Chief's Brittanys Gun Dog -  Bird dog Terminology.  A Glossary for Pointing Dog Trainers includes started dog, hard mouth, retrieving, blinking, wing and shot, flushing, e-collar and more!  Some terms are specific to Dave's Training Program while others are unofficial 'slang'.


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Age range expectations tm Dave's explanation of what one should expect from a pup as he ages and obtains training.  Click here to read the article!  This is an important and informative article so that you know what to expect from your pup, year one and up.

All-Age Brittany:  A term made popular in field trials.  An independent dog with a strong forward run.  He is not a 'left-right' gun dog and does not check back frequently as a gun dog would do.  Though gun dogs and AA dogs may find the same number of birds, the AA dog travels and takes 'lines' straight ahead.  Many times this sort of dog is followed on horseback or ATV.

Barrel Technique: A training method to increase a dogs intensity & staunchness at whoa.

Beeper:  Dog collar that emits a sound while the dog is hunting.  Used to locate the dog.

Bird shyness: Dog is afraid of birds, sight or smell (see blinking).

Birdy:  Dog that is excited about birds.

Birdiness: A dogs level of excitement when presented with birds.

Blind retrieve: Dog makes a retrieve on a bird he did not see fall.  (also, see marked/unmarked retrieve)

Blinking: Dog smells bird, then shies away from it.  Afraid of the bird it smells.  Purposely avoids birds.  Mostly man made.

Bumping:  A dog that purposely causes a bird flush is 'bumping' birds.  See Busting.

Busting: Dog smells/sees  the bird/s then purposely runs in or crowds a bird causing it to flush.  Undesirable on a pointing dog.

Chain gang: a long chain, usually secured at each end with several tie outs evenly spaced over the length of the chain.  Used to tie out multiple dogs at once.  Often used at remote temporary hunting / trial locations as an efficient way to control dogs in the absence of an enclosed kennel.

Chasing: Dog chases a bird not shot.

Checking or 'to check'The action of applying a short duration - momentary retraction or jerking of the leash or check cord.  Checking can be gentle, as in teaching come or with more force as necessary.  Not to be confused with a dog that 'checks in' with its handler when afield.

Check Cord: a length of cord, usually stiff in composition so as to not tangle easy in heavy cover, with a brass snap on one end.  Used to train bird dogs.  Usually 20 to 30 feet long.

Choke chain: A dog collar designed to constrict/choke when pulled on by the handler.

Collar:  Placed around the dogs neck.  Leather and Nylon collars are most popular.

Come: Dog command that requires the dog to proceed immediately to the handler.

Companion Gun Dog: A dog used to hunt birds that also serves as a family pet.  Hunts comfortably and checks in frequently with its master when hunting afield.

Crate: A small plastic pen used to confine dogs.

Crate training: The crate is used to potty train and offer a safe home for the dog.

Creeping: Dog finds the bird but instead of pointing, it slowly approaches the bird to get closer.

Cultivating the nose: Dog training that teaches the dog to find and hold birds as far away as possible.

Dead: Dog command to fetch.

Deflated: Dog is not intensely pointing its birds.

'Down', or down hard or 'Up' (southern slang): or 'Standing':  Dog pointing a bird.  'hard' implies intensity.  Field trialers say 'on point' or 'standing'.

Drop: Dog command to take the retrieved bird.  Also 'Give'.

E-collar: Dog training collars that may deliver an electrical stimulus, and/or a vibration, and/or an audible tone as a means of training.

E-collar overstepping :  Dave's definition of an e-collar with too few selection levels of stimulation intensity that results in overstepping, whereby level 'a' is too little and level 'b' is too hot.

Electronic Collar: See E-collar.

Environment for gun dogs: The atmosphere which the owner provides for the dog as it grows up.  Very important!

Execution Command:  Command that the dog is expected to perform or execute.  Example:  Maggie Come!  Whereby 'Maggie' is  the preparatory command and 'Come!' is the execution command.  This method Used and made popular by retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Dave Jones of Chief's Brittanys.  The idea was derived by Dave from preparatory marching 'drill' commands in the military service used similarly there to gain the company or platoon's attention just prior to giving the execution command.

Field Work: Follows Yard Work.  See 'Yard Work'.  Dog obedience and bird handling training in the field.

Finished Field Trial Pointing Dog:  A finished pointing dog is one that does all that a pointing dog is capable of with regard to training and experience.  A finished dog is well experienced on wild birds, is steady to wing and shot, retrieves only on command and brings the birds softly to hand, honors, hunts in the appropriate style for his run, and handles kindly with little or no instruction.  He knows and performs both field and basic obedience flawlessly.  Similar to an AKC Master Hunter.  Anything less than this is a 'started' or 'unfinished' dog of which there are varying degrees of being 'started'.  See 'started'

Finished 'Hunters' Pointing Dog:  Many say that a dog with a vast amount of bird hunting experience and one that is steady on point at least until the hunter arrives and one that may or may not honor/retrieve with consistency is finished for a hunter, however, it is not finished according to AKC Master Hunter standards.  See 'Finished Pointing Dog' above.  A true 'finished dog' does it all with little or no instruction.  Having said this, most hunters consider a dog that breaks at flush or shot, retrieves and backs to be finished...for hunting, I agree!

Flashy: A dog that when hunting and seeking objectives,  just by virtue of its superior ability, naturally commands attention of the trained and untrained eye.  A dog that pushes the upper limit of what is expected and looks good doing it.

Flagging: Dog on point or scenting birds/game is wagging or twitching its tail side to side like a windshield wiper.

Flush: A bird that takes flight either by intentional flush of a human/dog or self initiated as in a 'wild flush'.  See 'wild flush'.

Flush on command: Dog command that requires the dog to flush the bird for the handler.

Force Fetch: Dog training that utilizes pressure to teach the dog to retrieve objects / birds when commanded.

Game birds: Birds that are sought after by hunters and are edible.  Birds that reside in the uplands.

Give:  See Drop

Green Trained or Green Broke:  Usually a young dog that has been taught the fundamentals of field commands and pointing but lacks experience and skill acquired through many days afield and exposure to wild birds.  This dog is not 'finished'.  See 'Started'.  This dog still makes plenty of mistakes.  It may not hold point very well, it may not retrieve, it may not back (honor).  It may very little bird exposure.

GPS collar:  Exactly what it says.  A collar that transmits the exact location of a dog via GPS technology.

Gun Dog: A dog trained to hunt birds at close to medium ranges, checking frequently with its handler.  Many hunters prefer a dog with this style.  This dog hunts forward in a left / right pattern so as to work the wind and cover if in an open flat prairie.  He hunts objectives (natural places birds may be found such as a hedgerow, coulee, plum thicket)  but keeps in check with the hunter vs. an "All-age Field Trial Brittany" that hunts objectives far ahead of the Field Trial Handler.  See All-age Brittany.  Compare also to the Shooting Dog.

Gun Scared:  This dog was made scared by incorrect/ inadvertent use of a gun in a way that made the dog afraid of the gun.  Example: An experienced hunting dog with no previous gun shyness was made gun scared.

Gun shyness: Is NOT inherited.  Dogs afraid of loud noises and has other abnormal fears including things like thunder, etc.  While dogs aren't born gun shy, my experience has shown me that some blood lines ARE VERY TIMID, thus they are inherently susceptible to being gun shy and that the smallest of mistakes when conditioning the dog may/will cause problems.  Even dogs inherently susceptible can be properly sound conditioned thus avoiding gun shyness.  These dogs are best sound conditioned by a pro.

Gyp or jip: Southern slang term for a young female breeding age dog.  Usually not bred for first time but often used for all female breeding bitches.

Hand signals: A silent way to command a dog.

Hard Dog: Dog that does not shy easily from correction.  Sometimes stubborn.  Accepts firm correction easily.

Hard Point: Dog is very intense on point.  Dog does not move and is solid as if a sculpture.

Heel: Dog command that requires the dog to walk beside the handler with its head close to the left leg of the handler, just off the handlers heel.

High tail set: Dog has and holds it's tail pointing high.  Measured as on a clock, e.g.. 12:00 o'clock tail, 10:00 o'clock tail, etc.

Hobble: Training device to restrain live training birds.  Also there are dog hobbles used for training.

Hup:  Retriever trainers use it for 'sit'.  Many pointer folks use it to turn/ change direction of the running dog.

Intense: Dog is very solid on point, almost as if a carved statue on point.  Also, portrays a very strong desire to find/point birds.

Jip or Gyp: Southern slang term for a young female breeding age dog.  Usually not bred for first time but often used for all female breeding bitches.

Johnny House: A pen used to contain pen raised game birds.  Through the use of a built in funnel, it allows pen raised birds to return after release.  Birds are used to dog train.

Launcher: A mechanical device that, when triggered, catapults the bird straight upward into the air so that it may fly away from the dog in training.  They are available in manual and remote control.  DT Systems remote launcher is strongly suggested by Dave of Chief's Brittanys.

Launcher shyness: Dog that is afraid of a launcher-see launcher.

Lead: A dog leash.  see leash.

Leash: Dog training tool used to teach dogs basic commands such as heel, whoa, sit, etc.  6 feet long is the average training length.

Line:  Usually means the dog is running in a straight line.  Example:  'Taking a line' running straight forward without quartering.  A long hedge row that could hold birds would be an example of a long line for the dog to hunt.  Another example is a dog that has scented birds from far away and is headed forward in the direction of the scent (on a line) until it has confirmed the presence of birds.

Locator:  A beeper collar with a separate control that causes the beeper to beep when activated by the push of the button by the handler.  Sometimes called a 'pager'.

Marked retrieve: Dog retrieves bird that it saw fall.

Marking or marking the bird: Dog watches shot bird fall.  Dog watches the bird fly away.

Natural: Dog performs the desired skill with no training.  Examples: Natural retriever, natural pointer, natural honoring, etc.

Objectives:  Places that potentially hold game birds.

Overstepping, e-collar:  See e-collar overstepping

Pager:  A beeper collar that receives a radio/digital signal from a handheld transmitter that causes the beeper to beep.  Used to locate dogs in heavy cover when not visible.  Different from an ordinary beeper that is set up to beep before the dog is released to hunt although some modern collars such as D.T. Systems SPT 2432 (Dave's preferred model) allows the beeper and pager to be controlled from the transmitter instead of having to pre-set the beepers settings.

Pop: Dog hunts hard and fast, head up with strong forward movement as it seeks birds.  His strong forward thrusts make him look as if he is popping up/down through the dense cover.  As opposed to a dog that moves through heavy cover at a slower, less enthusiastic pace.

Positive Vibration:  Phrase and technology made popular by D.T. Systems.  A e-collar that vibrates without shocking.

Preparatory  command: First Word used to get the dogs attention just prior to issuing the execution command.  Example:  Maggie Come!  Whereby 'Maggie' is  the preparatory command and 'Come!' is the execution command.  This method Used and made popular by retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Dave Jones of Chief's Brittanys.  The idea was derived by him from preparatory marching 'drill' commands in the military service used similarly there to gain the company or platoon's attention just prior to giving the execution command.

Pressure: Training the dog to comply against its will.

Quartering: A to and fro or back and forth movement of the dog as it hunts in front of the handler so as to find more birds.  Example: Left to Right/windshield wiper movement.  A forward figure eight pattern.  This pattern should NOT ignore natural objectives that ordinarily would hold birds!

Receiver:  The e-collar/beeper itself.  It receives the signal from the transmitter.

Relocation:  To relocate a dog is when the dog has pointed yet no bird can be found by the handler.  The field trial method of relocation is for the handler to touch or verbally order the dog to move so that it can find the bird again and reestablish point.  Many hunters allow their dog to move and reestablish point on its own, termed 'self-relocation'.

Repetition: To repeat over and over until the dog understands.

Reward: Offering positive attention to the dog.  Kindly spoken words, a food treat or petting as the trainer/handlers way of showing the dog approval of its actions so that it might do it again to get more attention.  Positive vibration used as a reward.

Seeking objectives:  The dog recognizes and hunts a place or places that could potentially holds birds such as brush, trees, plum thickets, hedge rows, coulees, etc.  These potential locations of birds are called objectives.  A smart dog looks for objectives and 'seeks' them out by running on the downwind side of the objective to quickly and efficiently find birds.

Shooting Dog:  A shooting dog is one that hunts kindly to the foot or mounted hunter.  A shooting dog checks frequently but is usually farther out front of the hunter when working than the closer working 'Gun Dog'.  A shooting dog is medium to farther ranging than the gun dog's close to medium range given fairly open terrain.

Sight pointing: Dog that points a bird because it sees the bird, not because it smells it.

Snappy: Dog that moves quickly afield - also called Flashy.  Is very quick in its quartering / linear action to find birds as it seeks objectives.  Complimented by slamming on point and honor.

Soft: Dog that will not tolerate harsh training.  Dog that will shy easily with too much force.  NOT to be confused with being timid.  See timid.

Soft touch: Training methods that exert little or no pressure on the dog.  See pressure.  Method used by Dave Jones of Chief's Brittanys.

Solid on point: Dogs does not move when on point.

Sound conditioning: Dog training that ensures the dog will not be afraid of loud noises such as gun fire.  Should be done before shooting a gun over any dog and best done with the use of birds.

Spiked collar: A dog collar that has spikes on it and also constricts like a choke collar.  A pressure training device.

Standing:  Dog on point.

Started Pointing Dog:  Long explanation necessary:  There are varying degrees of 'started dogs' and the term is often loosely applied by many folks so buyer beware - seller should be open and honest.  A started dog can be a 'green trained dog' - see 'green trained dog' (knows some basic commands but lots of mistakes), or it can be a dog that has experience on wild and / or pen raised birds but is not perfectly steady and / or a retriever (some experience, still makes mistakes).  A started dog may or may not know its field and obedience commands very well (Some trainers do not teach much more than 'whoa' and 'come').  It may or may not honor (backing skills not necessarily taught).  It may or may not have had any wild bird experience (especially by trainers in areas with few or no wild birds).  It is less than 'finished', see 'finished pointing dog'. 

If buying a started dog, require a hunting demonstration and 'buy back' clause in a written contract.  Also, you will need training yourself as you can undo what the trainer has taught to the started dog.  New bird dog owners should consider a puppy to learn along with or a finished dog.  If you are new and insist on a started dog, be aware they still have a lot of work left to do and you must learn from the trainer before hunting it and as the dog progresses.

Staunch: Dog stands intensely on point.  See intense.

Steady until flush or until wing: Dog breaks point the instant the bird flushes.  A dog that points then walks in with the hunter is NOT steady until flush since it moves after establishing point, not to be confused with 'relocation'.

Steady to flush or Steady to wing or Steady until shot: Dog stays on point even though the bird has taken flight.  Dog breaks point when the shot is fired or the handler commands the dog to move.

Steady to kill:  Not an official term.  It is used to describe a Wing and Shot dog.  See Steady to Wing and Shot.

Steady until kill:  Not an official term.  This dog is not steady to wing and shot.  It is only steady if the bird isn't killed.  See Steady to Wing and Shot.

Steady to wing & shot: Dog initiates point and stays on point until released by the handler even if a bird was killed.  If the bird was actually shot, the handler then commands the dog to retrieve bird.  The dog retrieves the bird absolutely to the hand of its owner/handler and only resumes hunting when commanded.*  Some field trial venues REQUIRE that a bird be killed over the w/s dog so that the judges can verify the dog is COMPLETELY steady to wing and shot such as the German Shorthair Pointer trial venues.

*Some folks say 'steady to kill' which is not a recognized term.  

Some examples:

A dog that does not break on the flush or shot but breaks when a bird is killed is technically steady to wing.  Example:  Many seasoned 'steady to wing only' hunting bird dogs will wait for a sign that the bird has been hit instead of chasing that dog steady to w/s?  Nope.

A green broke w/s dog not steady through a kill can be fooled by a weak pen raised bird that merely hops or flutters about closely when flushed.  Thus this green unfinished dog may break for the retrieve because it thinks the bird was shot.  This dog cannot be trusted if steady to wing and shot is what the owner desires and it's hunting pen raised quail.  Pen raised quail are good for one good flush on average, often not even that therefore they confuse the newly trained wing and shot dog.

Stop to flush:  Occurs when a bird dog stops running (whoa's) and points the sight/sound of a wild flushing bird not caused by the dog.  If the dog is bumping the bird then stopping, this is not a true stop to flush.  Usually caused by an overzealous owner that shoots anything that flies no matter whether the dog is doing it right or not.

Stylish: Dog that presents itself in the best way a fine gun dog should.  Solid on point, high tail, head high, snappy afield, etc.

Tap: to touch the dog on the head.  Example: tapping the dogs head to release it.

Tie out: Dog confinement method in which a chain leash is hooked to the dogs' collar on one end and the other end is attached to stationary device such as a stake.  Desirable when temporary restraint is needed away from home. Popular with hunters and field trialers.

Timid: Dog that is overly shy.  Dog cringes very easily from ordinary day to day sights and sounds.  Pressure training may ruin this type of dog.  This dog requires an experienced trainer unless the dog is a natural.

Tracking Collar:  A collar that emits a radio frequency signal which is detected by the receiver thus indicating the location of the dog.  Not to be confused with GPS technology in which the collar transmits the gps coordinates to the receiver via radio frequency signals.

Trailing: Dog that hunts with its nose to the ground tracking running game.

Trained Retrieve: See Forced Fetch.

Transmitter: Training device that sends a signal to a remote controlled device such as an e-collar, launcher, etc.

Trash birds: Non-Game Birds that are undesirable for the handler but sometimes interesting to bird dogs.

Tweety (trash) birds: Every day common birds.  Non-game bird.

Unmarked retrieve: Dog retrieves bird that it did not see fall via instructions of the handler.

Up: Dog is on point.  slang.

Vibration - see 'Positive Vibration' above.

Walk out front (): Action taken by the handler after the command whoa is given.  Teaches dog to remain stationary (at whoa) even though the handler is walking around in front of it, as in flushing the bird.  Technique taught by Dave Jones of Chief's Brittanys.

Walking whoa (): Action taken by the walking handler when the dog is commanded to whoa.  Dog is whoaed while the handler continues to walk.  This makes the dog understand whoa based on the verbal command verses when the handler stops walking.  Technique taught by Dave Jones of Chief's Brittanys.

Whistle commands: Dog commands issued with a whistle only.

Whoa: Dog stands stationary with head held high and tail vertical.

Whoa post: Training device that utilizes a blunted spike pinch collar to teach whoa.  Advocated by some trainers.  Other trainers such as Dave Jones of Chief's Brittanys, do not advocate its use in the hands of an untrained novice.

Whoa stick: A stick, usually 2 to 3 feet long used to help teach heel and whoa in yard work.

Wild Flush:  A bird that initiates flight of its own will.

Wing on a string: A game bird wing tied to fishing line attached to a fishing pole.  Used to check birdiness and to see if the dog will sight point.  Sometimes used to reinforce yard working commands.  Not effective in teaching a dog to hold point on its on when unsupervised.

Wonder lead / Command Lead: A stiff rope that employs a pinch to teach yard work.  Made famous by Delmar Smith.  Very effective in yard work for novice handlers.  A new use for what is otherwise known by cowboys as the "piggin' string".  A piggin' string is the string cowboys use to tie up the Calf's legs after being taken down to the ground.  Available at most farm and ranch stores in cattle country for about 10 dollars.

Yard Work: Dog training system that is the foundation of bird dog training.  Dog learns heel, whoa, come, natural retrieving, quartering, etc. in the yard before proceeding to the field for 'field work'.  See 'field work'.

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