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“Walking the Dog” takes on a whole new meaning
Gundog training is a combination of the three main disciplines encountered in the world of dogs.
“Obedience” - is required to remain steady and do as instructed - in spite of distractions.
“Agility” - stamina and physical fitness are required to go into / under and over obstacles.
“Tracking” - the dog needs to develop a keen nose - to search for, and find the hidden quarry.
Training your dog to work on a shoot can be a most rewarding and enjoyable pastime.
Even if you haven’t the slightest intention of getting involved in shooting, training your dog - up toward the standard needed to compete - even in local Gundog Working Tests - or even just achieving what you set out to do - is rewarding and good fun for both you and your dog.
It’ll certainly keep you both fit - and greatly enhance the bond between you.
Having said that - it’s your dog that does the “fetching and carrying”.
You’ll be treated as a “management trainee”.
SUMMERSBROOK GUNDOG TRAINING
We’re lucky to have a home with lawns, lake and woodland extending to over 16 acres.
In addition, we have free access to a further 200 acres of surrounding farm land.
Use of this farm land obviously depends on the farmer’s seasonal requirements and needs - but there’s always much more land available than we could possibly make use of at any one time.
Basic training covers obedience, handling a slip lead, heelwork, use of a whistle and simple retrieving.
Beginner courses for Spaniels and HPRs also covers hunting and quartering to whistle.
Most training at this level is done in the grounds surrounding the house - or in the nearer woodland.
“Intermediate” courses cover distance handling, changing direction and introduction to gunshot.
For more advanced work and as training progresses, we make full use of the woods and open fields
This includes“Hunting with Labradors” and “Quartering with Spaniels and HPRs”
- and a few other interesting challenges along the way.
We’ve a selection of jumps - ranging from stock fencing - poles - chicken fencing - gates - and hurdles.
We practice all sorts of variations of “Water Retrieves” from in and around our lake.
Ease of entry is a key factor when introducing young dogs to water.
We’ve achieved that by building “easy steps”.
Most of our training sessions end up here - one way or another!
For some time, we’ve had a very typical pheasant release pen measuring about 3/4 acre.
It’s proved very useful for developing the hunting qualities of more advanced handlers and their dogs.
It’s also proving excellent for “containing” dogs that have a tendency to run off and explore elsewhere.
Much of our Spaniel training revolves around the use of our cover crop area.
They thoroughly enjoy all their training stages because we ensure that they succeed - at every stage.
SUMMERSBROOK GUNDOG TRAINING HANDBOOK
Although running training courses is great fun, one of the problems I’ve encountered is that keen handlers sooner or later buy their own books on the subject - which is great.
This, however, lead to confusion as to which method we were supposed to be following.
I decided that it was time to edit and sort all my notes and write my own training manual.
That would ensure that my trainees and I would both be singing from the same hymn sheet.
This “standardization” has worked well - very well indeed!
It’s in its 12th Edition - extends to 20 chapters - 100 pages - with more than 30 illustrations.
It offers “Clear and Concise” - “Easy to Read”- “Easy to Follow” - instruction - including..........
“Equipment” - all the kit you’re going to need to train, work and practice with
“Script” - what to say - when to say it - how to say it - and how to use a whistle
“Puppy Training” - gentle training can start as early as 8 weeks
“Heelwork” - a very basic control - but vitally important
“The Four Aces” - “Sit” - “Stay” - “ Stop” - “Steadiness”
“Basic Retrieving” - how to do it properly - with a section on problem solving
“Memory Retrieves” - dogs have memory - able to be developed - and put to very good use.
“The Clock Exercise” - training your dog to go exactly in the direction you want it to go
“Changing Direction” - teaching your dog to go left / right - or further away from you
“Blind Faith” - developing your dogs faith in you - to go for a retrieve that it can’t see
Hunting with Labradors - teaching your dog to hunt - without your help
Quartering with HPRs and Spaniels - developing that iconic hunt pattern
Water Retrieves and Jumps - coping with these two obstacles - usually great fun
Working on a Shoot - experienced background advice for first timers
Gundog Working Tests - more good background advice for first timers
It’s easily downloaded on to any PC, all “Apple” products and other smart phones.