How To Train A Bird Dog

How To Train A Bird Dog

How To Train A Bird Dog: Bird dogs, also called gun dogs, are dogs trained to assist in hunting. With the help of Guinness the Cocker Spaniel gun dog, our trainer Stan is going to demonstrate how to train a gun dog to obey your whistle commands.

Hi. My name is Stan Rawlinson. I'm a dog behaviourist and obedience trainer.

And this little lad here is Guinness and he's a working Cocker Spaniel. His nickname is Billy Whiz, and that's because he's very very fast. I'm going to be looking at how to train a bird dog or a gun dog.


So first of all, the most important thing is the gun dog whistle recall. You can't have him running in on birds and varying other things and scatter them all over the place. You have to be able to stop him even in mid flow.

And these all start from a young age. Get a dog on a whistle, get it as early as possible, eight weeks. Forget this story about you can't stop training a dog till six months.

Totally wrong. Dogs learn more at a very early age between zero and sixteen weeks than they do at any other time in their life. They learn twenty times more between that time than the whole of their life afterwards.

So that's the time to really get it early. Get it on a whistle. If you can, get the breed and then put the dog on a whistle if you get it as a puppy.

So when you get it at six, seven, eight weeks, it already knows what a whistle is. It comes scampering to it when you blow it, because this is important. So what we are going to look at is basically getting young Guinness here to do a little bit of hunting and I'm going to call him back to me and then I'm going to do a little bit of recall work on a dummy.

The dummy I'm going to use basically is something that's got a rabbit fur on here. And I'm going to see if I can stop him. He's only a young dog.

But I'm going to see if I can stop him in mid flow when he's after it. And also not to go for the dummy until I give him permission. I'm going to get him hunting one way or another.

Okay, I'm going to blow the whistle and get him back out. "Good, good, halt." You need him moving across me.

There's not a lot of space here, but it will be fine. There's unfortunately no birds around in this area. Okay, I'm going to stop him hunting.

Single blow on the whistle. Double blow is recall. I'm going to throw this away.

And I'm going to get him to walk with me. "Heel." We don't want to chase it as it is flying through the air.

He knows it's over there. If I walked a mile now, he would still remember where that particular dummy is. And I would normally throw two or three dummies out at a time and stop him going from one to the other.

This is just basic training for a gun dog. "Okay, hi lost. Come on in, here, good.

" I'm going to throw it out again. "Sit, stay." Young dog, very eager.

"Hi lost. And again, hi lost." The whistle stop is vitally important, because if that was a running bird or a bird that he was chasing with a lot of other birds behind him, we're going to have problems.

So, Hi lost. Hi lost, of course is, we tell him it's lost, he has to bring it back to us. "Good.

Take it." I'm just going to take it through here, and I'm going to throw it in this thicket, and see how quick he can get it out. Very very thick in here.

"OK, sit. Hi lost." He's going to have to use his nose on this one, obviously.

And the reason being it's stuck in the middle of brambles and nettles and varying other things. I need him to work his nose on it. As soon as he's found it, hopefully he'll bring it back to me.

But it's quite thick in here at the moment. "Hi lost. Fetch it here.

Good boy." Just hear him coming through the brambles and the bushes. Just see him move in here.

"Yeah, hi lost. Back. Back.

Hi lost." These dogs will go through almost anything, and it is really thick bramble down there. "Hi lost.

Fetch it here. Good boy. Good boy.

Fetch it here then." As you can see, Guinness is now covered in all these seeds. But it doesn't bother him one bit.

He'll go anything he wants to. So just to recap, whistle introduction, stop whistle, recall whistle, send him off. "Off, back.

" Need to call him, double whistle is a rec