Spaniel entering heavy cover

Help! My gundog won’t go into heavy cover

Graham Watkins, Sporting Gun’s gundog guru offers a solution The causes First of all, this is a problem that can be overcome but it needs to be taken slowly and carefully because you don’t want to totally put the dog off entering cover. You haven’t mentioned whether you have a springer or a cocker spaniel and…

gundog steals

Help! My gundog steals others’ birds

Q: I thought I was doing a brilliant job on my woodland shoot where I pick-up. I always seemed to have more birds than all the others after each drive, but I did not realise my dog was pinching most of them off other dogs or stealing from the gamecart…

spaniel working cover

Teaching a spaniel to work cover

A: The more naturally you introduce her to working different types of cover, the better. Throwing a dummy into cover can make the process confrontational. If she is caused any pain by the entry, this could seriously affect her progress and her desire to retrieve. Avoid nettles, thistles, gorse and other such prickly covers until she is more experienced.…

Trained gundog

My dog ignores me out shooting

A: The dog may be trained to a very high standard but it is not mechanical and you, the handler, must form a strong bond with it and be trained how to handle your dog using commands delivered in a way in which the dog is familiar. Dog-to-human communication is not simple and you need to be able…

gundog ready for the beating line

Get your gundog ready for the beating line

People often ask: “How old should my dog be before taking it into the beating line?” The truth is there is no straight answer — so much depends on the dog and the trainer’s ability. But the question every trainer should be asking themselves is: “Is my dog ready to go beating?” Of all the participants on a shoot,…

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…

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…

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…

Labrador retrieving dummy

Puppy won’t deliver dummy

A: This is an indication that he is being possessive and if this is allowed to continue with dummies it could have more serious outcomes when he is introduced to the real thing. He is obviously very good at the outrun, finding and picking-up the dummy. You therefore need to work separately on the recall and delivery.…

new dog to picking-up team

How to introduce a new dog to your picking-up team

At this time of the year many of us are looking to either buy a new pup or a slightly older youngster. I tend to look two years ahead as this is roughly the time that it takes for most trainers to get a dog into the shooting field. One…

field spaniel

Gundog problems – dogs that will not mark

One of the gundog problems we see commonly at Gamegoer is dogs that will not mark. There are several reasons this can occur, but it is due mainly to the way they have been trained. A large proportion of handlers train their dogs on their own and two main problems can manifest. The first is when the…

working cocker spaniel puppy

Puppy vaccinations – what you need to know

A: I have always tried to pick up my new puppies at eight weeks or very soon after. This, I believe, is the optimum time to be able to become a replacement parent for the puppy and to begin forming a close bond with it. Usually they have not begun their vaccination…

training a puppy to run in a straight line

How to train a puppy to run in a straight line

Neil Varney uses a place-board and natural retrieving alleys to train a puppy to run in a straight line to retrieve. The labrador puppy, Remy, is growing very fast both physically and mentally; he is now beginning to test a few boundaries, and at times push his luck. He has…

puppy with ball

An insider’s guide to training gundog puppies

It’s going to be a busy summer at the Twistmount Kennels as I have a few youngsters that are ready to start their more formal training. I have two home-bred young springer spaniels that are showing real potential, a little liver-and-white bitch called Dolly and a black-and-white dog called Logan.…

Professional gundog trainer

Professional gundog trainers and amateur gundog trainers

Field trials are, by any reckoning, a very distinctive sporting activity. Nobody pretends they are not a sport in their own right, but neither would anybody be reluctant to acknowledge they derive their ultimate rationale from another sport, namely game shooting, and thanks for that community’s perennial generosity are anything…