"This week has been really interesting; lots of different things going on, the end of the shooting season is rapidly approaching which means that lots of gundog people are thinking about breeding from their dogs. Our resident stud dogs are already busy ensuring that some of the finest ladies (dogs… actually that could still be taken the wrong way) in the South of England are ‘well looked after’ on their visit to us.
Breeding a litter of puppies is something no one should do without considerable thought. Rearing a litter of pups requires a lot of effort and planning. Having said all of that, it can be the most rewarding of experiences, but it will require you to be prepared to clean up behind messy puppies for at least four weeks.
Last week I mentioned how, what, where, when and why I had spent some time working with Grace and her cocker spaniel Ella (see last weeks blog), and this week I had an email from Grace that I thought was worth including because it details some of the handling and training methods we employed and of course everyone loves a happy ending. Well, I do anyway!
“I took Ella out today on a small shoot and she was absolutely FANTASTIC - didn't put a foot wrong, or squeak once! I did what you suggested and let her run free (ish!) to the drives, didn't make her sit - she didn't run in, she didn't squeak and she retrieved everything perfectly (I didn't let her go for any runners at all).... she was so good that at least three of the guns commented on her behaviour. She really was PERFECT all day - so thank you, once again for everything you did on Tuesday!”
If only all dog training was that straightforward and easy. All joking aside, most dog training situations are fairly straightforward - they just need for us to take a really considered approach to the training methods we choose to use. So if you are really struggling with a training issue, take a breath, take advice and be prepared to step back until you have really thought your approach right through.
It will soon be Spring, and the evenings are already starting to draw out, in no time at all you’ll be able to get out after work and enjoy some time with your dogs. Some of the best trained gundogs will have got a little independent during the shooting season and a little brush up won’t do them any harm as well as giving you another opportunity to further develop your own skills as a handler."