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I could really use some advice. I have a 5 month old Brittany that I am starting to train. Let me state that this is my first

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  • I could really use some advice. I have a 5 month old Brittany that I am starting to train. Let me state that this is my first

    I could really use some advice. I have a 5 month old Brittany that I am starting to train. Let me state that this is my first attempt at training a hunting dog. We have been working on basic obedience. I have introduced him to water and he loves to swim. He has been showing interest in birds and absolutely loves playing with feathers. So, I got him some live quail and have been throwing him some lock winged quail. The first day, he was kinda into it. Now, it is as if he has lot interest in them. I got him to chase one for a little while today, but he really doesn't seem very interested. Am I doing something wrong? Is he too young. Should I give him a dead one? He doesn't really seem to be afraid of them, as the chasing today was when the bird was the most active and animated. Do I give him a break for a few days? Any advice would be appreciated.

  • #2
    I am training to six month old GSP's right now. The only real advice I can give you right now is to have lots and lots of patience. We have to realize that they are not going to start pointing and retrieving overnight. Keep working with him and rewarding good behavior and he'll come around.

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    • #3
      When I was training my Choc. Lab when she was about 5 months, I was in high school and didn't know a whole lot about training a dog. One piece of advice that helped me was to not over-do the training. For example, after fetching up a dummy or working on other basics, she'd seem to lose interest after 10-15 min or so. At first I kept trying to push her to continue until my cousin shared this advice with me. Once she "lost interest," it was time to take a break for a while - even for the rest of the day. Like ALJoe said...patience. There's always tomorrow to continue. AND, be sure to incorporate some play time with your pup too =)

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      • #4
        If you get any of the Bird Dog, Gun Dog, Water Dog videos, they will help with techniques, as well as a timeline for what your pup should be doing or working on for his age. Also, I think they all say that 15 minutes a day is all you need for a personal hunting dog/house pet. Field trial dogs have a whole different program. All my hunting buddies and family use these videos, and there dogs are all a pleasure to hunt behind, as well as being great pets. Good Luck.

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        • #5
          Believe me...I have watched a ton of videos and have been reading everything I can get my hands on. Hence, the posted question. I have kept the training sessions short. He will nose the bird and play with it some, but there doesn't seem to be any real enthusiasm. I will start handling the birds with gloves in case my scent is confusing him. The first day, he ran right to the bird, picked it up, and ran with it in his mouth. He has not done that since. I guess I am wondering if this backing off is normal or did something happen during that first experience that has turned him off. If something did happen, it had to have been subtle. I really don't know if I keep giving him the exposure or take a break and see if his enthusiasm returns. What I don't want to do is have a bad experience with a bird and really mess him up.

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          • #6
            I have a bunch of duck feathers that I have taped together in a bunch and he cannot get enough of those. He tears the feathers out, runs around with it, fetches it. He absolutely loves feathers. I guess that is part of why I am thinking something happened with the live bird that didn't sit right with him.

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            • #7
              Remember dog are no different than children, they lose their attention quickly. At that age go slow make it fun for her/him. Also think about going to a training seminar or go to a trainer. We just had a lady at our hunting club meeting that is holding a weekend pointer and waterdog classes to teach the owner and the dog. She stressed the OWNER part. Don't expect miracles look for progress.

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              • #8
                5 months old? You should still be working on obedience. This is a flushing and retrieving dog, and like hounds who instinctively trail game, those instincts come factory equipment if it is from a good bloodline of hunting stock. Be patient and get the puppy into birds as often as possible, I betcha he'll catch on.

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                • #9
                  RES, I concede he might be too young. He does point bugs, butterflies, etc. We continue to work on obedience. Do I keep playing with the lock winged quail with him or wait until he is older?

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                  • #10
                    My lab Opal was doing everything including pointing at age three months and three days. But that is extraordinary. Had nothing to do with my abilities as a trainer. The best dog I'll probably ever own didn't get into the groove until five months and my first lab, who became a fantastic hunting dog, didn't pick up a bird till she was more than a year old. My brittany pup didn't do much but tag along last year at four and five months. This year she should be gangbusters. RES is correct. Work on obedience primarily. Any interest she shows in hunting can be encouraged but don't try to force or focus on it. That's liable to confuse her unnecessarily. RES is not correct stating that "this is a flushing and retrieving dog." Brittany is not a spaniel (and that incorrect moniker has been officially removed from their title). They are technically setters.

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                    • #11
                      Read or watch any dog training book and/or video by Richard A. Wolters - Family Dog & Game Dog are great starting points for your Brittany.

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                      • #12
                        A Brittany is a pointing dog, the only pointing spaniel, hense the spaniel name was dropped for American Brittanys. Your dog loves water! This a great start because many American Brittanys do not enjoy deep water and must be encouraged to swim, French Brittanys usually are more eager to swim. Follow the suggestions given, your dog's prey drive will eventually kick in.

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                        • #13
                          OH,
                          Maybe I should have said I have never hunted with one that pointed, just flushed and retrieved-LOL, but a few years back in SoDak we hunted with a fellow whose Brits did a superlative job doing just that and we killed the bejeezus out of birds (pheasants and Sharptails) with them.
                          I stand corrected.

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                          • #14
                            He points. We have a swimming pool and he loves to swim...with the kids and just randomly by himself. I actually followed a tip I got on here about using big orange Cheetos to entice him into the water. 5 or 6 Cheetos and he was good to go with the water. I think part of the problem is he was bored with the lock winged quail. The other day I had two escape and he helped me hunt them down. When they took off flying, he was all about it. I have decided to just take the hit to the checkbook and randomly let some fly and him chase..for now. He seems to be much more interested in something that can get away from him.

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