New Gun Dog!

Kootenay Hunter

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2018
Messages
243
Location
Western Canada
Super excited to pick up my first gun dog this weekend, a GSP pup! Anybody have any tips or tricks? I ordered a load of gun dog training books, lots of good info out there. Going to train him to be versatile, pointing birds, tracking, etc.
 

Milestone522

Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2018
Messages
54
Location
NorCal
Congrats on the new pup. I am a Springer guy so the dogs are very different, but I have always sent my pups to a guy who only trains and handles national champ springers. Although I never ran my dogs in trials or tests, I wanted the best guy with the highest experience to train them.

I would do the same with your GSP and send it to a guy who only trains pointers. The trainer will be eventually train you as well as what to look for, do's and dont's, and show you the unique things specific to your pup. That cannot be learned on a video or from a book, it comes from years and sometimes generations of experience. If you cannot afford a trainer then see if you can stop in for day training lessons instead of monthly. Both you and the pup will be learning together.

Post up a pic of your pup if you can! Godspeed!
 

JWP58

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2013
Messages
1,796
Location
In a van
To me obedience is everything. The "here" command is the foundation, and progress from there. I'm biased because I'm a Brittany guy, but I got a lot from Ben O. Williams training book (which is mainly exposure to wild birds and letting the genetics work).

Positive reinforcement I've found is better than a heavy handed approach.
 

Oregon

Senior Member
Joined
May 15, 2018
Messages
204
Location
Oregon coast
Good luck! I’m a retriever guy, Labs mostly, but have owned and trained chessies and Golden’s.
My only advice is kennel train and remember the most important part of puppies.
The only reason they’re so damn cute is to ensure they’ll survive to adult hood!
Hard to get too mad after my current project chewed my house to tinder.
16194ABB-C9D6-426C-B7CC-AC6D30163756.jpeg
 

Russp17

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2013
Messages
152
I've been working with a GSP puppy for the last four months. I have been taking classes 1-2 a week that has really helped his development. I would recommend doing the same if you can. Also remember repetition and time spent. I try to spend 15-20 minutes working with him 2-4 times a day.
 

vitalzone

Newbie
Joined
May 7, 2019
Messages
5
Im. brittany guy also, although GSPand Britts can do it all, point, flush and retreive.
And be the best companion ever.
Always be positive with them, make sure they come on command,and will stay on command.
 

Brock A

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Messages
2,677
Location
Buckley, WA
I have a 2 year old GSP. He is my first. I absolutely love the breed. I was lucky to have his breeder live near me and helped me train him. I would recommend finding someone that has a little experience help you get started.
 

Brock A

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Messages
2,677
Location
Buckley, WA
Also GSPs are the most emotional dogs ever, giant wimps.
This sure is the truth.

This last year I missed a layup rooster, right in our face. No excuses. After I missed, I looked at moose, and I could see the disappointment on his face. I knelt down and said I am sorry...this was his reaction.

 
OP
Kootenay Hunter

Kootenay Hunter

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2018
Messages
243
Location
Western Canada
Thanks for the tips guys. I'll be training him myself, there's nobody around and the training end is part of the adventure I'm looking for.

First focus will be on house breaking and basic obedience commands. From what I've read so far, the come or here command is the foundation.

I grew up with border collies, they're too smart for their own good, they pick up things in like a minute. My current pooch is an old pointer/hound cross and he came with some baggage, so he's gotten a bye from any hardcore training, he has no drive. I throw a dummy an he just looks at me with a look like: "that's nice, you gonna get that?"

Heading to Montana on Saturday for the pick up!
 

EJMK

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2019
Messages
18
Location
Western Colorado
I picked up a lab late last summer and am still working on getting her ready for fall. The best advice I got, and followed, was to get her crate trained from the beginning and being patient. Everything else comes pretty natural for them, especially if you are just looking for a hunting partner and don’t plan on doing any competing.
 

Dukejb

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2015
Messages
31
Congrats! I get my first GSP later this summer. I can’t give any first hand experience yet, but the book How to Help Gun Dogs Train Themselves was highly recommended on several of the gun dog and upland forums. I’ve been reading it trying to get ready, and to my inexperienced eye it looks good.
 

slick

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2014
Messages
800
Location
Siskiyou Siskime
My biggest take away from my first dog was the more time you spend with them the better. Let them be a puppy, don’t take training to serious for the first bit. They’ll pick up more just being with you than all the training in the world and kenneled all day. Enjoy puppyhood. It goes by fast.

Put your dog in situations to be successful, and don’t put your dog in situations to be unsuccessful. I.e. leaving stuff you don’t want them to have (eat, chew) in places for them to eat or chew them. I’m definitely in the camp of positive reinforcement- although I can be heavy at times. I’ve found it can be detrimental if your dog doesn’t have the personality that can handle that. They’ll just shut down. Avoid that.
 

Ironmerganser

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2014
Messages
314
Location
OMAHA NE
What slick said. Spend all the time you can with them and expose them to EVERYTHING. Let them be a puppy for the first year and add in discipline.....sit, heel, etc.
I am on my 3rd Drahthaar. Learn something new from each dog and every dog takes to a different way of training depending on their personality and temperament.
Take in all the advise you can and use what works for you. There are all kinds of opinions on how you should train a dog. Again...take what works for you. PM me if you have any questions. LOVE training dogs....
 

Roksliding

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2018
Messages
15
If your not a trainer, the more you try to do and expect, the more you’ll (probably) muddy it up (I wish I could apologize to my 1st bird dog). To get a great bird dog it’s simple- make sure you can call him off anything, make sure when you say whoa he is dead in his tracks, this can all be done before food in the back yard getting in and out of the kennel etc never pass up a training opportunity, and the best part- hunt as much as you can the more you hunt them the better they’ll get!!!

If you want a polished specimen google NAVHDA join a club, introduce yourself and ask questions, great people
 

Billy Goat

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2018
Messages
284
Location
Shenandoah Valley
Fellow border collie guy myself. Grew up with them, still have 3 on the farm. One retired, 2 working. Got a lab a little over 3 years ago. They are definitely wired differently. He is my first hunting dog. Kinda took a route with him similar to a collie. I have always made sure I have absolute control over him before putting him into situations. You never want to put a border collie into livestock without control over them, I wouldn't put a hunting dog in a hunt when you can't control them. He has never fetched, only retrieved. I don't throw a ball without him sitting at my side and never have let him retrieve without being commanded to do so. I might be a little overboard with it but I have dealt with other's dogs that would jump on the shot. He has been a great hunting dog, especially coming from someone who hadn't ever trained a retriever.

My recommendation is to read Training Retrievers For Marshes and Meadows. By James B. Spencer. The book explains dog training really well I feel like. I recommend it to anyone who is getting a new dog. The way he lays out the obedience training is really good. Doesn't matter if you plan to hunt the dog or not.
 

manitou1

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2017
Messages
183
Location
Truman Lake area, Missouri
I used to run GSPs. Great dogs. I have had dogs that were steady on point and retrieving at 7 mos old, but others, not so. Each are individuals.
The first year work on obedience and becoming buddies. The best dogs,IMO, are the ones that trust you and are your bud.
Do not pressure or scold the dog while bird training that first year. Make everything fun and limit the time. They should still be eager when you quit the training session. If you wear them out or train too hard, then it becomes a chore and intimidating for them.
Introduce loud noises/gunfire at a distance, slowly and carefully. A good scare early in their training can set you back a long time.
Have fun with the pup that first year, get it on a lot of birds and remember... the most fun is when they are learning and achieving those first milestones. You will be as proud (or more) of them as your kids when they accomplish new things.
 
OP
Kootenay Hunter

Kootenay Hunter

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2018
Messages
243
Location
Western Canada
Thanks everyone, lots of good info here. Here's some of the books I've ordered and I'm looking into the ones mentioned above. I like the idea of not letting them retrieve unless they're by your side and you release them, I can see how bad habits can form from playing fetch, translating into poor field work.

 
Top