Misconceptions & Misunderstandings

About Training / Working Dogs

'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 attentive 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 by using body language and not the usual loudness, constant chatter or shouting that is often quite normal for most people. 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).

Put the work in now or suffer later


Misconceptions & Misunderstandings about Training

(Some of these may hit some nerves, sorry, they are mentioned for no other reason than to help people learn about and understand dog training)

Me: I thought your e.g. wife was coming with you?

Clients reply: She said she isn't coming to watch us shoot and kill poor birds out the sky to send our dog for.

Reality: This will have been this persons Assessment session. They may have come with a 4 month old pup or a 6 year old out of control demon. But I can assure you, neither will be seeing a bird shot from the sky. Many who come will never see sight nor sound of a gun. Killing and shooting is not what Gundog training is about. Yes, teaching with the gun is an element of the training for those dogs who will work or compete but it is a small part for the final parts of training before gaining experience is then sought. Gundog training has a huge array of things that need taught prior to shooting anything. And for the pet dogs, the shooting element is never part of the training. Too many people think this is what Gundog training is, killing things. It isn't, it's about training a safe and happy dog and teaching it a whole array of skills and building your bond together.

How long will the training take?

The rest of the dogs life.  Yes, the rest of the dogs life.  Training will be very specific in the early stages but like everything in life, you need to keep them good at what you have taught them, or just like us when we don't do something for a long time, they forget.  The rules should never change.  If 'sit' means sit now, then in 2 days or 2 years, 'sit' should still mean sit.

I want to send my dog for 2 weeks training so I can take him out and know he wont chase. 

While your dog may be taught not to chase during the 2 weeks they are here, that by no way means he will never chase.  You should never look at training as a short term fix because you will never get what you are looking for.  Training is a long term way of life.  While your dog may have residential training for 2 weeks or 6 months, unless you continue his training by insisting certain behaviours for the rest of your dogs life, he will not continue with the trained behaviours he was taught in residential training.

If you wait and wait and wait until you have several problems, or issues that you aren't happy about then you are only creating a situation of teaching a dog over and over again to do the very things you don't want him to do.  Train with the best of your ability from the start, if you need help, ask for help, but do your best at teaching your dog the right things from day one and don't keep teaching the things you don't want them to do and any residential training you send your dog for, will be of much more benefit to the dog.

If you follow the mindset that short term training will change the dog for the rest of his life you will be very disappointed.  You have to look at training as a long term continuation, it should not only be dedicated 'training sessions' with your dog, it should be a daily way of life in everything you do with your dog.  Every single time you allow your dog to do something you know he shouldn't (or don't want him to do) you are teaching him that 1) you are happy for him to do it 2) he is actually allowed to do it.  And if there is never a consequence of a behaviour that he shouldn't have done, well, what do you think you are teaching your dog................?

Every dog is different and so should their training be, but the basic rules are there for every dogs training, they just need to be jigged a bit depending on the dogs age, temperament, past history, etc.  If you don't stick to the rules, how on earth can you expect your dog to.  Yes, we want you to train your dog with love and a bond but that doesn't mean not insisting he follows a command and that both you and he must be consistent, you in what you ask and him in the desired response.

At home, if you don't insist on 'basic manners', e.g waiting to get out of the car until told, not barging out the back door at home as soon as you open it, letting them charge off as soon as the lead is removed, etc., you will never have a trained gundog, (or trained pet) no matter how much residential training you send him for or how many lessons you have.  Always aim for the best your dog is capable of (no matter how small the task) and you will have so many more rewards, as will he.


Start the training off properly from that 8 week old pup and save both yourself and your dog from a lot of problems later on.  Don't wait until the problems appear before undertaking dog training, start bonding, playing, sit and come straight away.

  •  I'm not going to take my dog Gundog Training, it's all about shooting and killing animals!
Most dogs who go to gundog training will be going training for many months before there is any sign of a gun coming out. A lot of dogs go to gundog training and there is NEVER any guns or shooting because the dog is not intended to work. The owner has recognised that gundog training is an excellent form of training for most dogs because it doesn't just involve obedience training, but also includes the things dogs want to do on their own, like sniff and hunt. Gundog training actually teaches this, but in a controlled way so your dog can go out and do both of these things, but in a controlled manner. Most dogs love to pay fetch. Retrieving is a very important part of gundog training. For those dogs intended for work, they need to be able to retrieve anything they have been sent to retrieve. For those dogs who wont be working, it's all about fun and mental stimulation. And 'fetch' is not just throwing a ball repeatedly in the gundog world. It involves an array of different kinds of retrieves. Retrieves are built up over time to challenge the dog, but to also be fun. We want the dog to retrieve with drive and purpose. A lot of dogs go to gundog training and have never retrieved and the owner believes the dog never will. Often, with a few adjustments, the dog will not only retrieve, but does so and is clearly having a fantastic time in the process.

  • My dog doesn't work to the gun but he's from working stock so I train him and work him when I take him out e.g he hunts. 

When you take your dog out and send him off out in front of you (whether he's a Springer, Pointer, etc.) and let him free hunt and go self employed as far away as he wants, and/or then give him a recall command and he doesn't recall, or you give him a stop command and he doesn't stop,  etc., he is not working/hunting as a trained dog, he is behaving as the untrained dog that he is.

  • My dog only works at the shoot 5 or 6 times a year and he's a pet the rest of the year. 

And your point is??  No matter how many times I hear this I will never get my head around it.  In other words you are saying, because your dog is a pet for 360 days a year and works 5 days a year he doesn't need to be trained very well?  Yep, still don't get it! 

Why would you think that?  Don't you want a happy, well balanced dog that can have a great day at the shoot when he's there, meaning you can have a great day, and the rest of the year, you have a dog you can be proud of and don't need to worry about running off, etc? 

The main point you are missing here is that training is not just about having an obedient dog.  For a dog, training is so much more, and if you don't know what I'm talking about, I really think you need to book an eye opening training session with us.

If your dog is a pet (or going to be a working gundog once trained), and he finds something he finds interesting while he is out e.g. a rams head and he picks it up, does he come to you without you asking him to and come and show you what he has found and offer it to you, OR, does he run around with it in his mouth and enjoys a game of chase with you as you try to retrieve it from him?  I know what all of my dogs would do, which is the former.  Sadly, for many people who come for lessons, the latter is the case and this can be very frustrating and disheartening, as well as potentially dangerous for your dog.
  • I just want a well behaved pet and want to use gundog training because he's from working stock.

Now this I applaud, this is a great choice, BUT, many people have a complete misunderstanding about what gundog training is exactly.  AND you can always tell the people who have originally gone down the road of 'obedience training' and have realised that it hasn't worked for their dog from working stock so now they decide that gundog training is the right road (they would have been better off going straight down the gundog training road from the start, for many reasons, too many to list here).

There are so many areas that go well above and beyond obedience training when you go down the gundog route.  You will be expected to teach your dog how to retrieve at great distances from you.  You will be expected to teach your dog to hunt a pattern, correctly.  You will be expected to teach your dog to sit/stay for more than 5 yards away from you and for longer than a minute.  You will be expected to teach your dog not to chase moving game (unless you're at the teaching 'the runner' stage).  And you will be expected to do all of these things and more and get your dog to a level where he does it correctly every time, not once out of every 10.

Even if your dog is just going to be that 'well behaved pet' from working stock, it is a great choice to take him down the gundog training road and to take him as far down as he can go (missing out the cold and then warm game section).  He will get so much from it, probably a lot more than you will ever realise.  BUT, yes, another but, if you decide to go down the gundog road, then please don't question why you are being taught to teach your dog to hunt a pattern or to teach your dog to retrieve further than 4 or 5 yards, or teaching him directional work, the reason should be blatantly obvious...................because your dog is going down the gundog training road!

  • This is my Assessment Lesson, when I come for my next lesson, will I be doing more of the same?

That depends on what level you and your dog are currently at.  If you think you are well on the way to having a fully trained gundog and I think you are a good long way off and are still at the tip of the gundog training iceberg, then yes, probably, you don't move on until your dog truly understands the current level.

Do not be under any illusion that because your dog can do basic sit and stay and retrieve a thrown dummy that you have nowhere left to go with his training.

  • I am coming to collect my dog from his 4 weeks Residential Training so he is now a trained dog?

While your dog has been in Residential Training he will have learned the things he came here to learn but he is by no way fully trained, he's got an awful lot of months yet before he's fully trained.

The main thing to remember is that he is only going to continue doing the things he's been trained to do if you give him the correct commands and follow through, in other words, you need to do the things we taught you to do.  If you don't, your dog will end up back where he started.

If you are really looking at residential training as a serious training option, depending on the training to be undertaken, your dog will be with us for an absolute minimum of 8 weeks but it could be several months.  Real training takes time. 

  • My dog is 12 months old and I've let my pup be a pup but now I want to start gundog training with him?

Gundog training starts from the day you bring your pup home.  No, I'm not crazy. 

From day 1 you start his training with a certain mindset of what you want to achieve and where you want him to go with his training.  This means you wont be playing ball games with him up to the age of 12 months.  It means you wont be playing tug of war games with him as a pup.  it means you wont let him go running off chasing anything he wants.  It means you teach him from day 1 that all his stimulation and fun comes from being with you.  It means all sorts of things (as mentioned in the previous page) and to get the best out of your dog, you start his 'puppy' gundog training from the day you bring him home.

People stop training far too early.  They don't realise how far the dogs training could actually go and how much more they could do with their dog so only ever end up giving the dog tasks which are no way challenging enough for the dog. 

Those who come will know what I'm talking about when I say, so many people only ever give their dog Jack and Jill to read instead of Harry Potter!

When you get your new pup home immediately begin the bonding process. Play with your dog, become his best friend, his leader, protector and become the person he always wants to be with. And when you begin training, keep that in mind, that you always want to be the person he wants to be with. You need to become and stay the most important and interesting thing in his whole life.

My oldest dog is long since retired and I still play with her and if I took her out with the gun, she would still hunt hard and retrieve anything I sent her for. And I am not ashamed to admit that the next 2 younger ones (7 yrs old) still absolutely love to play roly poly games with me and pretend dancing to whatever takes my fancy at the time and both have worked their socks off on days you could barely move in the cold and the wind. So you can see that training is not the only important thing, a good bond is also important. My current youngest one, with all his skills, reminds me every day why I think he is amazing. I truly love all my dogs and bonding comes very easily, but as you will gather from this website, training is just as important to us, and the best way to keep that bond with your dog is through continual training. Dogs don't see training as 'training', they see it as fun time with their favourite person, and the better you do it, the more they enjoy it!