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Flushing Dog Basics


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I have a friend who bought an English Cocker. Other than force breaking a Springer years ago, all of my experience has been with pointing dogs. Please help me with the basics. Hup means sit: right? Do you start teaching "hup" instead of "sit" or do you teach both: "sit" for home use, "hup" for the field? And do most people agree that a single whistle blast means the same thing? 

 

How about changing direction? What's the verbal and whistle commands for this?

 

I've never used a whistle for here, but do most flushing dog owners have a whistle command for recall?

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Hup = sit.  one can use whatever word you want.  Not judged on the word choice and the dog doesn't care as long as you are consistent.  

 

Best to use the same word throughout its life.  I would not have one word for home and one for field for the same action.    

Single pip on the whistle is to sit.  "blast" is probably too loud    If you are using a retriever whistle, then get an Acme 210.5 and keep the noise down. 

 

If dog is questing, there should not be verbal commands, only whistle.  you can use a long drawn out tweet to turn or a "peep peep" 

a series of Peep, peep, peep, peep,    is what I use for a recall if needed.   

 

Hope this helps. 

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I’m a heretic . I use “Sit” but “Hup” is the proper spaniel term. I’ve trained the basics to several spaniels. I don’t go too far past that and just hunt them. I should finish them to steady to wing and shot but I don’t. Anyhow, I train them with voice hand and whistle commands simultaneously. That way they respond to any of the three depending on circumstances. “sit” or “hup” or a raised right hand or a sharp toot on a whistle means plant your wiggly ass. “stay” or an outstretched palm or one toot and an outstretched palm means plant your ass and don’t move. “Heel” or patting the side of my leg means just that; Hug my knee and don’t go past it. Multiple toots on the whistle mean come back to me now. As does yelling “get your ass back here right now!” Extending an arm straight out to either side and if room a step to that side as well means go that way. I defer to a great degree to the spaniel aficionados who do more rigorous and extended and finishing training. I do what I need to get them ready to hunt as early as 6-7 months. A couple good books are Dave Duffy Trains Gundogs for simple common sense training, if you can find a copy, and James Spencer’s Hup!, Training Flushing Spaniels

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Others have already and likely more will add to this topic who are better trainers than myself. I use the traditional commands. I like the tradition but mostly I did this when I got my first Springer years ago. Lots of little kids around then. The dog/dogs were as much family pets as gun dogs. The kids would use "come", "sit", wave their arms and all sorts and varying ways with the dogs. So using the traditional "language", spoken and unspoken was and is how I'd train. This way was the, it must be done commands. The kids way was optional, when and if the dogs felt like it. This worked out well. Now it's grandkids, they talk to the dog as they please. The dog picks it up, but it's the language of play. For me, I liked James Spencer's HUP, and Ken Roebuck's spaniel book. Best of luck, enjoy and don't stress out. The dog will pick that up.

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8 hours ago, Payton said:

I have a friend who bought an English Cocker. Other than force breaking a Springer years ago, all of my experience has been with pointing dogs. Please help me with the basics. Hup means sit: right? Do you start teaching "hup" instead of "sit" or do you teach both: "sit" for home use, "hup" for the field? And do most people agree that a single whistle blast means the same thing? 

 

How about changing direction? What's the verbal and whistle commands for this?

 

I've never used a whistle for here, but do most flushing dog owners have a whistle command for recall?

 

I'm always curious as to why some one with a pup would have some one else ask these types of questions??

If this a Field bred English Cocker Your friend should be pressuring the Seller for the initial training information. If it is a Show bred or Bench bred Cocker The  internet will be your best source of training information. Establishing the retrieve is the first place to start in this pups development.

 

Hal

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My friends have all has Springers for a lotta years.  Their dogs knew the basics.   Come in with a whistle or a here command.  Know hand signals and all of them were fanatical bird finders and fantastic retrievers and super super at hunting dead.   The only problem I have had with flushers (I've had two Goldens I used for upland) is when they are on a hot track its almost impossible to pull them off it.  That can equate to you either needing to be a fantastic shape to keep up, or you are going to miss some shots at birds they put up too far in front of you.   

 

PS.  Back in the pre electronics days, we grabbed boots and gun and vest and turned the dog loose.  Dog never got lost as the normally stay pretty close to you.  Smart dogs figure out where you are and learn to work pretty close.   Springers are wonderful grouse/pheasant dogs.   

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Hup is easier to say firmly and I believe easier for the dog to hear in the wind 

 

Every dog should be trained to respond to a whistle if you ever hunt the west in the wind you will learn why

 

 

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5 minutes ago, bobman said:

Hup is easier to say firmly and I believe easier for the dog to hear in the wind 

 

Every dog should be trained to respond to a whistle if you ever hunt the west in the wind you will learn why

 

 


Whistle training is equally if not more important for the northeast where covers are often surrounded by traveled roads, and other hazards like open wells, barbed wire fences etc. Being able to stop a spaniel with a whistle and a call back while hunting is a very good thing, 

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I don’t doubt that I just don’t have any experience in that area of the country to opine

 

the op should buy “hup” by James Spencer for his friend for Christmas 

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9 hours ago, Payton said:

I have a friend who bought an English Cocker. Other than force breaking a Springer years ago, all of my experience has been with pointing dogs. Please help me with the basics. Hup means sit: right? Do you start teaching "hup" instead of "sit" or do you teach both: "sit" for home use, "hup" for the field? And do most people agree that a single whistle blast means the same thing? 

 

How about changing direction? What's the verbal and whistle commands for this?

 

I've never used a whistle for here, but do most flushing dog owners have a whistle command for recall?

Hup means sit, and I wouldn't bother teaching both. Its honestly kind of nice to have "sit" mean nothing to the dog when so many folks just approach a puppy and start babbling commands. One pip on the whistle means hup from everything I've read or seen at spaniel events. Two pips means turn--IIRC, there may be a traditional verbal command for this ("come round"?), but I haven't heard it used. I taught mine to "turn" on voice b/c I forgot a whistle once. Now there's at least one spare in each vehicle.

Four or five pips for recall. Some folks, myself included, use a long high-low to draw the dog in close for a cast.

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Yep dogs should be trained to both whistle and voice and laying the whistle over the voice command during the training process is simple

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I'm curious.......do you spaniel guys require your dogs to "Hup" on the flush? My brother is trying to train his cockers to do that and it's a struggle.

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13 minutes ago, Sheldrake said:

I'm curious.......do you spaniel guys require your dogs to "Hup" on the flush? My brother is trying to train his cockers to do that and it's a struggle.

Did he teach hup first? Is the dog solid on the command? You wrote cockers, plural. Is he working the dogs as individuals or a group? I have had most of my Springers hup to flush but the command was rock solid first. Perhaps there are other ways. Good luck to your brother. Patience and persistence.

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3 minutes ago, RMH said:

Did he teach hup first? Is the dog solid on the command? You wrote cockers, plural. Is he working the dogs as individuals or a group? I have had most of my Springers hup to flush but the command was rock solid first. Perhaps there are other ways. Good luck to your brother. Patience and persistence.

I don't live near him and haven't observed the process. I believe the command is well established, but the dog's prey drive takes over on the flush. He is training two, but individually.

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