How to Handle a Pointing Dog Effectively
April 25, 2016
Full Disclosure: Sometimes I lose my temper and scream at my dogs. I don't own perfect dogs, and as numerous people who know me will be only too happy to testify, I'm not perfect, either.
But I think I've managed to learn a few things from the encyclopedic catalog of mistakes I've made over the years and the mistakes I've watched other people make.
Handling a pointing dog effectively (directing him in the field in a way that enhances his training and natural hunting ability) isn't that difficult, but you'd never know it from watching the average bird hunter.
Standard procedure: if the dog doesn't do what he wants, he screams at it. It makes the handler feel like he's helping or taking control, and sometimes screaming does work. But the problem is, many people continue to scream at their dogs, making things worse. I know from experience.
To keep things simple, let's say you haven't yet trained your pointing dog to whoa. If he decides to bust a covey in the field, will yelling at him to whoa make him stop? No.
OK, let's say he busts another covey, and this time you yell at him a little louder. Will he whoa? No.
One more time. Your dog busts yet another covey and this time you take off the gloves and scream at him for five minutes. Think he'll finally understand? No.