I have a 14-month-old spaniel that I have trained with some guidance from our shoot captain.

He is so badly behaved I don’t know what to do.

Self-discipline and directional handling came very easy to him.

He learnt to stop and recall on the whistle in one week.

However the problems started at the beginning of last December when I took him for a day out on the shoot. When he came in to contact with pheasants he chased them.

I’m frightened to let him off the lead next season, can you help?

MARK WHITEHOUSE SAYS: Taking a young gun dog on to a shoot day can cause plenty of problems.

The term ‘rabbit pen’ or ‘training pen’ comes immediately to mind with this problem.

You did mention that your gun dog had good self-discipline but there was no mention of him being steady to game, or any mention that you had introduced him to game or rabbits.

The next step forward for you and your gun dog is to contact a local trainer who can allow you access to a rabbit or training pen, you will then have the opportunity to demonstrate your problem in a controlled area.

I would ensure that you have a good pair of running shoes on for this occasion because when he flushes in a training pen and gives chase you will be expected to run him down and bring him back to where he has committed the crime and reinforce the stop whistle.

If you persist you should see a marked improvement within weeks and this will give you a more polished gun dog.

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