Bird Introduction

  • Monday, April 14, 2014 12:06 PM
    Message # 1537468
    I have an 8 week old PL that I would like to introduce to some birds.  I have been reading Knutson's book and am basically using that.

    On the bird introduction where I show her the quail and let her chase it... is that basically all I am doing at this stage.  They guy I am getting the quail from said by showing her the bird and letting her chase is actually instilling bad habits from the beginning.  His recommendation is on a dog that young to let the dog taste the bird, to dizzy it and let it watch and play with it instead of letting fly away and chasing.

    Any thoughts on this.  Please keep in mind this will be my first PL to train.

    Thanks for any advice.
  • Wednesday, April 16, 2014 9:10 AM
    Reply # 1538828 on 1537468


       I am doing the same thing you are doing. Training a PL pup

       for the first time. What i did is clip some of the flight feathers

       on a quail, showed it to her then tossed it a few feet in front of her

       and let her chase it catch it and play with it. Keep everything positive

       praise the pup while she is playing with the bird.


  • Wednesday, April 16, 2014 1:34 PM
    Reply # 1539099 on 1537468

    I would not be letting the pup catch the bird. Put a few birds in the field for the pup and with the pup on the leash let it work the field, guide the pup to the area that one of the birds are the pup should smell the bird and point or run in. For the later of the two you don’t want to dizzy the birds, you want them to get up and fly. Let the pup chase for a bit and then stop it. This will teach the pup that birds are fun but running in on them will not get them what they want. If the pup has NATURAL point it will show if not all you will see is a pup that will run in on birds.

  • Wednesday, April 16, 2014 1:38 PM
    Reply # 1539103 on 1537468

    Another good way to let the pup learn how to find the bird without catching it, is a bird box or bird bag. This way the smell is still getting out but the dog can not grab the bird. 

  • Wednesday, April 16, 2014 7:17 PM
    Reply # 1539341 on 1537468
    I would let the dog catch it at this point and get a taste of birds too, It wont hurt the dog, then around 12 weeks is were i begin bird work, and if they flush it flys...
  • Wednesday, April 16, 2014 11:15 PM
    Reply # 1539453 on 1537468
    I was planning on doing this at my family's place here in Texas.  After some researching in order for me to use quail I would have to have a PBHA permit, so that is in the works.  So it looks like I will be doing this will a few pigeons this weekend.  I have read the spectrum of opions on pigeons being the best starter bird, to pigeons being good for finishing work, to preferably never using pigeons.

    Any specific advice regarding using them in this scenario? Or basically treat them the same as quail?
  • Wednesday, April 16, 2014 11:22 PM
    Reply # 1539457 on 1537468

    Don't worry if your pup catchs a few birds doesn't hurt them for the most part gets them pumped up about them. Once they get to a  point you will want to have birds they cant catch but early on its not going to hurt anything. Quail are great for early work, intro letting them chase them in the open just a few. After that I turn them loose in the field.


    Pigeons are of good use at times. I use them to de chase and for whoa drills in the yard....have them whoa and having them watch pigeons fly away etc.

    Last modified: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 11:24 PM | Troy Benson
  • Friday, April 18, 2014 7:04 PM
    Reply # 1540592 on 1537468
    Lily Lo (Administrator)
    If you go to our Northwest Pointing Labrador Club Training Tips page, you'll find links to several different videos on how to introduce your new puppy to birds.  Don't worry about them catching the first bird or two because you want them to want that bird more than anything else, but thereafter, you'll want to make sure they don't catch the bird.  If you have wild birds, they'll teach the dogs automatically because they'll flush when the dog gets too close.  If you use pigeons in launchers (which is what I use), here's a link to a video I made with my dog training group explaining our method of training pointing dogs.  Keep in mind that different trainers have their own favorite or preferred methods so there really is no "one right way."  Thus when reading books and watching videos, just take what you can use and ignore the rest.  Good luck and have fun!
  • Monday, April 21, 2014 5:39 PM
    Reply # 1541523 on 1537468
    Lily Lo (Administrator)
    Oops, sorry, I posted an incorrect link.  Here is the link  to the youtube videos we're making.  Go to the video entitled "Starting Dogs on Upland Work: The Check Cord."  This was filmed on Day 1 of training a new dog.  The dog is a GWP but the same principles apply to our PLs.  The follow-up video is entitled "Beginning Upland Work: Intro to Pointing Using the Gibbons-West Method."  Remember that this is only one way to train a pointing dog.  It's what I used with my PL Ranger.
  • Monday, April 21, 2014 9:22 PM
    Reply # 1541644 on 1537468
      Thanks for sharing!!! Those videos are awesome!!
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