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    1. #1
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      Labradorks's Avatar
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      Question about the birds

      I'm taking this question to the board versus a trainer or (live) peers because I don't want to be laughed at. At least not to my face.

      I am interested in field training with my dog, who has a real knack for it, but after watching an event and going to a training session, I am wondering if there are more humane methods?

    2. #2
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      Couple questions:

      What level do you plan to train your dog? Are you referring to hunt tests, field trials, or just a dog to hunt over?

      Second, are you talking about humane methods of training the dog? Or, are you talking about the birds? The title of your post leaves it unclear.

    3. #3
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      I find my Labrador club(s) uses and teaches humane training methods for hunt test training. Do you have a Labrador breed club near you? They should be a good resource to you either way.

    4. The Following User Says Thank You to Shelley For This Useful Post:

      ZRabbits (06-08-2014)

    5. #4
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      I'm going to assume you are talking about the actual birds, and that you are talking about hunt test training and not actually hunting over your dog. Not sure what your goals are, but you can train with dummies or bumpers, but if you want to run in tests, your dog will have to bring back birds. If your dog isn't familiar with retrieving them, that might be a big hindrance. I personally don't feel bad about the birds. We dispatch them humanely after an event. This is what my dogs were born and bred for ages to do. I believe hunting is an important tradition, and tool for responsible habitat conservation and management. The use of live birds for training purposes is an important aspect of my dogs' education. I love seeing them come alive in the field. The joy in their eyes is worth a few dead pigeons and ducks for me personally.

    6. #5
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      Quote Originally Posted by Sue View Post
      Couple questions:

      What level do you plan to train your dog? Are you referring to hunt tests, field trials, or just a dog to hunt over?

      Second, are you talking about humane methods of training the dog? Or, are you talking about the birds? The title of your post leaves it unclear.
      I'm not sure what level I plan to train. This is new to me. However, I cannot see myself actually hunting.

      As far as the humane part -- sorry if that wasn't clear. I'm talking about the birds. I know in the Lab AKC WC test you use one live bird and during our first training session my dog retrieved a live pigeon with his flight feathers plucked out, which as I understand it, is customary.

      I'm feeling a little conflicted about the whole thing. Though I have to admit that watching my conformation bred house dog retrieve like that was pretty awesome.

    7. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by dxboon View Post
      I'm going to assume you are talking about the actual birds, and that you are talking about hunt test training and not actually hunting over your dog. Not sure what your goals are, but you can train with dummies or bumpers, but if you want to run in tests, your dog will have to bring back birds. If your dog isn't familiar with retrieving them, that might be a big hindrance. I personally don't feel bad about the birds. We dispatch them humanely after an event. This is what my dogs were born and bred for ages to do. I believe hunting is an important tradition, and tool for responsible habitat conservation and management. The use of live birds for training purposes is an important aspect of my dogs' education. I love seeing them come alive in the field. The joy in their eyes is worth a few dead pigeons and ducks for me personally.
      I am not a hunter but my parents and family are and they eat what they kill (and I do as well), unless it's a hunt for pests like sage rats or something. My conflict has more to do with the training part, with the farm raising and launching of the live bird, or the live pigeon. And, maybe if I were actually going to hunt, I would feel like it better serves its purpose.

      I totally get what you're saying about watching the dogs with the birds and that is where I really struggled because it WAS so amazing and he LOVED it! While I feel bad about the live pigeon now, believe me, I was right there cheering him on and praising him when he brought it to me. Thankfully he did not hurt the pigeon but that poor bird probably had a mild heart attack while Linus was figuring out exactly HOW to retrieve it, being his first live bird and all.

      Well, I think I need to either get over it or not do it, from the sounds of it.

    8. #7
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      Bird dogs have helped people for centuries. The dogs have to be trained to do their job, which in the end helps the population of waterfowl (Ducks Unlimited) and the individual birds if one is crippled, rather than dispatched cleanly by the gunner. I feel better about a farm raised bird being held for launching or as a dead bird, as they are used to handling and captivity. (It would be stressful for a wild one.) I don't hunt, even though family members have for centuries, and my vegetarian husband couldn't get used to me and his sweet doggy having a freezer and doggy mouth with birds in it. I do believe that a dog trained to hunt saves a lot of cripples in the wild from a sad end. Hunting, for a meat eater or omnivore, is more honest than me getting my breast of poultry in the supermarket. The wild birds or released birds have wonderful lives until a quick shot hopefully kills them before they even know it, and the hunter has dinner.

      We don't know if a retriever will do the job it was bred to do if we don't try to teach and test it. Good for you for trying and training your Lab!

    9. #8
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      DH is the hunter and at first i was not sure i wanted any part of it. I went and was so impressed by our dogs.

    10. #9
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      Quote Originally Posted by 4Thelove View Post
      DH is the hunter and at first i was not sure i wanted any part of it. I went and was so impressed by our dogs.
      That is pretty much how I feel. :-)

    11. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by Charlotte K. View Post
      Bird dogs have helped people for centuries. The dogs have to be trained to do their job, which in the end helps the population of waterfowl (Ducks Unlimited) and the individual birds if one is crippled, rather than dispatched cleanly by the gunner. I feel better about a farm raised bird being held for launching or as a dead bird, as they are used to handling and captivity. (It would be stressful for a wild one.) I don't hunt, even though family members have for centuries, and my vegetarian husband couldn't get used to me and his sweet doggy having a freezer and doggy mouth with birds in it. I do believe that a dog trained to hunt saves a lot of cripples in the wild from a sad end. Hunting, for a meat eater or omnivore, is more honest than me getting my breast of poultry in the supermarket. The wild birds or released birds have wonderful lives until a quick shot hopefully kills them before they even know it, and the hunter has dinner.

      We don't know if a retriever will do the job it was bred to do if we don't try to teach and test it. Good for you for trying and training your Lab!
      Thanks. Very well said. Perhaps if I get into it I can try to make a point to give back somehow or use my dog's skills for more than fun or hobby.

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