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Is deflaring important to a gundog?

  • Yes

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  • No

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  • Somewhat

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Discussion Starter #1
De-flaring Revisited

Time and again, the perception surfaces that this type of training is purely for competition dogs, and I wanted to discuss it with those who may be interested and want to comment on how they see it. The topic is de-flaring structure of all kinds, whether on marks or blinds. That structure may be a log, a hay bale, diagonal shoreline, a row of cover, clumps of cover, a ditch, a hump, or any of the many terrain features that dogs naturally prefer to avoid. The result of avoiding such structure is flaring; a deviation from the accurate line or route to a fall.



In this example the dog would be running from upper left to lower right. The light shaded area is mown grass, and the darker areas are taller grass (1-3 feet high).

The dog would initially cross through the first line of cover at a slight diagonal, and then begin to negotiate some finer diagonal entry/exit combinations en route to the fall. I agree, this would make a nice blind for a hunt test or field trial judge to set up, but what are the practical applications for training on this type of work for a dog that hunts exclusively?

Evan
 

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Evan, I believe one of the most important aspects of including de-flaring training in a gundawg or HT dawgs training, is the un-necessary disturbance of additional cover or hunting areas by taking the straight path enroute to the downed game versus avoiding the hazard.
All the gun dawgs or HT that train with me receive de-flaring training as a regular training routine.
We also include de-flaring in all advanced blind work. Definitely believe it keeps momentum at it fullest when the dawg does not flare an obstacle enroute to the bird.

Nazdrowie................ :drinking:
 

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I also see de-flaring as teaching the dog "when the going gets tough, you'd better get going!" I don't want my dogs developing the habit of avoiding obstacles. It gets to be a mindset, and when you NEED them to push into cover or into a downed tree ('cause that's where the bird hid) they are reluctant to do so. I think it's better to teach a dog from the get-go that avoiding tough going is NOT an option.

Lisa
 

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dogs

Bob Kennon told me about a drill that he does with his yougsters. He will set-up a bunch of folding chairs when running short marks with his pups. Low ground cover, short marks and plenty of chairs. Does this drill for several weeks and the dogs become oblivious to the chairs. What I do with older dogs is to stop and cast into the diversion. If the diversion is close to the send line, I will call back and resend.
 

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Evan,

Sounds alot like a extension of "no-no" drill.

Ofcourse it is relevant to gundogs. The more off course they go the harder it is for the dog to gain a reference on where the bird is. ie long hunts, or getting disoreinted.

Mr Booty, your drill is a extension of Chair-drill or blinds with diversions.

All this type of training is important.

Angie
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Angie B said:
Evan,

Sounds alot like a extension of "no-no" drill.

Ofcourse it is relevant to gundogs. The more off course they go the harder it is for the dog to gain a reference on where the bird is. ie long hunts, or getting disoreinted.

Mr Booty, your drill is a extension of Chair-drill or blinds with diversions.

All this type of training is important.

Angie
Very much to the point, Angie.

You and Mr. Booty have brought technique into it, so let?s talk a little about the principles behind certain drills and their application. MB mentioned one of Bob Kennon?s ideas, and I agree that it sounds as though it?s based on the same principles as Chair drills. Whether or not it involves the ?no-no? procedure wasn?t mentioned.

I?ve heard many drills mentioned under the broad heading of ?no-no? drills, but I see the ?no?, recall, and resend as a procedure that can be applied to many drills, rather than a drill itself. Chair drills are typically done with a no-no procedure, at least as they are popularly known. I use several versions of them; some with marks, some with blinds.

Very sound rationale on the usefulness of this type of training for gundogs, and I agree. There are many more examples of de-flaring than have been mentioned so far, though.

Evan
 

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Most dogs are going to get through the first patch of cover since it is so close, but without teaching them to fight the factor of flowing grass on the second entry they are going to drift north in this example and depending on the distances involved could end up 50 or 100 yards north of where the bird is. In the end, no bird without handling. I believe it is more important for a gundog to be able to do this, we're talking about real game conservation, not just a game humans created to watch retrievers do the great things they do....

/Paul
 

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I'd think a gun dog will get thru the first patch and carry down the patch of grass and come up to the left of the bird. Stop and give an over and/or use wind effectively. That is what I would do. I would not try and make the dog take a laser straight line unless he had the inclination. I think it would waste time, especially with birds flying.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
RickF said:
I'd think a gun dog will get thru the first patch and carry down the patch of grass and come up to the left of the bird. Stop and give an over and/or use wind effectively. That is what I would do. I would not try and make the dog take a laser straight line unless he had the inclination. I think it would waste time, especially with birds flying.
Thanks, Rick.

How about this one. It's even more of a practical example, perhaps rows of stubble, or plowed ground, for example.



Evan
 

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I've seen dogs in a flat featureless square field like this get confused running diagonal across the field and miss the bird. Adding the rows, a dog with no training is not going to succeed.

IMHO

/Paul
 

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That's sort of what I was thinking too RickF. Except I figured the dog would skirt the whole line of cover and end up RIGHT of the bird.

I voted "somewhat", btw, because IMO that it is beneficial to even a basic gundog to have some sense of responsibility for busting cover, getting in the water, etc... much like LVL alluded to. BUT I would not require a "gundog only" to draw a straight line to the bird, like I would a competing dog.
Quickest and easiest is usually the most practical for a hunting situation.

However as an aside, here on the expanse of the FLAT (for MILES) featureless salt grass marsh where I hunt, marking the location of a downed bird is tough to keep a bearing on. Taking your eye off the fall for a second can result in a lost bird. So you HAVE to use the wind to your advantage, and keep the dog downwind of what you referenced to be the "general area." DEPTH perception on these birds are killers too. It can end up resulting in a back and forth, sloppy handled blind because you HAVE to let the dog work it out or SOB in many cases. NOT GOOD practices to put a competing dog thru.
 

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Evan,

To answer your first question as applied to you most recent scenario. "Deflaring" would not be important to me for a gun dog. Deflaring infers that the dog can take a line but may flare off line or drift while taking a line.

So for scenario # 2, here's how I'd handle. I might walk to the right to decrease the angle since the dog's natural tendency will be to square the rows anyhow. Or I'd give an initial cast in direct line and cast appropriately once the dog has commited to going too far right or left if it decided to run with the rows. I would back cast to the left or right and take advantage of dogs propensity to sqaure the rows. Also wind would play a major role since I would only generally know the area of the cripple/flyer. I'd handle to the are and let dog hunt.

Rick
 

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Re: dogs

Mr Booty said:
Bob Kennon told me about a drill that he does with his yougsters. He will set-up a bunch of folding chairs when running short marks with his pups. Low ground cover, short marks and plenty of chairs. Does this drill for several weeks and the dogs become oblivious to the chairs. What I do with older dogs is to stop and cast into the diversion. If the diversion is close to the send line, I will call back and resend.
What purpose do the chairs serve? I'd assume they are an obstacle....

What do the dogs do? Are they supposed to jump over each chair like a hurdle, rather than go around them?

- sincerely asking.....no smartiepants intended....
 

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Discussion Starter #15
RickF said:
Evan,

To answer your first question as applied to you most recent scenario. "Deflaring" would not be important to me for a gun dog. Deflaring infers that the dog can take a line but may flare off line or drift while taking a line.
Two common tendencies in dogs are, indeed, to square off terrain features, but also to run with the lay of the land. Diagonals entice them to do one or the other, and in either scenario, there is something physical to flare.
RickF said:
So for scenario # 2, here's how I'd handle. I might walk to the right to decrease the angle since the dog's natural tendency will be to square the rows anyhow. Or I'd give an initial cast in direct line and cast appropriately once the dog has commited to going too far right or left if it decided to run with the rows. I would back cast to the left or right and take advantage of dogs propensity to sqaure the rows. Also wind would play a major role since I would only generally know the area of the cripple/flyer. I'd handle to the area and let dog hunt.

Rick
I think a lot of hunters would take such an approach, unless they had a dog trained to handle more accurately and that have de-flared them well.

Chris Atkinson said:
What purpose do the chairs serve? I'd assume they are an obstacle....

What do the dogs do? Are they supposed to jump over each chair like a hurdle, rather than go around them?
The chairs are portable structure. They allow a trainer to place that structure where and how they like. I have come to use Stickmen most often for this.

The dogs are supposed to run between the slots formed by placing them so that the marks or blinds are aligned between them in the field. The natural tendency is to flare one way or another. This happens often with natural terrain factors, like trees, clumps of cover, hay bails, etc. Good stuff!

Evan
 

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We use stickmen and chairs in training to help dogs get use to multiple gun set-ups. Many times we run singles with several stickman and/or chairs in the field when we don’t have enough live gunners. We feel this helps the dog concentrate on the mark thrown and helps with head swinging. Chairs and stickmen are also used by my training group to help teach dogs to run tight to gunners (to teach dogs not to flare off gunners) on marks and blinds. Good inexpensive tools that don’t drink up your beer.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Richard Cheatham said:
We use stickmen and chairs in training to help dogs get use to multiple gun set-ups. Many times we run singles with several stickman and/or chairs in the field when we don?t have enough live gunners.Good inexpensive tools that don?t drink up your beer.
They also don't take potty breaks, or lie down, or walk around, or sit down, or ask for a raise, or take days off, or talk while dogs are running! :D

There's a lot to recommend them, isn't there?

Chris,

This is a basic Chair Drill with about a 40-50 yard pile.



The blue lines illustrate likely flared routes. The guns may face directly toward you, or angle either direction. This is an outstanding concept drill.

Evan
 

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I think most hunters that hunt with 'gun-dogs' probably don't care to put the time in to train for such a task, deflaring to perfectly straight 100-200 yard straight lines. If the hunter is a serious guy about recovering birds yet not a HT of FT type he probably won't put up with a dog that doesn't come back with a bird. I think alot of gun dogs that make the cut figure the needs out of the guy they hunt with.

Also, when a gun dog retrieves several hundred birds per year maybe even a thousand or so, a few birds that require such tecniucal skills probably go by the wayside.

I have an acquaintatnce in Delaware that probably kills 700-1000 birds from Sept.-Feb./March and am pretty sure he NEVER deflared his dog nor probably plans to do so. I firmly believe if this dog couldn't cut it, he'd be long gone.


I also think that many dogs trained to run perfectly straight lines that are rendered to gun dog status suffer quite a bit of detraining come the end of the season.


You did ask about gun dogs.[/quote]
 

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Discussion Starter #19
RickF said:
I think most hunters that hunt with 'gun-dogs' probably don't care to put the time in to train for such a task, deflaring to perfectly straight 100-200 yard straight lines... You did ask about gun dogs.
I sure did, Rick.

Many of those who post on RTF are involved either in HT or FT or both. I imagine the vast majority of them also hunt - a lot! The misperception is that competitive dog people know nothing about hunting, and are merely interested in the circus tricks of competitive dogs, which of course holds no water at all.

The thing we must remember is not to be too myopic about our judgments of others. What one person views as gundog work may vary a great deal from another because of how different their experiences are. Hunting in southern Texas may be a very different experience than in the flooded timber of Arkansas, or on the open waters of Chesapeake Bay. "Gundog" is a very braod term.

For some gundogs, such skills as deflaring may not ever come into play. For others, it might just be their mainstay. Here in Missouri I won't hunt waterfowl over a dog that isn't deflared. When I visit another area I may only be concerned about more basic skills, but will still take a fully trained to to work.

Evan
 

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---Many of those who post on RTF are involved either in HT or FT or both. I imagine the vast majority of them also hunt - a lot!

I agree which means they probably hunt over their dog and probably wouldn't refer to it as a strict 'gun-dog'. I'd imagine they would take pride in their accomplishements and let a blind partner know them so they can have a benchmark to understand the qaulity of dog they will be hunting over.They also would have de-flared the dog cuz they want to be competitive in HT or FT.


---The misperception is that competitive dog people know nothing about hunting, and are merely interested in the circus tricks of competitive dogs, which of course holds no water at all.

Yes, and that's ignorant.



----The thing we must remember is not to be too myopic about our judgments of others. What one person views as gundog work may vary a great deal from another because of how different their experiences are. Hunting in southern Texas may be a very different experience than in the flooded timber of Arkansas, or on the open waters of Chesapeake Bay. "Gundog" is a very braod term.

Yes, but a gun dog will have been trained in his environment and used to what is expected of him given his experience.

----For some gundogs, such skills as deflaring may not ever come into play. For others, it might just be their mainstay. Here in Missouri I won't hunt waterfowl over a dog that isn't deflared.

What if he is not deflared yet brings back the bird with a few whisltes in a timely manner after winding the bird from 50 yards downwind?

----When I visit another area I may only be concerned about more basic skills, but will still take a fully trained to to work.

OK
 
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