I think we all can agree that dogs are Man’s best friend.For those of us that spend a a lot of time with working dogs this unique relationship between man and beast holds true.They sense your mood and when push comes to shove they are quick to perform.In a weird sense they become an extension of you.Dogs are smarter than most people think,sure they can’t do math but they are exteremly intuitive, they can pick up on a person’s “vibe” and either establish a relationship or stay away ,for dogs it all about feeling safe.I once guided a hunter in Saskatchewan that my Dogs did not like and either did I for that matter.I had Roxy on the ground who back in the day was an excellent Bird Dog,she would go on point wait for the
client asshole to get close then bump the birds,the hunter became angry, of course she kept it up.It did not register with him what was going on but it did with me as Roxy worked hard for everyone and everyone enjoyed her fun loving personality ..this guy didn’t,he refused to interact with the pack and paid the price.
Over the course of time I have mellowed out on my training,yes I want the dog to be obedient,I also understand that the dog needs to respect you as the pack leader this is done by gaining the trust of a dog not by beating the crap out of it.Rewarding the dog for doing thing right is the key and if you are not getting your point across to a dog then start over and try a more relaxed approach.
I think for to many people forget that a Dog’s purpose in life is to please it’s owner,if a dog is doing something wrong in the field usually it is because it does not know what the owner wants,not because it wants to purposly run around and screw up.
Every Dog is different,just because Spike was pointing Birds at 3 months does not mean Rover is going to be the same,so be patient repetition and exposure are the key.
I often run young dogs with my older dogs, as the young dogs learns from the older Dog’s behavour.I often do this even when guiding I just keep to young dog or puppy on a check cord so they get lots of backing practice and when they do find birds they are under control.
My Labrador Josie is proof that taking a mellow approach and some time is key.We knew she had the correct breeding for what I needed but despite her being wired “Hot” she is a soft dog and very excited to be out in the field.At first I could not get on the same page as her,then over time I was able to channel her energy into what I wanted things changed and she has proven to be a more than welcome addition to our string.
The morrow of the story is to take your time,and let your dog develop at it’s own pace you will have a better dog because of it.