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Old 12-10-2012, 08:42 PM
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How good is your dog on poison bird blinds?

A recent discussion on another forum got me thinking about retriever trainers in general. Here are the questions he asked.

-How do you train for them?
-Why use them?
-How frequently? in training, in tests/trials
-What are the judges looking for? in tests/trials
-How important a skill for a hunting dog?
-What constitutes a failure? in tests/trials

EvanG
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:29 AM
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It depends. Are you talking about a poison bird that's down before he gets sent on the blind, or about a diversion bird that's thrown while he's en route to the blind? How close to the line?
I think one needs to answer the question first of how important it would be in a hunting situation before you can answer whether it should be in a hunt test or field trial. Especially the hunt tests, which are supposed to simulate hunting (ha ha), if it's not something you'd see often in hunting, it doesn't belong in a hunt test.
I don't hunt enough to know the answer. When we've been pheasant hunting, it's one bird at a time (except for tower shoots/driven hunts), so there would be no poison birds.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotel4dogs View Post
It depends. Are you talking about a poison bird that's down before he gets sent on the blind, or about a diversion bird that's thrown while he's en route to the blind?
Either one is a poison bird blind, and both serve as diversion factors. The "en route poison bird" is the more difficult concept of the two.
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Originally Posted by hotel4dogs View Post
How close to the line?
In hunting you'll never be able to predict it. In a test it is pre-determined by the judges. In addition, the concepts involved are also determined by the judges, such as:
  • Blind behind the gun
  • Blind past the old fall
  • Blind through the arc of the fall
  • Blind through the fall (completely unfair as a poison bird blind)
Those are standard diversion mark concepts, and the first three are what are commonly taught and tested, both in field trials and in hunt tests. They are perfectly appropriate to use in either testing venue, as poison bird blinds are among the most important field skills for gundogs.
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I think one needs to answer the question first of how important it would be in a hunting situation before you can answer whether it should be in a hunt test or field trial. Especially the hunt tests, which are supposed to simulate hunting (ha ha), if it's not something you'd see often in hunting, it doesn't belong in a hunt test.
I'm with you on the "reality" involved in testing! Only hunting is hunting, but I appreciate efforts to include aspects that are at least as realistic as possible in hunt tests. A test can never contain what all hunts do; sponteneity. But "yes", the poison bird blind is among the most realistic/hunting-like concepts. And understand this about any blind retrieve in a testing venue; it is not valid merely because one might need to run one while hunting. It is valid because it is a test of control and a dog's willingness to take direction from a handler. Adding the poison bird concept elevates the demand on training and handling, making it a more elite level of test.
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I don't hunt enough to know the answer. When we've been pheasant hunting, it's one bird at a time (except for tower shoots/driven hunts), so there would be no poison birds.
You need to hunt with us out in western Kansas. Multiple birds on a rise is commonplace, and a running crippled pheasant can leave the county in a hurry. If one or more birds were clean kills, buy one is crippled and running, you'd better get that dog on him quickly or he's lost game!

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Old 12-11-2012, 09:32 AM
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Hmmm. I would say I put a poison bird into our training setups maybe 20% of the time. It depends where the dog's head is at. If the dog is having confidence issues on either marks or blinds I wouldn't worry about it but if the dog is doing well in all aspects, a poison bird sorta puts everything together. Nice way to put some memory into a single and a lot of suction into a blind.
I rarely "test" when training. If I think the dog may have trouble with the blind or mark involved with the poison bird setup I would run either as a single or stand-alone before doing the setup.
I have run across only two poison bird series in master tests, one each with Fisher & Slater.
The one with Fisher, was a short land single walkup, turn away and run a double blind, then pick up poison bird.
With Slater, they shot a poison bird angle back right into a pond, you had to then run a 100 shoreline blind tight (5 yards) past the backside of the gunner -- yikes!!!! That was a little like herding cats. WAY over Slater's head at that time but he pulled it out.

As always judges are looking for you to challenge the blind and handle through suction & factors.
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Old 12-11-2012, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
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[*]Blind behind the gun
[*]Blind past the old fall
[*]Blind through the arc of the fall
These are the concepts we are presently working on with our mark/blind drill. I will not be introducing poison bird until she is solidly running this drill and showing me she gets the concepts in set ups. Then we can up the ante, we need to be able to walk before we can run. .
I have a Senior level dog that is starting down the path to Master.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:17 PM
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Excellent Holly.

Those are the standard concepts in diversion marks. And you're doing the right thing by not start with poison bird. Get it really solid in standard order first. You might consider using the Four Phase Drill to do this. It's up to you, but it's very effective.



EvanG
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:57 AM
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With such frequent discussion of ambitions for MH titles and QAA achievements, and more, it's a little disappointing to see so little discussion on this topic. The ability to perform efficient, effective poison bird blinds is one of the most valuable skills a hunting retriever can possess. It's one a Master Hunter should be highly competent at, if indeed he is a Master-level dog.

And as a field trial dog you're not going very far unless you're really good at this! Period.

EvanG
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:47 AM
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I would love to join the discussion but I am not there yet. BaWaaJige is still a young dog 1 1/2yrs old and is not at that level I am working on him being solid on running/marking doubles and I just started some blind drills.
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:03 PM
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I enjoy reading these discussions for future reference.
With Rose only at 6 months we are concentrating on obedience and working hold and marking. I got Evan's puppy retriever training video as I was really confused about the paint rollers.
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Old 12-12-2012, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
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I enjoy reading these discussions for future reference.
With Rose only at 6 months we are concentrating on obedience and working hold and marking. I got Evan's puppy retriever training video as I was really confused about the paint rollers.
I hope the DVD cleared that up?

EvanG
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