electric collar on Labrador

Do electric collars have a place in dog training?

Defra is under heavy pressure from a number of organisations, including most notably the Kennel Club (KC), to ban electric shock collars, and has launched an online consultation to gauge public opinion. The KC’s arguments are clearly explained: “The Kennel Club believes that electric shock collars have no place in…

Gundog training puppies

When should I start training my puppy to be a gundog?

Training a puppy should start from the very first day it begins life with its new owner. Whereas formal gundog training puppies can start at around seven months – depending on the youngster of course. The early days are crucial You need to establish a partnership and rapport early on…

gundog training with dummy

Gundog training – marking a dummy

The causes for problems marking a dummy Some young dogs can develop this quirk and, although it tends to disappear as time passes and they get experience of the real thing, it can be frustrating for the trainer. Eye contact is something that, as gundog trainers, we work hard to…

Spaniel or Labrador

Should I choose a spaniel or a Labrador?

I go rabbit and pigeon shooting, and now intend to get a gundog. I am not sure which breed to go for. A friend says Labradors are born half-trained and spaniels die half-trained! I ideally want a dog to flush game and to retrieve it. Any advice, please?

water retrieves

How to introduce a puppy to water retrieves

With the arrival of warmer weather, it has been a good opportunity to introduce the young spaniels to a bit of water work and introduce water retrieves. Though the puppies are the same age, it is surprising how different they dealt with this new aspect of their training. Logan, the black-and-white…

training a puppy to run in a straight line

How to train a puppy to run in a straight line

Neil Varney uses a place-board and natural retrieving alleys to train a puppy to run in a straight line to retrieve. The labrador puppy, Remy, is growing very fast both physically and mentally; he is now beginning to test a few boundaries, and at times push his luck. He has…

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…

Dog's first shoot day

Your dog’s first shoot day

A very common question we get asked at Gamegoer is: “How old should my dog be before I get him in the shooting field?” In truth, this is always a difficult one to answer as it depends on so many different things; the dog’s level of training, the dog’s personality (is…

dogs in beating line

Rescue gundogs prove their sporting worth

Most fieldsports enthusiasts heed the advice of acquiring animals from proven working stock, whether they be gundogs, terriers or even ferrets. This is because knowledge of an animal’s ancestry provides an invaluable insight into its sporting potential and behavioural traits. However, I know of certain circumstances that resulted in this time-…

puppy with ball

An insider’s guide to training gundog puppies

It’s going to be a busy summer at the Twistmount Kennels as I have a few youngsters that are ready to start their more formal training. I have two home-bred young springer spaniels that are showing real potential, a little liver-and-white bitch called Dolly and a black-and-white dog called Logan.…

Bill Meldrum

Bill Meldrum: The Queen’s former headkeeper talks gundogs

Bill Meldrum may have lived down south for more than 50 years but he is a Scottish gamekeeper through and through. In 1958 he won his first open stake and back then 70 per cent of the dogs running in any stake in Scotland were keepers’ dogs. A few landowners…

Duck hunting

Wildfowling with Goose

It didn’t take long until September rolled round and Goose had a chance to try a job that he was named for, wildfowling. His first flight was in early September as I decided to start him on a morning tide flight on ducks. We set off into the darkness with…

Can dogs read body language?

Body language is also key for communication, not only person-to-person and dog-to-dog, but across species as well. People have learned to ignore body language and posture. How many times have you asked a friend if they’re okay and they fold their arms, purse their lips and say “yes, I’m fine.”…

canine partners

Canine Partners create life-changing partnerships

When it comes to working in harmony with our dogs, we shooters tend to think we have it taped. Granted, there are one or two unruly exceptions, but what we ask of our gundogs on a shoot day is demanding. Whether flushing game, retrieving birds or tracking deer, we rely…