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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 16 month old gsp. I had her trained by a professional. She has all of the commands down, wistle, and collar trained. I want to start working on backing. Does anyone know where I should start and what marerials for this training?

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1,179 Posts
Take her out with a broke dog and she if she backs. If she backs naturally then no training needed.

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You can buy backing dummies at Lion Country Supply. They have an electronic one and a plain plywood cutout.

From what I understand, you place them by a planted bird, bring the dog up and whoa it, and then flush the bird. The dog should be steady to the whole sequence.

The dog club I go to runs braces and when one dog points, the other is taught to back. I think its easier that way.

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Backing is all visual. Keep the dog up wind of the setup. Place the setup where the dog can not see it. You can use a real dog, cutout, or remote electronic dog. Work the backing dog into the setup up (upwind) and when it notices the dog pointing stop or whoa the dog. Have someone come in front of the dog pointing and simulate a flush and fly a bird. Shoot a blank gun on the flush and remove the dog pointing the bird from the setup whether it is a live dog or a fake dog cutout. Then remove your dog from the drill. Use two and three birds on setups occassionally to make the backing dog anticipate multiple birds.

There are other ways of doing it, but this is the basics of how it is typically done. Some dog learn it very quickly and with little work or simply hunting with a bracemate. Some never want to do it naturally and require a lot of work. The more Alpha the dog is, the more likely you will struggle with getting the dog to cooperate.

Basic equipment needed is a helper and a dog cutout or real dog that will hold a point. You will also need a blank gun, birds and a checkcord. Pigeons (homers)are the ideal bird for this drill since it is all visual and they are reusable.

Good luck with your training.

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The olde saying about their are many ways to "skin a cat" sure applies to teaching a dog to back. The following information is just another method to have a dog learn to back.

My goal is to have a dog stop and demonstrate great style with lots of intensity when a backing situation is available, without ANY assistance from the owner/handler.

Calm repetive sessions where the dog smells birds/has birds dropped at his feed and is reassured when he does a good job will allow him to progress fairly rapidly.

Equipment Needed: 1 small roll of Duck tape, 1 remote release trap, 1 manual release trap, 1 check cord, 1 remote or cutout backing dummy, 6 pigeons- all non-homing, 1 light gauge (28 or 20) shotgun, 1 assistant trainer that is quiet and a good shot.

Prior to training make sure the dog is use to release traps springing, shotgun noise etc. ...

Training Situation-

Day 1- Find a place that has a large obstical that will hide the backing dummy.

Note the direction of the wind and place 2 release traps (each with a pigeon) upwind of the backing dummy. You want your dog to smell the birds when it sees the dummy.

With your dog on a fairly short check cord work him from behind the obstacle and gently stop him when he sees the dummy. DO NOT SAY ANYTHING TO THE DOG, you need him to concentrate on the backing dummy and stop when he sees the pointing dog/dummy. At this point, don't worry about your dogs style.

If you or the assistant say "anything", get the roll of duck tape and apply a sufficient amount of tape to prevent any future talking.

Style your dog up and let him stand and focus on the backing dog. When you give your assistant the signal, have him trip the release trap and shoot the bird. Have the assistant walk out and pickup the dead bird and bring it back and gently throw it so it hits the ground and bounces to the dogs feet.

If the dogs picks up the bird it is his reward.

When you walk him away, give him lots of praise.

Day 2- Today is a new day and basically the same drill and same place. Increase the distance between the dummy and your dog. Offer praise when walking him away from the backing situaton.

Hopefully, you will need less pressure on the check cord. Let the dog stand longer and stroke/style him before you shoot the pigeon.

Day 3- Repeat the process, continue to decrease the pressure on the check cord. Increase the distance between the dummy and increase the time he stands before the shot.

Day 4, 5 and 6- Continue the process- DO NOT TALK TO THE DOG DURING TRAINING. Eliminate the check cord, increase the distance between dummy and dog, increase the time before the shot.

I have used this process on a real fancy pointer female that I field trialed. She came from a line which was known for being eager bird finders but did not want "anything" to do with backing. I would have to picked her up before time if she failed to back. You can't win a trial if you can't finish the 30 minutes or 60 minute stake.

At the end of the sixth day, running free and wearing only a leather collar she would back on sight and allow a bird to be killed. She stayed steady and stylish when the bird dropped on bare ground.

At day 6, a male dog I used this process on, the dog backed a pointing dog at 60 yards. Yes, it was a broke stylish find and he was wearing only a leather collar. When I sold him, his new owner was in awe of his ability to back (unassisted) at great distances.

There are several ways to accomplish teaching a dog to back, this is just another way that may work for your dog.

One of the keys with any dog training is NO TALKING while training.

If you want further clarrification of anything discussed here, give me a PM and I will be glad to call you back.

Enjoy your time spent training your canine partner and with your training partner.
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