During Upland Training, Testing and Hunting scenarios Retrievers should be Steady to Wing and Shot.
What does this really mean?
After the dog has flushed the bird, they should come to a stop; either on their own or at the command of the handler. It is not necessarily required for them to sit in a testing scenario, but we prefer that they do! A flushing Dog should quarter in front of you within gunning range and when a flush is achieved should be steady and mark the area of the fall. The Dog should remain steady until commanded to retrieve the bird.
Why should my dog be steady to Wing and Shot? A dog that is not steady will get in the way of other hunters, chase missed birds, may miss marks and worst of all… risk the chance of getting shot! The safest action for your dog, after the shot is to be totally stopped.
After your dog has been introduced to birds and the Upland Hunting environment, you should teach then to sit on the flush. This can be done with the use of a check cord or with the aid of an electronic collar. When a flush is made use mild collar stimulation and the “Sit” command to steady your dog. (Your dog should be collar conditioned and understand what collar pressure is before using any electronic collar in training.) We incorporate the use of a Whistle, one loud short burst with the “Sit” command and a little collar pressure should do the job.
Your dog will eventually learn to sit on the flush on their own, through repetition.
Keep in mind that dogs learn through repetition and this will not happen with one day in the field hunting. This should be taught prior to the hunting season and should be repeated several times a week until the dog understands what is expected of them.
When training for upland work, the use of bird baskets/bird launchers can be a big help. Electronic Bird Launchers put you in control of the flush and give you the opportunity to flush the bird at just the right time. This control of the launch will give you the ability to conserve birds as well; the launcher holds the bird until you are ready for the flush and minimizing the chance of fly-away or run-offs.
A dog that is steady to wing and shot is a pleasure to hunt behind, is less stressful in the field and your buddies will be really impressed when they see that big Rooster get up, your dog sit’s and honors the flush.
Video Courtesy of Bull Valley Retrievers – Click to Visit: Bull Valley Reteievers
Joe Scarpy – Owner, Dog Trainer, Hunter
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