He is very sharp on the sit whistle, but races off whenever I am about to send him off for a retrieve.

Once he goes there is no stopping him.

It’s hard to tell him off because he always brings the dummy straight back.

He only wants to please, but is he pleasing me or himself?

MARK WHITEHOUSE SAYS: Young gundogs start to anticipate your body movements and are off before you have given the verbal command.

Get some form of control over your pup via a lead runner – this is a lightweight line that extends out to about 30 metres.

You can place this around the gundog’s neck as you would a rope lead and after a short time they will forget they are even wearing it.

Teach your gundog to sit and be patient.

No matter what moves you make he can only make a move himself when your hand signals are accompanied by a voice command.

This should be tested at a close distance to start with, and if you have total control over the exercise then you can increase the distance between gundog and retrieves.

Repeat this exercise until your gundog fully understands he must sit and wait and only when the precise signal and voice command are given can he undertake the retrieve.

If he breaks towards the retrieve at any time before you give him a voice command you should shorten your lead runner and make sure he does not reach the retrieve.

Then, with a firm voice, lead him back to the sit area and remind him of the sit whistle and then walk out and pick the retrieve by hand.


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