Introduce game to my spaniel: I’m really happy with my youngster’s progress. When do I introduce game to my spaniel and should this be cold or warm?
Mark Whitehouse says: Providing your spaniel is a consistent retriever of dummies the next move forward in her training would be to introduce her to fur and feather.
Cover one of your dummies with a rabbit skin (holding it in place with a few strong elastic bands) and cover another dummy with a pair of partridge or pheasant wings.
This then allows you to keep swapping and changing, giving your gun dog more variety and this stops them from getting bored with retrieving the same thing all the time.
Always remember to gauge these exercises.
What you are looking for is a good swift pick-up and a quick delivery with no stops in between.
If your gun dog starts mouthing these new textures, be sharp on the recall whistle.
As her retrieving develops with these new textures and only when you are totally convinced there is no hesitancy you can then repeat the same exercise with cold game and eventually warm game.
In the transitional stages, when you are changing from canvas to skins and wings, and then from cold to warm game, you must make sure at each stage that your gun dog does not hesitate, stop or start mouthing at any time.