Keeping gundogs keen
In the close season, what should I do to keep my young and keen spaniel ready for the beating line next season?
At the end of every season I give all my dogs a thorough health check, worm them and then build up any body weight that may have been lost during the rigours of working. This period of rest also allows the scars from briars fully to heal and, once health and vitality have been restored, it is a good idea to make sure the dog has plenty of mental and physical stimulation. This could simply be gained through exercise, but I prefer to use a course of refresher training to keep the animal alert and active, and to restore control fully.
If you are lucky enough to have access to some rabbit shooting during the close season, then the dog does not need to be left inactive for too long. Otherwise, the occasional visit to a rabbit pen will fulfil this contact with game. Mental stimulation is equally important for a dogs well-being and the more the two of you interact during training and simulated shooting scenarios, the more prepared you both will be when the next gameshooting season begins.
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