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…

water retrieves

How to introduce a puppy to water retrieves

With the arrival of warmer weather, it has been a good opportunity to introduce the young spaniels to a bit of water work and introduce water retrieves. Though the puppies are the same age, it is surprising how different they dealt with this new aspect of their training. Logan, the black-and-white…

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…

dog training hand signals

The dog training hand signals you need to know

Depending on the kind of dog work you intend to do, you may know that it needs to be trained to take hand signals and to be able to be sent back, left or right. If you plan just to go beating with your dog, then you may never need…

How to shoot over your dog

Over the past couple of months we have looked at taking your gundog into the beating line or being part of a picking-up team, but the ultimate for any gundog handler has to be shooting over your dog. It isn’t easy and not for the faint-hearted, but these guidelines should help.…

Mark and Jamie Bettinson

Mark and Jamie Bettinson: A profile

A glance at the diary entries on the desk at Bridgecroft Kennels in Hengoed, south Wales, reads like a who’s who of field trialling. Bridgecroft is one of the nerve centres of the UK trialling scene. Mark Bettinson was born three miles from the kennels and Jamie, his son, just…

gundog puppy training

Training a puppy to the gun

All dogs should learn the social graces that make them acceptable in human company, but a gundog’s upbringing needs special attention. You should bear in mind that your ultimate goal is for your dog to be a companion and teammate while also being under control and understanding that you call…

dog training

Dog training – electric collars have their uses for training

If you want to provoke debate among dog owners, just whisper the words “electric collar”. It’s a subject on which most of us have a strong view, and we were reminded of this when the Welsh Assembly celebrated the banning of electric collars in the Principality five years ago. None…

Gundog Training The Reluctant Retriever

The most common problem that people have when gundog training is delivery to hand. It can go wrong for so many reasons: inconsistent handling, allowing the dog to drop what’s in his mouth as he’s padding around the house, taking the dummy out of the dog’s mouth too fast and because…