking to breeders can help you answer some of those questions for yourself. Below is some tips on how to approach breeders and get the answers you need to find the one that fits you.
The next questions to ask your breeder
Pick the Perfect Puppy
Reading a pedigree can also help you do your own diligence
Once you have your Puppy:
Step 1: House Training
This in many trainers' minds is the first step everyone must get through in the home to put an owner in a peaceful state of mind. No matter the situation this is a step everyone must go through with their pup if they plan on having the pup in the house and typically it will start to coincide with other training steps that can help build the foundation for gundogs.
A confident dog is one that will perform in the field. As a young pup socialization is a key part of training a dog.
Oftentimes when dogs are bad jumpers it starts with habits that are created from the day they are brought home. This will give you a good perspective into how to avoid building a jumping habit. One trick from the pros that can be implemented very easily is the “enter the house” drill. When you come home, your puppy is typically excited to see you just as many would expect, and rightfully so. However, as the handler you are going to establish his habits in this area of his life. So, when you walk in the house, instead of giving him lots of attention and hyping him up. Ask them to sit, go down to their level and calmly greet them. By asking them to respect a command before giving them praise will help the puppy build the positive enforcement they will need for training into an amazing gundog.
One thing to note here is a puppy's attention span is not much so often taking the object away while the dog wants more is going to help you build drive.
Here is another look at how to develop a puppy with Mel
For pointers this can be a great way to foster their pointing instinct early on. Some trainers use the wing on a string drill often, in our case we rely on good genetics so don’t always feel the need to use this drill but if you have one of the pointing breeds it can be a fun game to mix in along with the short retrieving drills.
Now that you have a good start with your puppy and are feeling good about their progress it is time to start truly developing and laying a foundation for your bird dog. The next section will be all about starting dogs to where they are ready to take the field after. As always if you have any questions don’t be afraid to reach out.