T: 07799 425063
At Boundarymoor Gundogs we offer Puppy Socialisation from about 12/14 weeks old. This involves the most important period of your young gundog’s life, building confidence etc.
Firstly you must consider the characteristics of your dog, is he bold or timid? once you can establish this then training may start. All Gundog puppies can start basic training from the day you get them home. The secret of course is to be patient, don't rush the training, consider their character and nature at all times.
In most cases it is down to the individual dog, I personally start training my young pup's from 5 weeks old, or if I've bought a pup in, from the minute they are able to mix with others. Hence why socialising is very important, the sooner they mix the sooner they mature. A lot depends on the dogs breeding, if your pup is from strong Trialling lines with lots of FTCh in his pedigree then expect the pup to be asking questions much earlier than if he is from strong working lines. But not even a Champion to Champion breeding can guarantee a decent pup. I have had a Champion to Champion pup in the kennel which was a nightmare to train and a nightmare to house, he was eventually sold to America!
Good early training techniques are without doubt the foundation to your training and the eventual finished article. I have over the years tried several methods with regards to training, I've started them early and started them late, but for me, the best have been when you have instilled some basic training early in their life. Never be hard on a YOUNG dog as this simply does not work. If the training is going wrong then dont fall out with the youngster, simply examine the reason why its not working, maybe the dog hasnt grasped what you are asking him to do? Be clear and concise and above all keep it fun. However, a dog learns by having and understanding boundaries, so you may have to instil a little discipline now for future results.
I also like to find exactly what the pup is happy to carry around in his mouth, once this is recognised, retrieving training can happen every other day or so, until you have a proficient retriever, who is keen and show's no fear toward getting its nose down to look for the retrieve item.
Depending on what you require the dog for, as a pet, shooting companion or even to compete in competition, the only way forward is to forget about the finished product, concentrate on the basics. Always train when you are of sound mind, by this I mean, you need to concentrate on the task ahead, if your are not ready, then dont bother, two or three more hours in the kennel will not do any harm. Especially these days when everyone has a mobile phone, iPod or similar, always switch it off or to silent when training.
Once you are ready to train, think about what you are going to do and where you are going to do it before you take him out. For instance ALL my pups start off on tarmac/concrete (it's a car park during the day) and I take them individually, I can even go at night time as its floodlit until 10pm each evening. Most recently i have introduced mine to Place Board Training. This is relatively new to be used within the Gundog world and I have had great successes with it for young dogs and older dogs with faults. By training on concrete beit boards or basic lead, they are not distracted with scent on the ground, they progress very quickly here. By using place boards I can cut corners when it comes to steadiness training, so the young dog is much more progressed than another of a similar age. The more you do the steadier the dog, we can then progress to using a straight fence or hedge line and train for the "out" command and signal, encourage straight recalls and of course tidy up the retrieving, all done on tarmac/concrete and not a rabbit or pigeon around to distract the youngster. Obviously this will come later, when we have few manners instilled.
I don't tend to introduce the lead until later on in the training, I see it as another form of unecessary discipline, but some may have to walk a little distance to reach a training area, then this is ideal for the youngster. Once the basics of the pups training has been accomplished, eg, a little lead work, lots of recall and a few retrieve's, we can then move onto the Whistle and the next stage. Although the training is stepped up it is still done in such a way that he never gets bored. The basis now is successful training and to reduce negatives. Both handler and dog may become a little frustrated when things dont go well so expect the odd mishap but plan for success. Each session should only be for 10 or 15 minutes and as often as you can but every morning and the same in the evening is sufficient for a young dog. My Spaniels naturally enter cover and water because I introduce this gradually but consistently when they are young, remember when doing this type of introduction, the pup needs to feel safe and confident. Ensure the cover is not heavy and the water is shallow, so he can run about in it unaided, without having to swim. At this stage he will now know what a tennis ball is and will do anything to get to it once thrown. Eventually you can tempt him deeper by throwing the ball that bit further each time into both water and cover.
Steadiness is a massive achievement in a gundog. I do not have access to rabbits all the time, so I use a rabbit pen. Initially I allow my youngster's (approx 7/8 months old) to chase a rabbit in the pen so I can then teach them not to do it. The controlled use of a rabbit pen is an ideal instrument for this type of training as it allows the handler and dog to get really involved. But remember once your dog has experienced a little chasing it can become difficult to convince him otherwise, but by using the correct methods will be achieved. The Rabbit Pen is approx 1.5acres in a Woodland environment, it is normally available all year round. These sessions are supervised throughout. Finally, if you only remember one thing from this page, make sure its the following:- training a dog quickly is to quickly un-train a dog, its not a race to the finish line, as there is no finish line! Take every step slowly and ensure the dog completes every exercise and is consistent before moving onto the next.
Sunday - Group training from 9am (three groups Puppy/Social, Novice & Open)Tuesday - Group training (Spring) from 6:30pm Novice (Intermediate) & Open (Advanced) commencing April.Thursday - Place Board Training from 7pm any age or standard of dog
"Hi Nick - I would like to say thank you ever so much for the lessons we have been receiving just recently from you. The information has been invaluable and the new regime is working really well. Colin and Jack have now started taking Tess out together and have been going through the training stage by stage. But without you, I dont know what we would have done really? Her Recall, Stop whistle and general staying with us when out on our walks has improved 100%. The whole thing is now a pleasure once again. So much so that Colin is talking about another Springer in the New Year, especially now we know what to do from a much earlier age. Thank you again."Alison McTique - Tarlton Lancashire (ESS Bitch)