Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
andy_s

Excited on shoot days

    Recommended Posts

    My 6 year old lab has always been predominantly a pet but comes on our walked up syndicate for around 8 days a season. If he's out with just myself he is steady and works fairly well, although not perfect but any means. On the other hand when out in the syndicate days and other people are involved he seems to do as he wants and pretty much ignores my recall. He's always been excitable around people so this is the issue more than the other dogs or game.

    What should I be doing to keep him calm and in check?

    Thanks.......

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Keep him on a lead at 6 year old you will have an uphill struggle but not impossible task to correct him. It's sounds like he his seeing the other dog's working and thinks that's fun. Try starting at the beginning with basic training best of luck. 

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    I'm not sure it's the other dogs, i think its the other people. He'll want to go and work around someone else off to the side of me rather than staying near me. As i say, he works fine when its just the two of us so aways found it hard to replicate a shoot day in training. 

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Starter pistol a mate or two if you can to help and a few dummies I know it's not a real day's shooting but you have to back a few steps in fairness it's difficult for anyone to tell you what to do without seeing it happening. You don't need to spend hour's at it10 to 20 minutes at a time praising the dog or feed it treats if that work's each time it does what you want it to do. 

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Thanks, I'll try that. What us the best way to get him to not wander too far in front or to the side? How do I  get him to learn to stay within a certain distance of me?

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    If he's mainly a pet then I would imagine that he is used to meeting strangers that visit the house and new people bring new smells and excitement  - his shooting forays are simply an extension of his normal social circle. Back to basics with recall - try gradually increasing distractions around him and enforcing eye contact with him along with any command.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Being blunt you are fighting an uphill battle. You have a dog that finds everything else on a shoot day more attractive than you. It has not been taught that it only does the interesting stuff if it does what you say first. In other words you have to make the dog realise it gets reward, being retrieves etc, when it listens to you.

    so it’s back to basics for the rest of the season. On a lead at all times. If off the lead a para cord long line for control. This is the toughest bit. You have to foresake all your shooting to spend the time training the dog in battlefield conditions, namely shoot days.

    Either this or forget it, learn from your mistakes, keep the dog only as a pet and start afresh with a new dog.

    probably not want you want to hear but at 6 there is no easy fix if there if one at all.

     

    good luck

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Thanks for the advise, I've got no interest in starting with a new dog though. He was always intended to be a pet but if possible do a bit of work on our walked up days as we have a real shortage of dogs.

    I will go back to basics with his recall and see where I get.

    Thanks..........

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites
    9 hours ago, andy_s said:

    Thanks, I'll try that. What us the best way to get him to not wander too far in front or to the side? How do I  get him to learn to stay within a certain distance of me?

    All I can suggest is when he moves to one side or too far in front drop a tennis ball a few feet from you don't let the dog see it, stop the dog and get him to come back moving if you have to so he finds the ball. You will have to repeat this exercise an awful lot until it clicks that being near you will end up having a reward 

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    At 20 months we 're introducing Buster to the pheasants bit by bit just a morning, 3 drive's, on a lead and just sitting. And only once or twice a week, Nothing else, no retrieves or carrying, and he travels with other labs in the back of a 90. 

    What we are after is for Buster not to to get excited about being out on a shoot day, just another day out. 

    I hope you can sort it out soon, 

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    You say that he works fine on his own describing your shoot as walked up.  Does he hunt just in front of you within shooting range, does he stop on shot or whistle, does he mark birds and only retrieve on command.  Can he be handled to an area and take hand signals.  If he can do this then you may have a chance as the only thing you have to train is working him with other people/dogs present.  However I suspect that these things probably aren’t in place and to start breaking bad habits, and train a six year old dog to an acceptable level may be too much.  This could be a good time to look for a challenge, something about 8 weeks old and a blank canvas to convert into the perfect shooting dog for your needs.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    As i said before I'm not interested in a blank canvas. If he doesn't improve then I'll live with him how he is. He's a pet and I'm certainly not replacing him just because he doesn't do exactly what I'd like him to.

    When it's just me and him out for a walk with a gun he'll take direction from hand signals, stop at the whistle and marks birds fine. He will try and retrieve before a command but will stop if I call or whistle. I'm not saying he is perfect when out with me, not by a long shot but he is a completely different dog to when I'm out with other people.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    What you’ve described when he’s in company with others is a nightmare dog.  The other guns, if they haven’t said it already, must be very annoyed.  However you say you can stop the dog on the whistle.  If you can stop him then that’s what you need to do.  Just mean business with him, and don’t tolerate anything other than perfection.  He doesn’t move unless you tell him.  Leave him at home for the remainder of the season and enjoy your shooting because at present the dog is being rewarded for bad behaviour. He has a day on the shoot and does as he pleases.  Work on his steadiness, the summer months are ideal for training with longer daylight. Consider gundog lessons where you can group train, this may be invaluable in your case.  When you have him steady take him back to the shoot and leave the gun at home, concentrate on him to get him close to what you and others think is acceptable. When you have reached this stage start shooting over him again.  If he behaves you can relax and enjoy your shooting in the knowledge that your four legged mate isn’t going to spoil the day.  Best of luck.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    My OH's lab' is seven and although from working stock hadn't ever been used as such and was for those seven years a house pet. He is as soft as muck and a wuss to boot, and when off the lead would trot ahead, far too far ahead, and will welcome anyone who visits by bringing them a sock or shoe, which we still find all over the yard and back field at times. He was never uncontrollable however, and despite ignoring my OH at times it is very rare he ignores me; he just requires a firm hand. 

    Finding he would respond to a whistle I decided to take him along to our syndicate last season. Talk about excitable! He tried to hump most of the other dogs there in the first five minutes, but after being chastised he stopped, but still very excitable. He will get in the Landrover at the slightest chance, but is very reluctant to get in the back of a vehicle which already contains dogs. 

    Anyhow, he sat at my peg and at the first shot ran off and cowered in the hedge bottom and I thought 'well that's that then', but he came at the drives end with encouragement and during the next one just sloped off a little. He proved very reluctant to enter cover ( nasty brambles ) but did walk around with a dead pheasant after being scolded for trying to eat it, but seemed to develop a good nose when beating. He is a tall dog and his head can slide sideways onto the table at lunchtimes and if you're neglectful that pie you were looking forward to can simply disappear! 

    Onto this season. As soon as I remove his collar in the house he knows he's going shooting, and if he could reach the Landrover keys I'm sure he'd let himself in. He still gets excited for those first few minutes we arrive, but then again so do I; and there's a lot going on such as dogs to say hello to and more importantly, people, and people mean food. He doesn't get any but is an eternal optomist. There is no more humping, and while I can't say he's keen to enter thick cover, it doesn't take much encouragement for him to do so, especially if he picks up a scent. He is so relaxed at a peg he often lays down or rolls in something, will work hedgerows and a couple of weeks ago encountered his first electric fence. 😂 He will return dead birds but is reluctant to part with them until encouraged. I drew a peg on the edge of a wood two weeks ago and shot four birds; I knew they were dead but arced over me to land in the undergrowth of the wood behind me. When the horn sounded I sleeved my gun, picked up my empties and told the dog to come with me to look for the birds, but when I turned around I was delighted to find all four birds were within a couple of meters of me! I couldn't believe it! He got loads and loads of praise and looked very pleased with himself. 

    He still wont get in a vehicle containing dogs, but does respond to my voice and comes back to the whistle, so I can't fault him really. He isn't perfect by any means but he isn't a chore either; quite the opposite in fact, and it's wonderful to have a dog I can work with again. He is a well loved member of our syndicate now, but will still return that love by eating your lunch if you're not looking. 

    Don't give up on your lab' OP; chances are it's in him, it maybe just needs time, a firm hand and the chance to let it show. 

    Edited by Scully

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    I don't take him on driven days, just the walked up syndicate. No one has ever said anything about him partly because most other people on the shoot don't have dogs so any dog is better than no dog and the other dogs that are there aren't much better, if at all than mine. Again, it's only an informal walked up shoot. I find it more annoying for myself as I find I don't enjoy the shooting if he's acting up. I wouldn't take him and just keep him as a pet if we had plenty of other dogs on the shoot.

    I'm hoping that going back to basics will improve him and I'll see where I get.

    Thanks.........

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

     

    Some decent advice above esp from mocha and dave, it could be hard work with a dog that age but the fact its a lab may mean its not impossible as they generally want to please.

    Ideally the best thing u can do is leave the dog at home, but i doubt that'll happen.

    the 2nd best is leave ur gun at home and just take the dog and concentrate 100% on him, even a long line if needed, so when u blow recall he comes back.

    Training throu the summer with other dogs/groups would help to replicate a shoot day, possibly even just basic obediance classes at local church/town hall?? while not specially fr gundogs will get it used to other dogs and obeying ur commands (plus indoors so u can do a bit the now)

    Also have the dog on a lead far more between drives, or if he is off lead make sure he really is at 'heel' (i know i should do this more often too) if u do stand a drive take a corkscrew so he has no option but to sit still while u shoot.

    Carrying on as ur doing now will only make the problems worse and more ingrained and like others have said the dg is elf rewarding so be bad to stop

     

    It may sound like a big thing leaving ur gun behind but u still hae another 4/5 years shooting with that dog a little time invested now will make the next 5 years far more enjoyable for u. A little investment now will be well worth it further down the line

    Nothing worse than having a dog that annoys u and spoils ur day, ur lucky it is ur own, the only thing worse is when it is someone elses so there's nothingu can say or do.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites
    5 hours ago, scotslad said:

     

    Nothing worse than having a dog that annoys u and spoils ur day, ur lucky it is ur own, the only thing worse is when it is someone elses so there's nothingu can say or do.

    Oh yes there is. On a recent shoot another guns dog was running amok to the point it was punched by another gun; both dog and gun were sent back to their vehicle to sit out the drive. The gun later returned but without his dog. 

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    If someone punched my dog I wouldn't be asked to sit in the car, I'd bet getting taken away by the police.

    I wouldn't take my dog anywhere that it wasn't accepted though. The guy who runs the shoots dog is pretty much the same but his view is that even a bad dog is better than no dog when you have a lot of cover to get through.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites
    57 minutes ago, andy_s said:

    If someone punched my dog I wouldn't be asked to sit in the car, I'd bet getting taken away by the police.

    I wouldn't take my dog anywhere that it wasn't accepted though. The guy who runs the shoots dog is pretty much the same but his view is that even a bad dog is better than no dog when you have a lot of cover to get through.

    Fair enough. It did get quite heated for a while but I think the dog owner got the impression he could be next if it wasn't stopped, which is why the keeper told him to take his dog away. Like I said, he did return, but without his dog, which was just as well as he simply couldn't control it. 

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Completely unacceptable to punch a dog. The guy would have to punch me next if he'd hit my dog. I certainly wouldn't be returning either.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    A bad dog is not better than no dog.  It is a liability that you don’t need on a shoot where firearms are involved.  I’ve seen walking guns with their dogs attached to their belt by a lead, being dragged all over the place by a big strong Labrador. This at the same time they are carrying a loaded gun while others are around them.  Dogs that flush game so far ahead that it can’t be shot, or keep coursing it making a shot impossible.  Dogs on big commercial shoots that ruined a whole drive by running in and clearing a wood of birds. Bad dogs are a real nuisance. Just aim to train the dog before it goes near a shoot, everyone is so much happier and safer.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Mibee there's a reason why folk with trained gundogs don't bother going to that shoot???

     

    I know i wouldn't bother going to a shoot where all the dogs are *****, i ilke to enjoy working my dogs and watchng other well rained dogs and am lucky enough to pick the shoots i'll work them on.and have plenty of offers elsewhere

     

    I'd echo exactly wot mocha said far easier for a dog to riun a days shooting than help if wild esp a more walked up/rough shooting day where birds could be scarce, no good if all flushed at 100m's when u've walked miles for them.

    But as long as u are happy with ur dog.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now
    Sign in to follow this  

    • Recently Browsing   0 members

      No registered users viewing this page.

    ×