Flushing and Retrieving School 101

Written by: Jennifer Miller, Greystone Castle


PeeWee, Ruger and Merlin on the stake-out learning patience and to submit to a lead.
All photos courtesy Greystone Castle

At Greystone Castle, we use several different breeds of dogs for flushing and retrieving birds. While Labs are the most well-known, hands down the crowd favorites are the spunky Cocker Spaniels! We use English Field Cockers with distinct bloodlines tracing back to some of the best dogs in Europe. This imported blood results in a dog with a longer nose, shorter coat, and great hunting disposition. They have endless energy, which is very useful for a long day in the field, but then they are perfectly happy to snuggle on the couch, usually upside down!

All Greystone-trained dogs start out with basic obedience. This includes time on the stake out to learn patience and time in hand learning basic commands like heal and stay. (See above.)

Greystone Castle is an Orvis-endorsed wingshooting lodge in Mingus, Texas.


PeeWee learning to heel.

Placement training teaches them to stay on their place. This is similar to the barrel in pointer training.

Chasing birds builds desire to flush and retrieve live birds. This works by building their prey drive.

Once they are comfortable with the birds in their mouths…

We introduce flushing situations.

The end result is a flushing and retrieving dog that comes back to heel with a bird.

One thought on “Flushing and Retrieving School 101”

  1. Wow this is a great article. I think will be helpful to many first time trainers a well as experienced trainers like myself. I’m actually looking to pick up a new pup, you can read about it at outdoorhacks.blogspot.com if you want. There’s other cool stuff too

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