Vet examines a dog's teeth

Have vets got too big?

Last month, a friend tried to take his dog to the vet as he was concerned about a fast-growing cyst. The dog is a German shorthaired pointer that has worked all its life, but is now retired. It was not a happy experience for either dog or owner. No appointments…

Gundog trainer

How to find the right gundog trainer

Ever since I was old enough to walk by myself, I have been going shooting with my family. I’ve always been attracted to the working gundogs side and, since I was eight years old, my father would give me his own trained dog to work on a shoot day. How…

black Labrador puppy

Worming working dogs – here’s what you need to know

Responsible gundog owners know that worming working dogs regularly is part of the routine. But what about puppies? I recently received this query from a gundog puppy owner. (Read our tips here on choosing a gundog puppy from a litter.) Q: I have heard of young puppies dying after they…

old Labrador

Spaying an older dog. Should you?

Q: What is your advice on spaying an older dog? I am unsure of what to do. I have an eight-year-old bitch I was a bit concerned about because she started being a bit slow with her food. This was unlike her so I took her to the vet, who…

rules for working dogs

Setting rules for working dogs starts from day one

Dogs, like humans, need rules and boundaries, so they know what to expect, what is acceptable and what is not. In the early months, this is vital. For example, if your puppy is not allowed on the sofa, then it is important to not allow it on the sofa. This…

diet for working dogs

What’s the healthiest diet for working dogs?

I’m often asked by owners of gundog breeds what they should be feeding their dogs. They want to know all about the healthiest diet for working dogs. Here are some of the questions I’m asked and here’s what I say. Are all brown kibble diets bad? You simply cannot lump…

black labrador

Do dogs have to wear collars?

Gundogs are controlled with slip leads but it’s rare that you’ll see one with any sort of collar. So do all dogs have to wear collars? Is it required by law? Out in the field you’ll see teams of working dogs under immaculate control and not a collar in sight.…

terrier breeds

Terrier breeds: are they born anarchists?

Most, if not all of the terrier breeds bring a smile to our faces, whether the smug condescension of the handler of well-trained gundogs or the rictus of embarrassment that comes from having thought your dog’s behaviour could not get any worse before you discover that it just has. Quite a few owners of…

cocker spaniel

Spaniel ears – what a new owner needs to know

Q: I’ve acquired a spaniel, a breed I believe that is prone to ear infection. Should I clean his ears regularly or how else can I best prevent problems with his ears? A: The opening to a dog’s ear is unlike ours and the anatomy of the ear canal tends…

sprocker or cocker

Sprocker or cocker spaniel? How can you tell them apart?

Should you get a sprocker or cocker spaniel? I admit to being a fan of sprockers as I like their hybrid vigour. They are not a designer cross-breed like a Labradoodle but simply spaniel x spaniel, and it should not be forgotten that both breeds share the same ancestry. However, since a cocker crossed…