“I have a 15-month-old Labrador and I want to teach him to go left and right, but my friends tell me it is a waste of time and unnecessary unless I plan to field trial with the dog. Although I have no plans to compete with the dog, I will use him for both driven and some walked-up shooting. So, is it a skill I need to train him in, and if so how is the best way to go about it?”
There is one essential element you must have if you’re to be successful when training a gundog – eye contact.
If you can’t get your dog to look at you, you’ll find it difficult to progress to any great degree and have no chance of introducing any form of directional handling. You want to develop a relationship where the dog works with its natural ability, but also trusts you. Before attempting any directional training, your dog should sit and stay at a distance and be steady to thrown dummies.