Gundog training: The basics and benefits


hello my name's adam femi and i'm a

canine behaviorist and trainer based in

hartford ship today i'm going to be

talking to you about gun dog training

I don't feel trying myself but I enjoy

picking up on local shoots with my dogs

and helping pet dog owners improve their

relationships with their gun dogs gun

dog group includes the retrievers the HP

ours hunt point and retrieve the setters

and pointers and also the spaniels I

always encourage all owners to try and

get the best out of their dogs on a walk

we're out and about making sure exercise

is constructive and this can be done

with any dog not just the gun dogs but

of course it's more instinctive for the

gun dogs to do things like flush game

retrieve want to use their nose etc as a

behaviorist I often see breeds such as

the cocker spaniels the Springer

Spaniels the working Labradors these

these briefs that have been selectively

bred for their energy levels obviously

going to be very important on a shoot

day these breeds within a pet home

environment can become problematic or

show behavioral problems gun dog

training can be very useful here even if

not at a serious level but at a fun

level to help the dog have an outlet and

energy outlet to prevent behaviors such

as obsessions possessive behaviors

pacing territorial guarding etc so I

always encourage people who come along

to my classes with higher energy dogs to

get their dogs focused whether that be

with agility gun dogs working trials etc

gun dog training is about basically

getting good discipline to start with we

need the heel command the recall

commands the dog to be steady so to stay

on the whistle preferably rather than

the voice although some people will use

voices especially gamekeepers rather

than a whistle but what we must make

sure with any command that we give of

course is that the dog understands it if

it doesn't understand it we should be

teaching it once a dog does understand

the command we must enforce the command

we give this has to be shown

the dog in many different situations so

within the shooting field we've got to

make sure that the dog understands to

drop or sit within a woodland area

within a cover crop out on an open wheat

field or within Rape etc I always start

training my dogs with tennis balls with

a young dog then we start to introduce

the canvas dummies the reason for this

is they are more realistic they match

the weight of a pheasant or a partridge

or a rabbit so we get the dogs used to

carrying the weight obviously we need

the dog to bring the game back without

any damage so we need to teach the dog

to retrieve in a nice sensible way and I

will always start in a calm quiet area

without any distractions the ultimate

goal is to get into the shooting field

where there is going to be game

livestock potentially guns which is a

dangerous situation potentially for a

dog so we need to make sure we have good

discipline good foundations build off of

them to get the end result and for me

the end result is a picking up dog

others it may be filled trialing or

competing in working tests but for me is

to end up with a good sound dog that we

can take on to a shoot that's steady

reliable and it's safe some of the

exercises we may require a dog to do on

a shoot they may include flushing game

which is using its nose to find the game

within a cover crop or long grass etc

pushing the game out sitting steady as

the bird flies away or the rabbit runs

away obviously staying well out the way

of the animals so that the shot is clear

and dog won't get injured we've also got

things with the setters and the pointers

obviously setting and pointing this is

freezing on the scent once the dog is

sure there is scent within the area

we have the retrieving which of course

is once the game has been shot or

wounded we want the dog to be collecting

that for us on command not just chasing

off off much of the gun dog work is

about steadiness good foundations making

sure the dog is well-mannered within the

presence of game scent except run with

the gun dog we always have to appreciate

scent wins that's very important I

always test the win just with a bit of

grass before we go out just to see where

it's coming from that's going to help

putting the dog in a position to win in

those early days of training but also

massively important when we're getting

to the shooting field the dogs using its

nose massively powerful organ for the

animal and we want to make sure we get

the best out the dog if you've got a pet

dog and you're just using the ball

throwing the ball into some long grass

throw it into the wind initially just

the dog gets that that the the the idea

of using his nose or her nose which

obviously is going to make the game much

more constructive a lot of pet dogs I'll

go and see will be playing but with

their eyes so they're very obsessive the

Colley's in the park with the ball froze

etc and what I always try to get owners

to do is make the play constructive get

the best out of the play game and make

the dog work as hard as you can

especially the higher energy dog we need

to make sure we mentally and physically

drain that dog during our exercise

sessions this is going to help with

preventing behavioral problems

potentially at home