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How do I train the pup to hunt close?

1120 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Jesse Higgins
I took my boys and 1 yr old pup out to a club the other day and had a good time busting pheasants. I wanted to train the dog (and the boys) on some live subjects. The dog did a fantastic job of finding, pointing (sometimes) and flushing the birds. However, he'd get very excited then he'd work faster and farther out.

How do you guys train your dogs to work closer in? My pup is basically a flusher, pointing for only a short time before rushing in to flush the tight holding birds, but he chases the runners and flushes them too far out. I appreciate any help.
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Well, there's a couple of things:

- when they're still young and less sure of themselves, take them into a field with fairly tall cover. Let them get out a ways and then lay down and hide. When they can't see you, they will panic a little bit and come back and look for you. After a couple of times of doing that, they will always want to keep you in sight, which will keep them closer. (This particular dog may be too old for that now.)

- make sure they understand and *completely* obey the "come" command. No matter what they're doing and or how interesting the smells are, they need to come to you whenever you call them. Whenever you feel like they're getting too far out, call them back and demand obedience. This might mean more time in the yard. Practice that obedience in lots of situations with lots of distractions (kids playing, cats running around, a tethered pigeon in front, etc.). Eventually, it will carry over to the field.
Stand Up / Stand Still

Strict obedience to the COME or HERE command is always needed so +1 on that comment. I like to train a dog with a STOP command also. The main reason is that COME/HERE typically should instruct the dog to come to you, all the way, and begin hunting again only upon being released from the command. Many use the verbal "far enough" or any of a number of voice commands to teach this. It is also common to use a single whistle blast to signal a dog to stop, or not to proceed farther until released.

In terms of methods, a good check cord is my recommendation. Get a 50 footer or so and get the dog used to trailing it while you have training sessions. You can stop the dog by stepping on the cord. He will get used to the distances you would like him to work through consistency and repetition.
Thanks for the input. Many of those things I am doing now so continued patience and work on my part to get him to work properly. He's pretty obedient to "come" and "stop" and associated whistles. I think the long check cord will be my next item to try.
I think the best way for a dog to learn range is to flush birds out of range and to discover that there's no shot and therefore, no retrieve. You can force him to hunt in range, but he'll always want to run out ahead. But if he learns that he only gets a retrieve when working in range, that's where he'll want to hunt.
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