Hunting Dogs | Guns for Sale
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My dad used the English Pointer to hunt quail, though we called them “bird dogs”. The pointer is an instinctive hunting dog. The most difficult task of training our pups was teaching them to control their enthusiasm and hold.
Dad used a handkerchief tied to a line at the end of a fishing pole. The handkerchief was dragged along the ground and would “take flight”. The commands were given, though now some 50 years later I don’t recall them all. I do remember the all important “hold” command. I watched dad’s every move, and one summer I started training the latest litter of pups myself. I don’t recall my age, I could have been 5 or 7, it has simply been too long ago for me to remember.
When a pup got it right, I lavished such a petting on the “good dog” that the pup would be all over itself with joy. Dad caught me training his dogs one day, and started to lecture me, saying they were too young, but he saw that all the pups were in true form, front paw up, tail pointing and all were in the “hold” position. He told me to go right ahead. He never interferred until it was time to take them to the field.
He sold the pups for double the usual price, and had requests for more. Every single pup performed flawlessly, and for the next few years Dad received numerous requests a pup, and was offered as much as $600 for a pup trained by me. It was true then, just as it is now, that a good dog could cost you more than good hunting guns for sale.
As an adult, I recognize my success was due to the love I gave them. When those pups did wrong I refused to pet them, telling them sternly they were a “bad dog” and ignoring them. They learned because they loved me and wanted to please me.
Dad waited to introduce gun shot until it was time to take the dogs into the field for the first time. Some dogs were inevitably spooked.
One pup I had trained didn’t adapt to gunshot the first day in the field. I took the dog into the yard and fired my cap gun until he was used to it. Dad then fired his shotgun, while I reassured the dog. In time, he overcame his fear of gun shot. The next litter learned the sound of the gun very early on.
Eventually, Dad gave me my first gun, his old .22 rifle that was his first purchase among guns for sale. It was my reward for showing him a better way to train pointers.
The simple technique we used produced English Pointers’ that performed flawlessly. Perhaps it doesn’t need improvement, but if I were to train a pointer today I would use a more realistic ‘bird’.
Listing the other factors based on my remembrance of my childhood stint as a trainer, I would suggest persistance, patience, reward them with love for a job well done, and “punish” them for a poor performance by withholding attention. I would also recommend getting them used to sound of the hunting gun very early on.
There are many memories of fall days in the fields tagging along with my Dad to watch new pups go through their paces. The most fulfilling was watching the pups I had trained all by myself providing a flawless performance, and seeing the pride in my Dad’s eyes when he looked at me. In some things, humans and animals aren’t that different in what motivates them.
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