Twice, recently, my spaniel failed to locate a pheasant, both of which got stuck just a few feet off the floor.

GUNDOG TRAINING

Peter Blatch

Blimey, when I read your letter I was beginning to think you were going to ask if I can teach a dog to climb trees!

What you forget is that spaniels, Labs too for that matter, generally rely on ground scent to find game unlike a pointer that locates game through airborne body scent.

Generally speaking Labs and spaniels can?t detect airborne smells too well from a long way off but might pick up on it when they get closer to the fall, assuming the weather conditions and wind are working with them.

Heavy scent dropping to the ground in moist conditions, for instance, could lead to your dog circling underneath the bird, lifting its head as it does so from time to time.

I don?t build ?off the ground? game finding into my dogs? training programme but you?ve got nothing to lose by placing retrieves in low bushes from time to time to encourage it to lift its head and ?take the air? so to speak – in the manner of a pointer.

Let me know how you get on!