You own a Brittany, a wonderful, loyal, family-oriented spaniel dog, but you recognize that this breed needs to exercise and have a job or purpose outside of snuggling with you on the couch. If you want to track, trail, or hunt with your Brittany, you’d probably like it if your dog learned to scent or sight point while doing so. With some patience and proper training, any Brittany can learn to point.
This particular breed was designed to point at game as opposed to flushing it out of cover, one reason why the “spaniel” part of the breed’s name was eventually dropped. Bred from a combination of various pointers and setters, the Brittany has a natural inclination to point, which can make the process of training your dog to accomplish this skill somewhat easier than with another breed.
Much of the process of training your Brittany to point will come from her instincts, with your proper and positive encouragement. Patience and a gentle voice are a must when working with this breed; the Brittany is a very sensitive dog by nature and does not respond well to loud, raised, or angry voices. The Brittany is a highly intelligent breed. Therefore any training for this dog needs to be firm and consistent but delivered with positivity. You will earn your Brittany’s trust by following this method, thereby gaining her undying loyalty.
Training the Brittany to point should be part of a larger job or form of exercise for the dog. This other job can be anything from hunting to trail walking to games like flyball. The Brittany needs daily exercise, stimulation, and enrichment to be a happy, healthy dog. Approach these training processes with patience, care, and respect for your dog, and that Brittany will be pointing in no time at all.
First, you want to be able to recognize a Brittany point when it happens. Your dog will go still, will shift her nose in the direction of the sight or smell she has noticed, will raise one front foot bent upwards, and her tail will be still and pointed up.
Have some treats, a sturdy lead or harness, and a whistle on hand. Bring your dog's favorite toy, or if training your Brittany to hunt, bring a bird launcher and dummy. Be sure to dress in bright colors, especially if you are training a point in a wooded area where hunting may occur.
Most of all, be patient with your Brittany. Your dog has a strong desire to please you, but also has instincts inherent to her breed, such as an active prey drive. Work with your Brittany, not against her, and you will soon be enjoying the beautiful sight of a Brittany dog on point!