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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Love to hunt pheasant and have trained my 2.5 yr old Golden to be an excellent (for my purposes) pheasant dog. Now I have a 4 month old Golden who I would like to hunt with at the same time as the older dog - but not until she is ready (this winter or next fall).

I've never field hunted with two flushing retrievers at the same time. Is this a realistic possibility? Are there reading resources you can point me to that will guide me in training the pup and older dog to hunt together after I've trained the pup by herself? The two dogs get along great thus far.

Any input Sharon P. ?

Thanks in advance,
Jennifer
 

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When we go to south dakota, havng at least 2 or 3 flushing dogs working a field together is way better than 1. It's a lot of hard work for 1 dog.

Make sure they stay in close range, that is one of the most important things. Nothing worse than when 1 dog gets out to 100+ yards and flushes the birds out of gun range.
 

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I have had 3 in the field at the same time but I find I spend more time dog handling than hunting, two is obviously more manageable. Aside from basic retrieving skills I think they learn to hunt by going hunting, on job training, there is no substitute.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Great! That's what I was hoping! Thanks for the quick replies. Would love to know some details on how they may work together or against each other in the field and how to cultivate a good working relationship between the two in the field. Or am I over thinking it?
 

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Depending on how often and how long you hunt each day, it has been my experience to share time between the dogs rather than hunting them at the same time. When living in pheasant country I would start a young puppy out with an experienced dog like you are thinking, but once I see the courage to hunt on their own I would go back to hunting with just one and then rotate dogs every 2-3 hours. I found that having a fresh dog outweighed the benefits of hunting them together. With that said if I was just slipping out for a short hunt I would hunt them both. I never really noticed any issues other than having two dogs to slow down when the birds take off running. If one is more dominant than the other, I have noticed that the less dominant dog will get fewer retrieves
 

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our dogs work independently and stay within gun range. The experienced dogs know the game and we don't have to handle much at all. they each put on their own hunts. a dog can easily miss a wild phez, one reason good to have multiple dogs. when we knock a bird down, all dogs will work to retireve it, unless 1 gets a quick retrieve. with a wounded birds (runner) having multiple dogs is better to find the bird. Many times we have knocked down a bird and all hunters and dogs worked hard to find the bird.

Sometimes we get an injury to a dog, another good reason to have more than 1 dog.

when we waterfowl hunt we usually limit it to 1 or 2 dogs, depending on number of hunters and how good the action is.

But with upland we have never had too many dogs. with several hunters, it is nice to have multiple dogs working in between the hunters, staying close!

Even if I was upland hunting by myself I would still rather have 2 of my dogs than 1.

Being able to rotate dogs as said above is big plus too, especially on those long hot days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Depending on how often and how long you hunt each day, it has been my experience to share time between the dogs rather than hunting them at the same time. When living in pheasant country I would start a young puppy out with an experienced dog like you are thinking, but once I see the courage to hunt on their own I would go back to hunting with just one and then rotate dogs every 2-3 hours. I found that having a fresh dog outweighed the benefits of hunting them together. With that said if I was just slipping out for a short hunt I would hunt them both. I never really noticed any issues other than having two dogs to slow down when the birds take off running. If one is more dominant than the other, I have noticed that the less dominant dog will get fewer retrieves
Good info - I was wondering about that, too. Would be nice to have a fresh dog when the first one is clearly overheated and tired, which takes about an hour if it's a warm fall day. I can see taking turns on warm days, but would want the companionship of both dogs with two guns hunting if it's a colder day. Made me laugh to think of trying to stop two dogs on a good chase, rather than just trying to stop one!
 

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From my perspective you are over thinking it, mine seem to learn to hunt in concert and with me with the occasional visit to another hunter or to assist another dog who needs no assistance, until they get the hang of it I like to keep them close and remind them of the boundaries. I have one who hunts close naturally and one who wants to be a big runner so they actually complement each other, they hunt together a lot and seem to understand their position as it relates to me and the task at hand, and I do use a single transmitter and separate receivers. After a couple of seasons they have both become natural pointers, both run field trials, and they know the difference. What is acceptable in hunting is not necessarily acceptable in competition.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
From my perspective you are over thinking it, mine seem to learn to hunt in concert and with me with the occasional visit to another hunter or to assist another dog who needs no assistance, until they get the hang of it I like to keep them close and remind them of the boundaries. I have one who hunts close naturally and one who wants to be a big runner so they actually complement each other, they hunt together a lot and seem to understand their position as it relates to me and the task at hand, and I do use a single transmitter and separate receivers. After a couple of seasons they have both become natural pointers, both run field trials, and they know the difference. What is acceptable in hunting is not necessarily acceptable in competition.
More good info Ed and Obx! I really appreciate the feedback - and especially glad to hear the answer I was hoping for - that it is possible and actually helpful to have more than one flushing retriever at a time. I found that running Hunt Tests with my first dog didn't pose a problem at all. Like Ed said, he knew each situation had its own rules.
 

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We have always introduced a younger dog into the hunt by working with a more expreienced dog. Our last trip to SD we worked three dogs - two in the field and one up in the truck - always allowing for a fresh dog to rotate into hunt. This year we will be introducing the newest member of our crew to pheasant hunting and will again rotate her in with one of older dogs. As Dr Ed mentions it is much easier to work multiple dogs with a single reciever and multiple collars than having to continually move collars from one dog to another.

We hunt heavier cover so it is sometimes difficult to see the dogs and by belling the dogs with different tones it allows you to easily know where each dog is (particularly your young dog) if they are momentarily not visible.
 

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Up until last year I guided on a number of preserves with two swampies, shooting many, many birds in the process. Make sure that the basics are rock solid before you try to hunt them together particularly force fetch and collar conditioning. The "here" command needs to be like the "word of God". As a handler, you need to have eyes in the back of the head, and I would forego shooting until you are really comfortable with the dogs' ability and especially spotting birdiness. As mentioned, a dual collar is a help. Be extremely careful how you introduce young dogs to roosters. I cannot tell you how many bird shy dogs I have come across on pheasant fields, almost always young dogs who have gotten crosswise with a rooster more po'ed than hurt.

Very important: be alert for signs one dog is getting all the action and the other is getting lackadaisical, particualrly with a dog just learning. A new dog can learn really quickly that Sr gets the birds and he doesn't or shouldn't try.

Just some thoughts. BTW Hunting with two dogs is better than double the fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Thanks Snows! Sounds like a great excuse to get a third dog, too!

As for Red Devil - I think i might hate your guts for having such an awesome job as a guide!!! But I'll be careful with Rooster intros and on Sr, who is naturally pretty dominant. Was thinking I'd take the new girl out after basics are solid, with Sr. to get the gist of real hunting, then take her for a few runs by herself to build confidence and independence - wouldn't want her to rely on or give way to the older guy. I'll just let my husband do the shooting the first few times while I handle and watch the dogs. He takes credit for all the shots anyway...

Thanks again everyone. Love the input.

Jennifer
 

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After your critters get experience on pheasant together, don't be surprised if they start working together to cut off running birds.

My drahthaar and my one of my brother's GSPs have this pheasant mojo thing going. I've seen them work together to pin birds between them. It is cool when the wind is right and it happens - one dog would hit scent, act birdy and start to track in the direction of the wind. The other would run out ahead, loop back into the wind and attempt to air scent the bird. It is cool when you walk up on a point and the dogs are twenty yards apart and facing each other.

The dogs were never trained to do this. They sorta figured it out on their own. Of course, my critter came out of the box knowing how to track and his critter is more of a head-up search the wind kinda dog. So, maybe it is just a natural extension of how they're wired.

But, two flushing dogs working together is twice the fun. And if they're long haired critters, twice the de-burring! :rolleyes:
 

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Having a rock solid recall to pull pup off a running rooster is an absolute neccesity.
 

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Hunted my 3 year old black lab with my sons 14 month chocolate lab last year, no problems and the pup was responsible for finding a few pheasant and a lot of quail. Actually when we hunt the ditches we'll use up to 7 dogs, all flushers. It's about dog and hunter placement and control. It's a pretty site when it all comes together, and we don't loose birds.
 

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IMO...I like one on one. One dog for one day and the the next. Gives the first dog needed rest because they will be out of it the next day depending on how much you hunted and how many miles! I like the hunt more then anything, watching a good dog work and I can give more attention to that what the dog is doing.
The other dog is trained in the off season on a game farm and is pretty much up to speed when it comes time for the season. Again, I enjoy the hunt one on one and watching your dog work the area on wild pheasants.
I am also at the age that quality is far more precious than quantity
.
 

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Something else to watch for is competition for a shot bird. If the dogs play together, the inexperienced pup needs to understand that the bird is not a toy for tug of war...helps if the pup has gone out alone a time or two and had a bird shot for it so it understands the job. Also watch for an arguement about who gets to bring back the bird if they both go for the retrieve. These things will get worked out between the dogs over time, but you can help avoid conflict if you train them together some and get them used to honoring each other.
 

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Everybody pretty much covered it by the time I got here. ;) Do have solid basics and a good reliable recall, and make sure the pup has gotten to chase and catch some wing clipped birds so it knows how to deal with a cripple (although a wing clipped pigeon doesn't compare to a crippled rooster with spurs.) Watch the pup's prey drive, too, since that plays into handling a cripple....pup needs to be bird crazy. Hunting the two dogs together can really help the pup learn the ropes, but as others have said, make sure there's no tug of war with birds by teaching the pup to sit and honor when the older dog retrieves bumpers or birds at home. And as has been mentioned, watch for the young dog just tagging along and letting the experienced dog do all the hunting...if that happens, put the older dog up. Most of all, have fun...nothing quite like seeing a pup learnthe ropes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Good advice, thanks! Wonder if I should train each dog a different word command for leaving the other's bird alone. They do like to play tug. It would probably be easy to teach each dog their word to respect the other's bird, while I'm training each to honor the other before hunting season. What have you all done to teach pup not to start a tug of war with a fellow family dog that helped raise pup. Maybe like Ed said, they just figure it out. If it happens, we can fix it then, but it seems pertinent to at least teach a cue word during honor training.
Thanks again to everyone - loved all the constructive advice.

Jennifer
 
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