Hunting With Multiple Dogs: Pointing Breeds

Hunting With Multiple Dogs: Pointing Breeds

The latest training techniques for pointing breeds

"Hunting a brace of pointing dogs," Bryce said, "can be a most enjoyable and productive experience, as long as a couple of necessary 'ifs' are included. First, if the dogs get along with each other; second, if both dogs are well trained. By that I mean they must both be steady to wing, shot, and kill; they must both back-point reliably; and they must both respect another dog's right to retrieve his own birds. That may be a tall order, but, oh my, what a joy hunting such a brace is!"

Bryce Mann

As an example of exceptionally effective bracework, Bryce described how two pointing dogs can work together to make the fleet-footed mountain quail sit tight. When one dog points a covey in a small patch of cover, the other dog goes around to the far side of the patch before honoring. That way, he keeps the birds from running. "My shorthairs, Trigger and Reno," he said, "worked together this way the first time I braced them on mountain quail, and they continued doing it for all the many years I had them."

Bryce recommended that large hunting parties with several dogs should split up into several smaller parties, each with one dog and handler. It's all but impossible for, say, 15 hunters and three dogs to have an enjoyable hunt as a single party. However, three separate parties of five hunters and one dog apiece can do spectacularly well.

"In general," he said, "I don't recommend bracing a pointing dog with a flusher, that is, a spaniel or retriever. The flusher will bust in on the pointing dog's points and start him flushing his own birds. Who could blame him?"

Then he went on to relate how he and a friend have often worked such a brace quite effectively in NAGDA doubles events, however, with Bryce using one of his shorthairs and his friend, Brad, using a Lab. Bryce has let his shorthair range out while Brad has kept his Lab well within gun range. Whenever the shorthair pointed a bird, Brad told his Lab to sit and stay until the pointed bird had been downed and retrieved. Whenever the Lab flushed a bird, Bryce told his shorthair "Leave it; no bird" to allow the Lab to retrieve the bird.

"Of course," Bryce added, "these were two very well-trained dogs and we had worked them together this way in training sessions. I wouldn't recommend trying it with partially trained dogs or dogs that had never worked together in training."

How long should a person hunt his dog without a rest? Bryce has a simple way to determine when one of his dogs needs a break. He teaches his dogs to lie down, but not to sit. While hunting, he loops back to his truck about every 30 or 40 minutes, gives the dogs a drink, and then tells them to lie down. If a dog either sits or crawls under the truck for shade before lying down, Bryce knows that that dog is tired and needs a rest.

As a final thought, Bryce added this: When hunting a youngster with an older dog, the youngster will learn from his older bracemate. Whether he learns good things or bad depends on whether the older dog is a good or bad "role model." Enough said.


This tip is from Bryce Mann of Bryce Mann's Gun Dogs and Guide Service, P.O. Box 283, Tollhouse, CA 93667; (559) 779-2439; Website:; e-mail

Bryce has been training all sporting breeds professionally for 30 years, specializing in training pointing and flushing breeds for hunting, hunt tests, and tournament hunting. He also trains these dogs for hunters with mobility disabilities. He participates in and judges events of the North American Gun Dog Association (NAGDA) and the National Bird Dog Challenge Association (NBDCA). He breeds German shorthaired pointers.

Recommended for You


Sticking Points in Gun Dog Training

Dave Carty

Moving forward sometimes depends on moving back.

Shotguns & Ammo

Beretta's Forever Over/Under: The 686 Silver Pigeon I

Nick Sisley - May 01, 2019

Buy this 686, and it may be the last upland gun you ever need.


Comeback of the Cocker Spaniel

M.J. Nelson

The cocker spaniel is reclaiming its heritage as a capable performer afield.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 9

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 9

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 12

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 12

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 6

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 6

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


Your Pup's First Year

Bob West - September 23, 2010

A step-by-step analysis on what to expect from your dog By Bob West The...


First Year Tips for Training a Hunting Puppy

Bob West

Training a hunting puppy is no easy task.

Shotguns & Ammo

10 Great Shotguns for Sporting Clays

David Hart

Some shotguns not only look good, they're also built for shattering those orange disks that...

See More Stories

More In the Field

In the Field

Your Dog's First Season

James Spencer - September 23, 2010

The latest training techniques for pointing breeds, retrievers and spaniels. By...

In the Field

Grouse on the Prairie: Hunting with Flushing Dogs

Scott Winston - August 21, 2012

Pointing dogs are the most common choice for hunting prairie grouse. They can simply cover the...

In the Field

Amazing Dog Photos from the 2014 Iditarod

Gun Dog Online Staff - March 16, 2014

At the 2014 Iditarod, the bond between a man and his dog runs deep. It's about more than stick

See More In the Field

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.