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Thread: The Making of a Pheasant Dog

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    South Dakota / Arizona
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    Default The Making of a Pheasant Dog

    As many of you know, I lost my "once in a lifetime" dog (Elle) 3 years ago to cancer at age 8. She was a NSTRA field trial champion and the best pheasant I've could ever hope for. All with virtually no training. She was a natural and did it all on her own. To replace Elle I purchased another female Brittany we named Bree. Bree was 6 months old when I got her and had not had much of any training. She didn't even have a name. But she did have one heck of a pedigree and that's why I bought her. However, Bree has been quite the challenge. I've had her to a couple of professional trainers and they both say this dog is the "real deal". But up to this point I just haven't seen it in my NSTRA trials or in the hunting field. She is a big running dog with breeding out of horseback trial champions and I wasn't sure she was ever going to be a decent pheasant hunting dog. With her speed in the field she was bumping a lot of birds out of range and would only hold point if a bird sat really tight. That pretty much summed up her first two seasons in the field. Her positive during the first two seasons was that she was a great retriever and excellent at finding winged runners. Fast forward to this season and it's like I have a whole different dog in the field. Oh, she still runs fast and big but when she hits scent she is stopping, making sure I'm coming before she starts slowly tracking that bird that has run ahead. Once the scent gets stronger she again locks up. If the bird has again run ahead she starts the tracking again. This is similar to how Elle hunted for me. Yesterday I was out with my grandson hunting some CRP. We tried to walk mainly into a fairly strong breeze out of the north. Bree was fantastic on her bird work and we ended up with a limit of roosters. We even had a few misses so there was a lot of bird contacts. While I thought it may never happen, I think I might actually have myself a darn good pheasant dog. And if she continues to progress like this in the next couple of years she will be dynamite! I've always said that a good hunting dog usually doesn't really figure things out until they are 4-5 years old so I think Bree is well on the way to being a pheasant dog. And to think I almost gave up on her a one point and considered replacing her. In the house she is just a joy to have around. Never barks, very laid back and the most loving and affectionate dog I've ever had.
    Last edited by Dakotazeb; 11-07-2019 at 11:45 AM.
    Janee's August Breeze - Bree
    7/6/2016
    http://gundogcentral.com/view_pedigr...&generations=5

    Godfather's Dakota Elle - Elle
    1X NSTRA Champion
    11/16/2008 - 11/22/2016
    http://gundogcentral.com/view_pedigr...&generations=5

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Posts
    840

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    That's awesome!! Go Bree! I swore I'd never have a dog as good as my first one, Walt. Took Buzz about 4-1/2 seasons to prove me wrong. So far little Ace has given me no reason to think he can't be at least equally good.

    My guess is that Bree has turned the corner for good. So great that you're having such a fun time with her. And your grandson!

    Just out of curiosity, what made the pro's say Bree is the "real deal"?
    "Most pheasants in South Dakota don't react too well to #5s." -The Hunt for Red Rooster

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by A5 Sweet 16 View Post
    Just out of curiosity, what made the pro's say Bree is the "real deal"?
    I think mainly her speed, ground coverage and drive. They said her "bird drive" is over the top. Which is great, but has also caused some of the problems I've experienced. One trainer said that of all the dogs he has trained over the years he's seen very few dogs (regardless of breed) that are like her and have the kind of potential she has.

    Now that she appears to be figuring out the pheasant game I hope she also starts putting things together at our NSTRA trials. The only issue I have had at trials is her taking out birds before I get there and flush them. But that's due to the "over the top" bird drive. She wants those birds so bad. I get that under control and I know she can be a Champion.
    Janee's August Breeze - Bree
    7/6/2016
    http://gundogcentral.com/view_pedigr...&generations=5

    Godfather's Dakota Elle - Elle
    1X NSTRA Champion
    11/16/2008 - 11/22/2016
    http://gundogcentral.com/view_pedigr...&generations=5

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    South Dakota / Arizona
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    Feb 2019.jpg

    Here's Bree.
    Janee's August Breeze - Bree
    7/6/2016
    http://gundogcentral.com/view_pedigr...&generations=5

    Godfather's Dakota Elle - Elle
    1X NSTRA Champion
    11/16/2008 - 11/22/2016
    http://gundogcentral.com/view_pedigr...&generations=5

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    2,279

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dakotazeb View Post
    I think mainly her speed, ground coverage and drive. They said her "bird drive" is over the top. Which is great, but has also caused some of the problems I've experienced. One trainer said that of all the dogs he has trained over the years he's seen very few dogs (regardless of breed) that are like her and have the kind of potential she has.

    Now that she appears to be figuring out the pheasant game I hope she also starts putting things together at our NSTRA trials. The only issue I have had at trials is her taking out birds before I get there and flush them. But that's due to the "over the top" bird drive. She wants those birds so bad. I get that under control and I know she can be a Champion.
    Hi Zeb-

    good write up and it gives me hope.....because i am going through the very same thing with my 18 month old GWP. he has yet to steady up on most of his birds, but is checking in more and seems to understand that hunting with me gives him a better chance at getting a bird in his mouth.....we just need more bird contact and reps.....i think he is similar in nature to your dog.
    good lesson here for us all......TY

  6. #6
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    Nov 2016
    Location
    Omaha, NE
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    Great write up on Bree. Hope to be posting a similar pup story in a year or two. Gotta find the pup first.
    Schemy

  7. #7
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    South Dakota / Arizona
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter94 View Post
    Hi Zeb-

    good write up and it gives me hope.....because i am going through the very same thing with my 18 month old GWP. he has yet to steady up on most of his birds, but is checking in more and seems to understand that hunting with me gives him a better chance at getting a bird in his mouth.....we just need more bird contact and reps.....i think he is similar in nature to your dog.
    good lesson here for us all......TY
    Hey Ty, 18 months is still quite young so be patient. Work on obedience and get him as many bird contacts as you can. If the breeding is there he will figure it out. I think our lack of patience sometimes gets in the way of our thought process. We'd all like them to be "Super Gun Dog" right from the get go, but that's not realistic. I'm sure two years from now he will be a whole different dog. Good luck!
    Janee's August Breeze - Bree
    7/6/2016
    http://gundogcentral.com/view_pedigr...&generations=5

    Godfather's Dakota Elle - Elle
    1X NSTRA Champion
    11/16/2008 - 11/22/2016
    http://gundogcentral.com/view_pedigr...&generations=5

  8. #8

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    Great to here Zeb , dang that must have been a great hunt to get 6 birds out of one CRP patch. My female Brittany handles her bird as you mentioned , I like a dog that will relocate when a bird moves off . Enjoyed the read !!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Sartell, MN
    Posts
    30

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    Great progression from last year to this with Bree. So much fun to see that strong drive begin to pay off by having shot opportunities. It also means that you were able to find some birds in your area which is always a positive. It can oftentimes be difficult to remain patient as a young dog figures out this game, especially when compared to our past dogs. Hope she gets many more opportunities through the remainder of the season and you have a great SD season.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    SW NoDak
    Posts
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    Excellent! Lost a member of the pack last Fall. Newest pack member, Pads, is just 6 months and doing well for her age. I have shot 19 roosters over her this Fall. It is much more relaxing to hunt behind her 5 year old pack mate Jazz though. Jazz was once a “crazy dog” like Pads and earned the moniker “Miss Exuberance”. Pads is known as “Miss Exuberance II”. She’ll come around with age and bird exposure...the keys to a good dog imo.

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