Jump to content
Young guns

Gun dog training

    Recommended Posts

    Hi I'm thinking about getting my first gun dog. I was thinking about maybe getting it trained by a trainer. What are people's views as I've never done it so haven't got any experience with them. Also how much would I be looking at to pay. I'm in Cornwall thanks 

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Having a dog trained is a very expensive option. There is a lot of pleasure training your own dog and we all have to start training our first acknowledging we won't get it right, if ever. Now it is easier then ever with books, training videos and online forums to offer advice.  Add to that the chance to attend gundog training classes or a local gundog society and you will be surprised how much help and encouragement you will get from experienced trainers. That was certainly the case when I started 40 years ago and I believe more so now.

    My recommendation is train your own but do the groundwork before you buy so you know which direction you are going in from the start.

    Good luck

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Is magaret allen not down about the south coast somewhere? She's mainly labs but has wrote a book which is meant to be quite good (not read it yet, but meaning too)

     

    Like dave said it's never been so easy to find info on how to train dogs (possibly the biggest problem now is sorting the good info from the BS, as with the internet anyone can put info out there uncensored)

    To be honest its really not hard to train a Lab to an average working standard (spaniels and other breeds can be slightly harder depending on the dog), and to be honest most gundog u see in the field aren't even at an average standard.

     

    Wot type pf shooting do u do? Do u want it a peg dog, rough shooting or even a completion dog as ur best to think wot u want before u pick a breed and pick a breed to suit ur needs.

     

    Offer to help with a local gundog club, if they do working tests or training days/evvenings they will need dummy throwers and usually can't get enough, or could u help someone u shoot with who has decent dogs?

    Plenty of info out there and once u have been shown the easy ways it makes life so much simplier.

     

    In my area it costs about £100 a week (but then again costs 70 a week just to board a dog) to train a dog and often will want it for 3+ months, I imagine could be a lot dearer down south

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    A proper lab will do the job almost as well. but a decent working bred spaniel wit not too much red in the lines will also do the job very well. I'd stay away from well bred FT lines.

    Is there no one u beat/shoot with that has decent dogs and u could help train there's and learn of them?

    I wouldn't worry too much if u find a decent trainer locally if there into a different breed than wot u have, the basics/philosphy are pretty much the same anyway. A good trainer could train almost any breed of dog (esp just to a working level)

    Most of the beating lines in my area are 80-90% labs, my 5 yr old lab looks like he's been in a fight as has no hair left on his snout with going into brambles/whins etc.

    It's the more modern bred labs with thin coats can't do it.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    I would train the dog myself. If you need it get professional help now and again. Plenty of info about and some very good books. There is nothing better than a dog you have trained working for you. 

    There's are a few trainers down here, a recommendation is worth its weight. 

    You could have a look at Cornwall Field Trial Club, they do training sessions. I know you don't want a field trialer but they could give you a few good pointers. 

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites
    On 05/02/2018 at 21:56, scotslad said:

    A proper lab will do the job almost as well. but a decent working bred spaniel wit not too much red in the lines will also do the job very well. I'd stay away from well bred FT lines.

    Is there no one u beat/shoot with that has decent dogs and u could help train there's and learn of them?

    I wouldn't worry too much if u find a decent trainer locally if there into a different breed than wot u have, the basics/philosphy are pretty much the same anyway. A good trainer could train almost any breed of dog (esp just to a working level)

    Most of the beating lines in my area are 80-90% labs, my 5 yr old lab looks like he's been in a fight as has no hair left on his snout with going into brambles/whins etc.

    It's the more modern bred labs with thin coats can't do it.

     

    No idea why people want to stay away from FT lines ... all it proves is that the parents were highly trainable and good at what they do... 

    know plenty of them FT lads that have the dogs in the house and as long as the dog is used to it and brought up inside they’re able to switch off and settle as long as given good exercise and stimulation when needed. 

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    I've also seen plenty of red letter dogs which are just completely nuts, nervous or almost uncontrollable.

    If u go out to buy a car u don't insist on a formula 1/rally car or something to do the tesco/school run, so why buy a competion bred dog, if u have no intention of FT's. Esp for a novice trainer.

    For me modern FT'ing has become to specialised and now is hardly relevant for a working dog, i know i wouldn't thank u for most FT dogs i've seen, and i have watched quite a few championships and trained/worked with a few too, would have to be let loose a wee bit to be any good to me and the shoots i work on.

    To be fair they usually come good when there retired.

    Yes in theory the parents were trainable, chances are by a pro FT trainer, just because a dog is only a working dog does not automatically make the parents any less trainable

    And surely a spaniel bred in the beating line where u've seen it work is more relevant than a spaniel bred for FT'ing if its to be used for beating/rough shooting?

     

     

    It will depend on the lines parents etc, but many are just putting there bitch too the most fashionable/closest FTCH they can find, no matter if it suits there bitch or not.

    The right lines in the right hands will be a great combo, but sometimes for most normal shooters ur far better off with a slower steadier dog, plus a dog that hits brambles with no game in so hard its face bleeds only costs u in vet bills, i'll take the slightly slower dog every time

    Must admit i don't know any FT boys that keep there dogs in the house, most have too many dogs for that, many of the FT trainers are going throu 10-15 pups a year and will all be FTW/FTCH bred, so best of the best and still going thou 10+ pups a year.

     

    Another thing which is a personal thing for my is i think both springers and esp cockers are far too small nowadays for working, it just makes it harder on them, that all came about as the FT boys wanted dogs to 'look' faster/flashier (same with the all white ESS's) i took a wee cocker in that i doubt will even be able to lift a cock pheasant her mouth is that small.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites
    5 hours ago, scotslad said:

    I've also seen plenty of red letter dogs which are just completely nuts, nervous or almost uncontrollable.

    If u go out to buy a car u don't insist on a formula 1/rally car or something to do the tesco/school run, so why buy a competion bred dog, if u have no intention of FT's. Esp for a novice trainer.

    For me modern FT'ing has become to specialised and now is hardly relevant for a working dog, i know i wouldn't thank u for most FT dogs i've seen, and i have watched quite a few championships and trained/worked with a few too, would have to be let loose a wee bit to be any good to me and the shoots i work on.

    To be fair they usually come good when there retired.

    Yes in theory the parents were trainable, chances are by a pro FT trainer, just because a dog is only a working dog does not automatically make the parents any less trainable

    And surely a spaniel bred in the beating line where u've seen it work is more relevant than a spaniel bred for FT'ing if its to be used for beating/rough shooting?

     

     

    It will depend on the lines parents etc, but many are just putting there bitch too the most fashionable/closest FTCH they can find, no matter if it suits there bitch or not.

    The right lines in the right hands will be a great combo, but sometimes for most normal shooters ur far better off with a slower steadier dog, plus a dog that hits brambles with no game in so hard its face bleeds only costs u in vet bills, i'll take the slightly slower dog every time

    Must admit i don't know any FT boys that keep there dogs in the house, most have too many dogs for that, many of the FT trainers are going throu 10-15 pups a year and will all be FTW/FTCH bred, so best of the best and still going thou 10+ pups a year.

     

    Another thing which is a personal thing for my is i think both springers and esp cockers are far too small nowadays for working, it just makes it harder on them, that all came about as the FT boys wanted dogs to 'look' faster/flashier (same with the all white ESS's) i took a wee cocker in that i doubt will even be able to lift a cock pheasant her mouth is that small.

    See your point mate think it all depends on picking your dog and breeder. 

    I picked dogs that ran well on the type of ground I shoot, and at least with FT parents you can look them up / see videos a lot of the time. 

     

    Its always good if you have seen a dog working and know it’s a good’un but not always an option, and I’ve never ever met someone selling a litter of pups who isn’t ‘kennel blind’ and tells me how amazing their dog is... 

     

    End of the day it’s all luck, you pick a random pup with no idea how it’s goikg to turn out. 

    My last springer pup was from word of mouth of just two workers, she was alright but nothing special. 

    Current pup is from FTW/FTW and seems very switched on, learning even simple things very quickly :) 

    regardless just get a dog you like spending time with, you’ll get more out of it that way :) 

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    A lot of sense in ur post there llyod, and i'm not meaning to have a go at the FT boys either.

    But for a 1st time/inexperienced trainer if u pick the wrong dog u could be in for a world of pain, plenty of good steady beating dogs out there, which is why i'd normally reccommend buying 1 u see beating week in/out.

     

    Just there breeding dogs for very different things nowadays or atleast looking for different qualities to a normal working dog man.

    Part of the problem is there now training dogs to such a high standard as the norm that  the difference between a working dog is massive and so is wot's expected off them.

    Another problem with the way 'modern' trailing has went is more and more competiors and even judges are getting into it as a sport in itself and don't really shoot (Even Opie said the same in an interview with shooting gazette a few summers ago) . I know i've shot at a few training days and some handlers it can be like hearding cats, very little idea about game or keepering or even gun safety at times (more walking infront of the gun than there own bad handling) i know i've passed on a few shots in a FT as the handler walked infront of me just as the dog was on scent and coming up to a very gamey area or a fence so good chance of a find and then look at u for not shooting it.

     

     

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    It's a shame your a long way from BB on here Ali has bred some very biddable springers with a fair bit of trialing blood. My own dog from BB has a very soft nature very easy to train but not frightened of any cover. At the end of the day you will only get out of the dog what you put in. It's very satisfying when you train your own dog. 

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites
    On 25/07/2018 at 02:36, scotslad said:

    I've also seen plenty of red letter dogs which are just completely nuts, nervous or almost uncontrollable.

    I remember Bill Bremner telling me that the most successful dog he ever owned and ran (Superscot Scamper I think  it was), he used to have take off somewhere quiet, 'where  nobody would hear him squeaking' for a quiet word before taking him out on the trails course because otherwise the dog would be too hyper to control.

    From what I"ve read, trials dogs nowadays are a bit less 'up and at 'em' than the old spaniels of the 70s used to be, but it still stands to reason that the top ones are bound to be a handful.

     

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    I am in the “not too much red” camp and I pickup with some of the big names from time to time with my labs. You have to understand what a lot of people are looking for in competition is a dog that will go out at speed and return similarly. They are breeding them fast and they can be very hot to handle for novice trainers. My preference is a good steady dog that I can handle. I look for good solid working parents that are calm and hence pups that will likely relax and prove biddable.

    if you want a fast stylish dog go for best field trial breeding but you could have a lot to handle.

    In truth it is all a lottery when you pick a pup and many people blame poor training on the breeding not there own failings

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites
    12 hours ago, Dave at kelton said:

    In truth it is all a lottery when you pick a pup and many people blame poor training on the breeding not there own failings

    Sounds about right. 

    I think you're more likely to get an easy going beating dog if it's bred from easy going beating dogs.    That's not to say it will be easy to train. 

    I trial springers and have trial bred dogs.

    The most stubborn untrainable thing I've ever come across had no trial breeding until the great grandparents.     I have recently seen another the same, out of "good working stock".... thick as mince and as hard headed as they come!

    Don't shy away from FT breeding, and don't generalise it either.   Not all "trial bred" dogs are the same, quite the opposite - there is a huge range of traits and sizes.    Breeding is not the be all and end all if you just want to enjoy your day out, but doing your research will give you the best chance of getting what you want.   Each to their own. 

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites
    2 hours ago, WGD said:

    Sounds about right. 

    I think you're more likely to get an easy going beating dog if it's bred from easy going beating dogs.    That's not to say it will be easy to train. 

    I trial springers and have trial bred dogs.

    The most stubborn untrainable thing I've ever come across had no trial breeding until the great grandparents.     I have recently seen another the same, out of "good working stock".... thick as mince and as hard headed as they come!

    Don't shy away from FT breeding, and don't generalise it either.   Not all "trial bred" dogs are the same, quite the opposite - there is a huge range of traits and sizes.    Breeding is not the be all and end all if you just want to enjoy your day out, but doing your research will give you the best chance of getting what you want.   Each to their own. 

     

    2 hours ago, WGD said:

    Sounds about right. 

    I think you're more likely to get an easy going beating dog if it's bred from easy going beating dogs.    That's not to say it will be easy to train. 

    I trial springers and have trial bred dogs.

    The most stubborn untrainable thing I've ever come across had no trial breeding until the great grandparents.     I have recently seen another the same, out of "good working stock".... thick as mince and as hard headed as they come!

    Don't shy away from FT breeding, and don't generalise it either.   Not all "trial bred" dogs are the same, quite the opposite - there is a huge range of traits and sizes.    Breeding is not the be all and end all if you just want to enjoy your day out, but doing your research will give you the best chance of getting what you want.   Each to their own. 

    Agreed, what people really ought to do is see both parents at least and get a feel for their temperament. If both are ftw or ftch seeing them work really is unnecessary. In other circumstances you really shouldn’t take “good working stock” as an answer but ask to see the parents performing. I know this sounds unrealistic but if you get in with a group of dog people you will get that opportunity or can find someone you trust who has.

    The only problem I ever had was a dog whose pedigree was nearly all red but was such a pain and would not work as a team I had to sell him to someone who would only work him.

    As you say you just cannot generalise and it is a lottery

     

    2 hours ago, WGD said:

    Sounds about right. 

    I think you're more likely to get an easy going beating dog if it's bred from easy going beating dogs.    That's not to say it will be easy to train. 

    I trial springers and have trial bred dogs.

    The most stubborn untrainable thing I've ever come across had no trial breeding until the great grandparents.     I have recently seen another the same, out of "good working stock".... thick as mince and as hard headed as they come!

    Don't shy away from FT breeding, and don't generalise it either.   Not all "trial bred" dogs are the same, quite the opposite - there is a huge range of traits and sizes.    Breeding is not the be all and end all if you just want to enjoy your day out, but doing your research will give you the best chance of getting what you want.   Each to their own. 

    G

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites
    On 30/07/2018 at 22:55, Dave at kelton said:

    In truth it is all a lottery when you pick a pup

    As in  the expression 'buying a pup'! :)

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now

    • Recently Browsing   0 members

      No registered users viewing this page.

    ×