Author Topic: 4 year old suddenly starting to go hunting?  (Read 227 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline theoldfella

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 20
4 year old suddenly starting to go hunting?
« on: August 10, 2017, 08:14:13 PM »
Tango, my 4yo black show cocker had generally settled down in the last couple of years and though he's not perfect, he's great with the grandchildren and I could generally walk him in my local woods (which are mainly sandy ground) without any real problems. We walk round and also have a game of ball in the more open areas, though I try to sometimes get the ball into the undergrowth so he has to scent it out.

But he's suddenly taken to only really being interested in diving off into the undergrowth (mainly ferns and brambles) and getting his nose down the rabbit and badger holes that are all over the site. I can see from the foliage movement he doesnt generally go far but needless to say his hearing goes and he only comes out when he's ready! He will still have a game of ball but may just run off "mid game" into the bushes. As he's walked here almost every day for 4 years he knows every path and also his way home (my back gate has direct access into the woods) so I try not to get too stressed, but I  know thats not really the point.

I am looking for advice as to what the best thing to do is, especially as I don't drive any more due to progressive disability so I can't just take him somewhere else for a few days. Do I walk him round the woods on a long lead or resort to just  streetwalking around our village? I do get the occasional lift out to walk him somewhere else but I am obviously reluctant to let him off lead in a different area, and I am very concerned about a planned short break in October in the new forest.

Thanks for looking, any thoughts welcome. Kevin

Offline Pearly

  • Donator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3924
  • Gender: Female
  • Pearl, Coral, Sally and Purdey
Re: 4 year old suddenly starting to go hunting?
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2017, 10:52:05 PM »
Hi Kevin,

It's difficult to offer advice without seeing Tango in action but he sounds very similar to Pearl in that she was fine until around five years then found her confidence and became deaf to commands......

Actually, Pearl is just plain disobedient but it's ok as she pushes boundaries so far then knows to behave  ;). I would suggest going back to basics with Tnago.  Start again with lead training and recall, rewarding the good behaviour and where possible ignore the bad.  Whilst dogs benefit from a walk every day, it doesn't have to be a long one or off lead if training is added to the mix - if he will retrieve you can use this as a reward and make sure you have a tasty treat for when he's been really good.  It may be a slow process but it should sharpen his behaviour - he knows he can get away with it at the moment

Jayne

Offline Gazrob

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 116
  • Gender: Male
Re: 4 year old suddenly starting to go hunting?
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2017, 10:14:57 PM »
He's a spaniel it's natural for him to go hunting. My dog is 19 months old he sometimes goes free hunting if he gets a scent. It's probably impossible to stop. What I try and do is keep him at heel in places where I think he might go off then when I feel it's safe I'll let him go off and play again. I've also taught him to stop and come with a whistle. Today when we were out he went off on his own again free hunting what I did was blow the whistle for him to stop and he did. This doesn't work everytime it's still a work in progress I'm going to take him to a gundog trainer in a few weeks to see if I can improve this. I've also found if I don't take him to places where I know he will go off he will stay close by for example a park.

Offline ips

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 880
  • Gender: Male
Re: 4 year old suddenly starting to go hunting?
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2017, 10:29:22 PM »
With respect it is possible to stop free hunting, you just need to ensure that you are always directing the hunting by quartering and turning the dog on a turn whistle. Spaniels (from my limited experience) should never be allowed to free hunt or bad things can happen. Spaniels should either be on a lead, hunting / flushing game "for" the handler or retrieving. Self employment should never be encouraged ir allowed.
Muddling along in the hope that one day it all makes sense.

Offline bizzylizzy

  • Donator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2862
  • Gender: Female
  • 🙂 Jayne
Re: 4 year old suddenly starting to go hunting?
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2017, 07:37:53 AM »
With respect it is possible to stop free hunting, you just need to ensure that you are always directing the hunting by quartering and turning the dog on a turn whistle. Spaniels (from my limited experience) should never be allowed to free hunt or bad things can happen. Spaniels should either be on a lead, hunting / flushing game "for" the handler or retrieving. Self employment should never be encouraged ir allowed.

Agree with you Ian and where we live, I could just never risk it for fear of Humphrey being shot by local hunters. We've trained a stop/sit and a recall on whistle, - (we haven't done proper gun dog training ) and train it daily as part of our routine walks. At any sign of it not working, he's back on the long lead again, although we've not had to use that for a long time, we keep him focused and he's never more than a few yards away from us. . I'm not going to open my mouth too wide and say he'll never do it, as Pearly's  pointed out, this can always change later but I don't accept that its something I have to tolerate because he's a spaniel.

Offline Gazrob

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 116
  • Gender: Male
Re: 4 year old suddenly starting to go hunting?
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2017, 08:26:00 AM »
Hi ips I definitely don't encourage it. I'm trying to put a stop too it. We can't go on a shoot because the season has finished round here. I didn't get Marley till he was 7 months old it was already in him.  As I said I'm taking him to gundog training in a few weeks. I can't keep him on lead all the time he has too much energy. He doesn't wander too far from me now unless he catches a scent. We are doing some retrieving but unfortunately he gets bored of that pretty quickly. I'm new to this dog world and I'm still learning.

Offline Gazrob

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 116
  • Gender: Male
Re: 4 year old suddenly starting to go hunting?
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2017, 08:28:49 AM »
The urge for the working cocker spaniel too hunt is there. That's what they were bred for.

Offline ips

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 880
  • Gender: Male
Re: 4 year old suddenly starting to go hunting?
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2017, 09:32:48 AM »
The urge for the working cocker spaniel too hunt is there. That's what they were bred for.

Exactly, which is why one needs to harness that "urge" and redirect it. Let the dog hunt, but on your terms.

Ps
I meant no offence on either post you understand 👍

PPS
You mention game season is over, I thought you were uk ??
Muddling along in the hope that one day it all makes sense.

Offline Gazrob

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 116
  • Gender: Male
Re: 4 year old suddenly starting to go hunting?
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2017, 11:47:20 AM »
Hi ips I know you meant no offence no worries. The people who shoot in my area told me the season is over till November. However I know a guy who lives a few miles away who is a professional gundog trainer he said he will be available from September. I can't really take him on a shoot until he's had some training.

Offline ips

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 880
  • Gender: Male
Re: 4 year old suddenly starting to go hunting?
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2017, 12:06:34 PM »
Yes season is up and running by Nov, technically pheasant season starts 1st Oct but reared birds are generally given an extra month to mature. Partridge starts even earlier but from my limited experience a novice dog will get its head mashed on a partridge drive assuming your beating of course.

Have you got a shoot lined up to go beating on ?
If so is it a small syndicate or large commercial shoot. If its the former then as long as you have something like a reliable stop, recall and heel then take the dog and train on the job, it all falls apart  when you get into some birds anyway so whatever you trained has to be retrained in the context of birds. Of course it goes without saying do not take a dog to a shoot if its gun shy.

Ps
I have no idea about what training methods you are happy with but if you see a gundog trainer you would be well advised to discuss things before the trainer starts anything, I will not elaborate further on this forum but feel free to pm me
Muddling along in the hope that one day it all makes sense.