More On "Hunt Close" Training

By Jim & Phyllis Dobbs and Alice Woodyard

Here's a training tip

If a liberated quail doesn't fly as far as you'd like, take advantage of the situation to give a young dog some work on "Hunt Close."
Visually mark the area where the bird landed. Then put the dog you were working back in the truck, and bring out the youngster who can benefit from a "Hunt Close" lesson.

Take off through the field and let the dog get out and hunt. Position yourself so that when you call the dog in, you are in the area where the bird landed. As the dog approaches the area, begin whistling, making a sound like "wheep-wheep-wheep."

Continue whistling as you look around for the bird. The dog will find the bird, and with experience will associate the "Hunt Close" whistle with finding birds in close proximity to you.

The lazy flier situation gives you an ideal opportunity for the "Hunt Close" lesson, because there is no trail to the bird left by a bird planter. What's more, since you don't know the exact location of the bird, you can't put the dog right on it. All you can do is suggest a productive hunting area to the dog by your proximity, and let him do the rest. Remember, too much handling into a bird can cause a dog to believe he can find birds by watching you, instead of relying on his independent hunting desire.

Keep your young dog in balance

Ideally, when your lazy flier set down and interrupted things, you already had more birds planted in the field. If this is the case, take advantage of the opportunity to keep your young dog in balance. Don't put him up right after the "Hunt close" lesson. Instead, as a good way to finish the training session, send him on so he can locate and point some birds at a distance from you.

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