Hey guys (and gals) I have a hunting friend with a two year old GSP he uses for hunting. He questioned me about a problem he is having with his dog.
"Hey Bob, im having a problem; Zoe is ranging way too far all the time and im tired of constantly hacking to keep her in range" Hunting with her is becoming more like babysitting than hunting and enjoying being outside.
So I went over to his place and we worked the dog in a field so i could see what he was talking about. At first glance it does just appear to be a dog working out with an extended range...in the woods and field. Zoe ranged out a good 100-150 in the open field and completely out of sight and almost beeper range in the woods. If left without a call back she would prob have just ranged off to her own content.
On spending a good hour or so with her hunting I came to realize that indeed the dog was ranging far....but not due to just being a dog that ranges a bit farther as some do...but to the dog not hunting for the gun.
Zoe is obedient and will respond to all basic commands including, "back" at which point she will turn back and hunt closer for awhile until she eventually is ranging again. So I "think" there is just a missing link here. Like how my dogs hear the "rattle, chattle" of the food dish they get excited and stay close. She is not seeing the gun and staying close.
Now im far from a professional trainer. Ive only been doing this for a short bit now; but my hunch is the dog is "hunting for her self" and not made the connection that she must be near the gun "handler" "hunter" to get birds in her mouth.
What approach would you all take to this? My guess is she needs to be exposed to a lot of birds to make the connection. But how so?
I have a million things or methods going through my head but am not sure of what one to help him with.
His plan was to check-cord her for darn near eternity. I don't think that is the answer. That will just restrict her and when off the rope.....off she will go. May even deminish her hunt drive. VERY strong now!
I feel she needs to hunt but be exposed to birds that are only close to the hunter (gun). And when she roams too far...launch the bird and don't shoot it. She stays close; points...launch it and shoot it. a LOT of reps and she "should" make the connection.
What do you all think?