(Gift Vouchers)

We have 'Happy Birthday', Merry Christmas' or 'General' vouchers for the occasion of your choice .....
You can buy them in singles or multiples of £20 or £25 depending on your requirements.  Just email, text or Facebook private message us with your information.  Vouchers make great gifts for all occasions.



Email is the best way to get in touch

We are based in Rothbury, Northumberland. Please do not believe any information from external websites. We have several training locations. Once you have made your booking we will send you both your location and directions.

'The Home of a New Way to Train Your Dog'

There is a wealth of information on this website. Please look at the titles of the many pages if you are looking for specific information.

I have worked with, trained and owned many different breeds over the years as well as worked with people from all over the UK and abroad with their dogs whether they be Labradors, Retrievers, Springers or Labradoodles as well as the all the other breeds in between.  We work with all breeds of dog, both working gundogs, and pets. 

These days I share my life and live at home with Springers.  Having shared my life with KC Registered dogs of different breeds and mongrels for many many years, I have found myself more at home in my private life with Springers these days.  They are a breed like no other and bring me such joy every day. 

The bonus of my job though is that I don't need to own any other breed because I work with such an array of breeds on a daily basis and every dog is different.

The breed of dog and their genetic instincts is only a part of what is involved in dog training.  Just as important as the breed, is to understand the 'dog', understanding what makes that dog tick, getting into their head, reading their body language, what the problems are and why they are there and then training from the basics right up to competition level, or whatever level you are looking for.

Through word of mouth, we have achieved an excellent reputation but this means we are always very busy.  If you find yourself in need of help and wish to work with us, please note, we always have an ongoing waiting list.  Please do not expect to call or email and get booked in that week.  Excellent training is a passion we have but it does mean we work with a lot of people all year round.  Some of those people live 5 minutes away and some several thousand miles away.  There is never a lull or quiet time, this in itself is evidence that people trust us and love to work with us to both train their dog but to also, understand their dog better.

Is it hard work, yes, generally, but if you have the right mindset and desire to want to not only have a great working dog or obedient pet but to have a trusting relationship and great bond with your dog, then that is the most important thing and you will succeed.

If you come for lessons, it is very important that in between each session, you do your homework with your dog. If you don't, you are not only losing out on a great bonding time your dog, you are also not committing to him and to his mental needs. Dogs have brains, desires and instincts just like we do. If you don't give them things to engage their brains, they will do it themselves, and invariably, this happens when you go out for a walk with them and they do things like yanking you about on the lead, running off after other dogs, chasing sheep/rabbits, etc., diving on top of every single person they meet (whether welcomed or not), running away for several minutes or hours at a time, etc.If you come for lessons, it is very important that in between each session, you do your homework with your dog. If you don't, you are not only losing out on a great bonding time your dog, you are also not committing to him and to his mental needs.

Labrador - Water & Cover Retrieves - Gundog Training

Another video of this duo will be in the making shortly showing some of the different kinds of retrieves you can do, some of the things that will help you improve your training (in any breed), and some techniques that you can use to improve your dogs (any breed) skills that some Trainers and Handlers will never use or teach you but are not only good for mental activity for your dog but make handling at distances, easier.  This is not a 'Training' Video.  This is a video of one of our clients during their training session but there is much to learn from it.

This is a short video of one of the Labradors who train with us here at Craigelachie Gundogs. The distances that this Labrador can now retrieve from (and are not in this video but will be in a future video) are excellent. Her owner now also has excellent handling ability of her Lab at great distances which include 'Get Out', 'Back', 'Get On', 'Stop', 'Get Over', 'Get Under', 'Get Through', 'High Lost', 'There' and 'Recall' which once upon a time she could only have dreamed of.

One area that the owner does forget to think about is that delivery. I am one of those people, like many other, I want the delivery in my hand. I don't see the point of having to pick things up from the ground, whether it's at my feet or 4 yards away. I want it in my hand and when time allows, I want a nice sitting delivery with a lovely presentation of the retrieve and I guess I think everyone should want that in the ideal world (but there are also valid reasons for delivering into the hand as any gundog owning shooter will tell you). But, alas, this is the owners weak spot, forgetting to keep working on that delivery. But do you know what, compared to where these two were in training terms when they arrived and where they are now, it really is only a little issue (but it being one of my 'pet' hates, it will always be an issue for me).

You may see one or two stops being put in during one of the gully retrieves but these retrieves are now basic retrieves for this Lab, even though they are down hill, over water, up hill, through cover and include some handling. Tali has really excelled in her gundog training and I for one are very proud of both dog and owner. Well done girls!!

So many people struggle so hard to train their Labrador and yet they are the easiest breed of dog to train. I'm not sure why? Is it lack of education and knowledge? Is it there are just so many people with dogs now? Is it people just really can't be bothered sometimes when they realise it's not quite the same as putting your car in for an MOT (going to Trainer) and then when you take it out (end of lesson) that they expect it to just work like magic and when it doesn't because they have now realised that they actually have to work at the training every day for a long time, they just can't be bothered? I really don't know, but what I do know is that it is sad.

Even those who have made a start on the Labs training will hit difficult spots e.g. getting the dog to stop at a distance when moving. A lot of people struggle with this (with any breed) but generally it is because they have made themselves believe that the basics are good when in fact, they are still not good enough.

These two have a great relationship and good bond. Tali trusts her owner more and more with every new training session. I can't make it important enough for people to realise that the more GOOD training you do with your dog that is based on 'your dog', the more your dog will trust you and want to work with you and not soley for themselves (which a huge number of dogs do). Of course you have to take into account the breed, the age, the instincts, but when you break that right down to 'your dog' you can then dictate your training accordingly and get much much better results.

If you have the right mindset and can listen to what your Trainer tells you and actually 'do your homework', then you WILL get the results you're looking for. :-)  Will this take you out of your comfort zone sometimes, yes, but we wont try to get you to do anything that wont be worth it in the end.  We work with all sorts of people and everyone is as different as their dog.  Some people are outgoing, some are shy, some are careful and meticulous, some are very very emotional, some analize, well, you know what we mean.  Sometimes we may ask you to do something outside of the usual 'gundog' training box because we want you to work on your dogs confidence in both himself and you, or trust, or a variety of other reasons.  Sometimes people can find changing the way they do things very hard.  But when they do it, they realise it was well worth it.  The things that some people have achieved with their dogs from making a few changes or taking a few leaps of faith have been amazing.  I am so proud of so many of our clients, both past and present.

Labrador - Creating a Bond Through Basic Training

This young Labrador is destined to be a wildfowling dog. While her owners have owned and trained their own working Labradors in the past, this young girl was causing issues for them they were struggling to overcome. Even the thought of re-homing had been considered.

The purpose of Pip coming wasn't to fully train her as a gundog, this is something her owners want to do, which I much prefer people to do, but was mainly 'start her off', to help just calm her down a little for them, get her a little more focused and basically, easier for them to build their training on so she isn't on a long line the whole time.

This is not a 'training video', this is a short video with snippets of bits and pieces I have done with her. Nothing very difficult has been asked. The main purpose of everything I have done with her is to become of interest to her, which is the role her owners will take on when she goes home.

Her problems they struggled with were common in that outside, they struggled to get her attention, she wouldn't come straight in when recalled, when being sent for a retrieve, she would run around with it and not deliver, she was terribly excited around other dogs and wouldn't be called away from them, she would pull on the lead, easily distracted, etc.

Of course not everything is here, teaching the sit, all the hours you spend with them over weeks creating a relationship and trust. But you can see from the bits here that she now understands sit, she understands what the stop whistle means when she is moving, she wants to interact with me, she is not so over focused now on other dogs that the human doesn't exist, she is still learning directional work (which was used not to really teach her directional work but to help keep her interest and start a little memory exercise for her as well as to get her to watch the body language, therefore, given her a reason to want to watch you).

I think the stage she is at now gives her owners a much better chance of being able to communicate with her more effectively as foundations have been started to build upon. But, everything she is doing here has to be kept up daily, she is not trained yet, she is a long way from trained yet and if daily work is not kept up to strengthen the commands and the bond, she will go straight back to where she was.

This video was made not as a training video, but to show Pips owners what she has been doing and how she is coming on. What I hope this video does show people though is that the problems Pip came with are problems that people come to us with every single day with every age and every breed from Labradors, Springers, Cockers, Labradoodles and the list goes on, that with a little time and effort, you can train or re-train your dog.

Our 'Videos' Pages have lots of training videos to watch, I hope you enjoy!

'A Happy Pack'

  • Rabbit Pen Training - no longer available (updated March 2023)
  • Gundog Training - for all working breeds covering all aspects of training e.g. cold game, water work, working in cover, memory retieves, blind retrieves, steadiness, hunting, walked up game, etc.
  • Intensive Training Week(s) - very popular with those who live further afield
  • Refresher Training Weeks
  • Pet Obedience Training
  • Residential Training - not currently available (updated March 2023)
  • One to One Sessions
  • Assessment Sessions
  • Stud Dogs Available - no longer available (updated March 2023)
  • Problem Dogs
  • Microchipping Service
  • Home from Home Board
  • Holiday Stays
  • Dog Groomer Facility
  • Gift Vouchers (to any value - make great, personal and unusual gifts from Christmas to Birthdays to Thank You)


Hi Kay

Olly had his first shooting day today. We shot 97 partridge but I only gave him 5 retrieves. He delivered perfectly to hand. No problems with the gun. Sat well on the peg. I have had lots of compliments and we are happy boys. I told them all who had helped me. I know there is still a lot to learn. See you Monday. Kind regards, John& Olly (ESS)



Bess has just had her first proper day’s shooting (though I didn’t) at **** - she was exemplary!  All thanks to you.  She was off the lead all day; sat quietly beside me through each drive with partridges flying over & past her at all heights; hunted at the end of each drive (I didn’t encourage retrieves until the last one) &, on the last drive retrieved about 3 birds in the open, one, a ...hundred & fifty yard retrieve in the middle of the drive from some thick bracken & then picked up several birds from the hedgerows on the way back to the truck.

Thanks for all your help. Would still like a “pen session”. 
David & Bess (Cocker Spaniel)


For more testimonials of our training methods and success stories, please visit our 'Testimonials' page

A lot of our work comes from recommendations and word of mouth and our success is built upon this which means a lot to us.  Our reputation is important and we are passionate about what we do and the range of dogs we work with, not only the breeds, but the diverse range of problems and issues that people struggle with.  

We teach you the skills to train your dog and understand him better, whether that be to work in the shooting field or a safe and obedient pet who you can have a long and happy future with as part of your family.  Or we can train your dog for you and then teach you how to 'take over' his longer term training to avoid any bad gundog problems or naughty pet problems creeping in.

We love all dogs and work with all dogs but Springers are our passion.

Springers ARE NOT wild, mad, stupid and unruly dogs as some people would suggest.  They are highly intelligent which is why training them properly to ensure correct mental stimulation is part of a way of life is very very important. 

They make outstanding and loyal working gundogs and I wouldn't have any other breed in the field and it has been this way for many years now.  They also make great pets but you must interact with them and their mind or they will become wild and unruly dogs and also, not very happy dogs at all.

Springers are not Labradors, trying to train them as if they are will leave you tearing your hair out.  They have so much more to offer than a Lab but that also means, you MUST take this into account when training them for the field, or as a family pet and companion.

Gundog Training is about having a great relationship with your dog that is built on trust and respect (from both sides), stimulating the dogs mind and helping them to learn to become focused and attentive and to enjoy working with you. 

It is not about belting and booting but about love, trust, commitment, understanding, fairness and training your dog to not just be a great working dog that works 300 times a year or 5 times a year, or a very obedient pet, more importantly, it's about keeping both you and your dog safe.

Love, calmness, consistency, praise and attentive training are what makes the difference between a happy, trained dog who keeps his personality and 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.

One piece 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 clients 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.


It isn't unknown for people to spend a whole 1 hour 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.  The more you put into it, the more both you and your dog will get out of it.



One of the best and most rewarding comments we hear is 'I have learnt so much about my dog from you.  All the reading of books, watching of dvds, obedience training and other gundog training has never come close to what we have learned about our dog when training with you'. 

For us, this is what it is all about.  Once you learn to read and understand your dog, it makes training so much easier and you start to see everything he does in a completely different light.

A dog at a shoot that is not well trained is not only a danger to itself, but also to others around it.  They can also spoil an excellent day for the Guns, Beaters, Pickers Up and Keeper.  A poorly trained dog is a nuisance to the Roughshooter or Wildfowler and not an asset.  Well trained working gundogs have a very high standard of training.  They do all the things they want to do naturally like hunt for scent and retrieve but their standard of training is high so that they do this in partnership WITH you, not in an unruly manner on their own, AWAY from you.



Training begins at 8 weeks old with love, touch, play, fun and creating a strong bond and trust.

This is Craigelachie Gundogs training. 

'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

From the day you get your pup home you begin to play with your dog and touch your dog. It amazes me in this day and age so many people come with their dogs for training and really don't know how to actually touch their dog with love, warmth and kindness. I have to show people how to do this. This touch needs to come from the heart, as it would from you for a child.  We're not talking about praise here, but physical touch and closeness.

We don't start the training process as traditional obedience trainers do.  We don't use treats.  We don't stand like sargeant majors when working with / training a dog.  Gundog training starts with you creating a strong bond with your pup but also about your pup learning good manners.  Good manners are those things like waiting to go through gateways, doorways, or not letting your pup snatch from your hands, not encouraging your pup to behave in any sort of manic way, teaching your pup basic commands properly and well like sit and come.  All of these things are the foundations of gundog training.  If you begin gundog training and don't have these foundations already in place, this is where you will start.

We work with all dogs and all the problems they come with.  We have never turned a dog away.  Some dogs need much more time and attention than others.  They way they live at home and what they are taught at home plays a huge part in how your dog behaves and contributes greatly to any problems your dog has.  We train dogs from scratch and we take on older dogs with problems and everything in between.

We train with touch, movement, eye contact, warmth, body language.  We interact with dogs when training and throughout the day in the home.  We want the dog to interact with us, but more importantly, we want the dog to WANT to interact, play and train with us.  We unconditionally love our dogs and we hope you feel the same about your dog too.  We train with love.  BUT love isn't always sweet smelling roses, most roses have thorns too.  This is the love we train our dogs with.  Just as a child grows through life being taught right from wrong, so too should a dog.  You need a healthy balance of sweet smelling roses love and thorns love to teach your dog the things you want him to learn.

If your dog was a child, would he have all the latest games and named label clothes?  Would he have little respect for you?  For many people, they can love their child and teach them right from wrong but when it comes to their dog, a mist seems to descend upon them.  Common sense goes out the window and suddenly they feel dog training is like achieving a masters degree.

If you love your dog with just the sweet smelling roses he is likely to pull on the lead, run off to play on his own or with other dogs, chase birds, about turn when he sees you get the lead out to go home.  Your dog, as a child, needs both the sweet smelling roses and the thorns to be able to build a trusting and unconditional relationship and bond with you.


Most people who train with us who have followed the traditional obedience training route or gone down the roads of KC bronze, silver, gold and good citizen or agility can't actually believe how different dog training can actually be to all those things.  A lot of people who go down these routes think great, I have an obedient and trained dog but when they go out for walks they get hauled about by a pulling dog, a dog that takes off to play with other dogs, a dog that chases joggers and cyclists, a dog that jumps straight out the back off the car the minute the door is opened, a dog that barks incessantly when the ball comes out.  In other words, in that safe, 4 walls environment, they have a fairly well behaved dog but then out in the real world, they have 1 problem after another. 

One of the best and most rewarding comments we hear is 'I have learnt so much about my dog from you.  All the reading of books, watching of dvds, obedience training and other gundog training has never even come close to what we have learned about our dog when training with you'.

For us, this is what it is all about.  Once you learn to read and understand your dog, it makes training so much easier and you start to see everything he does in a completely different light.

Training in a nice warm and dry building might be nice for us but that is not where you're going to take your dog on a daily basis.  Your dog is going to go out into the real world with all its real distractions like walkers, sheep, birds, smells, sounds, grasses blowing in the wind, rabbits, cyclists, water and a host of other distractions.  If you try to ignore the distractions, like walking your dog before other dog walker arrive, you are never going to teach your dog how to deal with the distraction.  If you always make excuses for your dog doing something e.g he pulls because he's dying to get to the water, he always pulls going downhill, or one of the many other excuses, you will never teach him not to do it.  And this is the problem with nice warm and dry dog training (well, one of the problems), there is no real world environment to help you learn how to teach your dog how to deal with the real world.  I could tell you horror stories of young dogs now wearing ridiculous pronged collars because their owners can't walk their dog to heel because the only place they take their dog training is in that nice, warm, dry, non- muddy building.  It is so unneseccary to have to resort to such gadgets for such young dogs, or for any of the other gadgets like headcollars or a 'baby harness'!  This doesn't teach your dog how to walk to heel, it just makes it easier for you to walk your dog.  They don't teach your dog how you want him to behave, either in walk or in any other area of his training or behaviour. 


There is another way to train, a better way to train, a way to teach you how to understand your dog and to help you to teach your dog the things you want him to learn.  A way that you can have fun with your dog and build a strong relationship with him but you have to come and be ready to change how you interact with your dog and be ready to move away from standing like a stone cold rock beholding a bag of treats.

One last tip - the younger you start this new training off with your dog the better.  The older the dog is, the harder it will be for you to not only change your behaviour, but also that of your dog.  As soon as your dog has all his vaccinations, book him in and start training in a way that will set up a great relationship between you and your dog.  A relationship that means your dog sees you as fun to be with and someone he can trust to keep him happy and safe.

You're not trying to create a clingy dog who will suffer from stess when you leave him at home or in the car.  You are training your dog to have a healthy stable mind that trusts you.  You want your dog to be just as happy to be with you or for you to say to him, off you go, you can play with the other dogs (but you want to know that if you call him away from the other dogs, he is happy to do just that and not muck about and not let you catch him or take off in the opposite direction).

A lot of people are now learning there is a different way to train their dog and wish they had realised this much sooner.  So many people just do not know there is another way to train, but there is, and it gives much better and more fulfilling lifetime results.  And if you put your heart and soul into it, it wont even feel like your training your dog, it will become a way of life.

Play with your dog.  Love your dog.  Train your dog.  He must trust you.  He must believe you.

Build a relationship with him where you never have to worry about your dog taking off from you.

If you are planning on training your dog to work, DO NOT TAKE HIM TO OBEDIENCE TRAINING or you will teach him, and yourself, things you don't want him to learn and things that will cause problems for his gundog training later on.  If you do, it is likely to be one of the biggest mistakes you make and are very likely to regret.  If you do take them, you will then spend the next 6 months trying to un-teach them the things you have just taught them.  General obedience training does not start your dog off with the right training, the right foundations for gundog training.  Obedience training for dogs is like you or I learning how to count from 1 to 10 or learn the alphabet from A to F.  Proper gundog training is like learning the whole alphabet but not just in English but in French and Spanish too!

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 into gundog training, and ideally, starting the basic training tailored to prepare your dog for 'proper' gundog training.

Craigelachie Drummer (Tarka)(if he's half the dog his brother is I'll be over the moon)


Craigelachie Drummer (Tarka) at 4 months old

His brother - Craigelachie Sporren (Bugsy)

One of my pet hates in gundogs is dogs who not only don't deliver to hand, but dogs who don't sit and give you the perfect delivery.  Why have bronze standard when your dog is capable of gold!

My wee fella from our last litter - Craigelachie Drummer aka Tarka

Why not visit our 'Videos - Dog Training' page!  It is under construction so videos will be going on over time.

 *****Want to join the North East England Spaniel Club (for ALL Spaniels)?  Go to*****

Kay Mclain from Craigelachie Gundogs is passionate about helping owners train their dog.  Through a series of private One to One lessons, you will be given all the instruction needed to ensure his gundog training is the best it possibly can be and tailored solely for him and his needs.  For those who don't have the time to train their dog, or prefer the training to be done for them or need their dogs training 'started off', we offer Residential Training.  You will be taught not only how to train your dog but just as importantly, how to keep it interesting, stimulating and motivating for him.  Please visit our Testimonials page to see what others say about our training. 

Our clients come from all over the UK from Inverness to Eastbourne to Wales, Ireland and Europe.  We are only 20 minutes from Newcastle upon Tyne, 15 minutes from Morpeth and 30 minutes from Alnwick.  We have a lot of clients from Northumberland and surrounding counties but just as many come from Inverness, Devon and further afield .  Everyone has their own reasons for deciding to work with and choose Craigelachie Gundogs, and for most of them, they go away with considerably more information about training their dog than they ever thought possible.  We get results where other trainers have failed.  We teach people so much about their own dog and how to change their interaction with them to get the best from them.  We are lucky in that through dogs, we meet so many different people, from all walks of life with all with their own life stories and over the years, many of them have become very good friends.

Craigelachie Gundogs are based in beautiful rural Northumberland, North East England about 10 miles west of Morpeth.  We are a small family kennel made up of 3 generations who, between us, have worked with dogs spanning over 50 years. We are members of over 25 Working Gundog Clubs, Societies and Field Trial Associations. 

Our commitment to, and understanding of dog training is such that Craigelachie Sporren is not only an outstanding working gundog, reliable stud dog and a great friend, but he is also part 'Assistance Dog' trained.  This not only shows our passion for dog training and understanding of the dogs mind, but it also reinforces this dogs training aptitude, and his trainability will come through in his pups.

 Who says Springers CAN'T walk to heel?!?           

We breed, train and work our own dogs starting right from a very careful breeding selection process to make sure we have the best possible match between dog and bitch.  The Craigelachie Springers came about from generations of very thought through breeding.  We do not breed to sell, we only breed when we need to bring on youngstock.  This does mean that now and again, there will be some pups for sale.  This also means we breed for quality.  The up and coming youngsters are a complete joy to train.  We have worked with many different breeds over the years, gaining more and more experience with every dog as every single one is different.     

Whether your dog comes to us through veterinary referral for behaviour/training issues, whether you're looking to compete with your dog, want to have the best dog at the shoot or just a very well behaved pet, we give you our undivided attention, commitment and passion to train your dog.

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!

Working with Dogs (For the Love of Dogs)

Kay & Jess     & Bell   & Blaze

& Bugsy  & Tarka   & Barley

& Angel  & Daisy  & Fern 

& Rolo   & Springers   & Sting

& Spaniels  & Fern  

& Alfie   & Trouble


Learning what makes each dog tick is important to get the best from each and every dog, as is creating a relationship, a bond, firm and fair rules and teaching them how to have fun with you and love your company so they WANT to work with you more than they want to go away from you and work / play / learn without you

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.

The feeling you get when your dogs head turns, he stands stock still and looks at you, and what he is actually saying is 'what do you want me to do', is totally amazing.

Gundog training takes time, patience, understanding, calmness, consistency and clear signals - at every level.  Rush it at your peril!

We specialise in 'Residential Training' and 'Private One to One Training'.  We can help you train your gundog from the very beginning to the very end.  Or, we can do all your gundog training for you and show you how to work your dog, the commands to use, and everything else you need to know to have a happy and successful partnership out in the field.  For more information please visit our 'Craigelachie Training', 'Dog Training', 'Residential Training', 'Live In Training' or 'Going On Holiday' pages, or feel free to give us a ring or send an email with your queries.  If we can't take your call there and then, if you leave a message with your query and a contact number, we'll get back to you as soon as we can.  We are fully insured so you can be sure you are in safe hands.     


  • One-to-One Private Gundog Training- Basic to Advanced
  • One-to-One Private Pet Obedience
  • One-to-One Private Assessment - Training & Behaviour
  • Residential Training (for any breed) - Kennelled or Live In (longer term training - gundog training)
  • One Day Stay - one off or regular
  • Holiday Stay - short term - weekly/fortnightly (or longer by arrangement)
  • Home Visit - Behaviour Issues - Advice/Training
  • Stud Dog - Craigelachie Sporren - ESS - proven stud dog
  • Microchipping- we provide a full and professional microchipping service with the option of the brand new 8.5mm mini microchip as well as the standard 12mm microchip, both with full Petlog registration

For details on how to book training, please go to our 'Prices & Booking' page

Today, Craigelachie Gundogs work mainly with Springer Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels and the Labrador.  We do work with other breeds too including German Pointers, the Hungarian Vizsla, English & Irish Setters, and Labradoodles for both working and general obedience and cross breeds for pet obedience training (and some that work too).  Other breeds include German Shepherds, Poodles, Jack Russells, Newfoundland, Dalmations, Collies and many more.  Many years ago (in my youth), I trained Border Collies for shepherding and German Shepherds for tracking alongwith Labradors for gundog work.  My biggest passion with the gundogs is the Springer.  They are such strong and hopeful dogs, full of drive and tenacity with gold in their heart and fire in their belly.  The Ferrari with 4 legs.

The working dog is a sight to behold when they are doing what they were bred for, and doing it well.  If you get the training right from the very start, you will be the owner of one of those gundogs that everyone can't help but watch.  Our training grounds offer varied cover for the gundog from water, woodland, heather, bramble, rhododendron, reeds and rushes.                 

Kay Mclain believes in using kind, attentive training.

But yes, sometimes, things don't always go according to plan, you may not have had the dog from a pup or a multitude of other reasons, and in situations where you are not the reward, treats can be used to help build that bond and understanding and make that connection between the two of you. 

All of our training is based on reading the dog, being attentive.  We have no time for belting, booting or throwing.  There is no reason in the world why someone should stand on a dogs back to teach it how to stay or any other such nonsense.  This is the wrong way to train a dog, in fact, it isn't training, it's bullying and frightening!  We aim for happy trained dogs, not those that cower behind your leg too terrified to even think about putting their nose beside your leg.  Our training is very much about bonding, learning, reading the dog, thinking about the question as your dog sees it.

The harshest form of punishment your dog should ever get (if reprimand or punishment is needed), is a firm voice, a certain body stance, and a look in your eye.  It's not about shouting, it's about 'tone'.  But reprimand and punishment needs to be balanced with praise and reward, or it is worthless to the dog.  You also need to be able to read your dogs body language and your timing for everything is crucial to getting the results you want from your dog.


Many dogs are labelled wild and unruly, and many of them are exactly that.  Some of these same dogs are also labelled stupid, most are not.  Most of these dogs are wild and unruly and are seen as stupid because in actual fact they are intelligent and lack mental stimulation, from their owner, so they go off and find it for themselves, making them behave wild and unruly.  This is why training is so important, not just because you want a dog that conforms to our society, but because you want your dog to get as much pleasure from life as it can so it is happy and content at the end of the day.  Physical exercise alone is not enough. 

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 him 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.

If you are thinking about sending your dog for Residential Training, please read our 'Misconceptions' and 'Training Problems' pages so you can be sure you have a good understanding of what training is all about. It is not possible for anyone to make an informed decision without having all the facts and information available to them.

We love helping owners to train their dogs but you must understand that training is a long term plan and you, the owners, must have input into it for it to be successful.

Gundog training starts with play training and bonding. The young dog then progresses onto puppy dummies. From here, more dummies are introduced with varying weights, shapes and textures. Hunting and seen and blind retrieves are developed and the starting pistol is introduced (at a very safe distance from the dog and coming in closer, never worrying the dog). Next, the launcher can be introduced and then progress onto the use of 2 remote launchers (this really puts the pressure on your dogs obedience in many aspects). Once your dog shows he is happy with fur and feather, cold game is introduced. All the way through these stages, your dog should not be moved onto the next stage until he is at an excellent standard on the current stage. While your dog progresses through his stages, obstacles like stone walls, water and fences are introduced as is training in rougher cover, woodland, open areas. This all takes several months, not a few weeks. Our training grounds offer varied cover for the gundog from water, woodland, heather, bramble, rhododendron, reeds and rushes.


Please visit our 'For Sale' page for more details.

We have the occassional litter of pups for sale as we breed a litter now and again for ourselves.  We breed for hunting, gamefinding ability and temperament first and foremost.  We like dogs with the stamina to be able to work all day and go home content and many of the modern working gundogs of today have become very light both in build and stamina.  Any pups we may have will be available on our 'For Sale' page. 

  **********For training options, how to book and prices, please visit our 'Prices & Booking' page**********

**********To see where we are, go to our 'Find Us' page**********

Join us on Facebook   




Two of my beautiful girls, Kenmilfore Drummer of Craigelachie (Teasel) & her outstanding daughter, Craigelachie Calypso (Blaze)