I should have some pigeons in a few days to train my 7 mos old pup.
I have never worked with live birds in training.
Can anyone give me some suggestions as to both the birds and the dog ,so I do this correctly right form the start.
There are a bunch of things that you can do. First off, Happy Easter!! Have you started with a Whoa board? Basically it can be a piece of plywood just big enough for the dog to stand on. Keep your dog on a check cord and get him/her steady just by pulling on the check cord in different directions. After the dog is steady with just the check cord, you can add in the birds while keeping on the check cord. I would start with that for now. Make sure you keep everything very enjoyable for your pup!! They are still young so too much pressure could make for major difficulties in the future.
Youre not going to need the whoa board if you are planning to train the lab as a flushing dog which is likely your intent.
I would start by using the birds to generate bird interest and to do proper gun intorduction. There are many ways of introducing the dog to birds but you can likely search introducing the dog to birds and the gun and will get a lot of information on the web. There is a ton of self help information available on the internet if you search for the information. You can also purchase training tapes that describe many ways to use birds in training your dog to hunt.
You should also think about what exactly you want out of the dog in the end. Do you want a steady dog that sits at the flush and stays steady for shot and fall as well. If you do you might go about bird work slightly differently than if you don't care about steady. The book "HUP" by James spencer is geared toward spaniels, but if you are developing a lab for the uplands this book will be a big help. It also goes into hand signals and handling. Which is what labs excel at in the waterfowl retrieving world.