Quail House Plans Thwarted By Predator Possum…..Film at 11



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A few weeks back my oldest son, Sam, found me and said we had a problem in our Johnny House.  A Johnny House is where our pen raised quail live.

It’s designed so we can release a few and turn our young dogs out for some bird dog training.  After we are done the birds will “recall” back to the house to be with the rest of the covey.  The birds reenter the house through a quail funnel.

The problem with a normal quail funnel is that other critters can come in also.  To keep this from happening, you can have a unit that has a has a door or you can get the Predator Proof Funnel by Quail Restoration Technologies.

I use the Predator Proof Funnel.  It’s expensive, but it works really well.  The quail funnel is on springs.  The idea behind it is that if anything that weighs more than a quail tries to climb up in the funnel, the funnel lowers into a box and blocks the critter from entering your Quail house.

So….how did Mr. Possum get into my Johnny House?  Well, I screwed up.

I use sand in the bottom of my Johnny House.  It works really well for collecting the droppings and drying them out.  It make clean up pretty easy.  The issue is that I let a bunch of sand build up around the bottom of the funnel.  The sand blocked the funnels ability to lower when the possum climbed up.


The PPF also comes with a door that you can slide in place when you are not using your birds.  I neglected to put it in place.

It was midsummer and I had very few birds left in the house, but there was no reason for it to happen.  Keeping your gear clean and functioning is always the best way to go.  I won’t let it happen again.

Getting Mr. Possum out of my pen was a bit of an adventure also.  He really didn’t want to go, but we convinced him that it was the best thing for him to do.

– Steve

The Whoa Post

The Whoa Post is by far my favorite part of the Ronnie Smith Seminar. It is an amazing way to teach a dog to whoa or sit.

I told several folks today about the first time I saw the whoa post in action in it’s current form. I grew up using the “Delmar Smith Method” for teaching whoa. It was similar but it used a leather pinch collar around the neck instead of a half hitch around the dogs flank.

The reason the Smith’s changed it over to the flank was because of improvements in Ecollar technology. When the stimulation levels got low and you could raise them as needed it changed the way you could use them. That allowed them to use the collar on the flank.

The idea behind the Whoa post is that you have a stationary object with a rope attached to it with a snap. You have your dog on a checkcord. You bring the dog to the rope and run it between the dogs back legs. You tie a half hitch around his waste and attach the snap to the D ring on the dogs collar.

This makes a Point of Contact at the dogs flank. When you pull tight on the lead checkcord the dog gets stimulation at the flank. He has no where to go. He is stuck between you and the stationary object. He can fight it all he wants, but as long as you hold on, your dog is going to stand still.

Most dogs fight it at first, but quickly learn that the fastest way out is to stop the second they feel stimulation at the flank.

Once you have repeated this drill 30 to 50 times depending on the dog, you can move on to the ecollar around the flank.

It allows you to stop a dog dead in his tracks at any distance. Once you have this down, you can take the chase from a dog and get him steady on his game. After that, you can get him steady to wing, shot and dead fall. These are major parts of developing a fully trained hunting dog.

The first time I saw this technique in action was at a Rick Smith Seminar that I attended in 2002 in Pleasanton, TX. It was my first seminar since I was 14.

Rick was getting ready to start the Whoa Post and needed a dog that did not know what whoa was and had never stopped for anything. I had the perfect dog for him.

Ruby was out of my Em dog and Shadow’s Mark. She had more go than she knew what to do with and I had done very little work with her at the time. She had no idea how to stop or any good reason why you would want to stop.

Rick put her on the post and worked her through the basics. He then moved her past that and had her understanding the “concept” and stopping as soon as she felt the smallest amount of pressure at her flank.

He then moved her to an ecollar around her waist. He worked her out to a check cord toward a bird in a remote release trap. Once she got the scent and went on point, he stimed her around her flank. She stopped and held point. He then flushed the bird and stimed her again. She stood steady to wing.

The next part really amazed me. He walked away and left her standing there. Rick came back over to where we were sitting and talked a bit more about what he had done and how to go about training your dog this way.

I really didn’t hear much of what he said because I was watching Ruby the whole time.

There she was standing still 75 yards away from anyone. She had never done this before and she had nothing holding her back. At any point she could break and run. She had no tracking collar on her and I would have no way to find her if she did break. My only hope was that Rick knew everyone in the county and somebody would find my dog.

To make matters worse, about a thousand black birds started flying over her. Wave after wave of birds started to blacken out the sky. She watched them all, standing completely still with all four feet planted firmly on the ground.

I know for a fact that most folks at the seminar thought she was a plant. A fully trained dog that was brought in to show folks how talented Rick was and how effective his training would be on their dogs.

I knew that this particular dog had no idea what she was doing. It was the Whoa Post – not the dog.

Rick finished up his talking and walked out to my pup. He grabbed her check cord and quartered her off like it a regular day and she had done it a thousand times.

Now we were not finished. I had to work her on the post and get her to fully understand the concepts and move her to the flank. It worked really fast.

I use this method on all my dogs now and it works like a charm.

Click here to read part one of Rick’s “Whoa Post Redux” and here for “Whoa Post Redux – Part 2”


Gun Dog Supply

When Do I Start Training My Puppy?

When Do I Start Training My Puppy?

One of the most common questions we get asked is “when do I start training my puppy?”  The answer really seems to surprise most folks. 

You start training the first time you pick him up.  What?  That can’t be.  Yep, it sure is.

Every time you touch your dog some form of “training” is going on.  Now it might not be “good training” but it is training.  Every interaction with your dog will result in him learning something.  Every time you do something with him or let him “get away” with a behavior he learns what he can and can’t do.

One of the best examples of this was shown to me by Rick Smith.

Rick always tells the story of the first time most folks pick up their puppy.   The pup wiggles and squirms trying to get away.  Most folks will tend to immediately put the pup down and let him go play.  Now you have “trained” your pup. He has learned that all he has to do is wiggle and wiggle and you will give in. To get what pup wants, he just has to put in a little effort and you will cave.

What you should do in this situation is apply a little pressure.  Lightly squeeze pup close to your chest and restrain him until he stops wiggling.  Once he is calm, place him on the ground.

You must wait until he stops moving, no matter how it takes.  It seldom takes more than a couple of seconds.  Now pup has learned that when you place your hands on him he needs to be still.  This is TRAINING.

A still dog is required in all forms of training no matter the breed or what you do with him.  We need it for basic grooming, first aid, giving medication, vet visits and sitting at the park.  It’s required for pointing dogs while pointing or backing, retrievers in the duck blind and flushing dogs that are steady to wing. It makes a big difference when you are putting on dog boots, dog vests, e-collars and tracking collars.
Every time you put your hands on your dog, you want him to be still.  Little did you know that you have now taught your 8 week old brand new puppy that this isn’t required.  He has learned that all he has to do is put in a little effort and you will cave.

This same concept applies to every other interaction you have with your dog for the rest of his life.  When you put him into a situation where he has a choice to comply or not, if he picks to not and you let him get away with it, you have trained him.

The original question of “when do I start training my puppy?” is where most of our customer’s “dog issues” begin.  They don’t understand why they have a 85 pound lab that likes to jump on people and knock them down.  How did this happen?  Well, they let the 8 week old pup jump on them.  It’s cute and there is no harm done.  Sure, that isn’t a problem, but you are training your pup that this is acceptable behavior.  You have no one to blame but yourself when he knocks your little old lady neighbor over and breaks her hip.

My rule with pups is that we don’t allow them to get away with things as a puppy that we don’t want them doing as full grown dogs.  It’s a pretty simple rule but you have to make a few decisions up front and stick to them. 

 Now some folks might take part of this the wrong way.  I’ll give an example.  I expect my retriever to be steady in the blind.  That means he will wait to go on a retrieve when I send him not before. 

We don’t start pups out this way.  I don’t expect my pup to be steady the first time we throw him a bumper.  I want him to break at a young age.  I’ll teach him not to once we make sure his drive is solid and we get past bird and gun introductions.

I just don’t let him wiggle his way out of things or jump on people because it’s cute.

Steve Snell

New Pups in the Field

This morning I ran  Mac, Apple and Izzy.  All three pups are coming
along really well and showing signs of turning into classy bird dogs.

Mac is out of Phantom’s Wizard  and Phantom’s Southern Sky

Wiz is the sire of several of our dogs including Click, Stud and Merle.

Apple is also out of Wizard and Phantom’s Saffron

Izzy may just be the best bred female I have ever had in my kennel.

Her sire is 2009 National Champion Lester’s Snowatch.

Her dam is Phantom’s Wild Chick

Wild Chick is a full sister to 2008 National Champion Whippoorwill Wild Agin

All three are finding and pointing birds and holding them pretty well for their age.

Mac is the most natural bird dog I think I have ever seen.  He seems to really understand birds and how to find them.  What has really impressed me about him is that he has found wild birds in both Texas and Georgia.  These are very different scent back grounds and it normally takes grown dogs time to adjust to the change.

It’s going to be a really busy this spring getting them ready for the fall.

Steve Snell
Gun Dog Supplyhttp://www.gundogsupply.com

400 Industrial Park Road, Suite G
Starkville, MS 39759

For customer service call 1-800-624-6378
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