First Hunt???
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Thread: First Hunt???

  1. #1
    Helstedt is offline Member
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    DefaultFirst Hunt???

    OK I have a 5 month old Lab. He knows most every comand off leash with the exception of heel. I've put him on quail and he loved them... he hasn't pointed them yet, but I'm not worried about that yet.

    Who thinks it's good or bad if I start hunting him at 5 months and why.
    A fresh bone after a long walk... Wow!&nbsp; It&#039;s the simple things! <br /><br />http://www.myspace.com/maximus_feather_chaser

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  3. #2
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    DefaultRe: First Hunt???

    IMO you may be setting him & yourself up for a lifetime of bad habits/frustration if you allow a dog this young to actually 'hunt with you', because there's a real good chance he may get the idea he can hunt for himself!*
    much better to have him on a checkcord, let a friend carry the loaded gun, you pay attention to him!* allow him to find* birds you have planted, so he thinks YOU are the magic guy who knows where to find these attractive critters, all he need sto do is listen to you & there they'll be!
    and, in a dog this young, even on a checkcord, have the person wth the loaded gun be VERY aware of where he is at all times before firing, so there isn't any unfortunate accident.* they can LEAP!
    do you have a 'pointing lab'?* because normally they are considered flushers.

  4. #3
    BuddyHsMom is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: First Hunt???

    I'm definitely not an expert, and I am not even a hunter, but Buddy went to "puppy hunting" training at 6 months, and now he's 8 months and going hunting with my husband regularly. What queenofthedogs said may be true for all I know, but just wanted to tell you what our experience is so far. Buddy never tries to hunt for himself, he knows that when "dad" gets his hunting vest on and gets the gun out, it's time to hunt. Otherwise he just likes to play. Oh, and Buddy's a pointing lab, was bred to be one. Most of the time he flushes, though, at this point.

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  6. #4
    Trickster's Avatar
    Trickster is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: First Hunt???

    Hunting over a 5 month old baby? no way. It would be impossible for him to be trained up to a reasonable standard at 5 months. Taking this dog out and expecting it to do a job properly is taking a big risk IMO. If he doesn't know 'heel' off leash (one of the most important commands) he is definitely NOT ready. I would wait at least another year....my dogs were 18 months old before they were ready for the real deal. Before that I wouldn't have even considered letting them work on a proper shoot, let alone hunt up birds rough shooting. If you over expose them before they are ready you can screw up training for life.

  7. #5
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    DefaultRe: First Hunt???

    What do you want out of your dog is the main question? If you want to train him/her to do hunt test and possibly field trials, you're going about it backwards. If you want a meat dog that will bring to you what you have shot, not worried if he breaks early or runs the bank instead of taking a straingt line, then go ahead, or if you are going out to just let your dog have fun, get after it. Just remember this, if you hunt him now, and stop training, all of his bad habits will get worse. Retrieving a teal or mallard at is no different than retriving a bumper. Dog runs out, picks up object, runs back to you. How well disciplined he does this is up to you. It's all up to you.

  8. #6
    gundog is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: First Hunt???

    The first and most important question is what kind of hunting? Upland or just retrieving.

    5 month's is probably too young for either if it is a "real" hunt.

    Are you training for steady to flush? or shot and fall? or not?

    What is his exposure to gunfire?

    I believe a bombproof whistle stop is vital and could save your dogs life in the field....will he chase a bird across a road.......bet he will at 5 month's.

    What is his experience with wild birds.....a 5 month old pup could grab onto a wounded ringneck and have quite a battle.....that could be trouble for you down the road.

    Lastly....is he from PL lines? That could make a difference as well.
    [

  9. #7
    Helstedt is offline Member
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    DefaultRe: First Hunt???

    First I want to thank you all for your honest opinions that is what I'm looking for.

    I've seen a Lab hunting dog (which is what I'm wanting, field trails doesn't matter) that the only commands the pup knew was come and sit, me and a buddy just kept calling him back and forth about 20 yards apart all the sudden he found a sent, stopped, found the bird and was "hunting" and finding roosters the rest of the day. I think this dog was 6 months old at the start of pheasant season. 7 years later this dog is the best hunting dog for pheasant and duck you could want, and could/would be able to field trail. Just doesn't.

    I've also seen a Lab that didn't hunt at 4 months he waited till 16. The dog was the hardest charging and headed dog I've ever seen... didn't always listen, but when he didn't he was working for us and not against us. He was the most intense dog I've ever seen. Still have stories to this day.

    Answering questions in order asked.

    When I had him on quail, he found the first scent he and was "birdie". The bird flew he wanted to chase him, but I called him off with my whistle. I watched where the bird landed and went over to where I had another bird. He defiantly has a nose. I had 6 birds he found them all twice that day. I like the idea of me carrying a check cord and letting someone else hunt. And yes his parents were both pointing labs... LOL Most of pointing right now is at other animals poo... it was bright shiny objects and a few ankle biting dogs.

    I'm going to want a hunter that doesn't break early and is hard charging after downed birds when duck hunting and I'm going to want a pheasant dog that loves to hunt, doesn't range to far so I can tell when he's birdie, will point then flush the bird, I don't want a dog that just points a dead bird I want it retrieved.

    I know he's not making mistakes right know... it's his coach or me making the mistakes.

    Training for steady to flush. He's fine with gun fire, I walked him up on friends shooting clays a month ago. he was playing with other dogs and eating treats and horse poo. Since he doesn't flinch at gun fire, just wants to see what's falling. I had him out next to a duck blind that friends were hunting out of. I didn't have a gun just him. LOL... Although they needed me to have a gun, lots of shots one duck. It was to long of a retrieve for him, I got the duck, he did follow me out and met me and I let him carry it in from 20ft out when he met me. Looking back this may not have been the best. He comes when I whistle. Yes he has PL lines even some national champ pointers.

    With that being said I think what it really comes down to is the trainer and watching what the dog can/can't do. I'm thinking short hunts where birds are planted to add excitement for him. No all day hunts. Just trying to figure out how to do this with out scaring the roosters up. And duck hunts when few ducks are flying.

    LOL! here we go again!
    Agree or Disagree? Why?
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  10. #8
    Trickster's Avatar
    Trickster is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: First Hunt???

    He sounds like a good dog but I will stick with my opinion that you are doing to much to soon.

    While I can only speak for myself, I know that I personally would never hunt over a 5 month old. This is due mostly to the UK/US divide in training. It just wouldn't happen over here.

    However, it is your dog and if you are happy with him and his training, good for you.*

  11. #9
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    DefaultRe: First Hunt???

    Start as early as you want and correct the little issues along the way. After all, the hunting is really for the dog (my opinion). I started Duke at 5 months and Doc just a few weeks ago. He's 4 months. They are great and put up birds, so I'm not complaining. ;D

    I never followed a book method and I will say Duke is either just that natural, or the play / "training" relationships really worked for him. I make everything we do fun yet hunting related in some way. It's transparent to them. I've combined the whistle with hand and arm signals. Once I feel they are at the level to just do whistle, I phase out hand and arm. It's just all built on progressions. K.I.S.S.

  12. #10
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    DefaultRe: First Hunt???

    I have 2 dogs, an 11 year old that I trained all on my own, and an 8 month old that I had started. The 11 year old has some bad habbits, to this day he chases flushed birds, and other things, he will never be a field trail dog, or even hunt tested. However as far as reliable retriever, being bold, and handling any situation I could not ask for more. He will never question going in the coldest or roughest conditions, and has brought back may geese, swans, and ducks from the worst of conditions.

    The 8 month old dog that I have now, has very good field genetics, and has a very good family tree espessially for a choc. She is steady to the shot, and steady to the flush. She sits by whistle or command and has her obedience down very well. I waited until about 7 months to take her into the field. She has been progressing very nicely, and should be ready for the Juntion Hunt Test in February. When ever I take her hunting we drill the whole way out to the blind and the whole way back. We practice everithing that she knows and we usually try to introduce her to new things as well.

    Bottom line is, it needs to be up to you. I personnaly think that 18 month old is to long to wait, and 5 months with out all the basics down is a little two early. That is my 2 cents take it for what it is worth.

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