My gun dog has over 30 Field Trial Champions throughout ﬁve past generations. What advice can you give me?
MARK WHITEHOUSE SAYS: When my puppies are as young as 10-and-a-half weeks old I start play training with them, teasing them with an old sock and get them chasing it around the pen.
As soon as one puppy picks it up, they all chase around and want to carry it.
This way there is no pressure applied and the young gun dogs are training themselves.
I repeat this method of play training with small dummies covered with fur and feather until ﬁnally they will retrieve anything I put in front of them.
The transition from dummies to cold game must be done very carefully and planned to achieve success every time.
I always use feral pigeons because the feathers are very tight and a young dog does not want a mouth full of loose feathers as this could be very off-putting on its ﬁrst retrieve.
Make the ﬁrst few retrieves very straightforward.
If each stage is accomplished gradually then your gun dog will eventually be able to pick freshly shot game without any problems.
The transition from dummies to cold game must be done carefully and
planned to achieve success every time.