Jeremy has been breeding gun dogs for over 25 years. He is a member of the Kennel Club and lives in Lancashire and is well known as a writer on country sports and rural issues.
Mark is an ‘A’ panel Kennel Club judge for spaniels and has represented England six times in international gundog events. He trains and breeds labradors and spaniels at the Cheweky Gundog Kennels in Yorkshire.
Knowing your weaknesses is a big help although you might be better off sending the pup away to be trained from the outset. But if you are determined to have a go, you must remember that the pup is not pre-programmed to wind you up and be difficult. Whatever its shortcomings, like your own, they have to be overcome and as the handler you must treat the pup’s training as a joint venture.
You will both be learning and making mistakes along the way so make sure you make allowances at all stages. You will both have good and bad days. Try to make training an enjoyable experience. If I undertake a training session with a young pup dog when I am preoccupied, it never goes well. Working your pup in a relaxed style instead of being stiff and rigid helps enormously and you will get results.
And if everything goes pear-shaped just go back to the beginning and start again. Don’t bear grudges – dogs don’t.
If you have have any gundog related questions/queries then please send them in to:
Gundog Questions, Shooting Gazette, PO Box 225, Stamford, Lincolnshire, PE9 2HS.