I am an avid Ruffed Grouse hunter. Being retired, I hunt almost every day during the six week period from Oct 1 to November 14. My GSP Sadie is 16-months old. Last year, she was 4-5 mos. old when I hunted with her. Even then she was pointing birds (albeit not perfect by any means) and I shot a few off her points. Mostly, last year was just to introduce her to it and let her learn on her own. This year so far is a totally different story. Whether we are hunting, training or playing, my dog is super-hyper. When we come onto some grouse, she will point briefly, start to shake from excitement and then bust the bird in less than 30 seconds, sometimes as little as ten seconds. When the bird flies, she bolts after it. Yesterday, we ran into a cove of 6 grouse. She never pointed any of them and ran around like she was possessed as they flushed. When I train her at home, using partridge wings with grouse scent, she does nearly the same, only she grabs the wing and brings it to me. In the process she bites it pretty hard, although we are working on that and making some progress. I do notice that she improves on the things mentioned above after she's run for a while and tires somewhat. I know she is still very young, but after such an encouraging start last year, I'm wondering if this year's behavior is anything I should be worried about. Or, is there some corrective action I need to take. Any suggestions, as always, will be appreciated.
WOW! You're lucky.
Can't wait until we can hunt every day of the season!!!
Anyway, back to reality -
I feel that if you don't have a good,not decent, grouse dog by the end of a dog's 3rd season chances are you'll have to get another dog for grouse.
As she gets older,learns to handle grouse, she will match her nose to her speed, most likely she will slow down.
Do you want to hunt a steady dog?
If yes, then steady her,but wait until after this season - too late now -maybe.
If she has been intro'd to whoa and transitioned to the e-collar for whoa then you have a great opportunity to enforce whoa in the field.
When it comes to chasing - this will go back to how steady you want her.
We hunt our dogs not steady - makes for better retrieves.
I will let the dog chase for a short distance then call them off. Most dogs will learn to be steady to flush and shot on wild birds - they catch on pretty quickly.
I feel she is displaying appropriate working instincts -she's figuring things out - I don't like to deprive a dog of this opportunity to learn how to work game.
Decide what you want as a finished product,consider where she is in training,her inherent abilities and work to set goals.
I know it can be frustrating - but it's still a lot of fun to watch them work and figure things out.
I love the look on a young dog's face when they are zipping thru cover and bump a bird and it flushes in front of them. A few of these are they learn - you can see the wheels turning up there.