The Value of Caution: A Matter of Manners

Most pointing breeds are capable of finding game and pointing it out for the gunner (especially if it is excessively large, foolish, pen raised, half dazed, ring neck pheasants or chuckers....yes I am mocking you if you like to hunt at a game farm;) and the DD is no exception. However the DD is a versatile breed, and it excels in the ethical recovery of game after the shot from the field, forest, and marsh. In order to achieve these ends, there must be more "desire" bred into them. Synonymous words to describe this personally trait include power, drive, determination, prey drive, etc.

For breeders and breed clubs, multidimensional versatility is a higher calling and is much more challenging to create than a more single dimensional breed who are either not equipped with the will power to recover downed game in extraordinary circumstances or not equipped with the caution to "handle" weary, free ranging game birds for the gunner.

Although experts on the subject will argue that "pointing/caution/manners on game" and "desire/power" are two entirely independent traits which do not influence one another, many times one comes without the other!! For example, a dog may point ruffies and sharpies with the best of them, yet refuses to stay committed to finding the wing tipped mallard in a nasty cattail slough. Or the dog will die trying to catch a wounded goose all the way across a vernal Dakota slough, yet will not point and hold a covey of Huns to save their life.

Let me clarify one thing, I am referring to the natural talent, "out of the box"!!! I am not referring to those dogs who are tough enough to handle the training pressure to "get" them to point (assembly required); Lord knows those two conditions are miles apart!

My question is, "How are powerful dogs bred to be capable of recovering game from any circumstance AND to "handle" a covey of wild, late season sharp-tail grouse in light cover??"

I will make no bones about it, in the world of DDs, the answer is there needs to be an evaluation of manners on game with a critical eye beyond what is recorded on a test score sheet. IMHO, the only way to do that is while hunting in a natural setting!

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