Level 4 German Shorthaired Pointer Gundog Training Videos
These videos illustrate some of the activities in the Aytee GSPs Level 4 Training Manual. New skills are still being learnt and all skills are being improved and expanded on. Working game is now the focus of your work through hunting/pointing and picking up days However no shot over work yet.
Once working in the field dogs must learn the cunning ways of game, whilst at the same time working for their handler.
All gundog training is designed to simulate something that could happen on a days shoot. In this case it is designed to make the dog lift its nose and jump up for the retrieve. A bird could get stuck up in a hedge or fall on a bale or similar.
Getting a long straight runout on retrieves can be encouraged in all sorts of ways. Let your dog take a line to a seen retrieve first and then a blind slightly further down the track.
As training progresses work on your dogs ability to sit for extended periods of time with you out of sight and in locations that are unfamiliar. It will be a useful tool that you use throughout his life.
Once on a retrieve your dog needs a signal to tell him he is close to the retrieve. On this command he should slow right down, get his nose down and search very methodically, rather than cast wide on the wind. Apart from the traditional "Hie Lost" command I use a seperate whistle command. One long low wavering tone.
Pigeon retrieves are often a first choice bird that handlers give their young dog but, when freshly shot a pigeon looses feathers easily which stick in the dogs mouth and can encourage spitting out or a rough delivery so try and stick with a partridge or hen bird until they have a little more experience.
Moving your dog on from retrieving in water to retrieving from across water should be done as soon as you and he are confident. This shows you how to start.
Being able to stop your dog on the whistle when he is going out on a retrieve is a valuable exercise and could be useful in an emergency situation, but don't over do it as it would make the dog sticky.
During training devise exercises that will simulate situations that arise on a shooting day, to give your dog experience for real life situations. In this video a dummy is dropped as the dog is returning and he must ignore it. This will teach him not to be greedy but finish the job in hand !
Dogs should ignore each other when retrieving at a shoot. This exercise did not go perfectly, but shows how dogs react to each other and demonstrates one of the reasons why training on this exercise is worthwhile.
Reading your dog during hunting is essential so that you recognise game or residue scent. He should be able to take instruction at any given moment, being able to switch away to stop or retrieve when necessary.
A german Shorthaired Pointer hunting a headwind. At the end drops to shot.
Once you are working your GSP on game, when he comes on point, be sure to read your dogs body language. Is his nose high, perhaps taking scent from a long way off, or is it low, and into the ground indicating the bird is close. Move up to be close with him and encourage him to move forward if he will, which will show that the bird is still moving. If he is pointing staunchly and when you are ready, use the flush command and have your whistle in your mouth, ready to make him sit on the first wingbeat.
When you think your dog is ready join up simple tasks to make retrieves more complicated. The dog knows what it is doing but has to concentrate and think. Dont allow them to mess you about though, or they will learn that they can !
A good water retrieve is all about confidence so keep the early ones simple and continue to build up slowly. This dog at 2 years old is now crossing a river for memory and blind retrieves on the far bank.
The first day picking up for a young german pointer is probably nerve wracking for you and the dog, keep it as simple as you can and keep them out of trouble. Go home when you think they have had enough, giving your dog a good start will be a memory he will keep forever.
Once you are out in the field with your young dog be very aware of making every experience a good one. Play safe rather than let them get out of control by doing something that they are not ready for. Here a 2yo dog has to watch before she can take properly take part.
This young 2 yo GSP is on her first day picking up. She is settling well so on this, the 3rd drive, she is allowed to hunt with other dogs. Scent and wind conditions are poor but the experience is invaluable. Take your dogs slowly and they will cope, rush and it can quickly go wrong.
Young dogs need to be protected from getting into trouble when they first start working in the field. Take care to minimise the risk of them going wrong because good experiences are how they learn best.
Second video in level 4 which shows a slightly different approach to teaching the search whistle. Here I stay close to the dog encouraging him to search a tight area. On this command he should slow right down, get his nose down and search very methodically, rather than cast wide on the wind.
Working in the field and competitions may require your dog to jump obstacles and they will need to have experience and confidence to do this well. So train at home over small and varied jumps teaching your dog to keep a straight line going out. (*Don't be tempted to start this until your dog is about 18 months old as its bones will not be strong enough until then)