Terry Drinkwine Outdoors!

Fly Fishing, Grouse Hunting and Fine Bird Dogs Spoken Here!

This way, dummy!


The other day someone asked me what the hardest thing to overcome when training your own bird dog was. Ignoring the urge to tell him, “You have to be smarter than the dog,” I thought a little longer and finally settled on, “Learning to trust the dog’s instincts.”DSC_0387

It was a good thing to skip the smart-ass answer, because, in most cases, mine included, that’s never the case. A good bird dog, from good stock, will always be smarter than you or I and he’ll probably know it. Whether or not you break him of that notion will determine how well he hunts for you.

I am by no means a good dog trainer. I am a pretty good hand at learning to read what a dog is trying to tell me, and, if I put my bullheadedness aside, I can make it seem I trained him, when in fact, all I did was go where the dog wanted to take me. I didn’t always do that; that was a learning process for me.

Dogs don’t train themselves, but they do have genetic instincts that if you learn to recognize and allow to develop, will do most of the work in producing a great bird dog. But there can be a difference between a dog that hunts for you and a dog that works a Field Trial.

Field Trialing a dog is a lot of fun if that’s what you’re into, but if all you want to do is hunt with “your bud” then developing an understanding with the dog and knowing what his capabilities …and yours are, is like breaking in a new pair of boots; they can hurt until your feet get used to them.

Don’t get me wrong, dogs don’t train themselves to hunt for you. There is a difference between a dog being able to hunt instinctively and doing so for you. The latter takes time, patience and most of all, forming a bond and partnership …and above all, spending a lot of time afield.

Once the dog thinks you’ve caught on …well, he’ll reward you with bird or two.



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