Working dog hazards barbed wire

Working dog hazards to watch out for in the field

I sometimes think back over the countless hours I have spent in the countryside with my dogs. Whether it was roost shooting, wildfowling, rough shooting, pigeon decoying, beating, standing on a peg or simply going for a short evening walk, I almost certainly had a dog by my side. Working…

Brown rat

Leptospirosis in dogs – what you need to know

Rats are known to carry disease and one of the ones they can transmit is Weil’s disease, also known as leptospirosis. Leptospirosis in dogs and humans can be fatal. It is caused by bacteria spread via the urine of infected rats. It is a zoonotic disease. In 2010 an Olympian…

Poodles as working dogs? Can it ever happen?

Is there such a thing as poodles as working dogs?  Legends are often based on rumours, and rumours are seldom based on facts, so I’ve never been quite sure whether the legend of Alex, the red-bearded Scotsman, is true. According to the story, Alex was a familiar figure on driven…

Black Labrador

Dealing with tapeworms in working dogs

Q:  What’s the best of dealing with tapeworms in working dogs? I have recently had to treat my dog for tapeworms. How do dogs get tapeworms and how can I prevent them in future? A: Tapeworms are flat, segmented intestinal parasites. There are several types of tapeworms, but the most…

working cocker spaniel puppy

Was getting a cocker spaniel a mistake?

Q: I am wondering whether getting a cocker spaniel was a mistake. I bought my first cocker spaniel last year. I was sure to do my research on reputable breeders and health-tested parents. The pedigree is very impressive, with many field trial champions, and the mother had a lovely temperament.…

flatcoated retriever

What’s happened to the flatcoat retriever?

What is it about the flatcoat retriever that makes it so successful at Crufts? It’s a question lots of showing enthusiasts have been asking themselves after Norwegian-owned flatcoat retriever Almanza Backseat Driver, or Baxer, took the coveted Best in Show title at the show in March 2022. This puts the…

muntjac

Do muntjac attack dogs?

Long, sharp teeth can pose a genuine threat to gundogs when muntjac attack.  I well remember my first serious encounter with a muntjac. It was on a rough day in Northamptonshire in the 1990s. At the time, I lived in Kent, where we had no muntjac, so my spaniels had…

labradors

When did dog licences stop in England and why?

Readers from Northern Ireland are permitted a wry smile when they see the subject of this article on dog licences. Dog licences abolished in England, Scotland Wales The Government abolished dog licences in England, Scotland and Wales in 1987, but they remain a legal requirement in Northern Ireland. There, dog…

spaniel sheep worrying

Sheep worrying – a growing problem

Sheep worrying – a growing problem Sheep worrying is a growing problem in the UK, no doubt made worse in the past two years by the growth in dog ownership due to the pandemic. Figures are not yet available for last year but, according to NFU Mutual, the total cost…

Slug pellets

How to protect dogs from poisonous slug pellets

Dogs and slug pellets don’t mix and are in fact a lethal combination. However, it’s the time of year now when new shoots are coming up in the garden and you want to protect your hostas, bulbs and tender green shoots from voracious slugs. So if you’re a dog owner…

dog training with a whistle

Dog training with a whistle: some frequently asked questions

Dog training with a whistle means you don’t have to shout yourself hoarse when you’re teaching your hound how to behave. (Read how to teach reliable dog recall.) Having a whistle in your pocket is a useful tool and of course different blows on the whistle can mean all sorts…

cocker spaniel

How the cocker spaniel has changed

My first-ever dog was a remarkably handsome blue-roan-and-tan cocker spaniel. I loved him dearly, but he was inbred, neurotic and not really a nice dog at all. He was show bred, but I took him shooting and it was an infection of tetanus, picked up on a shooting day, that…

spinone italiano

The Spinone Italiano – a gentle breed

The Italian spinone – Spinone Italiano – has been present here in Britain for almost the same time as the Brittany: the dogs first appeared at the Game Fair exactly 40 years ago, while they were first exhibited at Crufts in 1983. They soon gained an enthusiastic following in the…

Spaniel off the lead

All training disappears when my gundog is off the lead!

On the lead my 17-month-old springer spaniel is obedient, walks to heel well, sits on the whistle and is steady. Off the lead he is like a different dog. He runs away and won’t stay close to me. He does understand the turn whistle and will eventually obey it after…

gundog puppies

Socialising puppies – top tips from a vet

Q: I am a first time breeder and mindful of all the negative comments about the temperament of ‘Covid puppies’. How can I ensure my kennelled bitch will produce well socialised offspring? What can you advise me about socialising puppies? (Read how to use a slip lead correctly.)  Socialising puppies…