Technology is quickly catching up with the world of dog training. From remote electronic training collars to electronic backing devices to automatic remote electronic bird launchers. When it comes to training bird dogs on birds, kick-cages have long been the tool of choice, they are easy to use, cheap to buy or make yourself and the batteries never run out!
Where kick cages fall short sometimes is when you find your self training without a helper, you only have so many hands to:
- Hold and control the dog you are working with
- Hold and fire the gun (if you are at that step)
- Release the bird at the appropriate time
- Operate any collar electronics (if in place)
This is where remote electronic bird launchers come into play, they allow you to launch a bird at the touch of a button without tying up your hands or feet. Another approach to remote launchers is the ability to closely time the release of the bird should your dog break or get closer than desired to the bird.
As with most technology, remote launchers also have their potential downfalls:
- Launchers are loud, and have a great potential to startle a young dog.
- Launchers can quickly and easily injure a dog should the dog be too close to the launcher when it is released.
- Couple the above with the potential to make the dog bird shy from the results.
There inlies properly introducing a dog to a launcher. The easiest way I’ve found it to associate the launcher with something fun, be it a ball or a bumper. Something the dog easily recognizes, and enjoys. Then, placing the launcher in various cover with the same “fun item” in it, to associate the launcher with a pleasurable activity. With the pup I am working with now, he quickly associated the launcher as a “fun machine” of some sort!
Here you can see Gunner, the 5 month old GSP and his first exposure to the remote bird launcher.