Gundog Training Classes in Dorset

Being with your gundog is all about having fun together.

Dorset gundog training with Henry

Muttley Solutions holds gundog training classes in Dorset at two different locations, Merley and Purbeck. Providing training for your Pet gundog, dogs who are a cross breed of a gundog parent. We also offer training to the working gundog around the basics and many of the gundog training techniques, but don’t train to shot or game.

We can have a chat about your interest in Gundog Training and put a plan in place. This is not a behaviour consulate.

Merley Gundog Training classes in Dorset

Our Merley gundog training classes in Dorset are held near Wimborne and are close to Poole, Bournemouth and surrounding communities. If you are searching gundog trainer near me and you live in Dorset, then we can help you. We hold weekly small group and 1:1 gundog training classes at this facility.

Gundog training at Merley near Wimborne
The ‘Dummy Zone’ Merley Gundog Training Facility

The cost is £26 for the 1:1 or group training, and the session time is 45 minutes for the 1:1 and 60 minutes for the group classes. To book a group session, you must have done a 1:1 with me first.

Corfe Castle Gundog Training classes in Dorset.

The Corfe Castle gundog classes are held at our large training facility in Bushy, Purbeck. We are very local to Wareham and Swanage and surrounding areas. We hold fortnightly Sunday gundog group and 1:1 training sessions.

gundog training classes in dorset
Corfe Castle Gundog Training Facility

Training costs £26 for a 1:1 class, which will last 45 minutes. The group classes are £26 and last about 75 minutes. You must have booked a 1:1 with me to attend the group sessions.

Gundog Training Classes in Dorset

We offer two top-class training facilities for you and your dog to help support you every step. When you bring your adorable puppy home, you will know how to care for and work with them through adolescence and into adulthood.

Gundog puppy training in Dorset

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 4-week gundog puppy training class held at our Merley Gundog facility. 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 our five-level syllabus. Level 1 is 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 gundog?

  • 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 enhance the gundog breed’s work ethic and give them a job to do. It works 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
Pet gun dog training classess
Demonstrating sending out

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

Traditional Gundog training

Gundog training refers to training dogs to hunt game, with most 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.

Generally, 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 tasks retrievers are trained to include marking where shot birds fall and sitting still when a bird flies or a gun is fired. These gundogs are also trained to perform blind retrieves, meaning the dog is sent to retrieve a bird 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 shot, or a bird rises.

Additionally, pointing breeds, including the Vizsla and the German Shorthaired Pointer, differ slightly 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. 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, the purpose of the gundog may vary, any well-trained dog will greatly help a trainer 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 in Dorset

Early in my dog training career, I saw many clients with a gundog 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 the dog’s purpose. 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 the garden in three years due to running off. It had no recall at all, while there were other issues.

The Gun Dog Breeds are working dogs in the truest sense. They have been bred to hunt, flush, and retrieve on land and water. They will work in all conditions and have great stamina, 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 into a positive outlet. To achieve this, the dog needs excellent obedience and manners.

Many 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 with the dog’s design.

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.

What Will You Learn in the Dorset Pet Gundog 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 gundog 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 must be addressed before beginning the fun. You will also 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. In the first session, I will observe 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, you would not be reading this page if you had the perfect dog!

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 utilising 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 to 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 what level you are will determine what we work on.
pet gun dog recall training
About to take delivery of the dummy