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Training a Gun Dog in the UK

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I am new to bird hunting in the UK. I grew up in the US and have somewhat recently moved to the UK, along with my retired 12 year old Chocolate Labrador. I plan to buy a Spaniel in the next year or so and would like to train them myself, as I did my current Lab. However, the laws/land use is quite different in America, and I'm wondering if anyone can advise me on how/where I could train my pup without paying a trainer?

Where I lived in the US there was a lot of public land where I could take my pup. I live just outside South London, and obviously don't have access to any suitable property. Are there places you can pay to train your own dog there? I'm just trying to brainstorm how I could pull this off, and hoping that some of you might be able to give me some ideas. Sorry for my ignorance, and thanks very much for any help!

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Do you have shooting permission/ land that you shoot on? 

Most of the basic training and handling can be done down the local park with balls dummies. Just avoid all the annoying dog walkers and their out of control dogs that “just want to say hello”. 

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Starting out find remote public places. Public footpaths or quiet corners of parks.

When staying in London I have trained my dogs in Hampstead Heath and many other busy London parks. But the dogs were well trained already which made it much easier. Funnily I got into an argument with an American couple who came up and harangued me for making my dogs “swim in the water chasing ducks” (i.e. a split blind and memory retrieve of a dummy ignoring any waterfowl). I don’t think they had met a northerner before, the poor mites I just don’t know what they were expecting. 

I can’t imagine it is too dissimilar to rural America in terms of etiquette. I’ll find the Kennel Club Good Citizen Guide as a starting point of legislation. When I have been in North America the rules regarding dogs in urban areas have been excessively restrictive to the point of encouraging bad ownership. UK is much more relaxed about complying with legislation. My dogs come to work with me in the city centre without a lead and no one bats an eyelid but they are not allowed to relive themselves unless commanded to do so. 


Pretty basic stuff 

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This legislation supercedes the Dogs Fouling of Land Act 1996 within England and Wales. The Act enables local authorities and parish councils to deal with fouling by dogs, ban
dogs from designated areas, require dogs to be kept on a lead and restrict the number of dogs that can be walked by one person. Note the Dogs Fouling of Land Act 1996 is still enforced by local authorities who chose not to adopt the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.

This legislation applies to Scotland to replace Section 48 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982. This Act makes it an offence to fail to clear up after a dog rather than simply allowing a dog to foul. It also allows local authorities and police constables to issue fixed penalty notices to persons suspected of committing the offence.

Have a dog licensing system that requires all dogs to be licensed with their Local Parish. Please check with your Local Parish for further information and what is required by law on the identification tag.

Introduced to control the breeding of designated dangerous dogs (section 1) or to penalise owners of dogs that are dangerously out of control or showing aggressive tendencies (all breeds) (Section 3).

Which gives local authorities the power to seize and detain stray dogs.
Every dog while on a public highway or place of public resort must wear a collar with the name and address of the owner inscribed on it or a plate or badge attached to it.

If a dog interferes with the driver of a vehicle whilst being carried within that vehicle, and this subsequently affects the way in which the vehicle is being driven, then an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1991 may be committed. Ref: Road Traffic Act 1991 (c40. sec 2A(4)).

The Anti Social Behaviour Crime and Disorder Act 2014 (ASB Act 2014) was effective from October 2014. It will affect all dog owners in different ways throughout the UK in cases wheredogs are considered to be causing
anti social behaviour, or criminal acts. In particular, Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO’s) may affect your daily walks, and Community Protection Notices (PCN’s) may be issued if your dog becomes a nuisance. For further advice go to the www.defra.gov. uk website and look at the ASB Act 2014 practitioners guidelines, and also check
with your local authority to see what PSPO’s are in place for your area. In Scotland , the Control of Dogs Scotland Act 2010 allows local Authorities to issue dog control notices requiring the owner of a dog which has been out of control, to bring and keep their dog under effective control.

Microchipping has been compulsory in Northern Ireland since 2012, and will be compulsory in England, Scotland and Wales from 6th April 2016. Please refer to the defra website for the most up to date information. Owners are required to keep their contact details up to date on the appropriate microchip database and register the details of any new owner before they sell or give the dog away or face a fine. NOTE: microchipping will not remove the legal requirement for all dogs to also bear the correct identification details on the collar or tag. All hosting Clubs will be required to provide a suitable microchip scanner.

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