Advice on next dog (long question)

Discussion in 'Gun Dog Forum' started by Laboratory, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. Laboratory

    Laboratory Senior Refuge Member

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    Nine years ago I joined this forum because I wanted to learn as much about training my lab pup (Salem) as possible. I ended up doing the smartworks technique and supplemented by sending him to a pro trainer with access to birds, ponds, and fields for actual live bird training.

    Anyway, he turned out to be a great dog. My friends call him robodog because he does whatever I want him to do.

    He also is a very good hunting dog.

    Anyway, he hit 9 years old earlier this year and is having low back issues effecting his balance and back legs. So he is retired to being a house dog. So basically 3 years of training before serious hunting, minus 1 year were I was laid up with a knee operation, two years too busy with work/life to hunt so I got 4 maybe 5 years of hunting with Salem. I figured I had 2 or 3 more good years left.

    Anyway, over the years, I realized I like upland hunting much better than duck hunting. If I never have to sit in another flooded corn field I would be 100% ok with that. So I used Salem mostly for upland hunting which he did well, but there were plenty of grouse flushes that I did not have time to get in proper position.

    I had the opportunity to hunt over a pointing dog and it was an amazing experience. So now, even though I love labs, I am thinking pointer for my next dog.

    As I research GSPs and English Pointers, I see that they are very high strung and would not do well in the house unless I could work them 2 - 3 hours a day. Since I am in the suburbs this is not really possible. So I recently started looking at Llewellin Setters. They seem to get good reviews as a hunting and house dog.

    My concern is how much of the smartworks process can I use on a setter and can they ever be as trained to fetch, stay, come etc... as well as a lab? Are the basic training techniques completely different for a pointer/setter? What parts of the Smartworks system toolbox can I use and should not use? I realize their will be specialized point to flush training, whoa etc... that will need to be taught outside the smartworks system and will figure that out.

    For example, when I call my lab in he comes every time, no exceptions. Training for this was completed by my son holding him back with a leash while I applied pressure and commanded "Here!". It was the most brutal part of the train process but only lasted maybe 15 minutes and since then never an issue with the here command - here means here.

    Would I be able to use the same technique on a setter, or would they be too soft for a training technique with so much pressure. Also, would I force fetch a setter? My lab fetches every single time. Are setters FF'd? They have huge desire to find birds, how is there desire to chase something and bring it back until they drop of exhaustion? Since I can't always hunt, I liked to throw a frisbee, tennis ball, bumper to my lab for quick near home exercise.

    Anyway, I know this is mostly a duck dog forum but I also know many smart hunters here have experience with other types of dogs and would like to get your thoughts on the trainabilty of a pointer/setter. I have gotten used to a dog that listens without fail and it would drive me nuts if I had a hard to control dog even if I did everything correctly.

    Sorry for the long post and I hope everyone is doing well. 9 years is a long time even for us humans.

    Happy Hunting!
     
  2. Doc E

    Doc E Elite Refuge Member Sponsor

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    Don't discount a Pointing Lab...
    Combine Smartwork by Graham and Training the Pointing Labrador by Knutson and you'll have an astounding Upland bird hunting dog.

    .
     
  3. Laboratory

    Laboratory Senior Refuge Member

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    I definitely have looked into pointing labs and they are under consideration, the best breeders of these dogs seem to be in the NW US and I am in MI. It is an abomination but there is a South Dakota guy that is crossing GSPs with Labs... could be the holy grail. Also, I have had a lab as my dog for 20 years. I'd like work with a different breed for the next 10 or so years, considering I have no interest in duck hunting. As they say, variety is the spice of life!

    Still would like any input on what Smartworks training that could apply to a pointer. I defiantly would want my dog to come on command and retrieve to hand every time... Maybe there is a completely different training technique for pointers.
     
  4. choc24/7

    choc24/7 Elite Refuge Member

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    i will take a properly trained flushing lab all day....
     
  5. Laboratory

    Laboratory Senior Refuge Member

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    I know the feeling but not my question.
     
  6. Timber Hole

    Timber Hole Senior Refuge Member

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    I'm watching this thread because I have also wondered if the retriever training, specifically the techniques outlined in Smartworks, will work on other breeds. Based upon what I've learned I'm guessing the will work pretty much the same but I'm guessing because I haven't tried.
     
  7. KwickLabs

    KwickLabs Elite Refuge Member

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    Since you have decided to "go with" with pointing and ruled out a Labrador, it appears you are looking more for a pointing breed
    where you don't need a horse to keep up with it. :h There are plenty of different, close ranging pointing breeds that would work
    for you.

    However, the training will be somewhat different than that of a retriever. Too much control tends to stymie searching. And a
    structured control strategy may create some conflict unless you understand the concept of compartmentalization. Your new
    dog will need to understand what it means to be free and able to search out of gun range.

    I had a very good pointing Lab many years ago. however, based on what you wrote, I would go with one off the closer ranging
    Continental pointing breeds. They tend to be able to do ducks and upland. Which means some of your training experience with
    a Lab will remain useful. I've hunted with my Vet's Wirehair Griffon and I had one many years ago. They can be outstanding
    in the uplands and they are pleasant to work with. There are several different breed choices.

    Much depends on selecting the right breeder. :reader
     
    WaterFoulHunter likes this.
  8. duckbuster5901

    duckbuster5901 Senior Refuge Member

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    Have you give any consideration to a Brittany? Years ago when there were still coveys of quail in our area I trained a Brittany as pointer & waterfowl retriever. She Excelled at both and was trained as a close working dog. All the retriever tactics worked on her during training to retrieve with of course pointing training thrown in . Trained to be steady to flush and retrieve on command. What she couldn,t stand was colder water retrieves exposed to prolonged swimming. Only other quirk I encountered was a few times when sent to retrieve a fallen duck she would encounter a woodcock and stand it until sent on.
     
    WHUP ! Hen and Laboratory like this.
  9. egadwall

    egadwall Elite Refuge Member

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    Consider also a wire haired pointing griffon. A bit less "wired" and closer working than many setters and pointers. More of a people dogfor the suburbs.
     
    Constructeur likes this.
  10. thatguy2

    thatguy2 Senior Refuge Member

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    My Brittany was similar. Mine was the American version so he liked to range. Buddy had a French Brittany that worked closer than I liked. We also had a dynamite English setter.
     

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