The Checkcord FAQ Page
Frequently Asked Questions
This purpose of this page is to answer the most commonly asked questions from among the dozens of emails received each week. Much of the information on this page is provided in the form of links to other websites.
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Steve;
I want to meet hunters and bird dog folks in my area, to assist me with training my dog for hunting and field events. Where can I find information on bird dog clubs and events near me?
Signed,
Searching


Dear Searching;

The AKC is a prime sourse to guide you to hunting dog folks in your area through the many AKC breed clubs across the country.

Many organizations list their club events on the WWW. There are schedules for AKC Pointing Dog trials and tests, as well as NSTRA events and NAVHDA tests. One of the newer organizatons that holds pointing dog field events is the National Bird Dog Challenge Association. In most areas of the country, an event hosted by one of these organizations is likely being held within driving distance of your home in the near future.

Also, I would recommend that you subscribe to one of the many fine, print magazines that are out there for us. These would include, The Pointing Dog Journal and the fine publications put out by Pheasants Forever and Quail Unlimited
Steve;
When I take my young dog out in the field for training or hunting, she
will not come to me when I call her, no matter how loud I yell at her. I just can't train her at all.
Signed,
Hoarse


Dear Hoarse,

You must remember that we are always training our dogs; for better or for worse. If you call your dog and she does not come and you just keep on yelling, all you end up teaching the dog is that you like to yell alot and she can do whatever she wants to do.

"Come!" means "come!; immediately and with much speed or pay the price for not doing so!!". You must train your dog that all commands apply in the house, yard or field. "Come" is the most bothersome because when the dog disobeys, you must go and get the dog and reinforce the command.

If the "come" command is solidly taught in the yard and reinforced at all times in the field, you will cease to have a problem. Remember to call the dog ONE TIME and then only when you are sure the dog can hear you and should be able to respond properly. If the dog fails to respond to any command that it knows, immediately go to the dog, make the correction and reinforce the command as positively as possible, even if you have to do it through gritted teeth after chasing the dog down into to next county! This way, with repition, the dog will pay attention to you at all times and be eager to please you by responding properly.

For your part it's all just "whoa", "heel" and "come", 24/7/, over and over again. If you can whoa your dog, he will hold his points or be otherwise kept out of trouble. If you can heel your dog, you can walk him through a mine field or farmers yard or other tight spot with your hands full. If your dog will "come", he will always hunt to the front and he will bring you the downed birds he finds.

Additionally, I like to allow young dogs to drag a checkcord or long leash attached to their collar in the field, even during the hunting season. This makes it easier to catch and correct the dog. This device also serves as a constant reminder to the dog the he is under my control, since it is the device we use the most in all aspects of yard training. This little trick can save alot of grief.


Steve;

This guy sold me a female puppy. The dog is now a year old and I just now have discovered that this dog is gunshy. This creep sold me a gunshy dog!! What should I do? The dog also does not like any of my office interns, especially those wearing blue dresses. My wife insists that this dog be with me at all times, even when I have to sleep with her. (The dog, not the intern...) Now some guy named George is going to evict me from my house next January. Also, I took this dog to a state dinner at the Chinese embassy and she left some "bombs" on the porch, which upset them greatly, perhaps you read about it in the news? Any suggestions?
Signed,
Bill C



Dear Bill,

First, let me say that I feel your pain.

However, I am confused. Did you mean the dog or the woman in the blue dress? Bombs...?? Perhaps we should just try to solve one national crisis at a time here...

It would be legally correct to say that gunshyness in dogs is MADE and not born. Somewhere along the line you have allowed the dog to have an "improper relationship" with noise. You must reintroduce the dog to noise in such a
way that it learns that noises and gunfire are fun. (I would suggest that you continue to reinforce that women in blue dresses are off-limits...uh...for you, Bill, not the dog....)

The proper introduction of a young dog to birds, guns, cars, cigars, other dogs and Chinese nationals bearing sacks of cash, etc. is crucial to how useful a dog will be to you as a hunting companion. Frequently, dogs that are said to be "gunshy" are really dogs that are pretty much afraid of everything because of the way in which they were brought up and exposed to new things. It is easy to bring a dog up right; it is just as easy to mess one up.

We are always training our dogs, for better or worse, so be mindful of how it is that you are allowing your new pup to meet those new things in his life

Good luck back in Arkansas, Bill!! Tell Buddy to watch the traffic!

Dear Steve
I want to teach my dog to point. Are those bird scents in bottles good for this? Are pen raised birds going to ruin my dog? A buddy of mine says that I should use a wing on a fishing pole. There just aren't any wild birds around where I can train on them. What I am to do?
Yours,
Birdless in Seattle.



Dear Birdless;

One cannot teach a bird dog to point. It has to been in the dog. A bird dog has to be born with at least 90% of the "right stuff" he needs to be a bird dog. All you can do is take him out and teach him his name and to come when called and the rest is pretty much up to him.

A bird dog is going to go out and do what it's going to do, for better or worse. All you can do is make him want to do it for YOU. You job is to introduce him, as a youngster, to birds, to the gun and to other dogs in a positive way and then you have to hope that he has the talent to pull it off and the heart to want to hunt for you.

Scents in a bottle are useless for teaching a bird dog. A pheasant wing on a fish pole is fun for about 5 minutes and teaches to dog nothing after about 2 sessions with it. It's birds. Save your money and buy birds. Pen raised birds, used properly will not ruin your dog. Buy bobwhite quail and pigeons to train on. And remember; birds that get away teach a young dog to hunt better and point more carefully. If you can't get the young dog on wild birds enough to teach him what he needs to learn, they you must supply the birds and make it very hard on the young dog to point them. If 7 or 8 of every 10 birds you put out for a young dog are getting away from the dog unpointed, that's about right. A bird he can point as a puppy teaches him nothing.

You can teach him to "whoa" and to "come" and to "heel" and that's all you need to teach him. You must teach him these very well to make him a good hunting companion. But to point, the birds must teach him that, you cannot. All you can do is put the two in the same field at the same time, over and over again. The ox may be slow at first, but the earth is patient. But to learn what he needs for that job, that had better be in him before his eyes are open in the nest box.



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