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…

best slip leads

The best slip leads for working dogs

Slip leads were created to be easy to carry so that they can be “slipped” straight onto a dog after working. However, even the best slip leads need to be used correctly, the right way around and at the right tension. (Read more on how to use a slip lead…

gundog tests

Gundog tests – training to win

I have spent many hours watching gundog tests and as a result I have a good idea how to make sure that a dog performs to the best of its ability. Admittedly, you might not win a rosette or bag of dog food but you can do your best, whilst…

Wensleydale sheep

How to stop a dog chasing sheep and livestock

The costs of a dog chasing sheep According to Sheep Watch UK about 15,000 sheep are killed each year by dogs, when dogs are off the lead in a field with sheep or other livestock. This figure only includes the reported attacks, so numbers are likely to be more. Owners…

Running dog

Are field trials champions REALLY the best?

Field trials are a tricky subject for a gundog correspondent to write about, especially as I’ve never competed with a dog in my life. I have watched AV spaniel, cocker, retriever, HPR and pointer and setter trials, and been to the championships of all five, so I do write with…

cocker spaniel waiting

Would a working cocker spaniel be right for you?

Back in the day everybody had a black lab. Then it was fox red labs. But nowadays you’re probably going to see a working cocker spaniel wherever you go in the field. (Read more about the cocker spaniel here.) Celeb owners of working cocker spaniels Guy Ritchie – film director…

dogs in snow

Looking after dogs in the cold

Can dogs suffer from the cold in winter? What are the signs to look out for and how best can we help them cope? (Read about hypothermia in dogs here.) Looking after dogs in the cold Dogs adapt remarkably well to living in extreme climates. Most of the breeds that…

stop a dog chewing

How to stop a dog chewing the wrong things

Q: I am having a problem with my 14-month-old spaniel. He seems to love to retrieve, but chews hard on everything. He has chews in the house, but I had to take toys off him because he was destroying them too quickly. I always wanted to work him, but now…

HPR Championship

HPR championship: victory at last

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That’s a rule that applies to Rory Major, who last month finally achieved his lifelong ambition to win the HPR Championship. As he admits with a wry smile: “It’s only taken me 34 years to win it. I have qualified for…