MARK WHITEHOUSE says:

At two years of age and with very little training and schooling, your gun dog must have a lot of natural ability to manage a day out shooting and picking-up.


The reason that she runs towards the guns is because she has worked out that this is the area where all the birds are and she is only trying to please you by fetching you a retrieve.

My way of overcoming this problem, now the shooting season has come to an end, would be to take this young spaniel to a local clay shooting ground, walk her round on a lead and condition her with plenty of discipline in sitting and staying.

You can also introduce a steadying exercise into this training lesson by throwing a few retrieves and making your spaniel sit and wait while you pick them yourself.

This exercise will need to be repeated on a weekly basis over the summer months until you feel happy that your gun dog has become more conditioned and steady at all times in this environment.

On a smaller scale this can also be simulated at home by sitting your dog in an isolated area with no distractions and using a starting pistol to make the bang.

Stand about 10 metres away with your dog facing you, fire the pistol and if your dog makes any attempt to move, sit her back on the same spot and repeat the exercise.

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