Duck search questions

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Duck search questions

Postby ForestDump » Tue May 29, 2018 3:23 am

How do you all hobble your live ducks when training for the search? I finally introduced a live duck Friday and he out swam the dog for a solid 9 minutes all around the pond. Since I'm assuming the test is not like this I would like to set up as close to the testing scenario as possible.

Also how often can you resend a dog before a failing score? If I remember correctly a failing score in DS results in no prize regardless of the rest of the test.
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Re: Duck search questions

Postby SwitchGrassWPG » Tue May 29, 2018 6:25 am

You can tape the legs together with duct tape.

In a test, the duck is not hobbled. If a chase starts and the duck can be safely shot, the judges will. The dog is expected to retrieve the duck to the handler and will be resent to continue the search.

A dog only needs to earn a 2 in duck search to prize. If a dog returns to the handler and requires a resend command, it will most likely have a reduced desire score in the duck search as well as the search itself. The actual score the dog receives will depend on the situation. I imagine how long it is between the initial send and the dog returning to the handler would play a role in how much of an impact a resend will have.
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Re: Duck search questions

Postby booger » Tue May 29, 2018 7:42 am

I want my dog to find a duck every time she's sent so I duct tape the feet and one wing around the body.

If your dog is being out swam by the duck or the duck is diving a bunch at that point it is a chase, not a duck search. While this isn't a bad experience, it is one I would like to avoid while doing duck search. If we see a chase happening for a little while we may or may not decide to paddle out and shoot the duck.

Ducks can and will drown themselves by wrapping weeds around their necks, and since I always want my dog to find a duck, I try not to let a chase (and diving) happen.

Depending on the situation we'll also place dead ducks or have a dead one ready if the live duck gets away. I've heard of guys putting out a pile of live and dead ducks to get dogs excited about and successful with duck search. We'll also drag a dead one from shore to where we place the live one.

Lots of good info on the other duck search thread.
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Re: Duck search questions

Postby AverageGuy » Tue May 29, 2018 7:48 am

FD, Additional info: The judges will indicate which direction to send your dog at the start of the Duck Search. It will be in a direction well away from where the live duck was released. Until and unless the dog has searched in the direction sent and then expanded its search in a different direction it is not likely to run across the released duck. On good duck search water with good cover the unencumbered duck may well elude the dog's sight at which point the dog will have an opportunity to demonstrate its use of nose in tracking the duck through the marsh cover. Protracted Sight chases in open water do not build the dog's score, or indicate much about what the judges are looking for in Duck Search. Hence why they shoot the duck and start over if it looks like it is going to go on for awhile and it occurs shortly after the dog is initially sent the first time.

It will depend on when the sight chase ensues. If the dog has searched well for 8 or 9 minutes, found scent and tracked it to the duck and then a sight chase develops they would likely shoot the duck, score the dog on the retrieve and score the dog 4 in Duck Search with no resend.

That last part depends on the judging team. Some will have you resend the dog in a situation I just described and then call the dog back in pretty quickly afterwards to see how willing the dog was to search again when sent.

They want to see how well the dog will perform an independent search when sent, constantly searching into logical areas where the duck may be and moving on to the next area when nothing is found. Ideally with no assistance or commands from the Handler past the initial send. With the right dogs the Handler's main concern is whether the dog will stop searching and come in when the Judges tell you to call your dog in.
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Re: Duck search questions

Postby ryanr » Tue May 29, 2018 9:19 am

FD, we pull the primary feathers of one wing and use masking tape to tape around the webbed toes of each foot. If we a first time young dog or one without a lot if desire We might tape the "elbow" on the ducks leg, which hinders it a little more. We DO NOT use duct tape. If the duck evades capture, the masking tape will wear off in a few hours and the duck will survive. Duct tape does not wear off.

A couple years ago we used to use surveyors tape to "shackle" ducks to cover like a lilypad but now we only pull the primaries on a wing and masking tape the feet.

You should be prepared to paddle out and shoot the duck for the dog if it gets into an extended chase and can't catch it. You always want the dog to get a duck, THAT'S what fires it up and builds that desire up high. You don't want the dog to go out there for 8 or 9 minutes, do a great search, get into a chase and then not end up with the duck for its effort. In your training, your goal is to teach the dog that if it just keeps expanding its search it is ALWAYS going to get a duck.

As was pointed out , a 4 in duck search is required for a Prize I but a 2 or 3 can still earn a Prize II or Prize III.
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Re: Duck search questions

Postby ForestDump » Tue May 29, 2018 10:30 am

I have the flight feathers clipped but the ducks are still able to use their wings and feet to swim and dive very fast. I may just tape one wing to the body to slow them down more because I still want them mobile. The dog was able to pin, catch and retrieve the duck to hand my only thing is that the 9 minute chase seemed excessive. And I don’t have a boat to go out there and end it.

My question about the score, as bleak as it may sound was more: what’s the most mediocre piece of dog work that is passable for this stage in the test.

It’s the only part I’m not sure we have down. I’m not chasing a prize 1 so any prize will do because unfortunately for me this part weighs heavily on the test and it’s the part I’m least interested in as I never hunt on the water. And I’m beginning to realize how difficult it will be to master this duck search by August while also still trialing my dogs every week. The dog could very well get a 4 on pure desire and drive but my two biggest concerns at him exiting the water and beginning to hunt the banks and having to be sent back in the water multiple times or him finding the duck too early and having to be sent back in multiple times. I’m training for a 4 but I’d like to atleast have a baseline so if we aren’t quite there I know atleast we’re at 2 or 3 level.
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Re: Duck search questions

Postby AverageGuy » Tue May 29, 2018 11:17 am

ForestDump wrote:The dog could very well get a 4 on pure desire and drive but my two biggest concerns at him exiting the water and beginning to hunt the banks and having to be sent back in the water multiple times or him finding the duck too early and having to be sent back in multiple times. I’m training for a 4 but I’d like to atleast have a baseline so if we aren’t quite there I know atleast we’re at 2 or 3 level.

Those are reasons why I train with mostly dead ducks set in cover in water, (never on the bank), and multiple sends. Conditions the dog to search water vs bank and to expect and enjoy multiple sends when it finds and retrieves a duck to me.
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Re: Duck search questions

Postby ryanr » Tue May 29, 2018 12:05 pm

FD, there is no requirement that the dog only search the water if that's what you're thinking. It can search both, and many do. It should be expanding to search all cover in it's effort to produce a duck. As long as it is doing that, you should be good.

One of the worse duck searches I ever saw was last year at our June test. After the shot, on the initial send the dog to a couple steps into the water and stopped and nust looked back at the handler. Eventually he resent it amd agaim it went a few feet and turned around to look for direction. Finally it managed to swim barely 25 yards across a channel to the first little island. And there is stood again looking back at the handler for direction. Then it got back in the water and looked to be swimming back when it went to the main shoreline 15 yards from the edge of the island. It stood there looking at the handler again before putzing around a bit and then coming back in for good. The dog scored a 1 in actual duck search. The kicker was when the guy (who had spent much of the day bragging about his Invitational trips) first saw the duck search water, commemted to us that "oh, you have easy duck search water." Yeah, sure we do.

FD, how many ducks do you put out at a time? Live or dead, you should be putting out multiple ducks each time, in various cover objectives. We use live ducks and typically put out at least 2, usually 3 and we keep a "go to" duck in a bag just in case we need to slip a duck put for a dog (that usually only happens early on with a young dog or with a lower drive dog.) If you can hold of use of a cheap kayak, it's very much worth it to be able to shoot ducks if you need to during an extended search. Shoot a duck for a dog on the water and see how fired up they get.
Last edited by ryanr on Tue May 29, 2018 12:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Duck search questions

Postby Coveyrise64 » Tue May 29, 2018 12:15 pm

ForestDump wrote:I have the flight feathers clipped but the ducks are still able to use their wings and feet to swim and dive very fast. I may just tape one wing to the body to slow them down more because I still want them mobile. The dog was able to pin, catch and retrieve the duck to hand my only thing is that the 9 minute chase seemed excessive. And I don’t have a boat to go out there and end it.

To limit the amount of swim I use zip ties. One on each leg then the yellow one back through each. Pull the yellow one snug to limit the movement or leave it a little loose to allow some movement. I can re-use my ducks and by cutting the yellow tie all I have to do the next time is use the one tie in the middle. To limit the amount of diving I clip several of the flight feathers short by cutting them with shears. Another method is to duct tape one wing to the body and pull the tape snug so the duck can't inhale a lot of air.

20170516_182517 (640x360).jpg


Rather than a bucket I like a plastic hot fence post and a plastic bag. The bag acts as a wind sock and the movement will keep the dog focused. Easier to see at longer distances too as it is taller than a bucket.

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Re: Duck search questions

Postby AverageGuy » Tue May 29, 2018 12:56 pm

FD you were correct to be concerned about a dog searching the bank. Too much of it looks like a dog avoiding water which will definitely lower its score. And it definitely runs a risk of the dog expanding on land further in the wrong direction with duck search turning into upland search. Live ducks go where they please, dead ones stay put. Live ones fire a dog up more. Some dogs don’t need more stimulus than dead ones provide, some need more live ones. Your training will tell you that. Make sure your dog will retrieve both to hand as required in the test if the dog catches the duck or it is shot after a sight chase.
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Re: Duck search questions

Postby SwitchGrassWPG » Tue May 29, 2018 5:21 pm

You want the dog in the water to the fullest extent possible. If they can observe it, most judges will keep track of how much time the dog is out of the water; searching or not. If too much time is spent running banks, it could hurt your score. To earn a 2, a dog needs to perform 26-50% of the task. What constitutes this range is up to the judging team.
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Re: Duck search questions

Postby orhunter » Tue May 29, 2018 5:50 pm

If it were me, I'd want the dog to catch the bird about half the time so it thinks it can every time. Can slowly wean the dog from catching depending on the results you're getting. The one thing I'd be careful of is allowing the dog to chase birds it can see from where it is sent for the search. These should all be blind retrieves/searches with the dog operating independently, out of sight of the handler. It isn't searching if the dog sees the duck.
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Re: Duck search questions

Postby JTracyII » Tue May 29, 2018 9:33 pm

AG,

I agree that using dead ducks is useful for the reasons you mentioned. I’ve been considering using large launchers to release ducks from when they wind it, so the duck can’t move till the dog gets close. My last go around I used a lot of live ducks and shackled them like coveyrise suggested and it worked well. I typically have had bad luck taping the feet as, for
Me at least, it seems to come off when wet. Maybe there is a better way to do than how I’ve done it. Keeping and feeding live ducks can be a bit of a pain and more expensive, but I like the fire a live duck produces. That said, I may try to use more dead ducks this time around. I’ll use live ducks periodically throughout the training sequence instead of
nearly every time out.
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Re: Duck search questions

Postby marsh » Wed May 30, 2018 11:54 am

I used duck socks. Basically a mesh bag that has two cinch connectors on both ends. We would pull the flight feathers on one wing and put the ducks into the bags, one of the NAVHDA members makes them, cinch both ends... The duck is able to move a little, quack... I had 6 made and started with 6 ducks out to insure that the dogs was successful. We gradually walked the ducks further out both to the sides and in distance. It did not take long for the dog to realize that there are ducks out there and would GO!

Couple other things we did. We would always "prepare" the ducks for search in front of the dog (basically he was in his kennel and we would do the ducks on the tailgate- did this at the test too- just put the duck aside). I would send the dog without a shot- once he realized there was ducks out there in the swamp he was gone when I told him to search. This helps if your dog finds a duck and needs to be resent...


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Re: Duck search questions

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Wed May 30, 2018 12:56 pm

marsh wrote:I used duck socks. Basically a mesh bag that has two cinch connectors on both ends. We would pull the flight feathers on one wing and put the ducks into the bags, one of the NAVHDA members makes them, cinch both ends... The duck is able to move a little, quack... I had 6 made and started with 6 ducks out to insure that the dogs was successful. We gradually walked the ducks further out both to the sides and in distance. It did not take long for the dog to realize that there are ducks out there and would GO!

Couple other things we did. We would always "prepare" the ducks for search in front of the dog (basically he was in his kennel and we would do the ducks on the tailgate- did this at the test too- just put the duck aside). I would send the dog without a shot- once he realized there was ducks out there in the swamp he was gone when I told him to search. This helps if your dog finds a duck and needs to be resent...


JM


Those are great. I used to make them of onion sacks with a cinch at each end.
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