Chief's Brittanys® Brittany Dog FAQ's

Brittany Bad HabitsPuppy Biting…Barking…My dog rolls in… My dog eats his poop!  YUK!!!

Brittany Breeder Questions - How can I find a companion Brittany breeder?  I can't find a puppy!  How do I interview a breeder?  Am I ready for a puppy? What about Rescue Brittanys?  Selecting a Breeder?  Contracts?  Deposits?

Health and Fitness of the Brittany- Heat Stroke.  Dog Foods, which are best for my dog?  Tail docking? Potty Training?

Hunting Questions - My dog creeps in on point. What can I do?

 

 

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Breeder/Breed questions/Rescue info

Health and Fitness (house training too)

Hunting related (training related questions)

How to deal with bad habits 

 

 

 

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Breed/Breeder questions

What is the difference between the American Brittany and the French Brittany? The French Brittany is smaller in stature; more heavily bodied and is allowed to have black on its coat and/or nose. The black and white French Brittany is acceptable as is the orange/white with black nose and mouth pigmentation. The French Brittany should have a "square stature" and the French discounts a long nose, as they believe it smacks of setter influence. The French Brittany is seen in Brittany Field Trials occasionally as well as hunt tests; however, it is not recognized by the ABC (American Brittany Club).

The earliest record of importation of a Brittany to America was recorded in 1912. In the 1930's two people began in earnest to try to establish the Brittany Spaniel here in America, with the first show appearance being at the Westminster in the 1930's (as a French Brittany). The 40's are when the American Brittany actually began to be developed. The French Brittany however, continued to be imported in earnest through the 60's.

Many of the French Brittanys that were brought to America were of top quality field/show dogs to begin with and were shown/field trialed with great success as well as just hunted. So, the American Brittany is a refinement of the French Brittany. Orange and White coloration's along with Liver and White and Roans became popular. Less and less importations of French Brittanys occurred due to the development of the American Brittany.

The French Brittany is bred to be a close working, quartering, biddable dog due to the terrain in France. The Americans of the 40's, 50's, 60's hunted wide-open terrain and therefore a very close working dog fell into disfavor among Americans. Hence breeding began for the bigger running American Brittany. It was developed out of hunter preference (paraphrased information from "The Book of the American Brittany," Eighties Edition.) "The Americans preferred the lighter bodied, longer legged dogs, built to run and cover the wider fields available in <our> country."

The French Brittany has begun to generate much more interest in the 80's and 90's. This is because American hunting grounds began to degenerate in size due to highways, smaller fields, and less game. Many Americans today hunt this marginal cover and prefer a biddable close working Brittany.

 The first Brittany Field Trial was in 1939. This was a trial of French Brittanys, as the American Brittany hadn't been developed. The American Brittany club was formed in 1942.

The American Brittany was developed to cover the open terrain of American hunting grounds. Early pioneers in the breeding of Brittanys used Select French Brittanys that possessed a big run. This was a natural evolution for the American Brittany. An ideal Brittany should have a natural point, honor, retrieve, tender mouth, and gentle disposition. The Brittany should be biddable and affectionate, with a keen sense of smell.

There is one truism in relation to ANY bird dog. "You can always reel a big running dog in through training, but you can't send a genetically close working dog out in big terrain."

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What should I look for in a Breeder?  How much?  A reputable breeder stands behind their dogs. They will offer a written contract with written guarantees against genetic defects, communicable diseases, hunting ability, etc.

A reputable breeder will put your desires first and help match puppy personality with that of the adopting family. They will offer unlimited advice and support regarding the puppy you adopted. They will have registered the pup's litter with at least AKC and sometimes other registries such as the FDSB (field dog studbook). They will have given the puppy it's first shots, done prophylactic worming, had dewclaws removed, and tail docking (if required for your breed) done. They will have had the parents examined for good hips, eyes, elbows, and general soundness. They will have a PLAN for the breeding. In other words, they matched the sire and dam for specific reasons that help to further the breed and enhance it's performance.

How much does a pup cost from a reputable breeder? Brittanys from proven reputable breeders (with written guarantees and complete supoort) average 800 to 1000 dollars. Yes you can find cheaper dogs, but you probably aren't getting a pup from a planned breeding with written guarantees and a reputable breeder as we've described above.  If you want to save money and take a chance, start looking the newspapers and you might find a BYB (backyard breeder) with a 'cheap' pup.  Beware the cheap pup!  Cheap is only cheap if the dog is exactly what you were looking for and doesn't need expensive Vet care.

Don't let the price scare you.  Most reputable breeders will allow payments.  Since reputable breeders have a backlog of folks waiting for pups (if they don't, why?!), a reputable breeders' pup should be affordable as you will have time to save your money.

Do I need to talk to several breeders?  How do I interview a breeder We strongly recommend you shop around for breeders and compare notes.  A good place to start is our puppy web page.  Look at it, read it carefully.  Use our standards as a 'go-by' for other breeders if you like what we have to offer.  If you want more or less from a breeder than what we offer, write that down as a question to ask.  Develop a full range of questions to ask each and every breeder.  Be consistent in that you ask each breeder the same line of questions.

When you call a breeder be informative/polite, inquisitive, and quiet.  What do I mean? 

Informative/polite:  Start by introducing yourself politely and telling the breeder that you have done your research on different breeds (do this before calling a breeder!)  and that your dog will be primarily a _____(companion, gun dog, show dog, trial dog, family dog, etc.).  This will save the breeder his/her breath and your time if they don't want to sell a dog to you for your purposes.   Example:  We only sell to companion families that will hunt with their dogs. 

It's important that you understand that a reputable breeder is selective about whom they sell their dogs to.  It's not like going to a retail store and telling the owner that you'll "take your business elsewhere" or "that's too much money".  A reputable breeder has a waiting list for his/her dogs and won't give in to such pressures.  A reputable breeder knows that it's a lifetime venture between you, your new dog, and them.  Therefore, they are selective about who they enter into a 10 to 15 year agreement with. 

Most breeders will  interview you formally or indirectly.  They may ask for references, drivers license number, etc. so be prepared.

Inquisitive:  Have the breeder explain their breeding program to you in their own words.  Let them finish before asking your questions.  A reputable breeder has a lot to say about their program and shouldn't be at a loss of words.  They should be friendly and offer you all the references in the world.  Don't be afraid to call references!  Don't 'lead' them with leading questions since an untrustworthy person will tell you just what you want to hear.

Quiet:  In the interview, listen carefully and take notes.

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I think I am ready for pup-how do I know? Are you really ready for a puppy now?  Do you have a safe place for your new companion?  Can you afford Vet expenses?  Do you have a fenced-in yard and will you 'baby proof' your house if it is to be a house dog?  Do you have young infant children in the home and if so can you handle another baby (pups need as much attention)?  Are there any circumstances that will cause a problem with dog ownership such as neighborhood/city/county restrictions?  I could ask a ton more questions but hopefully this will get you to thinking.

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Why can't I find a puppy right now?  We don't want to wait.  When should I start looking for a Breeder? As mentioned above, reputable breeders have a waiting list.  If they don't, you need to wonder why!  Allow 6 to 12 months  on average for a pup from a reputable breeder.  If the breeder has an abundance of pups, beware! 

Most breeders will require a deposit on the pup and the industry standard is that the deposit is non-refundable....why?  Because the breeder has to be a business person unfortunately.  The deposit you place is more accurately termed 'Surety of Action' which means exactly what it says.  It's similar to putting down a deposit on a home, if you back out, you forfeit your deposit.  Several breeder books back this position such as 'Breeding A Litter' (Harris).

Sometimes your extenuating circumstances may help the breeder decide to return your deposit or delay delivery (at your request) .   Ask breeders about deposits up front so you are not surprised.  Your breeder has turned away other folks for the pup you reserved as well as all the work involved with switching order of pick, AKC paperwork, etc.  So BEFORE you place a deposit, BE SURE YOU HAVE DONE ALL OF YOUR HOMEWORK!  If you did do your homework with regard to picking a breeder, you undoubtedly already have a good relationship with your breeder.  One refund you will never get is if you find another litter you like that will be delivered sooner.  It's unfair to the breeder who has invested so much time in you to make sure you are the right owner.  Make sure you are willing to WAIT!

Get an advanced copy of the contract.  Period.  Our contract is based on the interview questions.  So if you have submitted our interview and discussed it with us, you'll have no problems with the final contract.

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How do I pick the best pup for hunting? We've heard of a lot of ways to pick. Everything from hiding a quail in your pocket to putting out a can of sardines to see which pup finds it first. It's a crapshoot at best when picking a puppy. The only thing that puts the odds in your favor is to get the pup from proven parents and a reputable breeder. As far as secrets for picking a pup, there isn't one. If we knew, we would not have sold some of the best Brittanys we've ever seen hunting. Any breeder who likes to compete will honestly tell you that if they had a surefire method, they would keep the best and go to the Nationals every year and/or only let the very best go to a limited clientele.

An old breeders adage is 'Pick the litter' NOT 'pick of the litter'.  Pick of the litter / sex offers you choice of color pattern/personality at time of picking.  It doesn't guarantee you the best dog.  I've seen the last pick end as the best family gun dog out of the whole litter not just once but many times!

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What is the best pointing dog pup for me? It depends on how the dog will fit into your life style. Some breeds do best when loved and cared for as a house companion as well as a hunting dog. The Brittany and others fit that description while other breeds, such as the Pointer, do just fine living life in a kennel.

Consider the personality/physical/intended uses for any breed you are looking at.  Don't go by your neighbors dog as representing the breed standard...research, research, research!

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I just want a pet and have no intentions to hunt my future Brittany. How can I find a Breeder who will sell me a "Companion Only" Brittany?

We recommend that you contact the American Brittany Club Breeder Referral Person. This is a free service for families seeking American Brittany Breeders. They will give you a list of breeders nearest you.

Rescue and Give Away Brittanys, some thoughts and info

We admire families who rescue any breed/mixed breed dog. We rescue Brittanys in our area and adopt them out to caring families who know what to expect from Brittanys in general. There are a few things we'd like to offer in the way of advice to the giver or the adopting family.

For the receiving family:

  1. Brittanys are an energetic sporting breed. They love to run, romp, and play. A Brittany of good breeding will never be mean or vicious. However, some rescue Brittanys and give away Brittanys may have some really bad habits.
  2. Most rescue and giveaways are orphaned because they have some habit or health situation that the original owner could not tolerate. Any time you take a rescued/give away Brittany, prepare for the worst. That way you will be pleasantly surprised when you see how loving the Brittany really can be. Try to find out why the Brittany was given away and what health/mental/bad habits it may have. Some have no bad habits because they are simply being given away for a fairly benign reason such as relocation of the family to a smaller place or something of the sort.
  3. Read every article in every book, magazine, or Internet web site about Brittanys. You will come away with a feeling of what the Brittany breed is all about. If you could care less about pedigrees, we recommend you first try to rescue a Brittany or take the give away. Make sure you have informed yourself and your family first about Brittany behaviors.
  4. The average rescue/give away will be out of puppy hood. If the prior owner is known, it will have a name. We recommend you rename the Brittany if it comes from a bad situation. This Brittany only has one connection to its prior life when you adopt it, its name. It may associate negative things with that name. Teach the new name with love and care, never harshly.
  5. Brittany Rescue information:

Click one of the following link and visit the Brittany rescue:

American Brittany Rescue

National Brittany Rescue and Adoption Network

Brittany Rescue In Texas

 Families giving away a Brittany:

Sometimes you feel that you prepared yourself adequately only to find that the active Brittany needs more exercise than you can offer.

First of All:  Don't blame your breeder.  If you had done your homework you would have been prepared.  If it's a control issue and you never bothered to hire a professional trainer with training results oriented guarantees, then try that first if you really would rather keep it.  Chief's Brittanys not only guarantees the training and results but insists you return the dog for if it is not performing as you ask. 

Secondly:  Don't blame the trainer if you didn't do your part 100 percent as requested by the professional trainer!  Many times the problem lies with the owner who won't or can't exhibit alpha domination over their pet as the trainer as recommended.

Perhaps you are moving and just can't take a pet to your new situation or maybe the Brittany has bad habits that your family can't seem to control, or, it came down with a serious health condition you can't afford to treat but you don't have the heart to put the Brittany down to eternal rest. Whatever the cause, you now have a Brittany to give away. Here are some tips:

CALL YOUR BREEDER FIRST!

You may have a 'first right of refusal' clause in your contact which you MUST legally offer the dog back to the breeder first (WE DO!)

We at Chief's Brittanys know the rescue folks and if one of our dogs ends up "in the system" we will hear about it eventually so please call your breeder first.

Even if you don't have that in your contract, CALL YOUR BREEDER FIRST!  If your breeder declines the dog then:

  1. While giving the dog away is a quick and easy way to get rid of the dog, we recommend you contact a Brittany dog rescue league to learn the right questions to ask of the adoptive family when placing your dog in another home.  You may place an ad in a local paper expressing your desire to place your Brittany in a new home. We recommend you carefully screen each family that wants the dog even if it means holding on to the dog an extra few months while looking for the perfect family.
  2. We recommend you ensure that all health records are up to date and if not, contact your family vet for a copy of his records. We also suggest that you write down every bad habit or health problem the dog has to better inform the adopting family. Some families will adopt a giveaway even if it has problems. Be fair and honest up front and you will eventually find a loving family.
  3. Write down all commands the dog knows, including its name. Write down all mental problems that the dog may have, including little things you may overlook. Little things can be very big things to the dog. Here are some sample problems: The dog cowers when the vacuum is turned on; the dog runs from children; the dog chews and digs constantly; the dog urinates on itself if spoken to harshly, etc. You will be helping the adoptive family immensely if you provide this information.
  4. If your dog is a Brittany, Call the Brittany Rescue FIRST if you cannot place the dog with a loving family who will care for the dog. 
  5. If you don't know how to interview for a good family, contact the rescue anyway and ask them what you should look for in a good prospective family!

Rescue:
American Brittany Club
Rhonda Carlson,
(510) 582-2714 (home),
(510) 549-2527 (work)
  rhonda@americanbrittanyrescue.org
California

Finally, be sure you have done everything possible to correct health/mental/bad habit problems.  Just in case you missed it earlier,  CALL YOUR BREEDER FIRST!

A Brittany has a soft personality and it bonds closely with its first owners. Give it a good chance before you give away/sell your Brittany and don't give it away/sell it until after you CALL YOUR BREEDER FIRST!

 

I just got my puppy and want to know about vaccinations, training, etc.?

Click here to read some general guidelines.  Click here to read them.  Use your 'back' button to return to this page.

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Health and Fitness

I've been told that if I spay/neuter my dog that it won't hunt as well and will get fat. Is this true? It will in no way, anyhow, under any circumstances, change his ability to hunt, period. That is an old wives tale (maybe old hunter tale?) that just won't die. Usually assumptions are made that are not really attributable to the spay/neutering. An example is that the dog is forced trained at an early age to hunt and at about the same time is spayed/neutered. The resulting shortened range is due to the early force training, not the spaying /neutering.

The only legitimate concern we've seen is weight gain and sometimes hair growth changes, which if you think about it, makes sense.  Hormones are reduced and some things will change.  Less hormone driven metabolism (not to be confused with less active in the field), same diet equal more weight... Simply adjust the diet appropriately if needed.  Sometimes hair growth patterns change.  We've seen some dogs go from a medium coat to a more wiry texture or other soft puffy texture...not sure how that happens but other breeders have noticed similar results...this doesn't always happen but can.

We do believe that neutering a male too soon (before age 2) will alter his growth so that he does not mature physically as he ordinarily would have (not height but rather muscle mass and masculine features).  If you delay in neutering for that reason, be a responsible owner and do not let your male wander around impregnating females.

Should I worry about hip dysplasia? No, unless you are getting a pup from a questionable breeder. Make sure the Breeder has x-rayed the breeding stock and that they guarantee the pups against genetic defects, including hip dysplasia. Getting a dog without a guarantee is asking for trouble.  Please read the next question below.

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What about hip dysplasia?  Hip Dysplasia is genetic in the Brittany breed much the same way some diseases are specific to certain human races.  It will never be gotten rid of completely even among the most conscientious of breeders.

A breeder that x-rays their breeding stock to check for sound hips will help lower the incidence of hip dysplasia but it is still possible to have a puppy with defective hips even though the parents hips are sound.

OFA is a voluntary organization that certifies canine hips to be poor, fair, good, or excellent based on x-rays of the dog submitted by the breeders Veterinarian.  In no way are the results a guarantee that the pups won't have it.  It happens all the time. 

Because dysplasia is found in the Brittany breed, OFA  or PENN HIP certified parents are NOT a guarantee that your puppy will be free of dysplasia even though the puppies parents may have OFA excellent hips. 

Some breeders/web sites May lead you to believe that OFA is the supreme certification and because their sire/dam are OFA certified, all their pups will be free of hip dysplasia, THEY ARE MISLEADING YOU, intentionally or not.

Read the current stats for the Brittany reported from www.offa.org Because OFA is voluntary and cost the breeder extra money, there are FAR more breeders who do not participate than there are that do participate, therefore the statistics reported are severely skewed.  Then there are the breeders who are not reputable and somehow 'always' have OFA certified dogs or upon learning from their Vet that the young dog probably won't pass OFA, choose not to submit it to OFA...another way to skew the statistics...  Hmmm.  Some will say "well at least we are trying or it's not perfect but its the best we have".  True statement but others have practices that their personal Vets subscribe to that are equally as effective.

OK, You're confused?...What you should know is that if the breeder is reputable, they will have x-rayed their breeding stock and offer full guarantees for health!    We guarantee ours for LIFE.  No reputable Breeder wants to send home a defective puppy.  Why would they if it is fully guaranteed in writing?

Also, the incidence of getting a dysplastic puppy is lower if the breeder has several generations of x-rayed stock with sound hips as we do here at Chief's Brittanys.

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Why do Brittany breeders dock the tail and remove the dewclaws? The tail is docked because it protects against cuts/scrapes/punctures from briars and thorny vegetation. Tails have been known to freeze/suffer painful frostbite and even break off  in severe cold.   I have seen, many times, long tailed dogs with 1/3 of the tail bloody/raw from wagging it in and near thorny vegetation. So from a hunting standpoint, docking is practical.   Why put your dog through this?

Dewclaws are removed because they serve no function and have been known to be ripped or torn traumatically when the dog is hunting in heavy vegetation. They also can become ingrown since they are easy to forget at nail trimming time.  Since it serves no function and has a chance, no matter how remote, of being injured, why not get rid of it?  If done early, it is easy and quickly done.

It costs the breeder more up front to have the Veterinarian dock the tail and remove the dewclaws, but if it is to be done, it is recommended that it be done in the first 3 days after birth. It much less traumatic in the first 3 days since the nervous system isn't fully developed and there are very few complications.

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What is the best dog food for my pup?

What makes cheaper foods from reputable companies any different, other than price, than the expensive foods?  There are two primary substances found in dog foods:  The primary substance (first ingredient listed on the label) is either Grain-based or Meat/Meal-based.  Grain based means the number one ingredient is a grain such as corn.  Meat / Meal-based means that the foods number one ingredient is fresh meat or meal (reduced meat/bone to a dry meal form) however, real undehydrated meat as the first ingredient is misleading.  Read on...

Lamb / chicken meal based food is about 300 times more nutrient dense than a food that is advertised as "real lamb" as the number one ingredient.  Companies advertising "Real lamb" (or any meat) as the first ingredient are misleading the public.  Though technically they are _starting_ with real meat as the number one ingredient, they have to reduce that real meat to a dry form to sell.  Once that is done, it is then technically No Longer the number on ingredient and thus further down on the list.  At that point, whatever is 2nd, 3rd, or 4th is higher on the ingredient list than the now reduced meat.

So what I recommend is look at the first Four Ingredients!  You want to see a couple of meats and/or a quality fat in the first 4 ingredients.

Regarding grain based foods:  They still provide nutrition, however, the proportions need to be larger and you will notice that the dogs stool tends to be large &  loose.  No one likes cleaning up messy stools!.  Grain based dog food adds stress to the G.I. tract vs. non-grain based foods'.  I strongly recommend that if you feed a grain based food, that it be limited to rice or oats and not corn.  We like rice or oats.

Many companies sell very inexpensive foods (which all are grain based with little or no meat / meal) as well as premium and super premium foods.  After all, they are selling to the general public and not everyone can afford to buy higher end foods.  Look for AAFCO rated foods.  AAFCO is a non-profit that monitors the quality and safety of animal feeds.

If your dog's hair is dry, unmanageable, etc. it's the food.  You should NOT need supplemental formulas for your dog's coat to be nice and sleek.  If you have to do that, you should consider another dog food.

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What can I do to protect my pup should it get lost?  Is there more than an ordinary dog collar?

In addition to ordinary collars with your name address and phone number (include your cell phone number now that cell numbers are portable!)  We most strongly recommend microchipping all your pets.  In Texas, it is now STATE LAW that all humane shelters have a scanner that will scan all chips, not just one brand.

Effective 06-29-04, all of Chief's Brittany pups are sold and microchipped free at 6 months of age.  We have found that if it is done much sooner, the chip has a tendency to migrate (no matter the brand).  This ensures the dog can be promptly returned to its home.  Since microchips have now been around for quite some time, even the smallest of humane shelters have universal scanners to scan for microchips.  At least one microchip maker, AVID, offers scanners for free to shelters.

What is a microchip and how does the microchip work?

The microchip is a tiny computer chip which has an identification number programmed into it. The chip is encased in a smooth, strong biocompatible glass, and is small enough to fit into a hypodermic needle. Once an animal is injected with the chip, he can be identified throughout his life by this one-of-a-kind number. His identification cannot be lost, altered or intentionally removed.

The microchip is generally injected deeply under the skin. It sits safely there, totally inert. A special scanner is used to send a radio signal through the skin of the animal to read the chip. The animal feels nothing as the scanner is passed over him. The microchip sends it’s number back to the scanner. It appears in the viewing window.

How long does the microchip last?

The microchip has no power supply, battery, or moving parts. It is designed with an operating life of over 25 years and is guaranteed for the life of the animal. Once injected, the new microchip is anchored in place as a thin layer of connective tissue forms around it thus preventing migration. The chip requires no care. It does not pass through or out of the body.  You cannot feel the chip as it is only the size of a grain of rice.

Reputable breeders who go the extra mile will offer microchip services.  Otherwise, you should be able to locate a Veterinarian near you to implant your pets.  The implantation procedure is no more uncomfortable than an ordinary vaccination.  The chip is delivered via a shot between the shoulder blades just like vaccinations.

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I just got my puppy and want to know about vaccinations, training, etc.

Click here to read a general set of guidelines  Use your 'back' button to return to this page.

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Should I give my dog its shots? That depends on you. Because giving immunization shots regularly is important, it should be done correctly. If you think you have what it takes to give your own shots, a good catalog resource is "Dr. Foster and Smith." Their catalog offers vaccines at a reasonable price and they have an article in each catalog that discusses the proper way to give the shots. Our recommendation is that if you only have one or two dogs, its best to just let the Vet do it. The Vet must give some shots such as the rabies vaccination.

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How do I potty train?

At night or when we cannot supervise the indoor house pup, we put young pup in a kennel that is not too large of a kennel as they will potty in one end and lay in the other. As they get older, we move them up to a larger
kennel. (A portable kennel/crate. Brands available are Vari-kennel, Pet
Porter, etc.)

Place chew hooves/chew toys in the kennel with pup for boredom purposes. The best chews we've found that last are chew hooves and chew knuckles.

Try not to let pup stay in the kennel more than a couple of hours without taking him out in the beginning phases of training. We always take pup out to potty just before lights out. That way he can go to sleep. When sleeping, he doesn't think about pottying. If pup starts to become restless bark, whine, or paw in the night, get up and take him outside and watch pup potty before bringing pup back inside. Be consistent. Once a pup learns to lie in its own waste, it's even harder to house train. If you get up in the middle of the night and he wakes up, go ahead and take pup out to potty. Teach everyone in the house what to do.

When supervising pup you need to identify his signs for wanting to go out or give him one.

How to give him a sign? We learned this trick from another Brittany owner and it works! Get a small bell and attach it to an eyehook at the door he uses to go out and potty (about 6 inches off the floor and backed with a protective piece of wood to prevent damage to the door trim/wall). Every time you start to put pup out, first take pups front paw and lightly ring the bell, which is by the door. Be consistent. If pup is playing and accidentally bumps into the bell, stop what you are doing and take him out.

This is sort of like what you learned in college about training mice to flip a switch for a reward.  You may remember Pavlov did experiments with dogs and bells at meal time.  He found that the dog would actually start to salivate when it heard the bell after it was conditioned to it!  I've had Brittanys learn in as little as three days to ring the bell to go potty, but the average is about a couple of weeks for those who aren't so consistent in their training.   No matter how the bell gets rung, take him out. This is a good project on a Friday evening after work. That way, by Sunday, you've had two good full days of training. Again, teach everyone in the house what to do and be consistent.

We recently trained Sarah, our newest puppy, with the bell.  We started Friday morning and took her out every 30 minutes as described above.  When she came in, we would reward her with a small tasty treat.  On Saturday, went half a day letting her out every 45 minutes then went to every hour.  On Sunday were letter her out about every hour and a half.  Sunday afternoon she rang the bell independently!!!!!!  We ran to let her out praised her verbally and when she came in, she was looking at us for the treat!  She was a little inconsistent for a few more days but after one week had it down solid....no more accidents!!!!!

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My dog has ______ disease. What should I do? First things first, get a second opinion! If you are near any major metropolitan area, Vets are available in different specialties just like people doctors.

If you are sure that your Vet is right, do some research to ensure your dog gets the quality care it deserves.

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My dog has a terminal illness, what do I do? If you are sure about the disease being terminal, use compassion when considering whether to use euthanasia or not. A good rule of thumb that we use: Are we prolonging the life of the dog for us or can my dog actually continue to live a quality life?

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My dog lives a sedentary life. What can I do to help keep him in shape?

There are a number of things you can do to keep your dog in shape. Here are a few ideas: 1. Take your dog for a walk twice a day. - 2. Use a dog walking service. A large number of metropolitan areas offer them. - 3. Get your dog a treadmill. It's true that you can teach your dog to use a treadmill, so we've heard. Without going into it too far, we've heard that it can be done with a special harness rig. - 4. Do you bicycle? If so, and your dog knows how to heel, you can find a device that hooks directly to your bicycle for 'roading' your dog. It is spring loaded so a jerk from the dog shouldn't cause a crash. We've never tried it so you're on your own. - 5. If your dog loves to play fetch, do it outdoors and really let your pet stretch out in to a full run to fetch.  Also, Diet!  Overweight Brittanys are our number one issue to deal with for pets entering our training program.  We feel our program provides optimum nutrition balanced with the right exercise program.

My dog gets overheated in the field easily.  Should I worry?  Click here!

 

Bad Habit Questions:

1. My Brittany is a digger! What can I do?

Brittanys are notorious diggers. We always tell people this up front just in case they have some prize geraniums or such ;-). They dig from boredom and to cool themselves in the summer (They will sprawl out on the
freshly dug cool earth). We recommend lots of chew toys; plenty of exercise every day to help minimize the digging urge. Save your money on the gimmick remedies. If it's real bad, build them a large fenced play area or use a long cable/pulley tie out system where they can get exercise and dig in an appropriate area.

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2. My Brittany is a chewer! What can I do?

As you have found, Brittany's are big time chewers, especially if bored. It seems that once they find a particular object that is tasty (?) they go for it at any chance. We have found that the best chews on the market are beef basted or smoked dried hooves. They are all natural (calf hooves), don't look too bad, and do have an odor only when being actively chewed. We buy them by the box full out of Foster & Smith or New England Serum catalogs. Brittanys will walk through mountains of chew toys to get to a smoked hoof! At first pup will not know what to do with it, but in about 5 minutes of chewing a hoof, they are hooked. Hooves outlast all other chews about 10 to 1 (except for something like the nylabone which all of my Brittanys are rather indifferent to).

Lastly, baby proof your house. Brittanys are like babies and will get into things they shouldn't. This is part of the compromise for having a happy, active Brittany in the house. Also, Don't trust her with anything even after corrective measures! It's like dogs that love to dig in trash; taking away the temptation is worth a pound of cure. Good luck.

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3.What can I do to keep my Brittany from barking all the time in the house, in its crate, etc?

We take a clean, chemical free, spray bottle and fill it with clean water. Adjust the nozzle to spray mist not stream. When pup starts to bark and whine, pick up your bottle which is loaded and nearby, tell pup NO!, and spray a mist into his face. It doesn't hurt the pup and is a "soft" way to correct. Each additional bark/whine must be met with another spray and the corrective NO!

Be consistent and teach everyone in the home how to do it. You'll be making several trips at first so hide around the corner from his kennel. On the first successive bark, come out of hiding with a NO! And spray the mist in his face. Trust me, even water loving Brittanys don't like mist in their face and it does not harm their love for a good swim. Dogs don't think that complex. It's only the bottle and mist that makes them reluctant to bark. After correcting pup, place the bottle in full view of him. It acts as a non-verbal deterrent when he is in his kennel.

After a few days of this, pup is cured. Just a simple NO! From then on, and
pup will hush.

One final note on this technique: Use your judgment. He may be whining because he has to go potty. If so, reward with a trip to potty. Make sure he does his potty before returning indoors.  If barking during your absence from home is a problem, read on!

Outdoor problem barking causing problems with neighbors? 

There are a number of solutions.  Personally, I would invest in a quality (not a cheap) no-bark collar.  I would put it on her every night and take it off every morning as most no-bark collar manufacturers recommend that you not leave it on for more than 12 hours at a time.  If barking in your absence is a problem, then you will have to put it on the dog every time you leave.

They make no-bark collars that emit a sound, some that emit citronella spray, and those that emit an electrical shock.  I have no experience with the citronella collar but do have experience with the other two.  I would say the one that emits a shock is more effective and reliable.  Quality no-bark collars that shock are adjustable so that you are not applying too much stimulation.  Most Brittanys will respond to the lowest level of stimulation to stop them from barking.

If your dog has a particularly soft personality and responds well to verbal scolding, then the collar that emits a high-pitched sound may be effective for her.

You can find no-bark collars here Dr. Foster and Smith

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4.  My Brittany rolls in feces, dead animals and other disgusting things. What can I do?

We've read that this is a trait that originates from way back when dogs were responsible for finding their own food. It is thought that dogs roll in dead animals and such to mask their own smell so their prey won't smell them coming. It seems to be a strong trait in hunting dogs and unfortunately, it is difficult/impossible to stop. Our dogs know we don't like it, but they choose to do it anyway. When we correct them, they stop - reluctantly. When we're not looking, they're in to it again.

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5.  Puppy Biting

This is a common question with multiple remedies. We pop him on the nose
with our finger and say NO! He may think its play and respond with more
aggressiveness. Respond in kind. You must aggressively stop this behavior pattern early!

Another way is to use a rolled up newspaper and smack his bottom and say NO!  Now the do-gooders out there might say NO to that but dogs learn through pack mentality inherited thousands of years ago.  In a pack, a dog that steps out of line gets nipped or worse to put it back in line.

Yet another way is to spray a mist of clean water in his face and say NO! You get the idea. If you've tried the less aggressive methods (redirection of chewing and so forth) you must step up the punishment one notch, but not too harsh as he is just a puppy. MOST of all, be consistent.

And finally, some say you can smear a tasty treat such as smooth peanut butter on your hand to teach the pup that your hand is something good.  I've never tried this technique and don't know if it works.  Seems to me he would want to bite it but hey, I'm open minded.

Always redirect his biting to his favorite chew toy such as rawhides/knuckle
bones/hooves, etc. Nip this unwanted behavior in the bud now or it will worsen.

He is teething so the chews are important, 24 hours a day.

6.  My dog eats his poop!  Yuk!!!  I agree that it is very disgusting.  What you are describing is called ‘Coprophagy’, eating feces.  There are a number of products out there that fix this.  The products work by making the stool taste terrible yet it is harmless to the dog otherwise.  One is called ‘For-bid’; another is called ‘Dis-taste’.  You can get it at most pet stores or order it on-line at Dr’s Foster and Smith A cheap alternative is to get some Lowry’s meat tenderizer UNSEASONED.  Sprinkle it on the dogs’ food everyday similar to the For-Bid and Dis-taste products.

Let me make one more suggestion.  If you have two or more dogs, you have to put it on all the dogs food so that it ALL tastes bad to your stool eater.   YUKKK!!!

 

 

Hunting related questions

Should I train myself? I have no experience. You will derive a LOT more satisfaction doing it yourself. Brittanys are a forgiving breed so even if you make a few minor mistakes, they will retrain readily. This is possible because Brittanys love to please their owner. I recommend WOLTERS Gun Dog.

Order Wolters Gundog Today! Want to browse through similar books? Click on the following link!

Click here to visit our Gundog Book and Video store in association with Amazon.com.

He has a solid approach. Just remember to go easy and only train 10 minutes a day/session. End positive and don't forget playtime. Stay away from electronic collars, pinch collars, choke collars, etc. Brittanys are very soft and you can ruin them with one of those devices. Write any time you have questions. Wolters is not perfect and some of his ideas are old but glean what you need and leave the rest.

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My dog creeps in on point. What can I do?  (Dog busts/chases?  Click here)

Creeping in on point has to be one of the most popular of questions.

First off, pointing is an old instinct thousands of years old.  Domestic dog ancestors locate their game, followed by creeping and pouncing.  Man (or woman) merely refines that instinct so that the dog will allow us to creep/flush/kill!  So you see, the point is actually a refinement of his instincts and is somewhat unnatural for him.

The basic problem with creeping is that the dog is not staying on a self-initiated point (whoa) until released and is 'crowding' (creeping up on) the bird - pen raised birds make this problem worse as they do not spook and easily flush wild when a dog crowds them. 

Your dog should be taught in yard work/field obedience to stay at whoa until released either by gunfire or human command.  He should know to stop at first scent and hold.

If your dog was trained properly to begin with, then the creeping is usually man made! Assuming the dog was taught 'whoa' correctly, the dog 'unlearned' his training when the hunter shoots at a bird that the dog did not hold absolutely steady. 

Also, a dog learns to creep and bust if it ever catches a pen-raised bird because the creeping dog is thinking he can catch another.  Allowing your dog to catch a bird is a big time no-no.

Shooting and/or Killing a bird in which the dog was not absolutely steady (even if it takes just a step or two) is a reward to the dog! Therefore, in the dogs mind, creeping is acceptable.

When the dog initially establishes point (gets first scent), it should immediately freeze and point.  You should then be able to remind the young green trained dog to stay on point with a gentle 'whoa' command.  If the dog takes just one more step and you shoot and/or kill the bird - you just reinforced creeping because in his mind, next time, he might be able to get away with 2 steps. 

What you should do, when in a hunting situation, when the dog takes a step or two before the bird flushes, is let the bird go and pick up your dog and put it back where it was when he got first scent, whoa him, then walk out front and kick around - then go back to him and release him on to hunt - this shows him he made a mistake and you didn't reward his mistake by shooting and/or killing the bird.  But you're thinking "yeah but my bird will flush and I won't get to shoot it"....my response is that "you just have put your dogs training ahead of shooting until he is trained properly."

So how do I get him to freeze on first scent?  We like to use remote controlled bird launchers (make sure your dog is desensitized to launchers-see my article about bird intro and launcher desensitization by clicking here).  We take the dog in perpendicular to the down wind scent cone on a lead or check cord.  I like to start at about 50 yards and cross the scent cone left/right moving closer in 5 yard increments so as to cultivate the dogs nose to stop on first scent.  It is imperative that you know how to read your dogs body language so that you know when he gets the first infinitesimal amount of scent.

When he indicates first scent (flaring nostrils, ears forward, flagging, racing in towards the bird, etc.), launch the bird immediately and say nothing!  This is important!  You want him to think that he can cause the bird to flush if he moves beyond first scent!

Now take him back and set another bird IN A DIFFERENT SPOT!  Repeat as above.  We are showing him that any bird, anywhere, will flush if he does not freeze immediately.  Remember, we are not looking for him to point YET but if he does, good!   The first few birds, we are launching the bird the INSTANT he indicates scent with his body language (Such as: flaring nostrils, ears forward, flagging, racing in towards the bird, etc.)

Repeat until he gets the idea he must freeze (point) immediately on the slightest amount of scent.  Once you are sure he will point, then let him point it and wait a few seconds.  If he moves as much as his head, launch the bird again.  We want to gradually get the dog to understand that he must point and hold perfectly still on point!

If after several days and several lessons, your dog is relentless and keeps trying to bust in and chase the bird, then you should immediately launch the bird and, when he reaches the end of the check cord, check him backwards firmly.  Set him up immediately where he was when he caught first scent and tried to run in and bust the bird - command 'whoa' walk out front, kick around as if to flush another bird, walk back and release him to hunt on.  Remember to say nothing when you check him.

If you've had to check him on several birds and he has now gotten the idea that if he busts the bird, he will be checked, then it is time to let him run freely, dragging the check cord so you can gather him up to make him comply should he return to busting / chasing.

Once he is pointing staunchly and still on the lead/check cord, then we reward him with a kill.  Why still on the check cord?  So we can prevent accidents from happening such as a poor flying bird that he is about to catch without pointing properly!

Repeat this exercise until he is locking up on first scent off the check cord and holding for you to launch/kill the bird.

Also, a simple reminder to 'whoa' should be all that is needed to remind him to stay at whoa when he stops at first scent.  Some young dogs will initiate a point but then break and bust/chase.  If this is happening, then gently check/restrain him when he makes his move and remind him to 'whoa'.  If that doesn't fix the problem, you may need to go back to whoa training.  If your dog is not self-initiating his own point at all and is check cord wise, then you need to Click here for my see my section on busting/chasing.

Never whoa your dog into a point. I've covered that in my 'teaching whoa' section on my training web page. And for Pete's sake, don't ever shoot unless the bird was held steady!!!

This is one method, I have a couple other methods not described.

 

My dog doesn't always respond immediately to a command even if I repeat it over and over again: The problem you are having is a common one. Here are some recommendations:

1. Never repeat the same command. Speak the command once, if ignored, go to the dog immediately then repeat and enforce the command.

2. If the dog is slow to respond, have a second command that means the same thing, such as a whistle. For example: "Come Fido" to which the dog acknowledges but is slow to respond, to which you would give your whistle
command or some other command such as "hurry up!"

3. Never try to train initially in distracting situations. First make sure the dog is doing the commands perfectly alone. Then add distractions such as a child bouncing a ball nearby, etc.

4. When adding distractions, have a very long check cord so that you can enforce each ignored command.

5. Never give a command you cannot enforce immediately.

6. When the dog is responding properly to commands even in distractive situations, go to another training location and start over. Dogs are very geographically oriented and many times feel that new locations mean not having to obey the commands. The rule of thumb is that if they'll obey you in at least 3 different locations, they have it!

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My dog won't retrieve absolutely to hand:
The retrieving problem may be partly puppy and/or partly due to him obeying the come command.

Many pups will want to keep the 'trophy' for themselves. Work on his come command daily Away from Birds! When you command come, he should come on a line directly to you without thinking. It should be so ingrained/second nature that he comes to you without thinking even with a bird in his mouth.

One thing we do that helps is to teach heel. We teach heel and practice it daily to the point in which the dog will come to the position of heel, automatically, Off the Lead.

Then, when pup has the bird in his mouth, we command, "come, heel" while slowly walking away from him. If he has the heel command down solid, he will come along and walk beside you at heel without thinking. Then, Simply reach down (while slowly walking) and pet him while using sweet talk as a reward.  Then as he loses interest or if he begins to bite down too hard, gently take the bird from his mouth while commanding, "drop" or "give". Praise excitedly.  If you take it too soon from him, you are actually penalizing him for bringing it to you!

There are other options not discussed that are best done by a Pro.

Hope this helps. Take a peek at our training section on "Developing the natural Retrieve"

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My Dog shies away from live birds when hunting:


The problem you describe is called blinking. Now before I say this, please do not think I am directing anything at you. Blinking is usually a man-made problem.

You didn't indicate the presence of a check cord or electronic collar, but misuse of either will result in a blinker. Typically the dog goes in on point then creeps in and flushes the birds out of your range. The
disgruntled handler prepares for the next incident and as soon as the dog creeps in, he applies some sort of punishment.

Not that you did this, but it is a major cause. You see, in the dogs mind, he thinks that birds On The Ground can now hurt him. His instinct drives him to hunt but when the blinker finds a bird, his memory takes over and tells him that
birds hurt, hence the "blink" which is when he shies away. His not wanting anything to do with the bird until it is safely killed and picked up is a sure indicator of the blinking syndrome.

The cure: PATIENCE. There are a number of good books out there that go through multiple different methods too lengthy to discuss here. I personally like the "transference" method with lots of praise and hunting
him a lot with experienced dogs. Kill tons of birds over him, even it's just pigeons.

Whatever method you use, DO NOT ever yell, become impatient, get physical or anything else that will cause this dog any further mental problems on birds.


Don't be hard on yourself trying to figure exactly what happened; now you have to find the cure. Fortunately for you, blinking can be cured with enough time and patience. Good luck.

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What do Brittanys hunt? Brittanys are known best for their happy personality and natural abilities to hunt upland game and retrieve. They make good waterfowl dogs too! (See next question)

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Do Brittanys make good waterfowl dogs as well? Yes! American Brittanys were bred from French Brittany Spaniels, have webbed toes and love the water. They are strong swimmers. While they were not bred for very cold-water temperatures, a well-made neoprene vest helps to equal the playing field. A goose is a tall order for a Brittany, but duck and other small fowl are easy pickin's, pardon the pun.

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Is there a different approach to training based on the breed? Mostly yes. Most Brittanys are "soft." Soft means that the pup is easily intimidated, frightened, or has a timid personality. Harsh training methods can ruin the soft dog mentally and cause pup to never realize it's full potential afield. A lot of Pointers and some German breeds tend to be "harder" in personality.

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Should I train myself? I have no experience. You will derive a LOT more satisfaction doing it yourself. Brittanys are a forgiving breed so even if you make a few minor mistakes, they will retrain readily. This is possible because Brittanys love to please their owner. I recommend WOLTERS Gun Dog.

Order Wolters Gundog Today! Want to browse through similar books? Click on the following link!

Click here to visit our Gundog Book and Video store in association with Amazon.com.

He has a solid approach. Just remember to go easy and only train 10 minutes a day/session. End positive and don't forget playtime. Stay away from electronic collars, pinch collars, choke collars, etc. Brittanys are very soft and you can ruin them with one of those devices. Write any time you have questions. I trained all of my Brittanys We recommend through repetitive conditioning and they are all great hunting partners.  Wolters is not perfect and some of his ideas are old but glean what you need and leave the rest.

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What age is appropriate to start exploring with pup? Take pup out on outdoor jaunts frequently, starting as soon as pup is weaned if weather permits. Take pup to a safe place (away from roads and rogue dogs) and let pup learn what a tree is, how to jump over a log, what a creek is, etc. Don't take a small pup to dense brush areas to explore, save those areas for pup when he has some height and weight behind him. You want it to be pleasurable. Take treats and clean water with you. Take frequent breaks and don't overdo it. End the jaunt while pup is still vigorous and wanting more. Finding wild game birds is a bonus. This builds desire.  See my article '8 weeks to 8 months ®' on my free training tips web page.

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What age do I start teaching commands? We strongly recommend that pup not be required to do anything other than come to his name and understand what "no" is at less than 6 months. Of course, do outdoor exploring as described above. This is especially true of the softer, slower maturing breeds. Don't get caught up doing too much too soon. You purchased a quality pup because you wanted to bond and enjoy years of hunting/companionship. Do not rush training. The personality of the dog will be a good clue as to how soon you can start (Is it birdy, already flash pointing, retrieving, bold personality, etc.).

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What do they mean when they say "steady to flush/wing/wing & shot"? These terms are often interchanged and confusing to the novice trainer. Here's a brief explanation:

Steady until flush: Dog breaks point immediately upon the bird flushing.

Pros: Dog gets to downed bird quickly.

Cons: Low flying birds are a hazard to this dog since the dog will be in full chase. Many bird dogs have been shot inadvertently because of this. The owner is usually not the culprit, but rather an invited guest gunning over your dog.

Steady to wing (or steady to flush): Dogs breaks at the shot instead of the flush.

Pros: Dog safety! And the dog doesn't learn bad habits by catching pen-raised birds found on shooting preserves. A dog that catches a bird before the shot is a big training problem!

Cons: Dog gets to the bird later than if he had broke at flush.

Steady to wing and shot: Dog does not break point, ever, unless released by the handler.  Not used by most hunters.

Pros: This is a completely trained dog and is beautiful in action. This dog will not steal the other dogs' point/retrieve because he is completely steady. This dog will not perform "delayed chase" (chasing the flushed bird wherever it may fly). This dog hunts absolutely to the hunter. This dog does not "catwalk" and is absolutely steady, therefore, will not flush any birds sitting tight that did not flush with the main covey.

Cons: Running birds cause the handler to have to relocate the dog over and over. Cripples may get away by seeking shelter in dense cover (although this is not always a big problem if the dog will trail/track its wounded prey).

My recommendation is that the dog should be steady to wing as a minimum for safety purposes. Click here to return to whoa training if you arrived here from that page.

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I know people who have hunted over 4-month-old dogs so why should I wait?  We have seen pups that folks have pushed too early – the pups were ruined.  Also, a mistake made with a young puppy is more indelible in the mind of a pup than a mistake made with a more mature dog.  A big worry at this age is proper sound conditioning.  Most folks don't know how to properly sound condition a dog. 

Another problem is that the dog may lose a potentially independent big run (big run is subjective) and intensity. If you aren't interested in a big run, then go ahead if the dog's personality allows it. Just remember, too much too soon can affect it mentally and take away some boldness and intensity. There are exceptions to every rule, but why take a chance after you have invested so much time and money in obtaining a quality pup from proven parents?  This dog is going to be with you for the next 12 to 16 years, what’s the rush?

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Birds for training? Where do I get them, what do I use... Most folks start pups out on pigeons. That's what we use for several reasons. First, they are easy to trap or purchase. Second, pigeons are strong flyers and can get away from the chasing pup (You never want pup to catch a bird!). Third, pigeons smell similar to game birds (Yes, they are game in some cultures.  Ever heard of Squab?) And have a very similar scent to other game birds. Fourth, they return to roost and can be used easily over and over, thus they are economical.

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My pup is 8 months old and isn't birdy. Should I get another dog? NO! Some of the best bird dogs we've ever seen matured later. We strongly recommend that you give a well pedigreed pup from proven hunting lines up to two years before making any final decisions. Reputable breeders of slower maturing breeds will verify our position on this issue.  See my free training tips web page and read the article 8 weeks to 8 months (®).  Is this normal?  It depends on the breeders bloodlines.  Our dogs are very birdy at a very young age.

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My pup was given its first bird last week and it ran from the bird! Is my dog defective? If the dog is from proven lines then the answer is probably NO! Go to our dedication page about Missy. At 5 months 3 weeks, she ran away frightened. We waited one week at which point she pointed staunchly, intensely, and went on to become one of the greatest Brittany bird dogs we've ever owned. She defeated 26 dogs in a major field trial stake. The write up from the American Field is posted on her dedication page. Missy

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What are the effects of harsh training on a soft dog? You want your dog to be bold in the field and to perform with intensity. A dog that is trained too harshly will perform in a "mechanical fashion," looking for the handlers every command so that it doesn't get punished anymore. It will often cower when the handler approaches. We teach through positive reinforcement and lots of repetition. This makes for a happier dog and makes the process less stressful on the dog (and you). There are a few times when you will have to get tough, but why not start out the positive way? The dog just may surprise you and train quickly and easily. Some don't but it is true bragging rights when you accomplished your training through positive reinforcement.

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What is harsh training? Any training that inflicts great pain (mental/physical) in order to get the dog to succumb to the desires of the trainer.  A slow approach is always best for Brittanys.

Is the electronic collar considered harsh? Yes and no.  Yes if you are using high stimulation levels and no if you are using very low levels that do not hurt.  This is a personal decision you must make.  I must admit that the new collars have such low stimulation levels that you can't feel them though the dog can.  I strongly recommend D.T. Systems model SPT 2432.

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Do you use the electronic collar and if so, what kind? We teach yard work and fieldwork through repetition with an ordinary dog collar and dog leash.

If we need to reinforce a command that is being ignored off the check cord, yes. Also, we use the collar to 'snake condition' dogs. We like the D.T. systems humane collars with 'vibration' such as the SPT 2432.

  Use Only as an adjunct tool and not a primary tool to train. Contact us if you are interested in D.T. products.

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When do you use the electronic collar? We do not use the electric collar for routine, repetitive conditioning type training.  Instead, we use an ordinary leash with an ordinary dog collar.

We do use the e-collar at very low stimulation levels on Brittanys to reinforce commands off the lead/check cord and other training circumstances where the collar is more advantageous.

Should I use the electronic collar?  We do not recommend that a novice use an electronic collar!  If you feel that your dog would benefit from the use of an electronic collar, go to a PRO!  A pro can give you a clinic on the proper use of a collar and can demonstrate the proper use of one on your dog.  We recommend you go to a Pro that specializes in Brittanys such as us and we will show you how to use it..

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How do I prevent the dog from getting "wise" to the check cord? Repetitive training and enforce every command even if it means running the dog down, picking it up, and carrying it to the point where it disobeyed. Repetition cannot be emphasized enough. Never, Never, let your dog get away with even one disobedient behavior. Every time you put your dog down to train or hunt, you teach something good or bad. Correct performance is more important than bagging a bird.

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How do I shorten my Brittanys hunting range? We've always shortened the run by using whoa when the dog gets out of our comfort zone/range. Of course the dog must be trained to whoa immediately when asked (see our training tips).

Our training goes like this: Hunt the dog and when he gets out of our comfort range, command "whoa!" We take our time about getting up to him, then release him. Repeat until he gets the idea that when he gets out ever so far, he's gonna have to stop and wait. Most dogs will smarten up right away and check frequent enough to stay in range.

MOSTLY, don't expect your dog to hunt close in wide open terrain!  If you take your trained dog to thick cover, a well bred dog will naturally shorten up and hunt close to the gun.  Hunt open prairies, and he your well bred dog should open up a bit!

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Open Letter about a new pup and what it should be doing at an early age.

-----Original Message-----
From: H. at aol.com

Date: Wednesday, November 18, 1998 6:29 PM
Subject: my new pup
H., Please follow along below for my reply.

Q: Hello, I recently purchased a Brittany (14 weeks old now). I have some
questions regarding training. I have a printout of yours and it helps.
However, when should I expect him to start pointing more than just
flashing?

REPLY: At 14 weeks of age, you won't get much more than flash pointing.
Sometimes you get one that will really lock up tight, but mostly it's just
flash pointing.

We have found that exposing young pups to birds early helps to develop the
desire but only when they are ready. We feel it doesn't hurry up the
process but that it does help them when they mature.

Every dog matures at a different age than others. On average, a Brittany
from good hunting stock will mature enough for training around 6 months,
give or take a month. We have some mature at 4 months while others not until
around 8 to 10 months.

Q: Does it get more intense?

REPLY: That depends upon the dog. Some dogs will never be super intense
while others will look as if they've been sculpted from marble when on point.
Incorrect Training can sometimes cause an otherwise potentially intense dog to be
soft on point. This is a very critical point. It is better to be soft when
training and not push too hard, than to be too hard, too quick, and
create soft points.

Q: I am working on fetch and he does well but I can't use treats to reward
because he loses all interest in fetching for the treat.


REPLY: If the treats detract from retrieving, then withhold them until your
training is over, kind of a final reward.
If he thrives on praise (most Brittanys do) then just use praise.

Q: I went pheasant hunting without him and was lucky to bag three so far this
season. A hunter with an English setter pup gave me some advice on getting
him
interested in birds. He suggested that I skin the bird and dry it out then
wrap it around a throwing dummy. Is this a good idea?

REPLY: First off, great decision not taking him at 14 weeks. He's way too young for pheasant.

Re: good idea? Sure that's o.k. However, it's
easier just to buy some scent and squirt it on a bumper. Or better yet, you can take a
few of the primary flight feathers from each wing and weave tape through
them securing them directly to the bumper.

Q: Also, I know you don't
recommend the wing on a string, but I have done this a few times to see if
he
will point. He does point at it but mostly chases it, should I be
concerned?

REPLY: No, don't worry. Most dogs will sight point the wing/string then
lunge at it. Never let them catch it is the point.  After multiple 'lessons' using wing/string, it becomes a game and they just stop pointing it... almost always.

The best way to cultivate the point is the use of strong flying birds used with a bird
launcher. If pup busts point and charges in, simply put the bird up and it
flies away. The plus side of doing it this way is that it teaches pup 1.
Use your nose to locate game, and 2. You just can't catch 'em!

Thank you for your time Harry

REPLY: No problem. Keep us posted and happy hunting!

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