She’s four months old and loves retrieving but is it possible to give her too many? I would appreciate your views.

GUNDOG TRAINING

Jemma Clifford

I get asked this question more frequently than you might imagine and my answer is always based on what I do with my own puppies.

A spaniel’s top two desires in life are retrieving and hunting, and in my experience less is more.

I wouldn’t let a four month old pup retrieve more than once a week, in this way it remains interested and more importantly I can use it as a way of praising such a young dog.

Always remember that a puppy’s early training should be treated as a game.

Many people throw too many retrieves and this can create boredom and lead to the puppy ‘blinking’ on retrieves ie running up to one and ignoring it.

By limiting the number of retrieves I give, when I do ask a spaniel to retrieve at a later stage, its enthusiasm and desire to do so is invariably much stronger and determined.

This, in turn, leads to faster, cleaner, deliveries.