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Thread: How to Teach a Lab to Point

  1. #1
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    Default How to Teach a Lab to Point

    My lab is a natural pointer. When he see's something that he finds very interesting or doesn't understand, he points at it. My question is how to harness this for upland hunting? He's a stud waterfowler, but I have acquired some land with a decent amount of pheasant/quail and I would like to use him for that as well. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Alec Sparks's Avatar
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    Just keep him within gun range and let his point develop naturally If your goal is wild bird hunting, working on liberated birds can mess em up as they may learn they can approach closely and they try that on wild birds unsuccessfully.

    The big question will be how naturally staunch is he. Most will be until either the bird moves or you move in to flush. Staunching up can be a delicate task so see what you get naturally first.
    I believe initial introduction 'pinch to open' FF doctrine is as progressive as shooting a dog with bird shot to get it to sit on a whistle. AS

    *"That you are confused is VERY APPARENT. Are you a politician as well as a FORMER pro dog trainer who QUIT because YOU think that the trial game is all wrong?"
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    I don't know alot about pointing labs, but I did have a couple of wonderul English setters I used to bird over. I would recommend you get Delmar's Smith's "How to Train Your Gun Dog" and read it. It's a very good book, and he has a very practical approach to dog training (and to life). He's one trainer in particular I would love to meet. Secondly, I would suggest you get some birds and a box-style launcher. I believe Innotek and Dogtra make them, and get one with a remote release if you can. It will run you about $200-$300. If you don't want to spend that much, you can get one with a mechanical release and use a long string (like a parchute cord) to trip it. The advantage to the remote release is when the dog starts to get too close, you can release the bird. Teach the dog whoa, watch him/her and when the dog hits the scent and turns, and is within reasonable range, "whoa" the dog. Move in and flush the bird. If the dog starts to break, flush immediately. Don't shoot at birds the dog flushes if you want the dog to point. All you do when you shoot on flushed birds is to teach the dog it's ok, and it's not. You need to do the flushing. Another thing is, when you start to flush wild birds, don't walk up by the dog and stand. Just makes it harder on the dog to be steady. Move around, try not to block the dog's view of the bird if you know where it is, but move and flush the bird. Try not to kick it out, that also seems to incite the dog to break. It's also good if you can let someone else do the shooting initially, so you can just focus on the dog.

    Hope it works out well for you. It's alot of fun hunting behind a pointing dog, if you can get your lab to do this, it just opens another venue to spend some time with your 4-legged buddy.

  4. #4
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    Get "Training the Pointing Labrador", by Julie Knutson (the goddess of pls).
    I think it might only be available at www.gunclub-labs.com/ (maybe Amazon?)



    .

  5. #5
    Senior Member 94NDTA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alec Sparks View Post
    Just keep him within gun range and let his point develop naturally If your goal is wild bird hunting, working on liberated birds can mess em up as they may learn they can approach closely and they try that on wild birds unsuccessfully.

    The big question will be how naturally staunch is he. Most will be until either the bird moves or you move in to flush. Staunching up can be a delicate task so see what you get naturally first.
    What is a liberated bird?

  6. #6
    Senior Member BHB's Avatar
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    Years ago I joined a pheasant club to train my last lab and for my kids who were just shooting age at that time. I took my lab who was about a year old and she just tore it up finding birds. She was REALLY, REALLY into the hunt and thought it was her job to hunt the bird up, jump in and kill it, then bring it back to me without me firing a shot(I did not know nearly as much about training then). These birds were pen raised and some were quite heavy. They would not fly all the time especially on a foggy morning when they were wet.

    So, I bought a "shock collar"(that's all I knew they were called 25 years ago) It had a few settings but you had to take the back off of it to "reset" a setting.

    On one trip we had 11 birds planted in the field. I put the collar on her and set it about mid way. She blew right through it and put 3 birds in my hand before we could even raise our guns. I took the back off the transmitter and turned it all the way up.

    The next bird she found I was ready and she jumped in to kill the bird, I pushed the button and she jumped back, no yelp or anything verbal. She found out that jumping in to kill those birds REALLY hurt so she came up with another solution. After hunting up the bird she hung back a few feet and pointed it!

    She proceeded to point all the rest of the birds in the field that day. She continued to point all pheasant we hunted for the rest of her life. We also hunted wild birds over her and one day she pointed over 30 birds. Most were hens but she did her job.

    I don't know if that's the way it's supposed to work but it worked for her!

    BHB
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  7. #7
    Senior Member metalone67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 94NDTA View Post
    What is a liberated bird?
    Usually a bird that is released the day before. They move around until you get out to hunt them. Simulatimg a natural hunt for your dog.

  8. #8
    Senior Member metalone67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BHB View Post
    Years ago I joined a pheasant club to train my last lab and for my kids who were just shooting age at that time. I took my lab who was about a year old and she just tore it up finding birds. She was REALLY, REALLY into the hunt and thought it was her job to hunt the bird up, jump in and kill it, then bring it back to me without me firing a shot(I did not know nearly as much about training then). These birds were pen raised and some were quite heavy. They would not fly all the time especially on a foggy morning when they were wet.

    So, I bought a "shock collar"(that's all I knew they were called 25 years ago) It had a few settings but you had to take the back off of it to "reset" a setting.

    On one trip we had 11 birds planted in the field. I put the collar on her and set it about mid way. She blew right through it and put 3 birds in my hand before we could even raise our guns. I took the back off the transmitter and turned it all the way up.

    The next bird she found I was ready and she jumped in to kill the bird, I pushed the button and she jumped back, no yelp or anything verbal. She found out that jumping in to kill those birds REALLY hurt so she came up with another solution. After hunting up the bird she hung back a few feet and pointed it!

    She proceeded to point all the rest of the birds in the field that day. She continued to point all pheasant we hunted for the rest of her life. We also hunted wild birds over her and one day she pointed over 30 birds. Most were hens but she did her job.

    I don't know if that's the way it's supposed to work but it worked for her!

    BHB
    When I run local upland field trials a dog that does that get's high marks for bringing back the bird without a shot. Same goes for UFTA.
    I did the same thing to my oldest dog and it created horrible flushing issues. She would get 10' from the bird and bark at the dang thing. Talk about laughs out of the gallery. At that time I owned the first bird treeing lab in the state.
    She's finally come around to flush birds and has beaten out some really stong flushers.
    My opinion if I want a pointer I'll go get one.

  9. #9
    Senior Member MoJo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc E View Post
    Get "Training the Pointing Labrador", by Julie Knutson (the goddess of pls).
    I think it might only be available at www.gunclub-labs.com/ (maybe Amazon?).
    I second this suggestion. This is a good read even if you are not interested in Pointing Labs.
    ~Moira Sheehan
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