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Thread: Looking for Gun Dog puppy training in AK

  1. #1

    Default Looking for Gun Dog puppy training in AK

    I have a 14 week old English Setter and am looking to get her on birds this summer and do some intensive training sessions with a local professional. What resources are there within the state for Gun Dog training and game farms to purchase birds for training.

    Thanks,

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    Where are you located?

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    What type of ES? Like Jim said, where are you located?

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    I am in Eagle River. I don't know what you mean by "what type". She was born in St. Cloud MN at Berg Brothers Setters and they only breed hunting stock purebred English Setters. I really want to get in with a group of bird dog people in the state so I can start learning from others. Right now its just me, the dog and a half dozen training books.

    Thanks

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    Setters Ak,

    Congratulations on teaming up with that new pup! You're in for a wonderful journey. Until someone like Burke and others from down that way chimes in on this thread...I'd suggest you contact the Arctic Bird Dog Assoc, and maybe take a drive out to Falcon Ridge where this time of year you will likely meet several dog owners working their dogs on birds. In your area you are lucky to have a great many dog trainers who can help you. Please keep us informed as to your progress and check back often. And by the way...photos of pups are almost mandatory here! :-)

    Jim

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    Contact the Arctic Bird Dog Association http://www.arcticbirddog.com/ they are holding classes right now in Eklutna but may be able to team up with them. Very nice people and thoughtful trainers. There is a calendar of dog events and clubs at www.alaskadognews.com
    Linda Henning
    Alaska Dog News

  7. #7

    Default My summer with the Setter Pup.

    Linda and Jim,

    Thanks for the tips and friendly response. I will check out Arctic Bird Dog's site this weekend and maybe try contacting Falcon Ridge too. Are there specific people at Falcon Ridge I should be speaking to or can one just show up?
    I will get some pictures of the pup posted in a day or two.

    Thanks

  8. #8

    Default Setter images

    After some quick investigation, it is not apparent how you go about posting photo's. My pup photos are on my computer in i-photo and I am not sure how to get them here.

    Any suggestions?

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    SettersAK,

    The only way I know of to get your photos on the web is to use a photo hosting source like Photobucket, Flickr, Smugmug, or any of the many others. Sorry I'm not more help in this regard.

    All the pointing dog men and women down your way must be busy doing other things and haven't had the time to check in here on the computer 'cause there are several that could help you right away. I'd make some phone calls right away if I were you. You'll find other dog people quite willing to help you out.

    Up north here in Fairbanks I trap pigeons and use them for training pointing dogs. We don't have a Falcon Ridge where pen raised birds are available. But that's ok 'cause after a few short summer months of pigeon work the dogs move right into a 9 month long upland season in a target rich environment!

    If I may offer just one bit of advice that I'm sure your pro trainer down there will also tell you is to make everything fun for pup.

    Enjoy!

    Jim

  10. #10

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    Thanks fro the advice on posting pictures.
    Another question i have regarding training is whether or not to use treats with a pup. Not one of the gun dog training books I own advises to use treats in the training of a pup. However, many obedience trainers use treats and have great success with basic obedience and beyond.

    Thanks

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    Many years ago I used treats with young pups, but somewhere along the line I stopped. Can't say I never do it 'cause I think now and then I've offered some sort of treat to a pup that responded well to that sort of positive reinforcement. Just read an article by top trainer George Hickox about using treats for very young pups and it works well for him and he's at the top of his game. George isn't afraid to back-track and use things he once thought were ineffective, or to learn new "tricks." He's now a big fan of clicker training as well. I'd say you should at least check in on his web site and maybe buy his DVD, it's pretty good stuff regardless of which way you go.

    I went at training pointing dogs just like I did in training horses. I dive into all sorts of different training methods by reading and talking to as many folks as I can, and then I try and use whatever bits and pieces I've learned from many trainers when applying it to individual dogs or horses. I'm no dog whisperer, but I certainly do try hard to let the individual pup guide me along in the process by watching closely to see what works for that pup, and what doesn't seem to be working.

    Sometimes I think we put more into all of this than is needed. Pro trainers trying to turn out a pointing dog in 90 days of training will perhaps have to go about this training stuff differently than the at-home trainer who is willing to go slowly, watch pup closely, and put a lot of extra thought and work into the training.

    Go slowly. Make everything FUN for pup. Do lots of fun yard work until pup is doing everything to your requirements. Since dogs are place oriented and won't necessarily do the same recall, whoa, or other commands he did so well at home when taken to new places, transfer all that yard work to other areas, like fenced in ball fields and such. Later, when pup is doing all this command stuff perfectly after you give a command only once (ie. The command is "Here!", not "Here! Here! Here! You little SOB!") you can think of moving onto more advanced stuff.

    Until you find that trainer just keep bonding with pup and becoming the absoulute center of his life. I also will take a pup out for walks in places where he will be doing his hunting. I actually do this when I first get a pup. I've had 10 week old pups out walking with me in ruffed grouse woods and out on the tundra, learning of the sights and sounds and smells of the habitat and of the birds and other wildlife, and most of all, being with me and relying upon me. You might want to use a check cord for this until pup recalls 100% reliably.

    Good genetics and lots of bird contacts tend to make good bird dogs. When folks watch my four miscreants hunt they often offer me great praise for my training skills, but I must honestly tell them how it's really just my expert driving skills that gets them safely out to the hunting fields more than the average bird hunter over a 9 month long season.

    Stay in touch with us. Loads of fun to learn how other folks and their pups are making out. And one of us here might just have some nugget that will help you now and then.

    Jim

  12. #12

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    Jim,
    Thanks for the response. The information is very helpful. I suppose I will just keep on doing what seems to be working---which is using treats most of the time for "Come" and some of the time for "Sit" and "Whoa". Later on, I can slowly use the treats less and less. I guess the danger that I was worried about was conditioning the pup to doing what is asked of her only when treats are involved and not because it is what will get her praise from me. I am primarily using the training techniques put forth in the book by Joan Bailey "How to help Gun Dogs train them selves through early conditioned learning." I have read many other puppy training books and this book made the most sense to me.

    P.S. How do I get a hold of Gary out at Falcon Ridge?

    Thanks

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    Setters AK,

    Personally, I don't teach a pointing dog to sit. I've seen it cause some problems with some dogs sitting on the point. I let a dog figure out the sitting stuff on its own.

    Don't know how to get hold of the folks at Falcon Ridge. Know of the place, seen the sign along the highway, but have never been there. Sorry.

    Jim

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim McCann View Post
    Setters AK,

    Personally, I don't teach a pointing dog to sit. I've seen it cause some problems with some dogs sitting on the point. I let a dog figure out the sitting stuff on its own.

    Don't know how to get hold of the folks at Falcon Ridge. Know of the place, seen the sign along the highway, but have never been there. Sorry.

    Jim
    I agree with Jim. I taught my Setter to sit as a puppy, and I wish I hadn't. I had heard of the problem before and get to see it first hand now. He doesn't sit when on point, but will sit every now on then when I Whoa him. I just simply help him stand back up, and work from there. He had stopped doing it while in training, and has only done it a couple times since I got him back. It's not a huge deal, but something him and I will work out. We do not use the sit command with him any longer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Setters AK View Post
    I am in Eagle River. I don't know what you mean by "what type". She was born in St. Cloud MN at Berg Brothers Setters and they only breed hunting stock purebred English Setters. I really want to get in with a group of bird dog people in the state so I can start learning from others. Right now its just me, the dog and a half dozen training books.

    Thanks
    My Setter and I just got back for Willow Creek north of St. Cloud in Little Falls. There are a few main "types" of ES. Although they are all technically ES, the different "types" have MANY and BIG differences. Basically when looking at ES, you see four "types"......Classic/dual type (it's what I own), the Field trial type, the Llewellyn (Llewellin) setter, and the "bench" type. The "bench" types are basically show dogs, so not much there we need to know about. There is a TON of info on setters out there that talk about the difference between the dogs with in the same breed. Basically, the "classic" type is a larger dog, which works very close, and is generally considered soft. My 14 month is 65lbs solid and big. Names you see associated with the classic/dual type Ryman, Old Hemlock, Pine coble, etc (Beirl’s Setters). Being big and slow, they are pretty much considered a "foot hunting" dog, and are pretty much never seen in the filed trials. "Field trial" types (Grouse Ridge Kennels), are usually considerably smaller in size (45lbs), range much further, work much faster, and are typically not known to be soft. They also can look very different then the classics, and Llews. They tend to have less feathering, and shorter coats. They are very popular in the field trails, because they fit very well into the type of dog needed to run and compete in modern field trials (fast, run big, etc). The Llews are kind of in the middle (Laurel Mt Llewellin Setters). They used to be a big trial dog, but as times changed, and the way trials changed, they have become less popular as trialers (although you still see them). Llews kind of run in the middle in terms of size, how they work, and their acceptance of pressure. They have to be DNA tested to be registered as a Llew. The differences go on and on and on. I have seen examples of these dogs that look sooooo different from each other, you wouldn’t think they were the same breed. I have also seen examples that you couldn’t tell what type of setter they are. Each has a place, and each are great bird dogs. It all depends on what a guy likes. Google some of this stuff, and you’ll see how much of a difference there is when it comes to Setters. Like I said each has its place in the upland game. If I missed typed some info on here, I apologize. I just whipped this up real quick to provide a little insight! Again I could go on and on and on……………… Good luck with that new pup!
    Ryan

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    I just looked up Berg Bros Setters! They look like real nice dogs! You should have a great dog to hunt with. Looks like more of the Trial type of setter (largest one was 48lbs, my male is 65lbs). I look forward to see your pups (and yours) progress! Awesome!

  17. #17

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    Hoyt,

    So glad to see another Setter guy out there. I am going to be out near Tok for the next 2 months and I will need some birds to work my little pup on. Other than maybe getting a few dead and frozen birds from other hunters, where else might I look for training birds...dead or alive? (I know I can order wings of a few species of game birds from Gun Dog Companies but not sure about whole birds). In terms of live birds, I suppose I will have to work the pup mostly on Ptarmigan in the higher elevations near Tok, until I get back to Eagle River in late July and can get the pup going on some birds out at Falcon Ridge.

    Thoughts, suggestions....

    Thanks for all the info on Setters. Yes, I would have to agree with your analysis. Mine is definately from Field Trial stock.

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    Settre,
    There are a few of us setters guys out there! Lol sameyers on here from the Kenai area has a nice setter named Winchester. I think he is getting another one soon. I forget what kennel they are out of. There was a guy in the Delta area that used to have birds (chukar, and pigeons), but I don't know if he still has any, and I forget what his name is. I'll look in my in box and see if I still have the info. You can always check Alaska List, or craigs list. I raised Chukars last year, but not sure if I will be doing the same this year. I have waaayyyyy to many projects going on, and it's not that they take a ton of time, but they do cost money. More than likely, I will trap some common pigeons from the Fairbanks area, and just use those for the summer. I won't keep them, but will just use them as plant and shoot kill pigeons. Make retrieving fun and short. Start with a bumpr, and then go to a bumper with a wing fixed to it. That really seemed to help my boy move to birds. At this young of age, just work some basic fun obedience and enjoy your pup. Most trainers will not take a dog until it is aruond 9 months of age anyway. There are a few pro's in Alaska, but not as many as in the 48. I looked around, and even did some consultations with a guy here in Fairbanks. He is a good trainer, but is much more into trialing. I ended up biteing the bullet, and sending my dog out. If you have the funds, that could be a good option for you, and pro's know what they are doing. After all, you spent good money on your pup, and also to get him here right? I sent my dog to Willow Creek Kennels in Little Falls, MN. After a TON of research, I chose them. I liked everything about what they do and who they are. I am happy with the results I have seen with my pup. Good luck, and if you ever make it up this way let me know!
    Ryan

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    Hi Jim,

    My pup is 14-weeks now, a French Brittany, pretty cool little "Gal". She is out of S'Agapo Breton in Indiana. We are still working on her name, and come. Think I'll hold off on the sit command and I haven't given her treats yet, just praise. Your thread here is great! Any other commands a pup this age should be learning.

    I'm doing the "Gal! Come!" thing. if she doesn't come I start gently yarding her in on her 20' retractable leash saying come. We spend lots of time together. I can tickle her all over, touch everything, take food away etc. She gets a little forceful and stubborn, and sometimes sits and barks at me to get her way. She is stubborn but rather soft too. She is not like a retriever.

    Have you a system you prefer for Brits? She hasn't shown much interest in baby birds yet, but seems interested in butterflies and bugs. Pretty fun stuff. I will be looking in to the ABDA too. I will be retiring in July so I intend to put in lots more time with little Gal, and make myself useful with Gary Thompson at Falcon Ridge. Isn't there an Eagles Ridge near Delta? The Burris's used to live there and do some training. I get the place names mixed up, not the people.

    We are headed to hatchers pass this weekend for a few hours of tundra walking. Anything you can tell me about Brits would be much appreciated. Thanks!

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    Default treats

    I was trained with the "real men don't use treats" method and found out that it's the hard way to go with pups, and some rescues I've trained. You have a lot of tools at your disposal, why not use the most effective ones.

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