Okay, I have a 2.5 yo GSP (recently purchased from a couple that was moving). Doesn't have much of a prey drive that I can see. Will not chase our cats in the house but will chase a cat (the neighbors ) outside the house, seems interested in squirrels noises and bird noises, but have not seen a squirrel yet that he could chase (too much snow). Took him to the local upland store and the guy has a fishing rod with a feather on it and tried to get him to go after the feather, he was not too interested in the feather (first time for the dog at this shop/area). The store owner suggested planting pigeons and letting him build a desire for birds. Does this sound about right and how do you go about doing this? No guns involved obviously as I don't know if he has been introduced to gun noises, nothing in the house bothers him (vaccuum, hairdryer etc..). Took him for a walk in the woods the other evening, I flushed 4 birds with my walking and he was interested when they flushed but he didn't point anything but we were upwind of the birds when they flushed. Just not sure where to start, local shop guy charges $20/hour to work with the dog and I'm guessing costs of birds when her getsthem in a couple fo weeks from now. Any advice?
Whoops, also he is well trained as far as commands here, down, sit, give, drop it, whoa
Not really a problem I've had, however, based on what your saying he does have some chase instinct, (chasing the neighbors cat) until the snow melts build that chase instinct up as much as you can. (The point is just the pause before the pounce).
It's difficult to know if he is enthusiastic about birds if he was down wind, or has had little exposure to them. The trainers tip does seem to be honest and upfront though, his first few experiences with birds should be fun and rewarding so that he associates birds with a positive experience. After he chases the first handful he will probably realize he can't catch them, and even if he doesn't you can steady him up after, if you get on him too harshly in the begining you could squash any desire he does have, so just go out and have fun. Working with an outside trainer or another handler may also be helpful. Good luck
I wouldn't be worried about the dog not caring about a feather, it's nothing like a live bird. I don't understand people who use this as a test. You might want to check into NAVHDA www.navhda.org NAVHDA has chapters all over the US and Canada. Most chapters meet at least once a month, during the non-hunting seasons, to train dogs. I have met a lot of great people who have helped with training our dogs. We also get together to train at other times.