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.

gundog breeds

Vaccinating gundogs

One of the great things about owning healthy, fit dogs is that visits to the vet are rare. In the past six years I’ve been lucky enough to have only had to make annual visits to the surgery for what I call the spaniels’ MOT. A result of this is that my younger spaniel, Rowan, really…

Labrador retrieving dummy

Puppy won’t deliver dummy

A: This is an indication that he is being possessive and if this is allowed to continue with dummies it could have more serious outcomes when he is introduced to the real thing. He is obviously very good at the outrun, finding and picking-up the dummy. You therefore need to work separately on the recall and delivery.…

price of dogs

How much do trained dogs cost?

A shooter’s companion, a best friend — our dogs are amazing creatures. Some of them are also worth a lot of money. In 2013, a sheepdog sold for £9,240, and in May this year another sold for just under £15,000 at an auction in Skipton – so what is the price of dogs? Guard dogs and…

gundog with walkers

Dog conjunctivitis

A: From what you describe, your dog is likely to have developed dog conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis refers to in inflammation of the sensitive lining inside the eyelids. The conjunctiva has a rich blood supply so when irritated it gets red and becomes inflamed and itchy. Conjunctivitis is one of the most common eye disorders in dogs Typically, the…

new dog to picking-up team

How to introduce a new dog to your picking-up team

At this time of the year many of us are looking to either buy a new pup or a slightly older youngster. I tend to look two years ahead as this is roughly the time that it takes for most trainers to get a dog into the shooting field. One…

dog dandruff

How to treat a Labrador with flaky skin

A concerned reader asked this question regarding dog dandruff: Our two-year-old black Labrador has developed flaky skin that is visible when I pull back his coat. I first noticed it after I washed him down after a particularly muddy afternoon shooting woodies. It does not seem to bother him, he does…

field spaniel

Gundog problems – dogs that will not mark

One of the gundog problems we see commonly at Gamegoer is dogs that will not mark. There are several reasons this can occur, but it is due mainly to the way they have been trained. A large proportion of handlers train their dogs on their own and two main problems can manifest. The first is when the…

Black and yellow Labrador retrievers

Why is the Labrador retriever such a favourite with shooters?

A versatile breed, this hunting companion is the eyes and ears of its owner, can be used to detect drugs, explosives, open doors and even post letters. It can guard, jump, swim, and is the epitome of man’s best friend. No article on the breed would be complete without mentioning the Buccleuch Labrador. The Buccleuch Labrador In the 1830s, the 5th Duke…

Black Labradors

Are Labradors born to be greedy?

Scientific research is a marvellous thing. I mean, who would’ve thought butter is not bad for us after all and two good gluts of red wine a day keeps the heart healthy and the arteries open. Amazing.  But that’s not all: when it comes to keeping fit, walking is better than a gym workout, and blueberries (without cream of course) are the…

working cocker spaniel puppy

Puppy vaccinations – what you need to know

A: I have always tried to pick up my new puppies at eight weeks or very soon after. This, I believe, is the optimum time to be able to become a replacement parent for the puppy and to begin forming a close bond with it. Usually they have not begun their vaccination…

Rescue dog

Can you give a rescue dog a home?

If you are looking for a gundog, there’s an alternative to the usual purchase of a pedigree puppy. Instead of buying a puppy, get a rescue dog, because there are hundreds of gundogs out there in need of a good home. I recently recieved the following email: “Due to the passing…

Labrador

The allure of the Labrador

Last year, more than 32,000 Labrador puppies were registered with the Kennel Club; in the US that figure was over 150,000. This is certainly a dog with global appeal — but why? The first Labradors arrived from their native Newfoundland more than 200 years ago. The breed’s strong swimming and marking ability when retrieving…

Barrie Hughes

Meet devotee of springer spaniels, Barrie Hughes

Spaniel ownership can be both enormously satisfying and extremely frustrating. I’ve survived 33 years of it, but am always full of admiration for those who have managed longer. So when I met Barrie Hughes and heard that he had owned working springers for exactly 50 years, I wanted to learn more. I…

Labrador in water

Hip dysplasia in Labradors

Q: My wife and I would like to buy a Labrador for me to take out once it is trained, as I shoot occasionally. We have found a reputable breeder near us, who comes highly recommended, have met the bitch already and are very taken with her. The breeder has had the…

Wilson Young gundogs

Wilson Young Kennel Club Field Trial Sub Committee Q&A

Wilson Young was interviewed in the June 2016 issue of Shooting Gazette Amy Bates: Tell us about your picking-up? Wilson Young: “We shoot six days a week and on occasions we can have five groups on the same day, so I’m out every day hosting a party and normally have…

Keep dogs safe from car collisions

How to keep dogs safe from car collisions

Most dogs love cars. Travelling in the car is usually a precursor to something more exciting, such as going for a walk or perhaps a shooting expedition. I don’t think dogs experience disappointment in the same way that we do, but it’s not difficult to detect a dog’s crestfallen look when it…

Queen Elizabeth in the field

A Royal picker-up

Gundogs have been a part of the Queen’s life from infancy. Her grandfather, George V, inherited his own father’s taste for gameshooting, as well as a more hands- on approach to the care and training of working dogs than Edward VII had ever shown. In the year before Elizabeth’s birth,…

water retrieves

How to introduce a puppy to water retrieves

With the arrival of warmer weather, it has been a good opportunity to introduce the young spaniels to a bit of water work and introduce water retrieves. Though the puppies are the same age, it is surprising how different they dealt with this new aspect of their training. Logan, the black-and-white…

training a puppy to run in a straight line

How to train a puppy to run in a straight line

Neil Varney uses a place-board and natural retrieving alleys to train a puppy to run in a straight line to retrieve. The labrador puppy, Remy, is growing very fast both physically and mentally; he is now beginning to test a few boundaries, and at times push his luck. He has…

English springer spaniels

Do spaniels smell more than Labradors?

  A: The simple answer is no. Working spaniels do not smell any worse than any other dog. The question of why some dogs smell more than others, however, is more complex. Dogs do not sweat like people but they do perspire from their paws, and produce a scent from their hair…