What Kit to Bring to Your Gundog Training Classes
Leads, Collars & Harnesses
Dogs should have either a regular fixed length lead with a buckle-collar or a harness, especially if they are a puppy or likely to pull.
We will help you train your dog to walk nicely on the lead without you needing to use equipment that causes pain. As such, no Choke Chains (full or semi), ‘Gencon’, ‘Halti’-type head harnesses, Figure of Eight slips, or Extending leads, please.
A rope slip lead should only be used on a working dog that has been fully trained not to pull. When working in the field, it is dangerous for dogs to be wearing a collar as this can snag, causing injury or drowning. The use of a slip-lead in these situations allows dogs to be released quickly and easily, but this is the only purpose they should be used for.
Collar Name Tags & Microchipping
By law, any dog in a public place must wear a collar tag showing the name and address (including postcode) of the owner engraved or written on it, or engraved on a tag. Your telephone number is optional (but we recommend this).
Both of our training grounds are classified as public places.
As of 6th April 2016, every dog must also be microchipped and registered on one of the authorised commercial databases.
Food Treats & Pouch
We recommend you purchase a decent sized treat pouch that can be clipped to your belt for easy access and will hold plenty of high-value food treats. These are the best treat pouches we’ve found.
In order to reward your dog and positively reinforce good behaviour in a way he will remember, ‘high value’ treats should be completely irresistible to him and definitely something tastier than the dried kibble he gets at mealtimes.
Pea-sized chunks of roast chicken, cheese, liver, sardines and frankfurters all work really well. If you’re worried about over-feeding your dog, we will discuss how to vary the schedule of reinforcement and reduce how much food you need to use over time, with the occasional unexpected jackpot to maintain interest.
All of our gundog training is based on positively reinforcing the right behaviours in order to encourage dogs to repeat them. The best way to communicate with your dog when training is to use a clicker and so we recommend that you buy one like this.
Please ensure you have a supply of poo-bags to clean up after your dog. These bags should only be disposed of in the red dog-waste bins that are situated around the site. Alternatively, please take the bag home with you.
Acme Working Dog Whistles
We encourage the use of the whistle as early as possible in your dog’s training regime. The best dog whistles are manufactured by Acme and can be purchased online at various websites such as Amazon for around £8.
The pitch is denoted by the number on the whistle: 210.5 and 211.5 are quite a high pitch but without too much volume (good for dogs that tend to work closer to the handler). When working dogs at distance or into cover, especially when it’s windy, the 211.5 or 212 pitches provide a higher volume which carries better.
In the early stages of training, we find it best to use a long line. This is basically a very long lead, typically 10 metres, made of canvas webbing or rubber which can be attached to your dog’s collar or harness.
The best ones are made of a rubber-type material called Biothane. They are more expensive than the canvas ones, but they won’t absorb water and take an age to dry.
We can supply dummies of all shapes, sizes and colours for use in classes and training sessions. You will, however, want to practice your retrieving at home and so will need some items for your dog to retrieve. Whilst many dogs are quite happy with a tea-towel or old sock to start off, after a while you might want to use something a bit more exciting. There is a vast array available to purchase and what’s most important is finding something your dog likes working with.
Game Bag or Gundog Handler’s Vest
As you progress through gundog training, you may choose to purchase a few additional items to make life easier when out with your dog. A Game Bag can be used to store your long line, retrieved dummies, etc and is handy as you will never have enough pockets.
Alternatively, you may find that purchasing a Dog Handler’s Vest is a good investment as this will not swing around and hit your dog like a game bag when you lean over to line your dog up for a retrieve.
Clothing & Footwear
Our training classes are held outdoors and in all weather so please dress accordingly. Remember; there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing!
For hygiene reasons, you should bring your own bowl and water for your dog to drink. Bring extra water if it’s hot or a towel if it’s wet.
Lastly and most importantly, we want you to have fun whilst training your dog, so always remember to come with a sense of humour and a smile!
Now you know what to bring, head over here for directions to our training grounds.