An excerpt from the Essay "Counterpoint: Further Thoughts on Pointing by a Cynic" by Ryan Frame..
It is an accepted fact that the old time trainers allowed pups to chase to their hearts’ content, knowing that they would some day be convinced that they could not catch and then would hold their points. You could put it the way Charley Babcock put it: “… giving the puppy a good time with plenty of opportunities on game with no cares or worries for the dog or for me, yet asking him that question daily, and some fine morning when the weather’s cool, the dew upon the grass, the dog bending every energy to find his game, he will answer and I’ll know he’s telling the truth. As plainly as human speech could tell it, I’ll know that he has sowed his wild oats, shed his puppy ways and is ready for his mission in life.” Or you could cut through that poetic , foo-foo crap and describe it as it really is: That in the pup’s mind, his mission in life is to chase and catch birds and that, some fine morning, when the dew is on the grass, he will finally realize that he is a complete failure at it, will lapse into indecisiveness and self doubt as a result, and will thus stop, and do nothing, which will thereafter be his mission in life.
It's a pity we don't have the bird numbers to naturally train a dog today.. To allow the dog to figure out what works and what doesn't on his (or her) own!
Pigeons are in reality, an imperfect substitute. After all, the pup's lifetime will decidedly not be spent in pursuit of the lowly pigeon. But, the pigeon carries one important attribute for Pointing dogs, and we've mentioned it before, but it bears repeating..
When we make a mistake in training, as we invariably do, that mistake was made on pigeon scent, and not that of a gamebird! And I've never seen the consequences carry over..