This particular setter and I have had an understanding since I trained him as a pup. He understands his job, and I let him do it.
It's funny...the training for most dogs relies upon praise as the reward for behavior. All Grits needs for reward is for me to let him hunt. When he retrieves a bird, he gives the bird to me, and sits down next to me, facing AWAY from me. He won't even look at me.
All that he wants is to HUNT. That praise stuff just takes away from his hunting time.
He hunts fairly close in the thick stuff and timber, but when we hit an open field, he'll work out to 100 yards or so. In close, he runs a fairly consistant pattern back and forth in front of me, but it's dang near impossibe to work him against the wind. He frustrates me alot, though, as he won't always hunt where I think he should. Maybe, just maybe, though, he knows what he's doing and just tolerates my direction. He ALWAYS finds the birds on his agenda, not mine.
I tried to train a pup last year, and ended up giving him away. I trained Grits before I had my own business and two kids. Trying to train a dog now, with my priorities elsewhere, isn't fair to the dog as he doesn't get first rate attention. I ended up giving the pup away to a friend that is a biologist in Mississippi, and he reports that the pup, which is now a dog, is first rate.
I would love to do it, but this thing called "work" keeps getting in my way!
He's a good pet, as well. The kids love him cause he likes to fetch their toys when they throw them.