"stand game".....LOL. that is not even a phrase pointing people use. I cant figure out why any retriever having a ingrained natural trait to point game is such a threat to the purist.
Last edited by deadriver; 01-28-2014 at 11:31 PM.
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"Pointing people" covers an awful lot of folks, and I learned from and continue to work with some of the best. That's where I learned the phrase "standing game", and I've heard it from a lot of pointing dog people....it's actually pretty commonly used to refer to a dog with no talent to point. When I say standing game, it's not a slam on any breed...it's about a dog not having enough natural point to do it without being taught.
I don't know anyone who plays the "wing on a string" game other than to play with puppies a few times.....they aren't teaching dogs to point or to be steady, they're playing with puppies. There's a difference between using a live bird on a "may-pole" and swinging around a chunk of dried feathers for a 7 week old puppy. Steadying isn't done using a wing on a string....it takes live birds and lots of 'em. The part I really took issue with is playing wing on a string until the dog gets tired of chasing it and stops. That has absolutely nothing to do with pointing...that's boring a dog until it quits.
And a pointing dog that insists it has to have eyes on the bird before it will stop and point either hasn't got a nose at all (highly unlikely) or has been allowed to road in and sight point rather than stopping on scent. It's simple lack of training.
Last edited by Sharon Potter; 01-28-2014 at 11:54 PM.
The natural point has a whole different intensity level. Imagine a dog running hard, spinning sideways in mid-air and landing stiff legged, head and tail high, quivering with excitement yet never moving a muscle. The bird may well be 30 yards away, yet the slightest scent causes the dog to freeze mid-stride.
The difference is hard to describe, but if you saw two dogs....one that has been taught to stand their game and the other with a ton of natural point, the difference is night and day. Both types require training since the instinct to chase is strong...but the dog with the natural point will stand out via intensity and style.
Actually, a mature and bold pointer would spin on the scent cone and go pin the birds. One of the reasons so many people think that they do not want a dog to point because the game runs out has not likely hunted over a top quality pointing dog, that boldly closes the distance and slams on point close enough to the birds to pin them. A "careful" dog will be discounted under judgement, as will an "aggressive" dog that bumps birds from misjudging the distance that they need to stop from the birds. The distance is relative to the cover and the game species, there is no certain distance. The "slightest scent" should never make a dog that i intend to run in AA FT lock down on point. That is too careful...too tentative on game to make a great bird dog. That said, in light cover and edgy birds, a mature pointer may lock down at 20-30 yrds but the cover better be light or I am gonna have to let him bust a covey or two to get a little more bold on his game.
I agree that you can tell a strong natural pointing instinct from a dog that is forced to whoa and has little tendency to point, but tail position, head position, etc. varies by dog and breed. In setters and english pointers, we have bred for high tails and heads. However, we still train by styling pointers to be "high on both ends" when we repeatedly teach them whoa on the ground and on tables or barrels, but some strong pointing young dogs start off very intense points that are a lowered front end position. I agree on intensity 100%, it is obvious. However, a dog that is "spoiled on birds" from pressure may blink birds or be less stylish, yet the dog naturally points, he is just afraid of making a mistake (still talking pointing breeds that are natural pointers by definition) Obviously, it is something you dont want your fine pointer to do, but i have seen my share that did the work but lacked intensity due to being timid to their handler.
I have seen neighborhood muts running around a meadow with a solid "natural" pointing instinct. I would expect some % of any retrieving breed to have a strong and or natural pointing instinct. It is interesting that the concept that some % of these dogs would have a high desire to point naturally is so staunchly resisted....
Last edited by deadriver; 01-29-2014 at 12:04 AM.
"Dream big and dare to fail"
"Leadership in Service"
I've heard the term "Standing Game" as Sharon used it or Standing birds" sometimes "Standing his birds" to mean Staunch or maybe Staunch and steady. Bird dog terminology isn't exactly well defined and universally consitently used.
Last edited by Jere; 01-29-2014 at 12:41 AM.
Sharon Potter and deadriver, both your posts are excellent! Thanks.
It's rare to see this type of insight about pointing on the Retriever Training Forum. I enjoyed reading them....mostly because there was no agenda.
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Good information so far but I'm a little confused when it comes to a dog you have trained to be a flusher.
If your flushing dog stops over a bird and does not move, is he standing game, displaying a weak point or both? Or maybe a pointer person would define it as a weak point and a flusher person would call it standing game? In my example above I think the dog has stopped right on top of bird scent but has not flushed it because the dog cannot see it, but knows it is right there. In this situation I have always thought the dog was standing game and have always encouraged the dog to continue to hunt and dig the bird out. I have also seen dogs that have had too many nicks for steady or sit at the flush turn into game standers.
A flushing dog that continually stops right over the top of a bird is showing a weak, or hesitant, flush. That can come from lack of bird experience (most common), pressure, or poor training. However, if a dog does this continually and consistently, you can develop it into a point if that's your desire. I get a few mixed breeds in here to train, and find this fairly common when they're learning about birds, so at this point in training I ask the owner if they want the dog to point or to flush, and then I train accordingly.
Some flushing breeds have a bit of a hesitant flush, similar to a flash point, where they stop for a second or two, then jump in to flush the bird.
"Standing game" is when you take a dog that wants to flush and chase but has no natural desire to point...and you make it stand still when it finds a bird rather than flushing. It's entirely man made.