Everyone ruins his first bird dog.
I don’t know who coined this phrase but if you own a dog you’ve heard it, and while not entirely true, it’s not entirely false either. Unfortunately, many mistakes made with a first dog carry over to the second, third, or twentieth if left unchecked. Trust me, I’ve been there.
As mistakes go, my first dog suffered just about every possible combination. I gave him commands that he hadn’t learned and then zinged him with the e-collar when he didn’t obey. He’d run off for thirty minutes and when he finally came back, tail wagging and happy to see me again, I’d let him have it. Pure genius. Consistency was a matter of convenience or, more often, coincidence. I did many, many things that I’m not proud of.
Lucky for me I had a good dog who shook off most of those mistakes and ended up being a solid hunter, but dog training and dog owning shouldn’t come down to luck.
So what is Bird Dog Logic? It’s all of the things professional trainers wish dog owners would do. It’s the common sense that we need to be reminded of, the unnatural stuff we should hear repeated until it becomes natural. When you step back and look, it’s all very logical, and ultimately it’s the stuff that keeps us from ruining a bird dog.
This is an effort to bring those things out of the shadows and into the everyday conversation. It’s not training techniques in the traditional sense. Training techniques are necessary – you can’t mold a dog without them – but nearly all of them focus on what the dog is doing. Equally important is what you’re doing.
Bird Dog Logic is not a new “system” or a step-by-step guide for a finished dog in only 6 weeks. It’s a way of looking at your dog and working with your dog that won’t undo all of your trainer’s hard work.
Training your dog yourself? It’s even more important that you keep these things in mind. If a pro trains your dog, your only job is to not mess up his work. If you train your dog, you have to avoid mistakes during the process that could keep your pup from even getting to first base.
I’m not a pro trainer and have no aspirations to be. I’m just a guy who’s owned bird dogs for the last 20+ years, made most of the mistakes and couldn’t find a resource that showed dog owners how to avoid those same blunders.
Writing this first post, I have no idea how the idea will play out. It may run a few months and we find that everything worthwhile has been said. Or it may keep going like the Energizer bunny. Either way I hope you’ll find something useful.
Keep checking in-
Wondering where to start? This page gives a good foundation.