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Pointing dogs 101

My name is Tim, and I have just bought a German Shorthaired puppy.I have read the book, Best Way To Train Your Gun Dog, The Delmar Smith Method,by Bill Tarrant.I am curious as to your views on this book.My pup is only 5 weeks old, so I cant bring him home for another 2 to 3 weeks.Iam very excited about my new pup and and would like to start his yard work as soon as I can, but, the book says the first year is his.At what week in his age should I begin to work my dog?I realy enjoyed this book and Iam going to use it as my guide line for training,but, at what age does it become to risky to start his training.I want whats best for my dog.

Hello Tim, welcome to the wonderful world of shorthairs. I first watched this breed work in a movie when I was about 15(very many years ago) and thought to myself, man! Now those are hunting dogs! I hunted my own pair this afternoon and it is still one of the biggest thrills of my life. Love those shorthairs.

I know you are very excited and the book you mention is an excellent one. I will tell you that there is no one I have ever met or read about that knows it all.

Get all the advice from every source you can find. There are many excellent training books out there. Even the ones that aren't so good will still teach you things. You will learn everyday the rest of your life. Just today one of my gsp's taught me something new as we hunted pheasants. Each day with them is wonderful.

I don't agree with everything bill or delmar, or delmar's son rick have to say on the subject but they are all excellent sources. You will have to decide through trial and error what is best for you and your dog. Try different things and if they work use them. If they don't try something different. Don't get "locked" into one style or another. Use your brain and understand that nobody will know your dog better than you.

What delmar and bill are saying is to let your pup be a pup and learn through growing. Look at it this way. You did not learn it all in a day and neither will they no matter what book or video, or style, you use. The biggest problem I see on a daily basis is folks wearing a puppy out because they are in a hurry. Don't be that way.

There is no schedule for training a dog and to create one is one of the biggest problems out there. Keep it simple the first year. Give him some yard manners. The 5 basics. Walk ,sit, down ,stay, come. If you have never done this before, go visit some obed classes. It is free to watch and ask questions. Good trainers love to talk about what they do and they teach you to do it more than your dog. If you see something you don't understand, ask why it is done. Even if you don't like what you see, check to see if it works on the dog and is the dog happy with it. Don't make any snap decisions like "i won't ever do that" or "i won't ever train like that". Watch the dog over a couple of weeks and if he starts doing what you would want your dog to do, consider joining the class. These do not need to be hunting people. Obedience is obedience sad to say, many birddog trainers can't control their own dog so how could they teach you to do your's?

Work your obedience or "yardwork" the first year. Let the dog run in the field and explore his new territory. Don't worry about hunting yet. Start his retrieve by having fun and playing with a ball , pheasant wing , or toy(bumper). Make him your best friend and you be his. Be firm on your commands but not "hard". As he gets closer to a year you will get more serious in different areas. By next season he should already be showing a lot of potential. That is all you are looking for the first year. Ability. The rest will come.

Most of all, it is better to go slow than fast. He will hunt for you for the next 10 years at least. Lay a good foundation and build as you go. In a couple of years you will have learned a lot and so will he. Then you will be bragging to us about your great bird dog!

Good luck. Check out my page for some more info and pics!

Terry Germany
JC&T Shooting Sports

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