The 12 commandments of choosing gundog training lessons
Our expert, Kennel Club instructor Paul Rawlings, tells you what to look out for when choosing where your gundog will be trained
- First, you should be made to feel welcome. I would expect the trainer to be an experienced spaniel handler with evidence of success in competition, or perhaps a field trial judge.
- The fee should reflect the level of facilities and numbers in the class. One-to-one lessons cost more but with the right trainer it may well be worth it.
- The trainer should have a positive attitude towards the breed of spaniel you own. It will soon be obvious if they do not like or understand the breed.
- Vaccinations, regular worming and flea treatment should always be insisted upon before joining a class. Similarly, bitches in season should be excluded.
- Training methods should be positive and reward based. There should be no harsh handling or electric collars evident.
- The trainer should be respected by all present — an attentive, interested and happy class will be evidence of that.
- Expect to make progress slowly in class. You are there to be taught how to train your spaniel — it is then up to you between lessons to make sure you make progress in your own time.
- The facilities and equipment available for the class should aid learning. A safe environment is essential, with access to suitable equipment and water.
- Access to a well-stocked rabbit pen would be a plus. If the trainer does not have their own, I would expect them to help you access one when the time is right.
- As the training reaches its final stages, the opportunity to have your spaniel introduced to the real thing, and even shot over on a training day, probably on partridge or rabbit in September or October, would be a positive progression.
- Progress may seem slow at first but patience and a common-sense approach will ensure that in the end you have a well-trained spaniel companion for the future.
- To find out more about training near you, contact the Kennel Club, tel 01296 318540