Hunting dog owners

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Leah IL, Oct 31, 2004.

  1. Leah IL

    Leah IL momto6

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    My husband hunts mainly upland birds and is tired of "borrowing" other people's dogs. He is considering buying a German Shorthaired Pointer. He is hesitant, though, because he has heard from a few people that you can't train a hunting dog to stay away from your own chickens/poultry and still expect him to scare up game in the field. They say that the dog will be confused and will either go after both your own birds and wild game or won't hunt period. True??? This doesn't seem right to me, as I'm sure old timers had both huntin' dogs and chickens at the same time, but I thought I'd ask the question here anyway.

    Have you successfully trained a hunting dog from a puppy to stay away from your own birds but still hunt? Our birds will be fenced in, but as we all know, chickens do get out :) Thanks for any input.

    Leah
     
  2. Okie-Dokie

    Okie-Dokie Well-Known Member

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    After owning a Reg. Weimeraner for many years, I would not want any othe type of hunter. This was absolutely the smartest most loyal hunting partner I have ever imagined. When he was younger, he was very active and hard to keep up with.
     

  3. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    I mostly had Coon Hounds and Rabbit Dogs.They just thought of Chickens as part of the rest of the critters and left them alone.

    Now lots of times you will get a pup more intrested in playing with them which turns into killing,which in their minds is play.Then you have problems.But this is true with any Dog.

    big rockpile
     
  4. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    My sister has a German Shorthair --- wonderful, wonderful pup, but absolutely a bird-hunting fool. I've been around bird dogs before but this fellow gets nuts beyond anything I've ever seen. But I don't know if that's a feature of the breed. I do know other breeds of bird dogs I've seen have been much less insane about anything with feathers.

    You can train hounds to hunt birds, believe it or not. I know of some people who even use basset hounds to hunt not just rabbit and other critters, but birds - ! :confused: :D Because scent hounds and bird dogs are so different in how they hunt, though, you have to kind of alter the process of training and you can't really hunt the birds in the traditional bird doggie way --- I mean, i have yet to see a scent hound point. :D

    You might also consider going to more old time breeders --- it's possible the newer bird dogs from fancy places are just much more high strung and *hot* than the old time ones.

    Beware, though, that most bird dogs I know also go after cats. !
     
  5. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    When I was a kid, I had a German Shorthair Pointer. I kept him penned, and didn't have any chickens. He did find and retrieve birds, but being a kid, I didn't spend the proper training for serious pointing and handling. An old guy at the time helped me with the dog for bringing out the basic hunting instincts of the dog. I did have to work on the dog to be tender mouthed. Left to his own, he would certainly chew a bird without my presence. I suspect if allowed he would chase and kill chickens.
    I also had a brittany spaniel for a pet. He was high strung and loved swimming and would occasionally retrieve a downed duck on rare water hunting trips. I never had chickens then, so he wasn't exposed to domestic fowl. Once I had him boarded for a few days at a kennel. The guy had chickens he stupidly let the dog loose. The spaniel killed his chicken. The guy actually damaged my dog by allowing that to happen, because then any training is more difficult in having the dog to be gentler on birds. Not that it's impossible. I think bird dogs, as individuals, need supervision about being around domestic birds. Basically they need a separate pen.
     
  6. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Sure.

    My present dog is a high-strung Brittany, and both of his parents hunted.

    I got the dog when he was 3 months old, but I didn't trust him unsupervised with the chickens until he was 9 months old. If it weren't for his exitable nature I would have trusted him earlier, but he just didn't think when he was exited.

    He was not allowed outside without me until I trusted him. The birds were kept behind a pen, and until he had some manners I kept him on a leash so that he was easy to correct. I scolded him every time he pointed at the chickens, and if that didn't break his concentration, I gave the leash a tug so that I broke his focus.

    He got the idea fairly quickly, and I think I only used the leash for a couple of months. Because he WAS so excitable, though, I waited until his puppyhood was mostly passed before I let him out without me. I watched from a window the first few times I let him out.

    He is a reliable dog, now. I can free-range the chickens. The only time he is interested in them is when I TELL him to find the (lost) chicken. He is better than I in finding where the bird is roosting after dark. I always reward him with a treat after the bird is found.

    To give him an outlet on his urge to hunt, I encouraged him to chase the rabbits out of the garden. He has learned to NOT chase the pet rabbit, though I do not trust him with Peter unless an adult is present. He will kill the wild ones if he can.

    I am ALSO not sure I would trust him with someone ELSES chickens if an adult were not present.

    I found that he was easier to train because he DOES point. It gave me a change to scold him before something deadly happened. It would not have been as easy with, say, a terrier. A terrier is capable of killing a bird before I can react: a pointing dog will freeze when he sees "prey".
     
  7. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    My father bred GSH pointers and while I liked them as dogs I didn't appreciate the hunting style much. They'd run off into 100 acres of field and find and point just fine but they did it so fast you lost track of them. Do you want to hunt birds or dogs? They left the domestic birds alone OK with minor lapses of judgement. He also bred Brits, Bratneys I call them. They hunt everything birds, chickens, cats, garden hoses are a specialty and furniture with amazing abilty to sort high end stuff from the crappy pressboard types. The English Springer Spanials were probably the best behaved of the bunch, they are a flushing spanial not a pointer though.
     
  8. Ovibos

    Ovibos Member

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    If you really want a German pointer either make sure your dog comes from a solid breeder or perhaps go with the wirehaired instead. The shorthaired are victims of their own popularity and suffer many inherited diseases. Far to common are skin allergies and coat problems not to mention more serious issues. Find a good hunting/breeder that hunts or does field trials and ask for references. Having hunted around GSP's I don't care for them to be honest. They range too far out and have no protection from the elements or briars. I too owned "high strung" Britt's like terri. I didn't do my homework and got two worthless dogs because of it. I wanted Brittany's because of an old timer who hunted one along with a standard pointer. A well bred and well trained Brittany makes a great all around hunter. The one of mine that actually had any sense would hunt rabbit, fox and all upland birds. They were just so high strung, they rarely calmed down enough to hunt. A short list of good choices would be hunt bred Welsh or English springer's, Wirehaired pointing Griffon, Brittany's( which are actually pointers not spaniels) and well bred labs or even a chessie if you are up to it!! Chesapeakes can be trained to hunt upland game and are second to none for retrieving, they are also the most robust of commonly available hunting dogs. Just not for beginners! Bottom line is a really good beagle will out birdhunt any really bad bird dog. Spend plenty of time and locate the best dog you can, even if it means time and money. The extra hundred or so spent on quality pays off in the field
    Good luck
     
  9. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    Ive got a german shepard/wolf cross and free range 40+ pullets, the pullets arrived this year while sadie has been here for about 3 years..... she "herds" them once inawhile and catches a few tail feathers, and yet lets thme eat from her dish all inthe same day.......

    dad has a "black Slab" and she cant stand to see my pullets without retrieving one of them for dinner.... however she wont kill them, she just soft mouths it back to the house and spits it out...... dad dont hunt her, and he dont have chickens.... so it only happens when she visits once a week or so....... but i havent lost any birds to her..... and we do holler at her to leave them alone and she tends to mind, but again she is almost 2 now and no longer a pup so knda minds when is told the birds get to be out of the pen.....

    My hounds were never allowed off the chain except to get in the rig to go hunting, and never killed anything unless they were set on it.

    William
     
  10. longshadowfarms

    longshadowfarms Well-Known Member

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    We have labs and have never had problems with the TONS of poultry we have. The dogs did need to be taught to leave the birds alone but that is pretty common to ANY dog around small, defenceless animals. That said, we have two male labs we inherited about 3 years ago when they were 7 years of age that I don't let in the pen with my $100 ducks. It just wouldn't be smart. My 12.5 yr old female is a perfect lady and she can go anywhere on the property she chooses. All these labs are great hunters. When they get the scent of a game bird, they go absolutely nuts. They forget their age and instinct kicks in. We did raise pheasants for a while and the labs would stand outside that flight pen just shaking with excitement. Our female points and she would stand there for hours pointing! LOL! Poor thing! Someone would have to go pull her off of point. The dogs eventually did learn that those penned pheasants were not for hunting. I never did let them into those pens though. It just wouldn't have been smart! I'll concur with the others that said to be careful with chosing a breeder/dog. We've been looking for about 5 years for another lab. We think we've finally found what we are looking for but we certainly hit a pile of dead ends first. Our last labs lived to be 12 and 14 years. If I'm going to live that long with a dog, it had better be a good one.
     
  11. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Teach your dog/puppy "leave it". Use a nice voice. The command is not a punishment in itself. One way is to place your open hand between something his nose wants and the nose, say "leave it" and treat and praise the instant he gives attention to you. Also teach him "take" so that you can tell him to leave a treat in your hand, then take it. This puts you in charge of "no" and "yes". Work him on "leave it" and other commands that mean he can do as he pleases. Introduce him to the chickens on leash, and practice leave it. Also use the chickens to teach him other bird things. He is allowed, then to point the chickens, flush them, then must leave them alone. Shortly after working him on flushing them and leaving them alone, you almost never let him work the chickens and work him on bird scent instead (or however you train him, I think bird dogs prefer the scent of certain birds). I think, in this way you will not sour him on birds by punishing him around chickens, yet move his attention from chickens to the correct birds. You will also be able to call him off when he's out hunting pheasant (or whatever it is you hunt).

    I have a border collie and sheep, and they have to learn the commands that mean "leave the sheep alone" before they are put on sheep or they will run them to death. Herding is a big treat, as hunting is to a bird dog.
     
  12. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    Well, I don't hunt with dogs but our LGD/herd dogs certainly know the difference between their stock animals (ducks, geese, chickens, guineas, pigs, sheep and kids) and prey (mice, chipmunks, squirrels, coon, wild birds, predators - 2 & 4 legged). Our dogs kill and eat the members of the second group. They protect and herd the members of the first group.

    So a smart dog can differentiate between the prey and the protected groups just fine.

    Cheers,

    -Walter
    Sugar Mtn Farm
    Orange, Vermont
     
  13. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    My son's English pointer grew up around our birds and didn't mess with the chickens or turkeys but he gave the quail and guineas a run for their life every chance he got. He was very a instinctive hunter with an excellent nose but my son never trained him :no: so I think the problem with our brds might have been curtailed. Most people out here keep their hunting dogs penned to avoid this sort of dilemma.
     
  14. Leah IL

    Leah IL momto6

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    Well- THANK YOU so much! This is a lot of really good information which I have shared with my husband. Now we can make a more informed decision. I appreciate your taking the time to give your opinions and advice :)

    Leah
     
  15. mowarren

    mowarren Active Member

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    I've seen a few dog owners i would've hunted!!
     
  16. thebeav

    thebeav Well-Known Member

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    Check out this. http://www.navhda.org/

    The North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association is a great organization. The GSP is one of the versatile breeds plus a number of others. Way back I was a member of the California chapter with a Vizsla. I raised quail, pheasants and pigeons for training. The dog never went after a bird at home unless he was given the command to fetch. Your dog should be trained to point and hold point. Even after the bird fly’s and is shot. You dog should still be at your side until you give the fetch command. I use to see my dog in the yard pointing the cages (practicing I think). Check out NAVHDA. If you get a chance to go to a field meet you will see a number of dogs trained better than you ever thought possible.
    George
     
  17. JAS

    JAS Well-Known Member

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    My husband's favorite was a German Shorthair Pointer, great hunter, very intelligent but I would never trust one around my birds.

    We have a Weimeraner right now that I don't like but he is the best hunter we have now. Born killer though--kills strays cats in a flash. He has "retreived" a few of my birds :confused:

    Our Brittney is high strung but the best nose of our dogs. If we had gotten her younger and with chickens I think she could of been trained?

    We had a German Wirehair Pointer, which I really liked. More weather protection that a GSP and similar attitude, very intelligent--almost too intelligent and they get bored. They are not good with other dogs in their territory.

    We have three hunting dogs right now, prefer the pointing breeds. We have to pen them up during the day while the chickens free range. I walk them in the morning and at night when the chickens are locked up.

    One thing to consider is if you have children or will have children. Some breeds are not met to be around small children, others are find.
     
  18. soulsurvivor

    soulsurvivor Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Second that emotion! We've had both the hunting stock and the show stock of this breed, and much prefer the hunting stock. We think they're the smartest dog ever. We've had one in our house at all times since 1979. Each one of our dogs, and we've only owned one at a time, have proven over the years that they cannot be beat for personality plus. Our first dog was a bird hunter and also would dive in the river and catch fish. Not kidding on this. He had a gentle mouth with the dead bird retrieval, but would lock jaw on those fish! Oh, and he also hated cats and would lock jaw on them too. Our current dog, a hunter, is the best ever at bird point and retrieval, and we loan him out to several friends of ours that birdhunt around here and share their game with us. And he doesn't hate cats, which is a plus for our persian. We're convinced these dogs train themselves.