William Powell Country

Gundog Refresher Exercise


Article written by 16 August 2012

The Glorious 12th (or 13th this year!) has been and it is time to start to do a bit of a refresher course for the season ahead with the trained dogs, getting some fitness is essential, especially those that are going on to the moors.

I give them plenty of free running exercise (where there is NO Game).

But whilst doing this I call them back individually by name just so they remember I am still in charge, swimming is good exercise if you have safe access to water ,anything you can do is better than nothing.

It does not harm to go over the basics as well just to get their brains working again. The sit & wait, the recall, and steadiness even the best trained dogs need reminding.

When I’m picking up on the moors I always walk with the dog around for a few yards after the drive has finished before I let them start to work, this is so they don’t start to anticipate, sometimes even holding one back until halfway into the Butts, If your dog is in the butt I would walk him out at heel to where you want to send him from. Always send the dog the opposite way they want to go.

If they want  to go right send him left or visa versa, try to let him find a retrieve the way you’ve sent him, this will help keep the dog believing and switched on to you.

Another thing I find especially if the dogs are sleeping in the vehicle for a few nights is to completely soak their food morning and night even if it is not warm. I find it helps to stop them dehydrating.

If you are out with a youngster that has not picked grouse before let the beaters and picker uppers move away and then  take your youngster to the front of the butt cast him off and let him start to hunt, as he his hunting drop a dead bird into the heather so the dog does not see and encourage him to find it whilst it is close to you and there are no distractions , repeat this as often as you can for  the first few days  working up to about three birds if possible, but always remember to walk dog out of the butt at heel and then send them for the retrieve once outside the butt.







Jon has been involved in Gundogs for around thirty years. His first dog was a Labrador called Sam , which he used for wildfowling, after a couple of years he bought an English Springer spaniel for rough shooting which he trained to a f.. Read more.

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