She also chased a rabbit the full length of the cover crops. She was barking all the time and it was really embarrassing. How can I stop this from re-occurring next season?
MARK WHITEHOUSE SAYS: Many spaniels have been ruined by being introduced into the shooting field too early.
When working in a beating line there is a lot of pressure and temptation that can sometimes send a young spaniel over the top.
You must take two steps back and reinforce the stop whistle and basic steadiness to reaffirm your control and also your gun dog’s self-control when flushing game.
A rabbit and training pen will provide lots of temptations, making ideal conditions to help rectify your gun dog’s problem.
I would also recommend the help of a professional gun dog trainer.
In a controlled environment you will be able to manoeuvre yourself into position to prevent the chase before it begins, and then give lots of praise when your gun dog stops and sits to the flush.
Over the summer months when light is plentiful, a frequent visit to the rabbit pen would be a good cure for any further offending.
With practice your gun dog should learn over time to stop to flush with no whistle, and with no chasing there should also be no barking.
A careful reintroduction to the shooting field this next season would be advisable. Be selective on flushes and keep reinforcing your gun dog’s self control.