Training Spaniels for Upland Game - Page 2

Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs

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As a professional trainer, I would venture to say that the majority of the “fix the problem issues” that come into my facility on an annual basis consist mainly of two issues; one “the pup will not retrieve and or deliver to hand” or the all too familiar phrase, “ I can’t keep him in gun range”. It is such a tragedy it is to see that things have fallen apart so quickly. The new owner did all the homework and invested the time required in the early stages but has dropped the ball in the final chapter of development.

Settle your spaniel down after finding, flushing and retrieving a shot bird.
Photo by: R. Michael DiLullo
Training a spaniel for upland game can be very simple with the proper equipment and surroundings. For those who do not have the time necessary, your solution is simple; find a reputable professional that is a specialist in training your specific breed of gundog and employ their services. Should you be capable or have the time and ambition to invest, I would suggest that you hook up with a professional and buy some one-on-one training time with him. The pro can guide you along the path of dog training as you travel the hills and valleys of inconsistency that you will experience while teaching a young dog. The pro also can fill in the gray areas that have been left out of the training manuals. Additionally, the pro will have the proper environment, training grounds and accessibility to live game that you will need during the process of training.

There are many different techniques that we use as professionals for maintaining a balanced spaniel while the young dog is going through his training for upland game. Retrieving for you must be the most important thing to a young spaniel and it must be maintained throughout the spaniels’ life as a gundog. Additionally, techniques such as rolling in live fliers for your spaniel to find well within gun range will help to keep him in range. Make him accustomed to finding, flushing and retrieving several shot birds during a single training session. Settle your spaniel down after finding, flushing and retrieving a shot bird. Get him accustomed to being controlled by whistle commands. For those who will not go through the process of steadying their dog to wing and shot, teach your spaniel to “call off” a missed bird or wild flush. Achieving all of the above situations during pre-season training will have your spaniel in A-1 training condition by next fall. Remember, our spaniels are a joy both in and out of the home. So have fun while working them on small game. Enjoying the outdoors is what it is all about. Don’t make it a chore, have your spaniel ready next fall by starting now, not next September…
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