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The Benefits of Pointing Dogs Training on Wild Birds versus Liberated Quail, Chukar, or Pigeons

By Alan Davison
Wednesday, July 19th 2023

Pointing dogs are remarkable hunting companions, known for their ability to locate and point game birds for hunters. When it comes to training these dogs, one important decision to make is whether to train them on wild birds or liberated quail, chukar, or pigeons. While both approaches have their merits, this blog post aims to explore the benefits of training pointing dogs on wild birds and the unique advantages it offers over training with liberated birds.

Realistic Training Environment:

Training pointing dogs on wild birds provides a more realistic and natural hunting experience. Wild birds behave differently from liberated birds as they possess natural instincts and flight patterns that can be challenging for dogs to predict and handle. By training on wild birds, dogs develop a greater understanding of bird behavior, which enhances their ability to locate, point, and retrieve game in a variety of hunting scenarios.

Enhanced Scenting Abilities:

Wild birds offer a more complex scenting challenge for pointing dogs. Unlike liberated birds that are typically confined to a limited area, wild birds have larger territories, making their scent dispersal patterns more dynamic. Training on wild birds exposes dogs to a wider range of scenting conditions, including varying wind directions, terrains, and vegetation. This exposure improves their scenting abilities and helps them become more proficient at locating birds in diverse hunting environments.

Increased Hunting Range and Independence:

Training on wild birds encourages pointing dogs to develop a wider hunting range and increased independence. Wild birds tend to be more elusive and evasive compared to liberated birds, requiring dogs to cover more ground and search diligently to locate them. This type of training helps dogs become more self-reliant, adaptable, and capable of working at greater distances from their handlers. The result is a more effective hunting partnership, where the dog's independence is balanced with their responsiveness to commands.

Greater Mental and Physical Stamina:

The rigorous demands of training on wild birds contribute to the development of a pointing dog's mental and physical stamina. Hunting wild birds requires dogs to traverse various terrains, endure long hours in the field, and maintain focus despite distractions. By training on wild birds, dogs become accustomed to these challenges and build the endurance necessary to sustain a high level of performance throughout an entire hunt. This stamina translates to improved endurance in other aspects of the dog's life, such as competitive events or extended hunting trips.

Versatility and Adaptability:

Training on wild birds enhances a pointing dog's versatility and adaptability. Wild birds are unpredictable, and they can be encountered in different habitats and weather conditions. By exposing dogs to these natural variables during training, they become adept at adjusting their hunting strategies based on the circumstances they encounter. This adaptability is a valuable asset for hunters who pursue different bird species or hunt in various regions, as dogs trained on wild birds are more versatile in adapting to new environments and bird behaviors.


While training pointing dogs on liberated quail, chukar, or pigeons can offer certain conveniences and controlled conditions, training on wild birds provides numerous benefits that ultimately enhance a dog's hunting skills and overall performance. The realistic training environment, enhanced scenting abilities, increased hunting range and independence, greater mental and physical stamina, as well as versatility and adaptability are all advantages gained from training on wild birds. Ultimately, training on wild birds produces well-rounded pointing dogs that excel in the field and provide an exceptional hunting experience for their handlers.

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