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I recently acquired a seven-year-old spaniel from a family that had to sell him because he wasn’t good with the children.

The gun dog comes from a good pedigree but has never worked.

He naturally hunts and flushes but I have no control over this and he will not stop when told to and just comes back when he pleases.

Am I wasting my time trying to train him or should I persevere?

MARK WHITEHOUSE SAYS: From your description he seems to do what is natural to all spaniels, that is hunting and flushing under his own steam and in his own time.

At his age he could be set in his ways because he has been left to his own devices.

I presume the previous owner allowed him to go off hunting and flushing and he has therefore become independent and out of control?

This is no fault of your gun dog because he may have never had any foundation training.

Stop the free hunting and put him through a very intense course of foundation training.

Ensure that you start with the basics; sit, stay and walk at heel, then train him on the stop whistle.

This should be carried out in a confined space so you have total control.

You are never too old to learn, the problem is what bad habits you have picked up along the way.

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