Exciting Introduction: The Clipped-Wing Pigeon Technique

One effective method I frequently employ to introduce and excite young or inexperienced gundogs is the use of a clipped-wing pigeon. Here's how it works:

  1. Prepare the Bird: Start by clipping one wing of a pigeon, allowing it to fly short distances but not gain full flight. This setup encourages the dog to follow the bird's movements.

  2. Engage the Dog: Keep the dog on a short lead and move the bird around to capture the dog's interest. Allow the bird to flap its wings slightly to stimulate the dog's prey drive and excitement.

  3. Release and Chase: Once the dog is engaged, toss the bird into the air while still holding the lead. Let the dog watch as the bird flutters to the ground. When the bird reaches eye level or lands, release the leash and allow the dog to chase and catch the bird.

  4. Positive Reinforcement: After the dog catches the bird, refrain from giving commands and simply let the dog enjoy the moment. Allow them to mouth the bird or even retrieve it if they're inclined. Use encouraging words and gestures to express your happiness and excitement.

  5. Keep it Fun: The key is to keep the experience positive and enjoyable for the dog. Repeat these short exercises a few times at the beginning of the dog's training to spark their interest in birds.

  6. Focus on Fun, Not Perfection: During these initial sessions, don't worry too much about specific behaviors like pointing or retrieving. The goal is to establish a positive association between the dog, you, and birds.

By ensuring that your dog's first encounters with bird training are fun and rewarding, you lay the foundation for a successful and enthusiastic gundog. Remember, making training enjoyable for your dog pays off in the long run!

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