Can dogs get colds?

Q: My dog has suddenly started sneezing. Can dogs get colds and flu like humans? Over the 
past few days there have been persistent bouts of sneezing, runny nose and she snores when asleep as if her nose is blocked. So can dogs get colds? A: Dogs don’t get colds…

Border terriers

Car sickness in dogs

A car sick dog is miserable and the condition can be caused by different factors. It may not be due to motion. For many puppies their first experience of travel sickness may be associated with unpleasantness, such as leaving his/her litter mates for the first time, or with a trip…

bloat in dogs

What you should know about dog bloat

Risk and factors of bloat in dogs A recent study by the Royal Veterinary College’s Veterinary Companion Animal Surveillance System, which looked into the frequency, risk factors and survival of dogs that had bloat, found that of the dogs that underwent surgical treatment, 80% survived. (It should be borne in…

Arthritis in dogs

Can you prevent arthritis in dogs?

Q: Both my elderly Labradors have suffered pretty badly from arthritis in later life. Is there anything that can be done to prevent this? A: Great question, but one to which there is no simple, conclusive answer. There are many treatments for osteoarthritis, but there is no doubt that the…

English springer spaniel

How well do you know your gundog vocabulary?

Things can get very confusing in the gundog world when we use different gundog commands or words for different breeds. For example, spaniel people tend to use “hup” to get their dogs to sit. Does anyone know why? So here’s our definitive guide to gundog commands and phrases Action and…


Is this the best way of “dogging-in?”

Dogging-in means using a dog to push straying pheasants from the boundaries of a shoot back into the middle. This time of year the 
majority of keepers face 
this seemingly never-ending and infuriating task. Time-consuming and impossible without a dog The art of pushing wandering poults back to the 

dry nose in dog

Should dew claws be removed?

Q: We are hoping to have a litter from our springer spaniel bitch and were wondering what the situation is regarding the removal of dew claws. Does this need to be done by a vet? A: No, not necessarily. While the mutilations clause of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 makes…

fox with mange

Beware the mangy fox

Q: We have foxes in our garden and one has a lot of bald, sore-looking patches, especially over its head. A friend suggested that the foxes have mange, which could be passed onto our dogs. What do you suggest we do? A: Foxes can suffer various types of mange and…

springer spaniels

Help! My young springer ‘freezes’ on a shoot

Q: I have a problem which seems difficult to solve. My young springer has just turned two and started going shooting in January, which was fine, she hunted well. 
We just went out with a couple 
of friends to shoot the odd cock pheasant and rabbit. I took her to…

Black Labrador puppy

When your gundog won’t retrieve

“I recently got my first gundog puppy and I started training her straight away. To start with she would go and pick up a tennis ball, but now she just sits or lays down with it and refuses to bring it back to me. Is there anything I can do…

Spaniel entering heavy cover

Help! My gundog won’t go into heavy cover

Graham Watkins, Sporting Gun’s gundog guru offers a solution The causes First of all, this is a problem that can be overcome but it needs to be taken slowly and carefully because you don’t want to totally put the dog off entering cover. You haven’t mentioned whether you have a springer or a cocker spaniel and…

gundog steals

Help! My gundog steals others’ birds

Q: I thought I was doing a brilliant job on my woodland shoot where I pick-up. I always seemed to have more birds than all the others after each drive, but I did not realise my dog was pinching most of them off other dogs or stealing from the gamecart…

chocolate Labrador picking up

How to treat paw injuries in the field

A: It can affect a dog but tetanus is relatively uncommon, particularly if a wound bleeds to any extent. There is no equivalent vaccination available for dogs as there is for humans. Treatment for paw injuries Though small wounds are probably best left open to heal naturally and larger wounds may require stitches, when you are out…

spaniel working cover

Teaching a spaniel to work cover

A: The more naturally you introduce her to working different types of cover, the better. Throwing a dummy into cover can make the process confrontational. If she is caused any pain by the entry, this could seriously affect her progress and her desire to retrieve. Avoid nettles, thistles, gorse and other such prickly covers until she is more experienced.…

Trained gundog

My dog ignores me out shooting

A: The dog may be trained to a very high standard but it is not mechanical and you, the handler, must form a strong bond with it and be trained how to handle your dog using commands delivered in a way in which the dog is familiar. Dog-to-human communication is not simple and you need to be able…

springer spaniel with dummy

Springer won’t deliver game

A: First, you need to work on recall in the training environment without the retrieving element. He should be encouraged using high-value rewards to come straight to you, then sit for a reward. I suspect that this may be the root of the problem, so working on his obedience and recall in this way will be the right…

Picker up with gun dogs

What’s a gundog worth?

Last week I started my 2016/17 picking-up season at my regular shoot, near Henley-On-Thames in Oxfordshire. During lunch there was the normal early season grumblings about how much people get paid and how such and such a shoot has increased its daily rate. I never get involved in these conversations, let’s be honest in “normal” life if someone offered…