How do I train my pet gun dog?

Do you want to work your gun dog breed?

I often get asked how do I train my pet gun dog? There are perhaps more people with a gun dog breed who have them only as a pet. Only a small number of owners actually work or field trial their dogs in comparison. As a dog trainer in Dorset who specialises in training gun dog breeds that are not working, I see this issue daily. Many people get a gun dog breed with the romantic notion of working them yet know nothing about the breed or the sport.

Gun dog breeds are true workers of the dog world. They have been bred to help us hunt. Once upon a time, their use was to put food on our table. Nowadays, whilst the game is still eaten, it is about the sport and countryside management.

The gun dog breed

The Kennel Club (KC) lists the recognised gun dog breeds. However, there will be other dogs one could class as a gun dog breed, but they are a cross variety. My own dog Henry is a cross between a Labrador and springer spaniel and he does display both traits of hunting and retrieving. He is a great worker, but the KC won’t recognise his breed so I am limited in what I can do with him. If you want to compete in field trials, you will need a pedigree dog to enter.

Pet gun dog training

Where to train my gun pet dog breed

If you decide you want to work or compete with your dog, you need to find a gun dog club where you can get the right advice to fit your needs. There are a number of clubs around, and I am not going to advise which is the best. You need to ask yourself if the club is near enough for you to commit to regular training. No good joining a club which is 20 miles away and travelling gets an issue in winter.

You will need to look for recommendations and feedback to see what’s happening at the club. Is their Facebook page kept up to date? What is the website like? Does it tell you about the club, and is it updated? There are so many options nowadays to check out any club you are joining.

One-to-one gun dog training

Do you need to fast-track your gun dog training, or are you happy with the group setting? One-to-one gun dog training is a great way to go as it goes at your pace; however, it is usually more expensive than group sessions. I have done both training types, and my progress was much quicker with 1:1 training.

Training in the gun dog world is steeped in history and tradition. However, that can be an issue because a lot of the old ways of training are still present. This involves using pain and fear to train the gun dog. Thankfully many gun dog trainers now realise you can get better results by using more modern training methods and correcting the dog. Find another club if you join a club and see rough handling or out-of-date training methods.

Training your dog to work in the live environment or to compete is great fun. However, those dogs and owners who make it look so easy to have put in hundreds of consistent hours to get to that level. Like any sport, you get out what you put in. In this case, you are working in partnership with an animal which brings a multitude of challenges in itself.

Challenge yourself and your dog if you don’t want to work or compete with them

It is a recipe for disaster if you combine a gun dog breed and boredom. Many of the cases I take on in Dorset are gun dog breeds that are not being worked. The owner has decided they will not work the dog. However, the dog cannot switch off their breed traits just because they are not going to meet what they were bred for. If you have decided not to work your gundog, then Muttley Solutions could be the answer if you live in the Wimborne, Poole and Wareham areas of Dorset.

We have three live environments which are ideal for training your dog in. The idea is I teach you some of the gun dog techniques so that you can have great fun with your dog when you are out and about. You and your dog will first learn excellent obedience and manners. These are the cornerstone of any well-trained dog. We will assess their recall and put in a plan to address any issues. If your dog pulls on the lead, we will get you loose lead walking. This type of training is ongoing rather than a quick fix. This will meet your dog’s needs if you are not going to work them

Have a look around the site and contact me if you have any questions then contact me.

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