springer spaniels with handler

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. Plus – look out for the gundog training answers, where your questions have been answered by training professionals.

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

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 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…

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…

Labradors in pickup

The 12 commandments of choosing gundog training lessons

First, you should be made to feel welcome. I would expect the trainer to be an experienced spaniel handler with evidence of success in competition, 
or perhaps a field trial judge. The fee should reflect the level of facilities and numbers in the class. One-to-one lessons cost more but with…

Clumber spaniel puppy

What to expect with a new spaniel puppy

With the gameshooting season over and spring now upon us, I am sure there are many newcomers to our sport thinking about buying and training their first spaniel through the close season. Rearing and training your own spaniel puppy, and then taking it shooting, can be a very enjoyable and…

Spaniel entering heavy cover

Help! My gundog won’t go into heavy cover

Graham Watkins, Sporting Gun’s gundog guru offers a solution The causes First of all, this is a problem that can be overcome but it needs to be taken slowly and carefully because you don’t want to totally put the dog off entering cover. You haven’t mentioned whether you have a springer or a cocker spaniel and…

gundog steals

Help! My gundog steals others’ birds

Q: I thought I was doing a brilliant job on my woodland shoot where I pick-up. I always seemed to have more birds than all the others after each drive, but I did not realise my dog was pinching most of them off other dogs or stealing from the gamecart…

spaniel working cover

Teaching a spaniel to work cover

A: The more naturally you introduce her to working different types of cover, the better. Throwing a dummy into cover can make the process confrontational. If she is caused any pain by the entry, this could seriously affect her progress and her desire to retrieve. Avoid nettles, thistles, gorse and other such prickly covers until she is more experienced.…

Trained gundog

My dog ignores me out shooting

A: The dog may be trained to a very high standard but it is not mechanical and you, the handler, must form a strong bond with it and be trained how to handle your dog using commands delivered in a way in which the dog is familiar. Dog-to-human communication is not simple and you need to be able…

springer spaniel with dummy

Springer won’t deliver game

A: First, you need to work on recall in the training environment without the retrieving element. He should be encouraged using high-value rewards to come straight to you, then sit for a reward. I suspect that this may be the root of the problem, so working on his obedience and recall in this way will be the right…

English springer spaniels

My trained English springer spaniel isn’t listening anymore

A: In view of his still young age and the fact that you have not kept his training up through the summer, I would definitely advise that you get in touch with his trainer. He or she will be fully aware of all the dog’s attributes and whether there were any issues in training initially. The trainer…

gundog ready for the beating line

Get your gundog ready for the beating line

People often ask: “How old should my dog be before taking it into the beating line?” The truth is there is no straight answer — so much depends on the dog and the trainer’s ability. But the question every trainer should be asking themselves is: “Is my dog ready to go beating?” Of all the participants on a shoot,…

dogs in beating line

Gone off the whistle

A: It is more likely that working on live game has aroused his nose to such an extent that his ears are switching off when he is distracted by hot scent. A different whistle is not the answer but some urgent remedial training is essential to recapture full control. A dog does not respond to a whistle…

Gundogs

Dogs in the beating line need to be the best of all

If you were to look at the hierarchy of gundogs in the shooting field, you would more than likely consider dogs that work in the beating line at the bottom of list. But, in fact, they probably need to be the best trained of all the gun dogs in the field and they certainly work the hardest. All…

Gundogs out in the field

My gundog embarrasses me in front of other Guns

A: You probably allowed him to hunt quite freely on his first big day as he was so well behaved, but hunting game is far more exciting than walking at heel. He got to enjoy meeting other beaters, who probably greeted him in a friendly way. Dogs quickly learn to do things when they gain pleasure from…

gundog training with whistle

Gundog sloppy on the stop whistle

Graham says: I am assuming that at some point your dog was sharp on the stop whistle and I suspect that during the summer you have relaxed your regime and he has got away with ignoring your commands. Make no mistake: dogs get bored of hearing the stop whistle without any “reward” in the shape of…