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…

dog dandruff

How to treat a Labrador with flaky skin

A concerned reader asked this question regarding dog dandruff: Our two-year-old black Labrador has developed flaky skin that is visible when I pull back his coat. I first noticed it after I washed him down after a particularly muddy afternoon shooting woodies. It does not seem to bother him, he does…

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…

Retiring lurcher from ferreting

Retiring a lurcher from a ferreting career

It is at this time of year when I scrutinise the strengths and weaknesses of my ferrets and ask myself questions such as which hob do i breed from to improve my stock, which hob and jill will pair up best to reinvigorate the line and what equipment needs replacing, repairing…

Cocker spaniel in field

12 questions about spaniels answered

How can I improve my spaniel’s picking up skills? The gundogs in question are 10-month-old litter brothers – one is a good hunter, the other bad at retrieving. What can be done about it? Shouldn’t working spaniels have docked tails? A reader is worried about two young spaniels with tails that are…

Heel work and quartering

How to improve heel work and quartering

During the past month Remy, the Labrador puppy, has been coming along really well with his lead work, and over the past week or so I have gently started to introduce some more formal heel work but this has not been without its challenges. To encourage the little dog to…

microchips for working dogs

Microchips for working dogs

Question: I have heard that working dogs are exempt from compulsory microchipping. Does that mean that I needn’t have had my Labrador, which I work on a number of local shoots, microchipped recently? Veterinary surgeon Tony Buckwell advised: What you have heard is not quite correct. The exemption, under the Microchipping of Dogs…

Lab in a fleece

Keeping your dog safe from ticks and burrs

There’s not much Mary Leigh of Equafleece doesn’t know about keeping a dog healthy and comfortable. She set up Equafleece 16 years ago and it’s quickly become a popular brand with gundog owners. We asked her a few questions. Shooting UK: How can you protect your dog from ticks and…


10 things you need to know about dog microchipping

Approximately one in five dogs have not been microchipped, according to DEFRA. The estimated dog population in the UK is 8.5 million – 86 per cent of which (7.34 million) of which have been microchipped. The remaining 14 per cent need to have a microchip by 6th April 2016 when it…

Gundog breed Labrador

Which gundog breed would suit all of my needs best?

A: First, find a gundog club by visiting The Kennel Club. This will have details of location, area of operation and what the club in question has to offer. Not all gundog clubs run training classes but most will be able to put you in touch with a good gundog trainer. Your…


How do I stop my gundog from whining?

Mark Whitehouse says: Making noise and whining are major eliminating faults in field trialling events, and this could be one of the reasons he has been sold as a shooting companion You would expect him to have undergone a reasonable amount of patience training, but it is never too late…

Dog training with a whistle

Gundog training: How to use the stop whistle

Gundog training: I am training my new dog and want to get her used to the stop whistle. Some people say you can make dogs hesitant if you get too hung up on it. What do you suggest?

Gundog breeds: Why buy a Weimaraner?

Weimaraner: These distinctive German dogs are often misunderstood but, in the right hands, the Weimaraner can be excellent gundogs.