Two Different Hunting Styles
by Jim & Phyllis Dobbs & Alice Woodyard
There are two main types of hunting styles for a bird dog. The dog can use a forward running style, casting from one objective to go hunt another, or he can use a quartering style, where he quests from side to side. In the quartering style, the dog will be hunting closer to you than he will with the forward running style.
Both styles of hunting cover the ground efficiently when used in the appropriate places. Because of the diversity in bird-dog sports and the differences in cover, you must decide which style best suits your needs.
The type of ground coverage you shouldn't allow is letting the dog run helter-skelter without utilizing an efficient pattern. Dogs that run in this fashion usually have their feet well ahead of their brain or nose. These dogs may even run by birds because they are running just for the joy of running and are not truly hunting.
Hunt Close when Quartering
If you are training the dog in the quartering style, you may want to encourage him to hunt closer to you. One technique for this is "slipping in" the bird. For several sessions, do not plant any birds ahead of time. Instead, while the dog is quartering, slip the bird in yourself while he isn't looking at you. Then give him your "hunt close" command. When he comes in, he will be rewarded by finding the bird you planted. Practice this procedure a lot to counter his tendency to range out too far when quartering.
If you are training a dog in the forward running style, you may want to increase his range. One technique is to establish objectives. An objective is the kind of place that typically produces birds.
You can make a "permanent objective" by continually having birds in the same location. We use these "permanent objectives" to increase the dogs' confidence to run further away from us.
Each session, slightly increase the distance to the "permanent objective" by moving your starting point farther and farther away. Gradually increasing the distance in this manner will cause the dog to expect to produce birds by running farther to the front. You can string several of these ''permanent objectives'' together and run the dog from one to another.
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