'Every little thing matters' - remember that and it will help enormously with your training.  If you don't know what that means, you need to learn.  It is the difference between an 'ok' dog and an 'excellent' dog

Love, calmness, consistency, praise and positive training are what makes the difference between a happy, trained dog who keeps his personality and who works with you because he wants to and a dog who works for you out of fear. Don't get frustrated and start shouting and tearing your hair out.

It isn't unknown for people to spend a whole 1hour lesson with us and not being allowed to talk to or whistle the dog in order to learn how to communicate with him without loudness, constant chatter or shouting. Get the help you need.


What do you want from your dog?

  • What sort of work do you want your dog to do?
  • How experienced are you with dogs?
  • How experienced are you with this particular breed you have now?
  • Are you able to work and control a fiery and driven Springer who lives to hunt and chase?
  • Are you looking for your dog to be a quiet, calm, steady, easily managed, reliable dog in the field?
  • Are you looking for the flashy, fast, field trialing dog or is that a 'nice to watch but not what I want' dog?
  • How old is your dog?
  • What training has your dog undertaken to date?
  • Does your dog have brakes, in other words, can you 'stop' your dog, regardless of the situation?  If you can't, do not take him to a shoot!
  • Can you reliably recall your dog, regardless of the situation?
  • What areas are the real problem at the minute?
  • What breed is your dog?
  • Did you get the dog as an 8 week old pup or was it an older dog or an 'already trained' dog?

All of these questions will impact on and determine how you train your dog (or how we train your dog).


If I believe in anything in life it is this:

Owning a dog means more than just feeding them, taking them to the vets when needed and taking them for walks.  Dog training is more than just sit, stay, fetch and heel.  A dog is not a disposable or replaceable item like a car or tv.  You can't turn them on and off as you would your laptop or radio.  They are not only expensive to keep well and happy but they have a brain which they can use and they have emotions.  Like children, they need more than just a roof over their head and food in their belly.  Never underestimate the instinct, intelligence or feelings of a dog, to do so would make you a fool. 

If you own a dog and you want it to be not only happy, but well balanced, mentally and emotionally, you need time, energy and commitment and if you have passion too, then your relationship with your dog will also come on leaps and bounds.  Dogs need to use their brain.  If you don't give them tasks to use their brain, they will find tasks of their own to use it.  The more you train your dog, the more your dog will want to train.  Training does not need to be a regimented, formal and boring process you feel you have to go through, if that is how it feels, then both you and your dog will fail.  Training does need to be consistent, clear, timely, interesting and challenging (too challenging and they will fail, not challenging enough and they will be bored so wont focus).  By challenging I mean mentally.  Most dogs can cope with any physical challenge we throw at them but mental challenges are a different ball game and give dogs a totally different kind of enjoyment.  Dogs need us to interact with them in an interesting way but not in a way that can create manic behaviour e.g. repetitive ball throwing or boredom.

Gundog training is much much more than just throwing a few canvas dummies and teaching the dog to fetch them.  It is also more than walk to heel.  Be careful who teaches you gundog training because a lot of people say they teach it but have no real knowledge of what is actually involved in 'proper' gundog training, but, a lot of people are doing just that when teaching 'gundog training'.  They buy a few canvas dummies, throw them out for your dog, and if you don't know any different, you are going to think that is exactly what is meant to happen.  Believe me, it is not, this is nowhere near what actually happens in real gundog training.  A lot of people go to gundog training,  including here, at Craigelachie Gundogs for example, but in actual fact, they are doing 'dog training' because their dog is nowhere near ready for gundog training.  Your dog has to have a certain level of training before you can really get them right into gundog training.

New to Gundog Training?

Gundog training with us is great for any dog, working or pet! 

Why?  Because our gundog training is not just about the 'gundog' but about 'the dog'.

What does that mean?  It means that our functional training is gundog work / training but our training is 'dog'. 

What do you mean, dog?  We mean that we work with 'your' dog, not just the breed but your dog, his breed, his instincts, his age, his mental age, his current training, his temperament, his intended future, his problems, his........well you get the idea.

So I have a rescue dog, he's had a bad start in life, we're having all sorts of problems with him, can you help?  Yes, absolutely, but on one condition.................. you have to be serious about wanting to help your dog and I mean that with every bone in my body.  I don't mean come a couple of times, have a go and then think, oh god, this is way too hard, or it's too cold, or I'd rather be in the house watching the telly.  If you truly care about helping your dog you will take every thing on board, you will put in all the hard hours that your dog needs you to and you wont see your dog as the 'the house, 2.4 children and the dog' scenario.................. he is a living breathing animal with a heart, soul, mind, brain, instincts and needs.  If it is too much like hard work or you prefer the easy trainers who tell you any old rubbish because they are more interested in relieving you of your £'s than your dogs problem, then you're right, we can't help you.  If you are prepared to put your heart and soul into his trainng, we will give you all of ours.

You sound like a 'serious' trainer, are you? 

  • Yes and no. 
  • Serious about helping you take your dogs training forward and improve on unwanted behaviours or habits.  My time is too important and needed elsewhere and by others if you aren't serious about improving your dogs behaviours or training.
  • BUT, Our attitude is relaxed and laid back with a good old dose of humour too sometimes.  I'm a through and through Northumbrian with that North East plain and easy attitude and banter that goes with it sometimes.  My mindset is to be honest, genuine and helpful.  I am passionate about what I do.  I don't do this to make big bucks or to pull the wool over peoples eyes.  I want to help you.  I want you to have a great shooting companion or a pet that is devoted to you but that is also happy and not stressed out in life.
  • You are coming for a professional session but I want you to feel relaxed and comfortable about your one to one because I can assure you of one thing, and that is you will go away with a host of information you need to try and take in and remember.  One peice of feedback I do get back from clients over and over again is 'how much more they learn about their dog when they train with us'.  Why this is, I don't really understand.  Why doesn't every Trainer help to educate their client over and above.  I may not understand why this doesn't happen as standard but I do understand how valuable people feel this information is and how it has helped them in so many ways with their dog, and often the new canine additions that have come along since.
  • Training is never plain sailing.  There will be times you will feel like you have made huge triumphs and there will be other times when you think 'why oh why did everything that happened today, happen'.  That is the nature of training. 

For most people, it is about you learning how to train first and the dog training comes second.

So you're training me, not the dog?  Again, yes and no.  It is mainly training you how to train your dog and explaining to you why we say you need to do the things we say and why your dog currently behaves he the way he does.  But yes, we do work on the dog too, in order to show you how to train your dog in between sessions, we work on your dog during your session and explain everything throughout the process that is happening and why.

You seem to train with whistles and from watching some of your videos, I'm not sure what some of the whistle sounds mean?  When you come for your session, whistles, whistle sounds, vocal commands, body language and a host of other details will all be explained to you.  You may notice in some of our videos a single short sharp 'peep' which some people (especially some 'old timers' who can make a comment on impulse rather than actually watching what the dog is hearing and responding to), think is our 'stop' whistle.  It isn't.  If you watch the dogs working, it should be very clear that the dogs understand the difference between our 'stop' peep and the much shorter peep.  Not everyone uses this short peep in training, we do, and we will explain all of this when you come.  There are standard whistle commands but there are no rules to say that you can't adapt a whistle sound for your own purpose e.g. some people use a double peep to turn a hunting dog in training and some use a single peep, etc.


Gundog training is a world apart from obedience training.  Many people don't actually realise how much work is involved in gundog training when done properly and well and how much of you, the owner, actually goes into training your dog.  In gundog training you need a very good understanding of a) your dog and, b) how to train your dog.  You need to interact with your dog from the 8 week old puppy stage and build a bond and good foundation from which to start his gundog training.  Gundog training expects your dogs training to go much much further than obedience training ever will.  Obedience training is so 'treat' focused that many people don't have a clue what to do with their dog if they don't have any treats and those who try, struggle to get their dogs attention without the treats.

Gundog training needs energy, commitment, time, a desire to actually work with your dog and a willingness from you to learn from both your dog and your trainer.

The best time for the owner to decide when they would like to go down the gundog training route is before they go out and buy a pup, that is when the training actually starts.  You need to decide this is how you want to train, you then need to decide which breed from the gundog breeds is right for you.  Once you have decided on your dog and now have the pup, you need to get booked in with a gundog trainer for an initial assessment session once your pup has their vaccinations.  Why so young?  Because you need to have a clear understanding of how to behave with your new pup to prepare both it and you for the forthcoming gundog training.

Now, if you don't really have much of an idea about gundog training, this is something you need to really think about and research before you go out and buy that pup so you can be sure, hand on heart, this is the road for you.  We have an awful lot of training information within the pages of our website.  It is important you research well because a huge number of people have absolutely no idea how gundog training is different from obedience training.  If you haven't researched exactly what to expect you can sometimes find yourself in that gundog training session and feel quite estranged from it all because you have no real understanding of why your trainer says certain things.  Your trainer will say all sorts of things because they can see where they want your dogs training to be in the future and they are expecting you to want the same for your dog, even if at the start you don't really understand the 'whys' and 'wherefores' of everything.

Your trainer knows that in 6 to 12 months time you will need to be able to work and control your dog when it is a great distance from you.  Most people who have only previously ever been involved in obedience training have never worked with their dog when it is more than a few metres away from them and usually only ever beside them.  And the one thing that is seriously neglected in obedience training, is exactly that, building control and trust at distance!  But you can't just jump there, you have to build up to that level of training so certain areas of foundation training need to be implemented first, which is why, from day one, you start puppy 'gundog training'.

Like everything else in life, you are only going to get out of it what you put into it.  You can get great pleasure from watching your dog being challenged and knowing he's loving every minute of it.  But, it will be easier for both him and you if you know from picking your pup up from the breeder that gundog training is the route you are going down.

I already have a dog but feel Gundog Training would be good for him.

You're probably right.  But real and true gundog training begins from the day you choose your breed and once you get your 8 week old pup home you start straight away with the bonding and foundation training in preperation for the real gundog training when the right time comes.  If your dog is 1 year old and only ever retrieved balls, or done no retrieving, or been taught to 'drop' the ball on delivery, been taught tug of war games, etc., then all these things will affect how well he adapts to gundog training.  Having said that, every dog is different and some dogs really can pull the rabbit out the hat!

Dogs from working stock are not only able to do gundog training, but because they have such deep rooted instincts, it makes for a great way for you to bond and interact with your dog to actually take them down the gundog training route, but ideally, you want to start right from those early days and not start on the obedience and treat 'with me' route.  Why would you want your dog to build a bond with a treat rather than with you?  Treat training is fine when you have 'behaviour' issues with older dogs to help start a new training programme off.  Treats are fine, as the occassional 'treat'.  If you start training properly, you certainly don't need treats as a training tool.

So I should just give up on the gundog training idea then?

No, not at all!  But you must come into gundog training with a realistic expectation of what level of gundog training your dog may, or may not, reach.  Depending on your dogs age, temperament, what training he has already had (including manners), etc., will determine how well your dog does and how far he can go.  Even if he never gets very far, both you and your dog can have fun along the way, but you must be willing to be enthusiastic about it.  No one is expecting you to go out training for an hour every day, but if you don't put enthusiasm and energy into the training your dog does get, it's going to be a never ending slog for you both.

Gundog training is excellent, interesting and stimulating training for dogs, especially those from working stock, even if they are never going to actually be a working dog in the true sense.  We will teach you all the tools you need to train your dog.  We can guide you and steer your dogs training in a forward direction, but that does mean you must put the work into the training between lessons or you are never going to see any real progress.  Training doesn't happen by magic, it takes work.

What should I do when I come to Gundog Training with my dog?

The most important thing you can do over and above everything else is show a true and genuine desire and enthusiasm to want to train your dog and to learn.  If you don't want to learn and embark on a positive and interactive way of training your dog then we are not for you.  We aren't talking about having to run around or do anything strenuous but you have to be willing to understand that your body language and tone of voice is very important in training your dog.

Your trainer may have asked you to bring one or two of your dogs normal retrieve items from home so it is no good leaving them in the car when you go to start your lesson.  Start as you mean to go on, positively.

You must also come dressed to work with your dog in an outdoor environment e.g. suitable stout footwear (or wellingtons if wet) and outdoor clothing appropriate for the season.

How do I do that, show enthusiasm and desire?

Listen to what your trainer tells you, don't just hear the words, but listen.  If you don't understand, tell your trainer and they will explain in another way.  If you still don't understand or your trainer thinks you're not getting it, they will try to show you and then may well ask you to do the same thing. 

No trainer is expecting you to learn straight away how to do something but the worst thing you can do is not show any real interest or enthusiasm in your effort.  Just standing about or walking around with your dog and not using your body and your voice to interact with your dog as your trainer has instructed will only serve to make your trainer question whether you are serious about training your dog.  You are expecting a commitment from us, but we also expect a commitment from you to your dog, and that means more than just turning up.

But I am a quiet and shy person?

That's fine, gundog training isn't about being loud and lively.  Gundog training, especially in those very early months of puppyhood, is about interacting with your dog.  About being interesting to your dog and to do that you need to learn to verbally communicate with your dog which is not in a monotone way.  One minute you may need to use a lively happy voice, and in the next second you may need to use a slower calmer voice.  If you talk to your dog in the same tone all the time, it is going to take him a very long time to learn, but what may actually happen instead is you bore your dog and he switches off from you.

We don't need training.  My dog will learn to sit by me just looking at him and telling him 'sit'.

Really, good luck with that!                                                                                                            

We've had 4 gundog training lessons so there is nothing left to teach us.


We've had 14 gundog training lessons so there is nothing left to teach us.


I booked a lesson for 2pm and you didn't finish with your previous client until 2.10pm?

On occassion a lesson may run over because we are working with dogs, and dogs are animals, they don't operate by batteries or keys.  If an exercise takes an extra 5 or 10 minutes to finish over the 1 hour lesson, then that time will be given.  You can't turn a dog off and on, it takes the time it takes so now and again, a lesson may run a little late.

If it was your lesson and you needed an extra 5 or 10 minutes for you and your dog then you would also have been given the time so please respect this.

What We Won't Do

  • We wont train your dog for trainings sake or as a way to get more money from you

  • We won't advise residential training unless we feel that is the best possible way forward for your dog and that is what you want

  • We won't tell you how often to come for training.  We WILL advise you if you ask but how often you come is entirely down to you

  • We will never overcharge you, our prices are some of the most competitive you will find

  • We won't tell you things that are wrong with your dogs obedience as a way to get money out of you, we will only tell you this if it is the truth

  • We won't tell you to do things during your dogs training without explaining why

  • We wont discuss your training with anyone else or discuss their training with you.  We may discuss situations from other training sessions to help to illustrate a point but will never include personal information

  • We wont rush your dogs training, we train at your dogs pace

We want what is best for your dog, that is why we train dogs.  We have been training dogs for many many years and never tire of it.  It is an amazing feeling watching an unruly little devil turn into a picture of excellence.

What We Expect From You?

To come with your dog with a true desire to train and interact with your dog.  To give your dog all your enthusiasm to train him.  To put energy and interest into his training which will keep him motivated and interested in working with you.  If you don't, then your dog will continually want to go off and find other things around him which he finds much more interesting than you.

What You Can Expect From Us?

To give you our committment and passion to train your dog.  We will help you to understand why your dog is doing what he is doing, especially when it's not what you have actually asked him to do.  Training is about building up a mental memory for your dog which means there is a lot of repetition so if you don't make that repetition interesting, you will see that in your dogs reaction to your command.  We help you to learn that consistency is important but to keep the training going forward and not let it stagnate at the same place.