A Tip For Bird Dog Training Season
It is that time of the year when the weather starts getting warmer and all the bird hunters start getting excited to begin bird dog training. Whether you have a seasoned vet or a brand new puppy, it is never to early to start training. I am not going to sit on here and tell everyone how to train their dogs and this post is directed at all hunters either. I just want to give a tip that I, as a hunting guide and dog trainer, see during the actual hunting season. This is something that can be worked on now, to help make the hunting season better. Again, these are my perspectives and by no means am I telling you how to train your dog.
My Tip this week is Silent recall- Now when I say recall, I am referring to calling your dog back to your general area either when you want them to come all the way back to you or just come back closer, because they have wandered off to far. One of the biggest reasons we see birds fly early or in some cases, we don't find any, but the dogs sure act like they are their, is because we spend to much time yelling at our dog to recall. Pheasants have fantastic hearing. And a shout at your dog can be heard a long ways away. Think about it, if your on one side of a line of 8 walking hunters and the guy on the other end, who should be at least 100 yards away or more, can hear you, that means the birds in front of you can hear you (unless your hunting in a 30 mph South Dakota wind). Good chance those birds are also 100 yards away, can hear you yelling and just took off running in the opposite direction.
The recall doesn't have to be 100% silent. A whistle is great recall tool. Also, whether you believe in it or not, I love to use an e-collar for recall. Most e-collars these days have a beep or page/vibrate function. I love to use this feature because it gets the dogs attention without punishment. Think about when the dogs were pups. How did you get them to come to you? You got their attention, most likely by clapping your hands or slapping your thighs and whistling at them. Recall starts with getting their attention, whether that be by vibrate, beep, whistle or even the words "here or come".
I am not trying to encourage you to get away from a vocal command. I am just suggesting quieter methods to help you out on your hunt, to make it more enjoyable for you and your dog. The quieter you hunt, the more successful you will be.
Thanks for reading!