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      TO THOSE REGISTERING FOR MEMBERSHIP ON UJ   01/06/2018

      To the Guests who have decided to register for Membership. PLEASE read Terms of Service, not just checking it off. This is covered there: Add more info than just "hunting" or "Upland hunting" or "birds" or "outdoors" or similar nebulous terms in the required INTERESTS field. Despite this Boards strong spam filtering function, some Spam registrations do sneak through. I need an inkling that you are a human being not a Spam Bot tagging onto key words. Also please do not use a business name as your User Name. Thank you.
Bobonli

Adding a Dog to a Working Family

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shinbone

JMHO:

 

"My experiences this season have been limited to a couple of preserve hunts where I worked with a guide and his three Brits, and a couple of failed attempts at dog-less hunting."

 

I would gently suggest you need a lot more hunting experience before investing in a bird dog.  Otherwise, you don't know what you are getting in to, and don't know whether you will be hunting enough to justify all the effort, and don't know whether your interest is long term.

 

 

 

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Hub

I will play the other side of the coin from shinbone.  If you enjoyed upland hunting at all, having your own dog will increase your enjoyment a ten fold (in my experience).  I have been upland hunting since I was a boy.  I had probably been grouse and pheasant hunting for 15 years before I got my own dog.  It was something I really did to spend time with my Uncles (who are upland obsessed), but I wasn't crazy about it.  My real love was in big game hunting with a bow.  I got my own dog basically because my then new bride wanted a dog to have as a pet.  I figured if I was going to be tied down with a dog I might as well be able to hunt with it once in a while so we got a shorthairs.  That action was like opening pandora's box.  20 years later I am all upland all the time....and I occasionally bowhunt for big game but regret not being with my dogs the whole time I am perched in a tree :).  Hunting behind my own dogs who I trained and loved since they were pups made all the difference.

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Flush

I think guys here have put the proper amount of "fear" into you, but it can absolutely be done. It IS done by plenty of folks who live in or near the city, it just takes some effort to make sure they get excercise. There are plenty of high energy non-hunting dogs that are bought just as pets too. I live near Denver and near a very popular dog park. I see quite a few bird dogs there (GSPs, Viszlas, Brittanies, etc...) and the overwhelming majority are actually owned by non-hunters...so people do make it work, even when they don't hunt.

 

Most people with kids want to start with a puppy and have that experience, and I get that. If you go that route just be prepared to get it lots of excercise.....

Honestly by far the best route to ensure lower energy levels of the dog AND a good hunting dog at the same time is to find a middle aged bird dog that for whatever reason is available. These types of dogs aren't as readily available or as advertised as puppies, but they are out there and come up regularly if you look. 

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Millriver

Welcome to UJ, Bob. Lots of opinions and experience here. I'm an American Cocker guy, 3 of them laying about right now with me. Not for everyone, but I won't have anything different.

 

First ask yourself do you want a flusher or pointer, and what and where do you want to hunt? Cockers won't be the best choice if you want to hunt sea ducks, but they'll do just fine retrieving puddle ducks you jump shoot.  I hunt woodcock, grouse, and pheasant, and mine perform just fine in the field. I don't do hunt tests or competitions, but my friends who do have done quite well.  It all comes down to training.

 

Most bird dogs require a lot of exercise and training time, but the exercise can be obtained by hiking, ball throwing with kids, etc. Enough each day to blow them out so they will settle in the house. My dogs, while not ideal, can spend up to 8 hours without going out. I try to get them out more frequently, and your dog walker scenario should be adequate. Just make sure you make that time to bond with them during training time.

 

Lots of good advice here from Grifish and others, PM me if you want for more information. Good luck with your decision.

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Ben Hong

WOW! Lots of good info in this thread (where was the UJ 50+ years ago when I started fooling with bird dogs?)

 

Welcome to the UJ and enjoy!

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rideold

Ben:

 

We just went down the road of getting our first bird dog (GSP) in October.  I, like you, had dogs most of my younger life but never a bird dog.  It's a big decision but don't be afraid to jump in with both feet.  My pup Anja is 5 months old now and we've had her since she was about 8 weeks old.  I walk her a half hour in the morning when I first get up, come home at lunch for another half hour walk and then when I get home from work take her for an hour if I have time but at least for a half hour.  She gets another walk before kenneling her for the night ( a crate under the kitchen table).  I get her out on the weekends for as much as I can.  Yard work like heel, wait/woah, etc I do when we go for walks.  Retrieve training for now is done in the hallway.  It's been a bit cold where i am the last few weeks but outside work will start up again soon.  I've been taking her to look for pheasant every weekend since the season started.  Not expecting much from her at this point other than exposure to the fields and scents.  I joined a gun dog club that is an hour from my house and their field trial season starts on the 27th and runs through April or so.  We live in town with a decent sized back yard but she much prefers to be in with us or on walks to hanging out alone in the yard.  She will ask to go out there when she has more energy than she knows what to do with.  It's working just fine for us.  Sometimes you just need your expectations re-calibrated once the dog is at home.  Learn their personalities and idiosyncrasies and work with them instead of trying to shove a square peg into a round hole.  The advice from others to go to some trials and see as many kinds of dogs is a good point.  I was originally set on a flushing dog but circumstances and opportunities pushed me to a GSP.  She's a great dog and already a big part of the family.  My kids (8 and 11) have learned a lot already.  All I can say is go for it.   Life is short :)

20171103_102522.thumb.jpg.3446fbc2833e7a009287e646668044eb.jpg

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Okhotnik

I have owned bird dogs living in the suburbs working long hours. Its a big commitment no doubt and plan on dedicating at least 45 min a day to training, exercising dog. Dont get a working dog if you are not willing to scacrifice time to work with it. At least 2 hours a day on weekends and that will cut into your plans. I water training can be a great short and quicker way to get your dog needed exercise if limited on time.

 

The first few years the dog with probably destroy something or have a big vet bill. Never take your anger out on a dog. To be honest dogs can be a big pain in the butt at times just understand that but they dont mean they are just being dogs. I would find an experienced obedience trainer to train you how to train your dog if not experienced then hunting training

 

I would plan on getting live birds, pigeons or quail chukar to train it first year. to me developing predator drive is very important for a good hunting dog if that is what you are seeking

 

It can be a lot work but it is a lot of fun too. Some of your  and your family's best memories will be spent with the dog and will wonder why you did not have a dog in your life

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rideold
17 minutes ago, Okhotnik said:

The first few years the dog will probably destroy something or have a big vet bill.

 

Yep.  Just spent three hours in the emergency clinic after the dog ate 1/4 of the chocolate cake off the counter the second we turned our backs.  Wouldn't have been too big of a deal if it hadn't been my wife's birthday party and we had 10 people over for dinner and it was a Sunday night.  I took the dog to the clinic, came home and cooked dinner for everyone, served it up and then went back to the clinic to get the dog, pay and talk to the vet. I heard that dinner was quite good and the cake wasn't bad either if a bit smaller than expected :) .  It was kind of comical really and her stomach was empty in less than a half hour.  No harm done and it was not as expensive as I was bracing for.  She topped it off by eating something bad three days later when I was running her that gave her mild food poisoning.  That one took care of itself sans vet and she managed to throw up on her blanket so cleanup was surprisingly easy.  She's still the apple of my eye.

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Jakeismydog2

Here is my experience: 

My first birddog was a better. For the first year of his life I got up an hour earlier than my normal routine. I took him to a nearby soccer field complex. I let him out and let him run for an hour. He was a great indoor dog from day 1. Except when I had to leave for a work trip for a week. And my wife had to take care of him. He jumped through the screen on our screen door that week. By the end of the week my wife told me to get rid of him. I came back started running him again in the mornings. We still have him today. 

 

After a year I did not need to run him so often. Now I can just read my dog to see if I need to get him a run. Usually a good hour run once a week is sufficient. 

 

He is truly hell on wheels in the field and a lazy dog in the house. So those dogs do exist. Now how to reliably find one like that is the real question. 

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rideold
12 minutes ago, Jakeismydog2 said:

a lazy dog in the house

 

From my limited experience my pup is a very pleasant house mate as long as she gets her exercise on a regular basis.  I can tell when she hasn't had enough by her behavior.  When she starts acting out and being a bonehead I take her for a good jaunt and she goes back to normal.  It's happened two or three times since we've had her.  The first was after I was gone for a week hunting big game.  I took her out looking for birds after I got back and she returned to normal.  It reminds me of having a 3 year old in the house....er, or an 8 year and an 11 year old actually!

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Grifish

After rereading all of this including my drivel; OMG, take up bowling and save a chilled iguana!!!

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Bobonli

Many thanks to all who have responded. Quite a range of experiences shared.

 

I want to acknowledge Shinbone's comment. I'm keenly aware that my hunting experience is just slightly better than zero. I suppose if I grew up hunting, or even started in my 30's, I might be willing to chill out for a couple of more seasons. But I'm doing some math in my head and seeing how the family interest in a K9 is converging with my outdoor interests. My kids will be ten soon, I'm 50. If there's a sweet spot in terms of their willingness to take responsibility and help out and my flexibility with time and career etc...I think I'm pretty much in it! Yes, I need more hunting experience. No question about that.  But there's also the "family pet" component that I want to address. The last thing I want to do is buy a Schitzu as a family pet and resent that I didn't try to satisfy the hunting itch, even if it's only a few hunts a season.

 

The lab/retriever approach has me thinking; wasn't on my radar. I was predominantly thinking about size and temperament that I've seen out in the world. For example, every GSP I've seen has been super-hyper dragging its owner around. Neighbor has a pointer-mix and that dog intimidates my kids no end because of size and energy level.....but maybe that's just poor manners.

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shinbone

Just a suggestion to consider:

 

Before getting a dog, I would suggest joining the local NAVHDA club and helping out with their training and testing activities.  Become the regular go-to gofer guy at all the training sessions that everyone knows and likes.  You will learn a lot about the owning and training of a hunting dog, you will build valuable hunting and training contacts, and you will get a ton of help when you decide to pull the trigger on a dog.

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Okhotnik
3 hours ago, shinbone said:

Just a suggestion to consider:

 

Before getting a dog, I would suggest joining the local NAVHDA club and helping out with their training and testing activities.  Become the regular go-to gofer guy at all the training sessions that everyone knows and likes.  You will learn a lot about the owning and training of a hunting dog, you will build valuable hunting and training contacts, and you will get a ton of help when you decide to pull the trigger on a dog.

 Yep if serious about obtaining a HUNTING/family dog Navhda is a great resource

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braque du upstate

I'll be honest, I'm not running my dog 12 miles uphill both ways everyday. exercise is great.  this board gravitates towards people who live the birddog lifestyle. most spend a ton of time with their dogs,  and expect a certain level of performance.  You can be a weekend warrior.  I have plenty of 15 minute days .  I myself , tend to run big on days I'm off.   plenty of guys get out a few times a year , with less than stellar effort. It's great when you can invest the time. I' ve had seasons where life gets in the way. As long as you have fun, it doesn't really matter much.  most the guys I meet aren't hardcore.  They get out when they can , and love it. 

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