I own a 20-month-old spaniel and last season was his first season in the beating and picking-up line.

The problem I have is that he has lots of natural talent and I have none.

I let him down on several occasions last season by failing to react quickly enough when flushing.

This has led to him moving on the flush several paces.

What can you advise?

MARK WHITEHOUSE SAYS: It can be difficult for less experienced handlers to spot exactly when their gun dog has touched scent or is indicating where the line of scent is coming from.

This is a very important skill that you need to learn when hunting your young gun dog, because when he indicates scent and is going in to flush, you must be ready to implement the stop whistle.

This will then help steady the gun dog and control the gun dog on the flush at all times.

From the very beginning, when your gun dog is starting to hunt and seek out scent while attempting to locate dummies or tennis balls, you should watch his body and tail action.

When he gets close to the planted retrieves his head carriage will drop closer to the floor and his tail movement should become more excitable.

You should then begin to learn what he is telling you.

By watching your gun dog’s body language you can learn to read and anticipate situations a lot quicker.

This will always give you a chance to control your gun dog when coming into contact with game.

 

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