Keen to ensure that I don’t get bored over the summer I decided on a project to keep me busy. This project is to train Bramble to be a half-respectable gun dog.
Bramble has always been a pet before a gundog, and this is fine because the shoot we took him to was a very relaxed, small syndicate shoot. He has never had any proper gundog training, formal or otherwise, so his behaviour has been interesting. Despite him being very calm and well-behaved at home and on walks the excitement of the field would get a bit much for him and he’d do the drive 3 times over, after everyone else had finished. This improved with age and he now comes back at the end of drives and is more sensible.
The owner of the farm that the shoot was on decided she wanted a quieter life, and sold the farm to the Earth Trust. They agreed to allow us one more season of driven shooting but after that shooting was going to have to be negotiated one day at a time. The syndicate ended after many generations of shooting on that land.
Last season we only had one day of shooting on the farm, with desperately low numbers of birds, but this year my dad has joined another small syndicate. Feeling we can’t take our crazy spaniel in the state of behaviour he is in, Dad has set me the task this summer to improve his training.
He doesn’t need to be a perfect dog, and he never will be – he’s six now. All I’m asking of him is to listen more, take directs for beating, have an improved re-call and a more reliable retrieve.
I’ll update this throughout the summer with our progress, starting tomorrow with what I have as a base to work from. I’ll include any books and advice that I use in training aswell :)