Saturday, 14 July 2012

Miss Mighty Hunter

Note to self .... Make sure to pack some benadryl for camping trips!

Stella has strong birding instincts which is true to her breed and also to her bloodlines.  Both her parents are accomplished dogs in the field.  I may in the future look into field trials but it is very hard to find positive based training methods in that area of dog sports.   For now we have lots to work on with rally and obedience and possibly agility in the future.

Her hunting instincts are not limited to birds.  She loves to hunt, stalk, chase anything she can which includes bugs, flies and the cats when they want to participate.  When we have been camping she amuses herself in the campground by playing with any of the bugs or flies she can find.  She stalks, pounces, repeats until eventually she catches her prey.  I'm sure that this is eventually going to result in her being bitten by something so hence the benadryl comment above.  If there is a spider or fly in the house she and the cats compete to chase it down. 

She loves to chase the cats which I stop as much as possible.  The cats know that she isn't going to hurt them but they still provide her with some chase opportunities.  Desi will just jump up on to the nearest higher ground to end the chase.  Fred almost enjoys the games and runs for a minute and then just stops and looks at her which brings her to to a screeching halt where she waits wagging her tail hoping for the game to start again.  Desi tends to mostly ignore the dogs but Fred is quite comfortable with them around.  Stella cracks me up offering all sorts of play bows to Fred but her best play moves just cause him to flick his tail and walk away from her.  She hasn't given up hope yet that he will someday romp and wrestle with her. 

Here is a picture of her pointing a bird in a bush on a recent hike.


  1. Love the photo of her pointing. Glad she is only chasing the cats in fun, our Leah has developed a more serious cat chasing habit as she ages. (which of course, we stop her too.)

    It is frustrating trying to find positive training methods in certain dog sports. Around here, I can't even find a positive rally trainer.

    Luckily I found one trainer, who although uses corrections, was willing and supportive of me not using them and let me do my own thing in her Rally run thru class.

  2. You can take the dog out of the hunt but you can't take the hunt out of the dog! So true. Very glad to see she has strong hunting instincts as we don't want them lost to the breed. I've never used any punishment-based methods on my dogs for the jr level & always train the fetch using shaping behaviour. You can also do the same for the 'whoa'. It's hard to train on your own for the FD or FDX level unless you can find someone to shoot for you altho I understand in BC, they don't actually shoot the birds so my comment may not be valid.

  3. sounds like my girl, always hunting... even if it's just waterbugs lol. Crazy girls.

    She may have a lot of hunt behind her, but keep in mind that the real pointing/birdiness/nose can be lost if not exposed and honed a bit early on. Basically if you don't use it you could lose it. I am simply talking about them being "birdy" which is basically when this thing in their brain goes off in the presence of a game bird and they just get really into it. Many dogs of many breeds will "point" as that is actually a stalking method and many dogs like to stalk and hunt by nature still. But it is sight pointing, it takes some time and some birds for a dog to give up their eyes and truly trust their nose and that part of the brain that is telling them "THAT is good stuff." Luna's first introduction to birds was before she even came home to me... then again she had a quail at 10 weeks, she chased it, brought it back and had a blast. And then from there on out I made sure to put her on a bird at least once a month until she hit 6 months old where I could really begin to work on getting her crazy for them for her JH title. Sometimes we will get a 2 year old dog in here that has never seen a game bird, and they still are all birdy, but it is rare... and far better to get things going even just a little, early on.

    And if you are worried about finding positive trainers, also keep in mind the first introductions to birds are usually nothing but positive. We want them to think birds are fun fun fun, before we ever put any rules on them. Often we want dogs a bit out of control over game birds before we will take training to the next level. So you may want to look more into it so you don't lose your window of time. Can't say that this window looks like for your girl, as it's different for every dog.

    Oh and as Sylvia said, getting a JH title is all fun, technically all you need her to be able to do is hunt, find birds, point, and handle for you in the field. There really are almost no rules in for the JH title, so happy I had that time with my girl in the field before we continued further hunt training. She loves her hunting, hopefully I can finish things up for her this fall.

    Good luck!

  4. Our new girl, Indi, has not given up chasing our kitties yet, very naughty! She doesn't want to hurt them either, but just can't help herself when they're nearby and she's bored. I try not to let her get to that bored point!
    Amber never did any "real" hunting but was oh so crazy about ducks and quail. She was always pretty afraid of guns and I was sorry that I didn't work with her on that when she was very young.
    Pretty pointing Stella!

  5. My Max fancies himself a hunter also. His most recent prey was a skunk. Luckily (I guess?) the only thing he caught was the scent. I'd love to transfer the value to other things but he'd still rather chase a squirrel or cat than most anything.