Blog - Dog Training News & Tips
What is a gundog?
5th September 2018
What is a gundog?
Is your dog a gundog? What is a gundog?
This week, I was chatting to the owners of a puppy lab and said, ‘are you going to do some pet gundog classes with him.’ They looked at me confused and said, ‘we didn’t know he’s a gundog.’
At first, I was surprised they didn’t realise their pet Labrador is a gundog. Then I thought back to about 12 years ago, before I became a dog trainer, when my son told me he was doing gundog training with his black lab. My reply was, ‘what’s gundog training?’
A lot of people probably own gundogs without even realising it.
Does it matter?
Why is that important? Does it matter that your dog is a gundog? Dogs need to use their natural instinct, to do the things they are bred to do. Imagine being an extremely talented artist and never being allowed to use your talent. How frustrated & possibly unhappy would you be? How fulfilling being able to use your talent. It’s no different for our dogs.
Do you own a gundog? If you own a Spaniel of any sort, a Labrador, Golden or Flatcoated retriever, Pointer, Weimaraner, Vizsla, Sprocker then you own a gundog. This list isn’t complete, there are other breeds that fall into this category too.
It does depend on your dogs breeding as to how strong their gundog instinct is. The show strains of some of the breeds may not have such a strong instinct for gundog work but they will still enjoy having that opportunity to work with you. It sharpens their basic behaviour too.
Gundog work in the pet dog field isn’t about going on shoots & teaching your dog to pick up pheasants, it’s not even about training your dog to field trial (dummy retrieving competitions) level although this is an option.
Pet gundog training is about training your dog in all the basics of good behaviour. Pet gundog training is about training your dog to work with you, in partnership, hunting for tennis balls, canvas dummies & retrieving. All the time listening to you and looking to you for guidance.
Pet gundog work is about training your dog to the whistle. Teach your dog to sit & STOP to the whistle. Teach your dog to hunt to the whistle. Training any dog to recall to a whistle is a great bonus regardless of what else you do with your dog.
All dogs need mental stimulation. Something we sometimes forget. We are so busy trying to fit in those walks & make sure they get their physical exercise, we forget to exercise their brain. In my view, 10 – 15 minutes of good brainwork is as good as an hour run in the park.
So, if you have a gundog as a pet think about finding some pet gundog training near you. You might be surprised at what your dog can learn to do & how much you both enjoy it. Our pet gundog classes are great fun & are not even restricted to breed. One of the best retrievers we ever had in a junior class was a Jack Russell. So you might enjoy some pet gundog classes even if your dog isn’t a gundog.
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