Pet Gun Dog Training Classes in Dorset

Dorset Pet Gun Dog Training

Pet gundog group classes will be held at the Purbeck training facility every two weeks on a Sunday by your local Dorset Dog Trainer. Each class will have six dogs in, and the concept is based on workstations. Therefore, you can be an experienced dog handler or a beginner in the same group. You work to your skill level on the stations. You can book here. We also run specific Puppy gundog training.

Welcome to 1:1 and group Purbeck Pet gundog training classes in Dorset, part of the highly acknowledged dog training school, Muttley Solutions. We offer ethical, positive reinforcement pet gundog training at our Merley Field, Wimborne and now offer group pet gundog training at our purpose training facility near Wareham. We can provide pet gundog training if you live locally in Wareham, Corfe Castle, Swanage.

We offer a 5 level syllabus training that will take you from beginners to confidently controlling your dog working on dummies. The key focus is having fun and building a relationship with your dog. The basics are the foundations, and we will visit them every training session. This will mean you will have a dog who has better obedience and better manners and sees you as important in their life. Great traits to have in your everyday life with your dog.

Pet gun dog training dorset
Henry on the Pet Gundog Training Course

We offer a top-class training facility for you and your dog to help support you every step of the way. From the moment you bring your adorable puppy home, you will know how to care for and work with them through adolescence and into adulthood.

Our training grounds in central Dorset offer a live environment complete with rabbits and other delicious smells that your dog will need to learn to focus within.  We offer a 6-week intensive puppy training class which is held indoors at Upton, Poole. The sole purpose is to prepare you and your puppy to commence training outdoors in a natural environment.

We encourage our owners to work through the Bronze, Silver and Gold syllabus. The Bronze is the most essential to achieve, as it forms the foundation for other learning. From there, more advanced gun dog techniques can be developed.

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

Our speciality is educating the handler to understand how their dog thinks and behaves. We will help you know that if you give your pet gun dog a job to do, intuitive to them, you may eradicate any behavioural issues that might arise from boredom or misunderstanding. Remember, you chose not to work with your dog; your dog didn’t choose that option.

With my online booking system, you can book your one-to-one pet gundog training classes here in Dorset. Contact me if you have any questions or want some specific training.

What training do we offer for your pet gun dog?

  • Obedience and good manners based on gun dog skills
  • Walking on a loose lead and not pulling
  • Recall training in distraction
  • All training is outside in the real world of distractions.
  • Specific recall training taking into account gun dog traits
  • Being under control in a high distraction environment.
  • Improving your confidence and skills around your dog
  • Scent training by a City and Guilds qualified scent trainer. Scent training is brilliant for any breed of dog. However, we can really enhance the work ethic of the gundog breed and give them a job to do. It works really well for the gundog who has been retired but still needs to be challenged. Dorset scent training the right way could be the answer
  • Live environment group walks with a trainer, so dogs learn to ignore other dogs

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 1800s when Edwardian shooting gents began to use dogs to assist them in their hunting. However, ancient Egyptian frescoes depict images of dog’s 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 include marking where shot birds fall and sitting still when a bird flies 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 the game in its mouth without puncturing it and having the ability to follow the scent of the game in both wet and dry conditions. Flushing Spaniels are also trained to follow hand signals, investigate bird cover areas, and stay steady when a gun is fired, or a bird rises.

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


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

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 well-trained gun dog will help a trainer greatly in their hunting endeavours. Gundog training benefits not only the trainer but also the dog itself. It allows you to create a strong bond and rewarding relationship with the dog and give them the fresh air and exercise they need.

Pet gundog training classes

Early in my dog training career, I realised I saw many clients with a gun dog breed, such as a Springer Spaniel or a Labrador, with training issues. Many of these dogs bordered on having behavioural problems. 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 are the breed traits? As with many dogs, these were getting multiple walks a day and, if lucky, were let off the lead for a run and hopefully a successful recall.

One client had a four-year-old Springer Spaniel who had not been off the lead outside of the garden in three years due to running off. It had no recall at all, while there were other issues as well.

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

These dogs need to be kept 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 pet is from an excellent working background and its parents were working gun dogs. They don’t understand that whilst this looks good on paper, it can 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 the field trials. However, the dog has not signed up for that because the owner has decided their dog will not work to its breed traits.

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 training method that plays well to what the dog is designed to do.

A dog will only be as good as its training 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.

Pet Gundog Training group classes in Dorset
Demonstrating a send out at the Petgundog Training classes

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

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

Recall and loose lead walking

Three critical basic skills are recall, loose lead walking and off lead walking. These skills are essential foundations and will have to be addressed before beginning the fun stuff. If not already in place, you will also be taught a whistle recall early on.

The same applies if you and your dog attend my pet gun dog, training classes. In the first session, I will observe both you and the dog and see how the team is made up. Don’t worry about this. 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 a focus on 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 is 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

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

While I will pull no punches here, it is great fun, and you will develop a bond with your dog, which wasn’t there before. You will be great fun to the dog 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
  • The first session will be about assessing the dog in the environment so we can put a plan in place.
  • Safety in the training area.  You are being proactive, not reactive
  • The messages you give to your dog can cause problems with training.
  • Loose lead 
  • Equipment
  • Long Linework. 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 on if you are Bronze, Silver, or Gold will determine what we work on.
Pet gundog dummy retrieve training.

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 will not be going there to train until I think you and the dog are ready and safe.

I also have a securely fenced area that acts as the primary training area for new dogs. 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 provide. This aims to introduce 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 regular 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 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 many choices and flexibility. You can make bookings at the top of the page and if there is anything else I can help with, 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 with a gun dog breed and don’t wish to work or compete with them.

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

Recall training is essential for all dogs. It is even more critical for gun dog breeds with a high work ethic and high prey drive to 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 ideal 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 walks without pulling, 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 that pet gundog training offers excellent 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, precisely what happens on your everyday walk. Your dog will do a lovely recall and walk to heel in a hall. Will it do that in a field of a high distraction park?

What areas do you run pet gun dog training classes in?

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 Wareham. We cover the whole of Dorset, and you are only limited by your ability to travel to our location for training.