Grouse Training/Drills For A Retriever

Discussion in 'Upland Game Forum' started by RetrieverNation, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. RetrieverNation

    RetrieverNation Refuge Member

    Oct 5, 2012
    Getting geared up for this years Pat season and should have good numbers of birds to get in some good training for my 1.5 yr old pup. Besides getting into good numbers of birds/flushes what do some of you do to teach your Retriever to be a better grouse dog?

    Hunting close, remote whistle sits and steady to wing/shot are already part of our program and I am not really looking for general upland advice but rather something that you may only do specifically for Grouse.

    Some concepts/drills I have used in the past for Grouse specifically include;
    1. Plant a bird or use a remote launch box up off the ground to simulate a bird on a a low branch of an evergreen tree. Basically teach the retriever that not all birds come from the ground.
    2. Work dog back and forth between two hunters in extremely dense cover such as a Balsam stand.
    3. Either sit dog or handle dog to the backside of a stand of cover and teach working through cover to handler.
    4. Teach dog to sit calmly and wait for handler to get in a good shooting position on any particular piece of cover and then eventually release the dog to hunt the cover.

    I guess at the end of the day the overall concept is to have a dog that understands Grouse and working a stand of cover to flush birds to the hunter.

    So who's got something to share?
  2. dakndug

    dakndug Moderator Moderator

    Dec 24, 2002
    Slow and steady wins the race!
  3. prairie hunter

    prairie hunter Elite Refuge Member

    Jul 10, 2002
    prairie marsh
    Grouse run too.
  4. Squaller

    Squaller Elite Refuge Member

    Jan 5, 2003
    Fresno, California
    I don't know how applicable it would be with grouse, but I utilize pigeons in some different ways to help with both quail and pheasant hunting...

    If you spin a pigeon just a little, it will hold fairly tight in cover, or on a low bush or branch... I do put many of the pigeons off the ground to get the dog used to finding birds in different areas.

    I also plant in likely areas for pheasant or quail, so the dog gets used to hunting cover... In other words, plant the pigeons in the likely areas you will flush grouse... Dogs are just like people, and will avoid hard work if they can. If you plant birds in areas that are easy to hunt, that is where the dog will hunt in the field...

    And for running birds, take a live pigeon in a burlap sack and wet it down... Drag the wet sack (with the live pigeon inside) across the ground to produce a scent trail... I stop occasionally and leave a bit heavier scent in areas... At the end of the trail, leave a live pigeon that is spun but can fly... This has helped with teaching my labs to track...

    Pigeons are cheap and easy to get... If you can't buy them, you can trap them... They are a lot more incentive than dead birds or bumpers, and the dog starts to learn to love the flush...

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