Training Pointers - any good books or tips?

Discussion in 'Cast & Blast' started by Troutrageous, Jul 13, 2014.

  1. Hey folks, after dreaming about getting my own pup for years, I'm finally about to have a permanent place and job where I can justify getting one. I'm going to look into getting a german longhaired pointer, probably this winter or spring, and in advance of doing so, I thought I'd check with more experienced folks on here for tips in regard to training pointers. Any particular books or articles that people have found useful, tips that have worked well for you, or specific problems you have run into? I have hunted with multiple pointers, but none have been my own, and I've never been involved in the training process for one.

    Also, while I'm pretty sure I've decided on the breed, I'd still love to hear what gun dog you have, and what you think it's strengths/weaknesses are.
    Blake Harmon likes this.
  2. MartyG is your man...
  3. Assuming you're going to DIY:

    Joan Baileys How to Help Gundogs train Themselves was suggested to me by a few people as a good guide for the first year of the puppies life, and I got on nicely with it.

    After that I can't give enough praise to NAVHDA and their training methods of creating a versatile dog. The wet side chapter meets near the Cowlitz, the closest dry side chapter is in Boise iirc.

    Though there is a German Longhaired Pointer(Deutscher Langhaariger ) it's a rather rare breed, is it possible you meant a German Wirehaired Pointer(Deutsch Drahthaar)?

    If so your man is board member 'Kirke' as he has a few of them, and is dialed on what's what with training dogs that are steady to wing, shot, and fall.

    When you're vetting out a breeder make sure they do all the eye checks, hip certs, etc. so you don't get a money pit of a pup. Have fun, and keep us posted.
  4. I second the NAHVDA guide (or parts thereof; I trained my pup to "whoa" at feeding time & it worked for me.). I also took my pup to Dunfur Kennel in Cheney for intro & work over live birds; Dan Hoke is very good, very reasonable, and did a wonderful job with Hank. And if you self-train, don't teach your pup to "sit;" pointing breeds do their job from a standing position. Teach "no, come, stay, heel" early-on, but forget "sit." If pups wants to sit on his/her own while resting, in time they will do it on their own; if you teach them that command early-on, when pup becomes confused as you are teaching something new, he will default to "sit." Not a good thing. Hank knows "sit" now, but he is 3 years old & has all of the other commands down-pat. That was a mistake that I made with my 1st pointing breed; believe me, it is difficult to overcome. Oh & Hank is a an absolutely splendid & special Braque du Bourbonnais. Strengths: loyal, very devoted, all heart, great nose, no undercoat (= less shedding); travels well, most like water (Hank doesn't, lol), great house dog, very gentle. Weaknesses: no undercoat, therefore the breed doesn't tolerate Arctic conditions very well (at 66, I don't either, so that's a wash.). This breed can be somewhat timid around new things at first (people, other larger dogs, etc.), but they overcome this rather quickly. On the plus side, during Hank's few encounters with skunks, porcupines, & rattlesnakes, I knew something was up as he backed-off. I don't necessarily view his initial reluctance to other critters or strangers as a "weakness" in my case. However, there is no timidity or hesitation whatsoever when it comes to game birds. Good luck & enjoy the journey. And don't get in a hurry; give pup time to be a puppy.
  5. The dog in my avatar (German Shorthair Pointer) is my first pointer and my first attempt at DIY training a hunting dog. I started with the DVD series Perfect Start/Perfect Finish and ended up modifying it to my needs and ability, i.e. simple commands and getting him on as many birds as I can. He knows the basic commands, "no, come, stay, heel" and eventually we worked into "whoa". I figure beyond that the only thing I'm going to do is ruin him so I just let him hunt. He’s an amazing hunter when I get out of the way and let him do his thing. He hunts everything from upland birds to ducks, and occasionally brings home a rabbit or mole from the backyard. He hates sitting in a blind, but does great with water retrieves.

    I second everything Jim said regarding the strengths and weaknesses, except the timid part. Being a first time GSP owner I don’t know if it’s just my dog, but he isn’t shy or afraid of anything which has been an issue at times with the neighbor’s horse and other not so nice wild critters.

    One thing I wasn't prepared for owning a GSP was the energy factor. I read about and was told they need an extraordinary amount of daily exercise , but still wasn't prepared for it. Years later we have a great daily routine, but if I miss a day he gets a bit rambunctious. Everyday single day it's training and play or he digs/chews. That said I can't wait to get another. They are amazing dogs!
    Jim Ficklin and constructeur like this.
  6. Thanks guys, I'll check out your suggestions. Constructeur, I am in fact looking for a german longhair pointer. I understand they are less common, but both of the old pros that introduced me to bird hunting hunt a german longhair pointer. Getting to watch their dogs hunt was pretty incredible, and left me wanting one.
  7. Gun Dog, by Richard Wolters, who also wrote Water Dog and Family Dog.


  8. I've shot more birds over Kirke's dogs than all other dogs combined. He doesn't waste his time with dogs that don't hunt.

  9. The German Wirehair is a fantastic hunting breed as well as a best friend and family dog. I had Booker for thirteen very special years and still miss him after several years. In addition to studying how to train the dog, don't forget about training yourself. These are long ranging dogs and are much different to hunt with than is a lab or other flushing dog... it wasn't unusual for Booker to range well past one hundred yards to find and hold birds. This style takes some getting used to, but provides a real high when the dog locks on and holds while you walk up to take the shot. I also second Dunfer Kennels and Dan Hoke as a trainer. He does a great job.

    Good Luck!
  10. I trained my German Shorthair Pointer with Richard Wolters Gun Dog. Excellent book, very straight forward. She's one of the most well behaved pups around and she's never had a collar on her yet. His way of teaching really builds a bond between the two of you and makes them want to please you.
  11. I have owned two German Longhair Pointers. This is Bugaboo.


    They were both very strange dogs when it came to training. I worked really hard training the first GLP (Yoho). I am probably a pretty bad dog trainer and did not use live birds in their training.

    I did use Wolters Gun Dog book, but it worked much better with the labs than the pointers. I would NOT use the wing training that Wolters talks about. I think it teaches them to chase rather than point. I did not use the book with Bugaboo.

    Anyway, after several months of training I took Yoho out during bird dog training season and caught her sneaking past a rooster pheasant acting like she was afraid of it. At that time I had a worthless (for hunting) yellow lab. I was afraid that I now had TWO worthless hunting dogs. So I went out alone with the two dogs for duck opener. Two birds flew over and I killed one duck that fell into the wasteway. Both dogs jumped into the wasteway and floated around the bend. Yoho came back with the bird. She then sat under olive tree shaking and scanning the sky for more birds. Hunted real well after that for 13 years. I was like a switch flick on after that first bird.

    Bugaboo went through a similar process, but he pointed wild quail right off the bat. I only had to show him a dead rooster pheasant and within 5 minutes he went and found him one!! That was at about six months. He basically lives for hunting.

    Bugaboo loves hunting for HIMSELF. Still does, but finally recognized that he does better hunting with me. However, he still thinks the birds are his though he will now let me carry them in my vest. He is actually better behaved hunting than other times.

    Yoho never needed anything but voice correction. Bugaboo earned a shock collar at about 20 weeks and still wears it on a daily basis.

    The breed is a one-person dog. You become the center of the dogs world. Yoho would not even hunt for anybody else but me. I suspect Bugaboo might be the same. Yoho was a decent family dog. Bugaboo is probably the worst family dog we have had. My advice is if you have a sure they are involved with the puppy early and a lot!!! The German Longhair Pointers tend to be one-person dogs. My wife made it clear with both pointers that they were my dogs....and they promptly ignored her for years.

    Other downsides. They get separation anxiety. They have no lips, you will have water all over the kitchen, and they need to be shaved during hunting season.

    I would get a female. And get them young at six weeks. I got Bugaboo at 14 weeks and suspect that and being male ended up causing the issues with my wife.

    I would use your friends for training. It sounds like they have good dogs.

    All that said, I love both those dogs. They really become YOUR dog. They are great hunting dogs for everything that flies and the Germans use them for tracking deer and other large game.
  12. Big Thumbs Up!! His books were named " Rapid Retriever Training Methods" About 50% of each book were the same and then split into those 3 categories. I was a newbie as far as training a hunting dog, but I grew up with 2-3 dogs at home all the time. Started with an 8 week Golden Retriever and followed the Gun Dog book to the letter. 'Jake' was doing blind retrieves within a month and blind water retrieves within 2 months. Started him swimming with his Mom, 1 Brother, myself and the breeder who was a good friend. That was the most fun I ever had with any dog. He would hunt for me, but wasn't real 'birdy'. Sure was fun blowing peoples minds at the park with a tennis ball!! He had a 14 1/2 year great life and was with me constantly. PS. NEVER let your pup have a tennis ball for at least a year. If you start throwing one in the park for him, he will lose interest in a 'throwing dummy'.
  13. [​IMG]I have a couple friends who have Large Munsterlanders and love them for overall hunting dogs, both upland and waterfowl. They are nice looking dogs as well! I personally have an English Setter and she is my third one. She is not only dynamite on upland birds, but is the sweetest dog I've ever had. I think the breeder of the Munsterlanders is somewhere in eastern Wa, and if you are interested I will find out where. You can also check the breed out at Rick

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