Gundog trainer with springer spaniels

If you’re looking for expert advice on gundog training then this is an excellent place to start.

Our gundog experts will help you to train your gundog to the best of its ability – and yours – with this series of helpful tips, advice and instructional articles.

Gundog terminologyGundog questions and answers

Look out for the gundog training answers, where your questions have been reviewed by training professionals. We also welcome requests for help from readers who are experiencing difficulties – just write to shootinguk@timeinc.com and we will take a look.

Browse through many pieces including information on when to start training, doggy body language, improving marking, picking up and distance handling.

Gundog training has a vocabulary all of its own and unless you are very experienced there may be some terms you are unfamiliar with. So it might be a good idea to check our gundog terminology guide here and learn some of the terms by heart.

Dog in camouflage

A well-trained gundog is a wonderful thing

In addition, different gundog breeds will respond differently and if you’re looking to buy a working dog to train for the field have a look through our guide to breeds.

Finally, we have plenty of articles offering advice on gundog puppies – and if you start off on the right foot then you’re more likely to end up with a dog to be proud of out in the field.

Hungarian vizsla

My Hungarian vizsla won’t hold a point. What can I do?

“I have a two-year-old Hungarian vizsla that I have been training for rough shooting and although she hunts really well she will not hold a point and will run in on the birds, which makes it difficult for me to take a safe shot. She is also sometimes reluctant to…

teaching dog left or right

Teaching a gundog to go left and right. Should you?

This is not an uncommon question and, in my humble view, gundog handling is an important aspect of a gundog’s training and should not be discounted as simply being a “trick” or clever. If you plan to shoot over your dog, in any form, you will find it an invaluable…

gundog training with dummy

Gundog training – marking a dummy

The causes for problems marking a dummy Some young dogs can develop this quirk and, although it tends to disappear as time passes and they get experience of the real thing, it can be frustrating for the trainer. Eye contact is something that, as gundog trainers, we work hard to…

Gun with black Labrador

Gun-shy dogs – what you need to know

Amid all the afflictions a working gundog can suffer, there is arguably nothing worse than being gun-shy. Peter Moxon, Shooting Times’s kennel editor for many years, didn’t think that there was 
a cure for a gun-shy dog, though he did believe that there was a big difference between one that was…

gundog

How can I get my dog to go back on his lead after exercise?

Q: My one-year-old standard poodle-springer is a happy, energetic, intelligent pet at home. He has a few issues with chewing, but we put that down to boredom and it is slowly getting better. However, I have now encountered 
a more serious issue. I take him every day to the fields and…

rules for picking-up

The golden rules for picking-up on a shoot

If you have picking-up dogs, 
then it is always good to get them 
out working, especially if you haven’t been out on the grouse moors or 
on partridge days. Taking them on 
a small boundary day is ideal if you 
get the chance, as it will remind them what they…

working spaniels

What you need to know BEFORE taking your dog onto the shooting field

The picker-up enjoys the pleasure of working their own dogs in the knowledge that they are performing an essential role in the day’s sport. Collecting shot birds is vital; even more so is making sure that any wounded birds are immediately gathered and swiftly despatched. Mutual respect The relationship between…

teach a puppy to sit

How to teach a puppy to sit

Q: I cannot get my cocker spaniel puppy to sit properly to the “sit” command; she just keeps wagging her tail and lifting up her bottom.  She is four months old now and this issue is preventing me from moving on with her training. She will not stay either when…

Retriever on shoot

Retriever makes a noise

Q: My three-year-old flatcoated retriever has been a joy to train, is a really keen retriever and has been a good worker out on the shoot for the past two seasons, but she has just started making the faintest of noises in the back of her throat just before I…

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.

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…

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…

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…

Gundog terminology

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…