springer spaniel dream gundog

The dream gundog team

I’ll tell you what I want to see behind me when I am standing in a line of guns outside a likely looking covert. I want to see a bunch of pickers-up with sundry teams of likely looking dogs. I want them a good gunshot distance and where I can see them. I don’t want to…

Gundogs

Dogs in the beating line need to be the best of all

If you were to look at the hierarchy of gundogs in the shooting field, you would more than likely consider dogs that work in the beating line at the bottom of list. But, in fact, they probably need to be the best trained of all the gun dogs in the field and they certainly work the hardest. All…

Working sprocker spaniel

A day in the life of a working sprocker

Every Monday starts full of excitement and anticipation. I watch as the curtains are opened, praying for good weather. Sometimes we’re blessed, sometimes we’re not. Today fog fills the valley and as we travel out of the village the mist slowly disappears. Slowly the sun’s rays break through and by…

Weimaraner

Scottish Government turns tail on working dog tail docking

Those of us with British passports may think that we live in a united kingdom, but that’s certainly not the case, as a look at the law will soon confirm. In Northern Ireland, it is legal to shoot a jack snipe or a scaup, but not a moorhen. It is the other way round in mainland Britain.…

Gundog ears

Gundog ears badly designed

All our gundog breeds have floppy ears though, of course, some are a great deal floppier than others. Labrador ears may turn downwards, but they are functional and only covered in short hair, which might explain why ears are one of the areas of least concern with the breed (don’t mention hips or elbows). It is the…

Gundogs out in the field

My gundog embarrasses me in front of other Guns

A: You probably allowed him to hunt quite freely on his first big day as he was so well behaved, but hunting game is far more exciting than walking at heel. He got to enjoy meeting other beaters, who probably greeted him in a friendly way. Dogs quickly learn to do things when they gain pleasure from…

choosing a gundog puppy

How to choose a puppy – a dog has his say

The human’s view So how do you finally choose a puppy from a universally adorable litter? Time was when the accepted wisdom was to look for the adventurous character. Lean into the whelping box and snap the fingers. The pup that was first up and over and investigating was the one for you. Eager,…

dog tail injury

Scotland drops its ban on tail docking

Holyrood has announced plans to change tail docking legislation to allow the tails of spaniel and hunt, point, retrieve (HPR) puppies to be shortened wherever a vet believes they are likely to be used as a working dog and risk serious tail injury in later life. Tail docking was banned in Scotland in 2007 as part of…

cocker spaniel puppy with mother

Why you should never buy a puppy on the internet

A recent press release from the Kennel Club (KC) on the perils of buying dogs on the internet was picked up by most of the newspapers. In case you didn’t see it, I will give a quick précis. According to the KC, almost half the puppies bought online without being seen first fell sick, typically with…

Frog dog posture

Frog dog posture – readers report back

I recently wrote about dogs that stretch out with their hind legs behind them – in the “frog dog” pose. Dave Seaborn from Abenhall Gundogs was one of several people who suggested dogs do this to chill out. Stretching out on a hard surface such as concrete after exercise “allows them to cool off as quickly as…

Labradors in pickup

Fruit-loving Labradors

Neil says: Clever boy indeed to be skinning his bananas himself! Patience with food such as this is unusual in Labradors. Yes they will eat anything. A Labrador patient of mine recently made a valiant attempt to eat the entire contents of the coal bunker. It took three days of enemas to get it all out. You could say a “miner” issue…

Labrador and handler

Do dogs get dementia?

A recent newspaper report suggested that a third of dogs develop some sort of cognitive decline from the age of eight, and two-thirds do so from the age of 15. Having known a good number of old dogs, this didn’t make surprising reading. Indications of dementia in dogs include the dog getting stuck behind furniture and needing…

Cherwell Gundog Club

£250 raised for air ambulance and children’s hospital

This is the first full year of training by the Club and everybody involved had a wonderful time, particularly the dogs! You can reach Cherwell Gundog Club here. Don’t forget to send the Editor of Shooting UK news of your charity successes with a good quality photograph.

handler with spaniels

What’s the most common spaniel problem for novice trainers?

A: Not only with Shooting Times readers’ queries but also in my other role as a professional gundog trainer and instructor, perhaps the hardest problem for newcomers to deal with is getting their spaniel to quarter properly and well in range without constant commands. So many promising young spaniels go through training smoothly until they are taken out and…

gundogs with shot and cold game

How to train gundogs with shot and cold game

As a gundog trainer with several dogs to progress, I have to look at each individual and work out a suitable training programme for every one and this can vary due to the dog’s personality and its level of maturity. Logan and Dolly, the two English springer spaniels, are now just over 12 months old and my…

stop whistle

How to introduce the stop whistle

Introducing the stop whistle is one area of gundog training that can cause handlers some issues — possibly because they rush it, so that the lesson is not fully learnt by the dog, or they overdo it and the dog grows bored. With my spaniels, I like to develop their stop whistle training with the dog…

Terrier

A closer look at the terrier

There is no doubt that the terrier breeds are the “hard men” of the canine world, ready to take on their quarry above and below ground. Most terrier breeds were developed in Great Britain and Ireland, and before legislation changed, they could be worked for quarry such as rats, rabbits, foxes, mink while traditionally they were also used to…