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Thread: Bird Boy Training

  1. #1
    Member Clark Mason's Avatar
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    Default Bird Boy Training

    I remember reading or hearing some where that a well trained bird boy is just about the best training tool there is.

    I and a few other locals have been training together for a while now and we have started a fledgling club that's slowly but surely coming together. As you can imagine, several of the "new" members have never really done much formal training. Therefore, they don't really know how to be bird boys.

    I was a complete newbie when I started a year or so ago and remember being very unsure as to what I was supposed to do when I was throwing. Thankfully, with much patience, the folks I was working with taught me a lot. I'm better now but still sometimes am a little unclear on when I should help and when I should just be still.

    My question is, Is there some training material for bird boys that we could pass along to help these folks out?

  2. #2
    Senior Member badbullgator's Avatar
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    There was a thread on here about this topic, but I think it may be one that was “lost” because it seem like it was several years ago. Do a search for “bird boy” and see what you come up. You will have to sort through a bunch of baby announcements titled my new bird boy, but you may find something useful. You might try using BB in the search like but that will probably bring up a lot of Bumper Boy threads as well as bird boy threads.
    Views and opinions expressed herein by Badbullgator do not necessarily represent the policies or position of RTF. RTF and all of it's subsidiaries can not be held liable for the off centered humor and politically incorrect comments of the author.
    Corey Burke

  3. #3
    Senior Member DEDEYE's Avatar
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    Clark Mason;208301
    I'm better now but still sometimes am a little unclear on when I should help and when I should just be still.
    Just ask each handler on the radio what they want while they are in the holding blind. "If the dog is going to backside the gun do you want me to stand up and point, throw another bird......."

    The handlers all know that you are new. It definitely sux for awhile, because it IS embarrassing when you skrew up, but you will get the hang of it. And you will get to know what each one expects the longer you train with them...

    Maybe for your club, you could type something up that explains basic stuff the BB has to know, like when the handler says to throw the bird from left to right, he is talking about HIS/HER left to right. Square throw, angle throw, retire in-route... Maybe I should just do one for our club. Wonder if anyone would read it!
    Last edited by DEDEYE; 10-06-2007 at 10:32 AM.
    Princess Darla of Nottingham MH ***
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Miriam Wade's Avatar
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    I just snapped at the person throwing for me because they motioned & talked while the dog was working, so this is pertinent!!

    I have a great article that Roger Fuller(never met him, but awfully nice of him to send me the article) sent me-I think he wrote it, but I don't remember. I don't think he'd mind my sharing. It's on my work computer & I could e-mail it to you Monday.

    I worked a test a week or so ago where I thought the instructions to the bird boys was excellent. It really stressed remaining motionless & quiet while the dogs worked which some new folks truly aren't aware of. Also described the different throws-flat, angle back, etc. In training setups a good bird boy also knows when & how to help a dog, but not unless asked.

    It really makes a difference (I think) to have someone knowledgable throwing for you.

    M
    "You can put pressure on a dog, you can’t take it back…"

    Mitch Patterson '07

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  5. #5
    Senior Member Carol Cassity's Avatar
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    Operating under the assumption that everyone screws up and nobody is going to mess your dog up on purpose, I like to do everything possible to help me (the handler) and the bird boy achieve a common goal - the dog succeeding in the lesson.

    To that end, I really like the use of the little survey flags to mark where I need the mark to land. That way, everyone understands where the target is. When you are at the line and say – throw towards the telephone pole – the angle from the line and the angle from the field are dramatically different. By having the bird boy walk out to the spot you need that mark to land and planting a target– the guesswork is taken out of it.

    I would second the use of radios.

    Establish clear signals.

    We do not use contractions. Don’t get lost in the “don’t help him phrase”. We use “do not help him”.

    Take a few minutes and show new people how to operate equipment, throw a bird and what the ground rules are for a group.

    Remain patient, we all were there once.

    Carol

  6. #6
    Senior Member dmccarty's Avatar
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    QUOTE I just snapped at the person throwing for me because they motioned & talked while the dog was working, so this is pertinent!! QUOTE

    I'm sorry but that's just wrong. What is it about dog training that brings out the worst in people? I have trained with people like you. It really sucks to train with people who are so unforgiving of honest mistakes. We all mess up, we all make bad throws, we all misread signals and make a wrong move now and then. You are not going to turn your training partners into perfect birdboys by being rude to them, so why do it?

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    Senior Member Juli H's Avatar
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    I know how important it is to have good help....my help, for the most part, has been my three sons....Yeah, they move around, talk, play in the dirt (at least they did when they were younger )....I have gotten on their cases more than I care to admit...And frustrated them and myself in the process..I try to make every training set-up very clear to them, and that helps a bunch.....Now at least one of them has gotten bit by the 'training bug' and he enjoys helping me and running the dogs - he has also become a pretty darn good thrower too and really wants to see the dogs do good! Am hoping that he will be able to have his own pup next yr...

    One thing about having bird boys that aren't perfect (talking, moving)...It makes for a dog that pretty much ignores what the gunner is doing - unless the gunner says 'hey hey' or something else to get the dog's attention, if needed. Not that I would want a lot of movement and noise when training a young dog or a highly competitive dog - but it sure hasn't hurt my hunting and hunt test dogs any..maybe caused a few bumps along the road, but nothing that hasn't been correctable.

    Juli

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmccarty View Post
    QUOTE I just snapped at the person throwing for me because they motioned & talked while the dog was working, so this is pertinent!! QUOTE

    I'm sorry but that's just wrong. What is it about dog training that brings out the worst in people? I have trained with people like you. It really sucks to train with people who are so unforgiving of honest mistakes. We all mess up, we all make bad throws, we all misread signals and make a wrong move now and then. You are not going to turn your training partners into perfect birdboys by being rude to them, so why do it?
    I agree,,, No offense Miriam, but you gotta role with it. I remember training a long time ago with some very prominent east coast FT amateurs. They were Nazi's to us throwing in the field. I swore never, ever will I treat anyone, paid or volunteer, the way I was treated.

    This is not a cure for cancer. It's dog training. Your dog got a bad throw off of an uneducated bird boy? So What? Big Deal! Send your dog or have them throw it again.

    Work on your "organized confusion" marking drill. Blabbing, moving bird boys will be of no consequence.

    Angie

  9. #9
    Senior Member Mark Littlejohn's Avatar
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    Maybe its the company you keep...

    Since most of us trade off throwing for our training partners, doesn't it make sense that it will take at least a session or two to know what each other wants and expects?

    I've come to learn that the more experienced the trainer, the more detailed they will be in specifying what they want from their BB.

    If not instructed specifically, some will get hacked at you for standing still and not intuitively knowing to help their dog out, while most will gripe if you help pup without being told.

    As with most everything else, you get what you pay for....

    ml

  10. #10
    Senior Member DEDEYE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmccarty View Post
    QUOTE I just snapped at the person throwing for me because they motioned & talked while the dog was working, so this is pertinent!! QUOTE

    I'm sorry but that's just wrong. What is it about dog training that brings out the worst in people? I have trained with people like you. It really sucks to train with people who are so unforgiving of honest mistakes. We all mess up, we all make bad throws, we all misread signals and make a wrong move now and then. You are not going to turn your training partners into perfect birdboys by being rude to them, so why do it?
    Give the benifit of the doubt here... Maybe the snapping was done towards someone who should know what to do. Maybe she was running last and the BB was tired and wasn't paying attention after he had run his dog. Maybe she was working on a specific thing that she could lose in the matter of seconds.

    I have been snapped at before. These are lessons I will not forget as BB. I have also snapped at people behind me flapping the jaws about what I should have done, should be doing, all when I am trying to concentrate. So, people snap, continue training, and make do with each other as a group. Once everyone has trained together for awhile, they each know what the other partners want, how they want it, and what to expect.

    I think each group is different. Some more lax, some more intense. I like the intense ones (still are friends) because I know when I mess up, am corrected, and then chatted with about the situation later, I will become a better handler.

    Then there is the supreme feeling when the one who has been hardest on you, tells you did great at a trial, or thanks you after a training session.

    I also think the "book" gets re-written each day. Just roll with it, see what happens, and you will not forget. Unless of course you are daydreaming while watching swans flock above the river in the springtime when you are supposed to be throwing birds!
    Princess Darla of Nottingham MH ***
    Copper's Darlin' Rascal "Spanky" ***
    Spanky's Darlin Rascal "Wheezy"

    Yellow dogs rule the world!

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