Dorset Pet Gun Dog Training

Welcome to 1:1 Pet gun dog training classes in Dorset, part of the highly acknowledged dog training school, Muttley Solutions.

  • Are you struggling with recall or lead pulling issues?
  • Do you have a bored crazy Springer or Cocker spaniel?
  • Is your Labrador full of energy and need a job?
  • Do you have a Vizsla or one of the other HPR breeds and stuck what to do with them?
  • Would you like to build a better relationship with your dog and have lots of fun together?

We offer a top-class training facility for you and your dog to help support you from before you bring your adorable puppy home, all the way through adolescence and into adulthood.

Our training ground in central Dorset offers a live environment complete with rabbits and other delicious smells that your dog will need to learn to focus within.  We pride ourselves in working one to one with you and your dog. There are no group sessions or village hall experiences here at Dorset Pet Gundog Training. We do however encourage our owners to work through the Bronze, Silver and Gold syllabus. The Bronze being that hardest to achieve as it forms the foundation for other learning. From there, more advanced gun dog techniques can be developed..

We aspire to offering you the training you need to ensure your puppy has the best possible start to enable you both to have a fulfilled and rewarding life together.

Our specialty is to educate the handler to understand how their dog thinks and behaves as a dog.   We help you to comprehend that if you give your pet gun dog a job to do, a job that is instinctive to them, you may eradicate any behavioral issues that often arise from a bored and poorly understood dog. Remember you chose not to work your dog, your dog didn’t choose that option.

You can book your one to one pet gundog training classes here in Dorset with my online booking system. You must have had a Zoom session before booking a field session. Contact me if you have any questions or want some specific training.

What training do we offer for your pet gun dog?

gun dog training dorset

Why are pet gun dog training classes different to traditional gun dog training?

Traditional Gundog training

Gundog training refers to the training of dogs to hunt game, with the majority of hunted species being upland game birds. The name gun dog originated from these dogs being used to help hunters who used guns to track game, with many gundogs now being trained to ignore the sound of gunfire. Gundog training has been traced back to the early 1800’s when Edwardian shooting gents began to use dogs to assist them in their hunting. However, there are ancient Egyptian frescoes that depict images of dogs hunting game, giving us reason to believe that the idea of humans training dogs to hunt animals for them may have been around for centuries.

In general, the three dog breeds involved in gundog training are retrievers, flushing spaniels and HPR breeds. Retrievers, such as the Labrador are used to retrieve game that has been shot and bring it back to the trainer. Some of the tasks retrievers are trained to do include marking where shot birds fall as well as sitting still when a bird rises or a gun is fired. These gun dogs are also trained to perform blind retrieves, meaning the dog is sent to retrieve a bird that it has not seen fall.

Flushing spaniels, such as Springer and Cocker Spaniels are tasked with flushing game, holding game in its mouth without puncturing it with its teeth, and having the ability to follow the scent of game in both wet and dry conditions. Flushing spaniels are also trained to follow hand signals, investigating areas of cover for birds, and staying steady when a gun is fired, or a bird rises.

Additionally, pointing breeds which include the Vizsla and the German Shorthaired Pointer are slightly different to other breeds in that the ability to point at birds is something that comes naturally to certain dog breeds. Although this is not taught, these dogs are trained to hold their pointed position until the trainer has a gun in position. These dogs are also trained to follow hand signals and whistles in order to work a large area.


The purpose of this type of dog training is to assist gun hunters in finding, tracking, and retrieving game depending on the breed of the dog trained. For example, a retriever is generally trained to find and retrieve game that has already been shot by the hunter. Alternatively, a spaniel is trained to quarter in front of the trainer to flush game, whereas pointing breeds are trained to hold a pointed position at a bird until the trainer has its gun in position.

Ultimately gundog training is an excellent aid in hunting for game, especially upland birds that may be difficult to find, shoot and retrieve by the naked eye alone. While the breed and therefore purpose of the gun dog may vary, any gun dog that is well trained will help a trainer greatly in their hunting endeavours. Gundog training not only benefits the trainer, but also benefits the dog itself, as it allows it to create a strong bond and rewarding relationship with its trainer as well as getting the regular fresh air and exercise that every dog needs.

Pet gundog training classes

Early on in my dog training career I started to realise I was seeing a lot of clients who had a gun dog breed such as a Springer Spaniel or a Labrador which had training issues. Many of these dogs bordered on having behavioural issues. When I looked into this further I realised that the issue was not with the dog, but with the owner.

Many owners knew what breed they had, but not what the purpose of the dog was…..why was it bred? What is its breed traits as a dog? As with many dogs these were getting the two walks a day to the park and if the dog was lucky let off the lead for a run and hopefully a successful recall.

I had one client who had a 4 year old Springer Spaniel which I not been off the lead outside of the garden in 3 years due to it running off and not coming back. It had no recall at all and there were other issues as well.

The Gun Dog Breeds are a working dog in the true sense. They have been bred to hunt, flush, retrieve on land and water. They will work in all conditions and have great stamina to work hard with only short rests.

These dogs need to be doing, to be busy. They also need structure, and a kind, but firm hand to direct this energy in a positive outlet. To achieve this the dog needs excellent obedience and manners.

Many of the owners I see who have a pet gun dog breed will proudly tell me their dog is from a good working background, it’s parents were working gun dogs. What they don’t understand is whilst this looks good on the pedigree papers it come with issues if the dog’s breed traits are not met.

Owners who have bought a gun dog breed as a pet have no intention of working the dog in a live environment or in the field trials. However, just because the owner has decided their dog is not going to work to its breed traits the dog has not signed up to that.

Gun dog training for the working dog has a proven past. Thankfully, many gun dog trainers are now leaving the old ways of training behind and adopting more modern approaches. It is a highly structured practised method of training which plays well to what the dog is designed to do.

A dog will only be as good as the training it gets and the owner who is doing the practice. When you see a well trained gun dog working it is an amazing sight to see. This did not just happen, it took hundreds of training hours to get there. Of course the pet dog does not require this level of training.

What Will You Learn in the Dorset Pet Gun Dog Classes?

The fundamental backbone to gun dog training is excellent obedience skills and a high level of manners. If a gun dog owner does not have these in place then they are going to struggle to teach the more demanding aspects of gun dog training classes.

Recall and loose lead walking

Three key basics skills are the recall and loose lead walking and off lead walking. These skills are essential foundations and will have to be addressed before the fun stuff. You will be taught a whistle recall early on if not already in place.

The same applies if you and your dog attend my pet gun dog training classes. On the first session I will observe both you and the dog to see how the team is made up.  Don’t worry about this it is just so we have a baseline of where the issues are and I can put a plan in place. Remember if you had the perfect dog you would not be reading this page!!

Training Syllabus

So that we have focus in the training schedule I have a Bronze, Silver and Gold syllabus. All the dogs who start with me will commence on the Bronze path.  The Silver and Gold training are optional.

The Bronze is about getting that obedience and manners spot on.  It is about putting structure in place and starting to utilise what the dog is already good at. You will become an expert at CPPR which is:

  • Consistency
  • Persistence
  • Patience
  • Repetition

This training at Bronze level is perhaps 70% training you and 30% training the dog. Most of the issues we find in dogs stem from poor leadership, poor structure and poor technique in the owner.

I pull no punches here in that this training is challenging for both the dog and yourself.  However, it is great fun and you will develop a bond with your dog which wasn’t there before. To the dog you will be great fun because you spend quality time with them doing fun things.

Some of the Techniques you will learn

  • Setting up a line of communication between you and the dog
  • First session will be about assessing the dog in the environment so we can put a plan in place.
  • Safety on the training area.  You being proactive not reactive
  • The messages you give to your dog which cause problems with training.
  • Loose lead 
  • Equipment
  • Long Line work. Using this equipment correctly and safely
  • Working on basic obedience and good manners. This will be a big part of the teaching time.
  • The importance of doing nothing!!
  • Whistle work
  • Recall in a distraction environment. Cover all aspects of the recall.
  • Being steady….able to sit with distractions
  • Working with a dummy
  • Retrieving
  • Release to hand
  • Marked retrieve
  • Memory retrieve
  • Blind retrieve
  • Changing direction
  • Depending if you are Bronze, Silver or Gold will determine what we work on.

Gun Dog Training Facilities to Teach and Challenge Your Pet

Muttley Solutions is in the fortunate position that we have a 2.5 acre area for training your pet gun dog depending on their needs and experience.

Part of this is a very high distraction environment with lots of wildlife to challenge you and your dog. Don’t worry you won’t be going in there to train until I think you and the dog are ready and safe.

I also have a fenced secure area which is the main training area for new dogs to the training facility. This is still a high distraction area and will allow us to teach and test the recall.

What will you get from attending the Gun Dog Training for Pets?

What I offer is different from the traditional gun dog training classes some local clubs offer. This is aimed at giving you an introduction into the gun dog training techniques without joining a club or working your dog.

This will mean you can meet your dog’s breed traits with the confidence and knowledge to ensure they are mentally stimulated. You can make your normal walks challenging and fun for both of you. You will be more confident in a high distraction environment and start being proactive rather than reactive to your surroundings.

Many of my clients come to the training centre once or twice a month just to learn new techniques and advance through the syllabus. There is no ongoing commitment. If there is availability you book and turn up.

Opening Times

The centre is open every Saturday, Sunday and weekday sessions for gun dog training classes so you have a lot of choice and flexibility. You can make bookings at the top of the page and if there is anything else I can help with then contact me.

How do I train my dog to retrieve on a shoot?

Get yourself a qualified and experienced gun dog instructor. Muttley Solutions only offers training to those who have a gun dog breed and don’t wish to work or compete them

How do I train my gun dog to come back to me when I call them?

Recall training is essential for all dogs. For gun dog breeds who have a high work ethic and high prey drive it is even more important they have a solid recall in distraction. Muttley Solutions can help you with recall issues if you have a working or non-working gun dog.

What lead should I use with a gun dog?

Most people favour a slip lead as this is the lead of choice by those who work their dogs in the field. The reason being the working gun dog does not wear a collar to avoid it getting caught. Therefore the slip lead is idea for this situation. A slip lead should not be used on dogs who pull as the lead will tighten as the dog pulls. It is better to have an appropriate collar and lead and train the dog not to pull on the lead. Once the dog will walk without pulling then a slip lead can be used if the dog is working in the undergrowth.

Can I learn pet gundog techniques if my dog is not a gundog breed?

Absolutely. Many dog breeds will find what pet gundog training offers great fun. We can adapt the techniques to suit the needs of the breed. You learn great obedience and manners which every dog should have as standard.

Do you do this training in a hall?

No we don’t. The reason is you don’t walk your dog in a hall so we like to make the training as realistic as possible from the start. You will be competing with many smells and a changing environment. Exactly what happens on your everyday walk. Your dog will do a lovely recall and walk to heel in a hall. Will it do that is a field of a high distraction park?

What areas do you run pet gun dog training classes?

We have a field at Merley near wimborne where all training happens. It is easily accessible from Wimborne, Colehill, Merley, Oakley, Poole, Bournemouth Broadstone, Corfe Mullen, Ringwood, Blandford and out to Wareham. We cover the whole of Dorset and and you are only limited by your ability to travel to out location for training.

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