Everything you need to know about your gundog. This collection of information and advice covers field trial and working tests, gundog training and exercise, breeds and gundog health plus help with breeding and buying or selling your gundog.

springer spaniel

How gundogs scent

A gundog's sense of smell is one of its most valuable tools, but to take full advantage of this capability, it is important to understand how scent works.

English bulldogs are trendy dogs

Trendy dogs are not always the most healthy

I am a diligent reader of dog stories, 
but one I missed earlier this year 
was a regional map of dog-breed popularity, based on Kennel Club registrations in 2016. As with so many statistics, the results are fascinating but mustn’t be taken too seriously. I wouldn’t mind betting that cockerpoos…

Gundog puppies eating

Why raw chicken wings are the perfect dog food

It is close to 15 years since I changed my dogs’ diet from feeding so-called complete foods out of a sack to what is now generally termed a BARF (bones and raw food) diet. I prefer to call it 
a natural diet, as that is what it is. I’m convinced…

dog recall

How to teach reliable dog recall

If there is one 
thing that sets the amateur handler apart from the professional, it is reliable dog recall. Whereas the professional has dogs that come galloping back on the 
first soft “toot” of their master or 
mistress’s whistle, the amateur has 
animals that will be galloping over the horizon…

gundog with gunslips

Gundog unreliable at the peg?

Q: I am getting my first Labrador puppy soon, which besides being a family pet, will be my shooting dog in the future hopefully. I say hopefully as this will be the first one I have trained myself. I used to borrow my father’s dog to take out driven shooting…

Sealyham terrier

Ratting with a Sealyham Terrier

The phone rang, “Hello Nick, it’s Harry Parsons, what you doing next Tuesday?” A quick check of the diary and it looked all clear. “Fancy coming out for a day’s ratting?” As much as I hate rats, especially their scaly tails, I do enjoy a day’s ratting with the Working…

springer spaniel retrieving

Why you should beware of early neutering

David Tomlinson recently wrote about the physical downsides of early neutering for dogs of either gender, but the behavioural effects are less well known. Many people who experience problems with their dogs, especially male dogs, will be on the receiving end of assurances from all and sundry that any issues…

working cocker spaniel puppy

How to choose a cocker spaniel

Q: I have owned English springers for many years but after seeing a cocker trial I am tempted to change breeds to cocker spaniels. First I would like some advice or information on the differences in training. Eventually 
I would like to take part in competitions if I can. A:…

Ratting terrier

Ratting with terriers

I’ve been to a meet or two 
in my time: beagle packs on village greens; minkhounds 
on crumbling stone bridges that look as old as the river which winds beneath them; and foxhounds in the courtyards of austere country houses. But this was a little different. Bleary eyed, smelly, and…

young springer spaniel gundog

Teaching a gundog to ignore distractions

Step 1: Start with the basics When moving on to a new exercise it is always worth going back a step or two 
and just reinforcing some earlier lessons. With Dolly, I took her back to some very basic steadiness lessons where I sat her 
up on a lawn and…

Spaniel or Labrador

Should I choose a spaniel or a Labrador?

I go rabbit and pigeon shooting, and now intend to get a gundog. I am not sure which breed to go for. A friend says Labradors are born half-trained and spaniels die half-trained! I ideally want a dog to flush game and to retrieve it. Any advice, please?

springer spaniels

Help! My young springer ‘freezes’ on a shoot

Q: I have a problem which seems difficult to solve. My young springer has just turned two and started going shooting in January, which was fine, she hunted well. 
We just went out with a couple 
of friends to shoot the odd cock pheasant and rabbit. I took her to…

Clumber spaniels

Remembering an extraordinary Clumber spaniel

Losing a dog always hurts. When I wrote about the death of my springer, Fleur, last year at the age of 15, it clearly struck a chord with readers, as several wrote to me. One of them was Alan Taylor, whom I’d met 10 years ago. Alan is one of…

glaucoma in dogs

Why it’s crucial to spot signs of glaucoma in dogs

What is glaucoma? Glaucoma occurs when the pressure inside the eyeball becomes higher than normal, which can damage the eye’s internal structure. The retina and optic nerve are particularly sensitive. Vet Neil McIntosh of Abbey Veterinary Group advises: “Glaucoma is not a specific diagnosis but a general term for increased…

Gundog training at Gleneagles

Are these the Eton and Harrow of gundog schools?

What could be more fun for a gundog puppy than to spend time with companions of the same age, with the same interests and energy? You have a few options. You can send your youngster off to canine boarding school for four to six months, where you’ll wave goodbye to…

Gundogs

Should we neuter dogs?

Neutering of dogs is something that most of us take for granted. If you’ve got a bitch that you don’t want to breed from then it makes sense to spay her, while castration is also a cure for the randy or aggressive dog, isn’t it? Until recently I would have…

gundog training

How to teach spaniels to head in the right direction

  Some people question whether you need to teach a gundog to go left and right; unless you just go beating it can be a useful skill to teach spaniels (and other gundogs). If you plan to shoot over your dog or want it to pick-up, there will be times when being able to re-direct it…

Black Labrador puppy

When your gundog won’t retrieve

“I recently got my first gundog puppy and I started training her straight away. To start with she would go and pick up a tennis ball, but now she just sits or lays down with it and refuses to bring it back to me. Is there anything I can do…

Gundog puppy

Tips on training a Labrador puppy

Training a Labrador puppy in a class certainly has its appeal.  But as in all things it pays to do your research before you commit yourself and your dog to what will undoubtedly be the most formative period in your future working partnership. What to look for in a class…