Hunting things out
More summer gun dog training in the field

Dog holding a retrieve article

This is part of a regular series where I took my orange roan English Cocker Spaniel Amber to a summer gun dog training class. This was the fourth week where we went hunting in a small area, did some quartering, met the bolting rabbit and went for a long retrieve.

The first task was to search in a small, marked area. We had to drop a target item (a toy in my case) so that our dog would see it land in the long grass; then we had to encourage our dog to search for it (while deftly removing it without them seeing). We had to pass our hands through the grass encouraging the dog to search for the item. Then after a while, we could drop the toy back in the grass and let them discover it as if it had been there all along.

There was a nice area of long grass in the marked area for this and Amber loves searching around so she really enjoyed this task and looked suitably pleased with herself when she'd located the toy.

Bolting rabbit
We first met the bolting rabbit last year, but for some people and dogs on this year's summer course it was a whole new experience. The bolting rabbit isn't a real rabbit, it's basically a pretend "rabbit" on a string that springs into action! We have to keep our dog by our side, in other words stop them from chasing something that unexpectedly runs away in the field.

Amber is very funny with this. She's so focussed on me that she just doesn't move. She stays firmly in "planet Amber". All the dogs did very well with this task and even those that were a little startled soon settled again and were even better second time around.

Bang!
This week we had another go at keeping our dog's occupied while a starting pistol was let off. Improvements all round - the dogs are realising that this is nothing to worry about!

Long retrieve
The pistol was introduced to the long retrieve, so one at a time, our retrieve article was thrown with the pistol being let off at the same time and then we sent out dogs out to bring back the "game".

There's only one more week in the gun dog sessions this year. If you've been inspired to have a go with Gun Dog training with your dog, then the Friendly Dog Club are now offering regular gun dog training sessions during term time for dogs of all levels. See our dedicated gun dog pages for details!

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