I thought I’d managed it, but on our first day out the sight of other dogs running in proved too much, and he was off! How can I stop him doing it?

Gun dogs
Hindsight’s a wonderful thing because what you should have done is given your gun to a friend for the day and focussed your concentration on the dog instead.

I know it’s hard to put the gun aside after spending so much on syndicate fees but had you done so you could’ve nipped this problem in the bud.

As you rightly say a dog’s steadiness isn’t helped by other dogs running-in willy nilly with their owners turning a blind eye to their misdemeanours.

Like you they’re concentrating on their shooting, not their dog.

So where do you go from here?

When a dog has tasted the delights of running in to shot and/or fall you know darned well that given even half a chance he is going to do it again.

Don’t let him!

If you have to shoot then make sure the dog sits in front of you at the peg so that if he does try to move you can get to him and stop him running in.

If it helps, tether him down to one of those giant corkscrew affairs that are so popular these days. Whether tethered or not you need to give him the ‘sit’ command and make sure he remains sitting when birds are being shot.

Of course with all this activity going on he’s bound to get wound up so make a point, between drives, of letting him pick a bird or two behind the line. Once he realises that he’s going to get some work after a drive he will sit more steadily.

As for those other dogs… all you can hope is that the owners follow your example and get their mutts back under control again!