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What causes a young dog to go from pointing and holding to smelling birds and chasing. Wild birds with the only change being going from working quail to woodcock. I hunt everyday being I’m retired. Sat him out a day and he actually got even wilder. 

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Its dog forgetting that you REALLY mean whoa and why.  Ben's my 1 1/2 year old and every now and again still he gets put on the short leash while the other two get to hunt cause of that.  Full of hunt and jets up his butt, the brain sometimes fails to fire with the right way of thinking. A reminder is in order.

 

At 55 even I forget to whoa now and again and need a reminder so I know where Ben gets it.  

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Just my opinion, but I think Woodcock have a different scent than other upland birds. You wouldn't fault him for running through and short chases on Robins...?  My Setter pup I know was bumping Woodcock at the start of this season. Once he figured out they were a target species things came together. I haven't done any whoa work with him yet as he's about 7.5 months. Depends how old he is and what your expectations are at this point in his development..

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I like teaching whoa and then reinforcing it with the belly band. Sounds like he's having a lot of fun chasing. With the foundation firmly in place (i.e., stimulation to the belly means STOP), then I'd just nick, nick, nick when he busts a bird (you're not burning him; you're just irritating him enough until he eventually stops). When chasing is no longer allowed, he'll start pointing.  And make sure that you're NOT shooting bumped birds which essentially rewards bad behavior.

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9 hours ago, SxSetter said:

Just my opinion, but I think Woodcock have a different scent than other upland birds. You wouldn't fault him for running through and short chases on Robins...?  My Setter pup I know was bumping Woodcock at the start of this season. Once he figured out they were a target species things came together.

 

Believe that's spot on, as experience suggests to me that different families of birds have different scents, and while all good pointing blood is apt to instinctively point all the galliforms (grouse, quail, pheasants etc.) they may very well ignore birds of other families before being taught to point them, either formally or through experience.  Believe, for instance, that once Pup learns woodcock are to be pointed, he'll also point snipe.  Just as pups trained on pigeons will also point doves.

 

A meaningful "whoa" would be your friend.

 

 

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Sometimes its running Woodcock that gives a young dog fits.  Dog slams to a point with good scent and then the little mud sucker takes off jogging and the scent cone fades and the dog wants to relocate to pick it up again.  This happens two or three times with running Woodcock and your dog out of frustration starts bumping them.  Certainly if he his seeing them on the ground moving it makes it that much tougher.  Agree reinforcing the Whoa command can be a good thing if this turns into a trend.

 

PS.  I saw one Woodcock run off from a point this year and tried to put him up by running after him and couldn't.  He kept on running faster into thicker brush.  That bird didn't want to fly, but he had no problem putting on the track shoes.

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I’m a flusher slob, but am wondering if the dog ever hunted Woodcock prior? Woodcock are weird;  a misplaced shorebird...and they smell funny, have upside down brains, and a prehensile bill. They do strange things to some dogs.

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He has in the past pointed a couple woodcock. I worked him on a couple planted quail yesterday evening and he held point after the flush and retrieved when released.  After that session I believe y’all are probably right on the scent issue.  I’ll try to hold him closer and see if that helps. He is still a wide butt open pup. 
Can’t do nothing today but watch it rain. Thanks for helping an old fellow out. 

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2 hours ago, Brad Eden said:

I’m a flusher slob, but am wondering if the dog ever hunted Woodcock prior? Woodcock are weird;  a misplaced shorebird...and they smell funny, have upside down brains, and a prehensile bill. They do strange things to some dogs.

 

Brad is on to something here.  I've hunted with a couple of young dogs (under a year old) and put them into some insanely good Michigan Woodcock cover and it took a while for the light bulb to start blinking.  One of them (Gunner Mike C's Setter) had a hard time the first season but really figured them out after that.  I think Gunner and some other dogs just didn't know what the heck they were, because they sure didn't smell like a Pigeon or a planted Quail. 

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1 hour ago, RJR said:

He has in the past pointed a couple woodcock. I worked him on a couple planted quail yesterday evening and he held point after the flush and retrieved when released.  After that session I believe y’all are probably right on the scent issue.  I’ll try to hold him closer and see if that helps. He is still a wide butt open pup. 
Can’t do nothing today but watch it rain. Thanks for helping an old fellow out. 

Wasn't sure with your wording.  Did he point, hold through the flush and retrieve when released OR bump the bird and stop to flush?  I'm careful not to reward the dog in the second situation.

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With the woodcock he ran thru the first one and tried to catch the other two he flushed. No pointing involved. 
He is steady on quail. Will hold point and doesn’t move till released for retrieve. 
I think it’s like some stated above, he doesn’t know yet that the woodcock are fair game. I’ll keep him in the thickets and try to keep him close to me and try to keep him under control. 

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RJR - 

 

This might actually run counter to some "gospel", but I will make the suggestion anyway.    I suggest that, in addition to some whoa drills in the yard, the next time you go into the woodcock cover, that you kill a bird for the dog, even if it runs through it.  

 

THEN...take that killed bird, let the dog smell it and then throw it down in front of the dog and command "WHOA".  Stroke the dog up and steady it on that dead woodcock.  Then pick up the bird, praise the dog and carry on.

 

It might very well be that the dog does not understand this strange smelling bird is also something to be pointed.  Your killing one and doing the drill might make the light come on.

 

Many years ago I did a hunt up in NY, mostly for grouse.  I had a young male dog and an older female.  The young dog has never seen or smelled a grouse or woodcock.  He was sure death and rock solid on quail and pheasant.  The young dog bumped several grouse the first day.  The older dog kinda hung back and worked more methodically, but the younger dog was out front cleaning out the covers.   Near the end of the day the older dog swung down into a hollow and established point.  The young dog came in and honored, but you could see that he was unsure of why he was there.   A woodcock was flushed and shot.   I released the young dog for the retrieve.  

 

The next day, the young dog pointed a grouse and two woodcock with the older dog backing.   He figured it out.    I think yours will also.

 

 

RayG

 

 

 

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A lot of good comments. What Ray said is true to.  I think the dog doesn't know that WC is a species that we hunt.  If you happen to have another dog that will point and hold a WC lead the pup on leash, whoa him and make him back then go and kill that bird.  This is one reason I like to hunt a young dog with a older more experienced dog.  Yes the pup my not find as many birds but the pup will have enough exposure to back, get some scent and get a bird or two shot over it.

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