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Thread: How important is breed?

  1. #1
    Member AKsoldier's Avatar
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    Default How important is breed?

    I've been thinking about getting a bird dog, but we already have two dogs, and it's a small house! My son's dog is a three-year-old pitbull/rottweiler/lab mix. I'm considering trying to train her for birds. She has the temperment, body shape and hair of the lab. What are your thoughts? Worth a shot, or should I just wait and get a Lab?

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    Member Milo's Avatar
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    Is it possible? Yes.
    Will you be fighting an uphill battle? Definitely.
    Would I try it? No.

    Figure out what you want the dog to do (pointing, flushing, waterfowl, etc) and select the breed based on that. Dogs have been breed for thousands of years to have certain characteristics and to do certain jobs. There's some old saying about a silk purse and a sow's ear. It'll be way easier to train the dog to do what he already wants to do.

    Then again, I don't know your son's dog and I'm by NO MEANS an expert in anything. I did once meet a guy that hunted ducks with a german shepherd. He said the dog worked great as long as you took the birds away before he started eating them

    Oh, and I see you are in Afghanistan, so whatever you do make sure you are able to commit to the training. In my experience training did not take a lot of time but it took some time every day, usually in the form of a few short sessions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Milo View Post
    Is it possible? Yes.
    Will you be fighting an uphill battle? Definitely.
    Would I try it? No.

    Figure out what you want the dog to do (pointing, flushing, waterfowl, etc) and select the breed based on that. Dogs have been breed for thousands of years to have certain characteristics and to do certain jobs. There's some old saying about a silk purse and a sow's ear. It'll be way easier to train the dog to do what he already wants to do.

    Then again, I don't know your son's dog and I'm by NO MEANS an expert in anything. I did once meet a guy that hunted ducks with a german shepherd. He said the dog worked great as long as you took the birds away before he started eating them

    Oh, and I see you are in Afghanistan, so whatever you do make sure you are able to commit to the training. In my experience training did not take a lot of time but it took some time every day, usually in the form of a few short sessions each day.
    Yeah, that's what I was thinking. I've never had a bird dog before. Had one lab - she thought she was a deer dog.

    My bigest concern with training my son's dog would be her mouth - she's got the pit bull's jaws. I know there are ways to train a dog to have a soft mouth for bird retrieval, but I'd probably be better off getting a lab. For what it's worth, My intent is for this to be an all-around bird dog, able to flush and retrieve upland birds, and waterfowl. I've read that labs are about the best breed for all-rounders.

    Our other dog is a member of the family - she's over 14 years old, and has protected both my wife and children several times. She's top-dog at our place, and I think I'll wait on getting another dog until she goes to the "dog house in the sky". I don't want her thinking she's getting replaced.

    As for having time for training - I'll have two years at home before the next tour, and my son or my brother-in-law can help when I'm not around.

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    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    Well, there's no harm in trying....maybe you can get some birds and see what your dog's reaction is....a couple weeks of training and you'll have an answer....

    just a thought.

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    Default Yep...

    Like tuffboots said. Go out and find some nice tight holding Ptarmigan and see what kind of instinct she has. I had a lab/pit mix when I was in high school that I found on the side of the road that turned out to be a pretty good bird dog for ducks. I never really thought about making him a bird dog till he got all birdy when I brought a duck home. From then on I just encouraged his good habits and gently discouraged his bad ones and had a decent bird dog. I have great memories of him dragging a Canadian Goose back to me that weighed half as much as he did. However a dog that is bred to hunt from the get go will usually be easier to train.
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    I'd give the dog you have a shot before you count it out. My brother had a Rott/GSP that was a great bird dog. I know a fella that hunts a Pit/Lab and does just fine.

    KK

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    Member AKsoldier's Avatar
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    Fair enough - I think I'll have my brother-in-law take her out and see what her interest in birds is. If she shows promise, I'll start training in March when I get home.

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    Member Huntress's Avatar
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    I know someone who has a bird retrieving bullmastiff.....but he's far from any field trial CH.


    We won't talk about what happens when he decides that the bird is no longer ours. You just don't argue with something that's a 135lbs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Huntress View Post
    I know someone who has a bird retrieving bullmastiff.....but he's far from any field trial CH.


    We won't talk about what happens when he decides that the bird is no longer ours. You just don't argue with something that's a 135lbs.

    (This is a true story!)
    Really - wait till he grows up! (A 135 lb. bull mastiff is a puppy) that's a hilarious mental picture, by the way - bull mastiff retrieving birds!

    I knew a guy who had one that tipped the scales at 240 lbs. Wasn't fat either.

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    Member Huntress's Avatar
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    Soldier, I think your thinking of the English mastiffs. They get that large. A male bullmastiff is 110-130 for the standard. It is hilarious to watch though, he's a character and probably the proudest dog you would have ever seen when he has a bird in his mouth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huntress View Post
    Soldier, I think your thinking of the English mastiffs. They get that large. A male bullmastiff is 110-130 for the standard. It is hilarious to watch though, he's a character and probably the proudest dog you would have ever seen when he has a bird in his mouth.
    Ah, maybe it was. All I know is that thing looked like it should be saddled and ridden!

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    Exclamation Brittany Puppy

    I have a litter of brittany puppies that are coming up on four weeks old. I would love to place a couple of them in AK as Brits are great grouse hunting companions. Do you or anyone know of anyone looking?

    www.bigskybrits.com

  13. #13
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    You might want to put an add up on Craigslist or Alaskaslist.

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

    Noone has a more intimate understanding of, or deeper appreciation for freedom, than a soldier who has fought for it in a country where it does not exist.

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