PETER BLATCH says: Being able to command a gun dog when it’s out in water is always going to be tricky.

The first rule is to get the dog to respond 100% to the whistle on dry land and then ease the dog gradually into the water.

The biggest mistake is to start by giving your dog a difficult retrieve out in the water because in this situation he’s more likely to ignore the whistle and try to take control of the situation.

Make the first retrieve simple by placing the retrieve close to the bank then progress to throwing two retrieves, one to the left and one to the right.

Send the dog to one, stop it mid-way and then redirect it to pick up the other retrieve.

Because the dog is close to the bank you should be able to make it listen and respond to your commands.

Do not under any circumstances let the dog do its own thing. Keep things simple and then advance to longer retrieves as your control grows.