The UK's only dedicated Gundog magazine
We answer your questions about common problems with aging gundogs.
To continue reading this content please register for our newsletter.
Please read our policy notice for details of how we use your data.
I am registered, skip this step
Jayne Coley: If this is an older dog and it’s happening on a regular basis, there is very little you can do as this behaviour often becomes a habit. It may be caused by any one, or a combination, of the following factors: the dog being badly spurred by a wounded cock bird, anxiety, excitement/exuberance, having game snatched out of his mouth by another dog or possessiveness.
However, if this is a young dog’s first season out shooting, damaging birds can occur as a result of inexperience and getting over-excited. To minimise this happening you should do your homework the season before you take him out in the shooting field. During that time introduce your dog to retrieving game when he is a puppy, quietly practicing at home, using as many different types of birds as you can get your hands on.
Laura Hill: It is a possibility that your ageing dog has started to lose her hearing, if she has had a lot of exposure to shots on the peg, or if she has a build-up of ear wax due to ear mites, allergies or infection. If you suspect this is the case, you should seek veterinary advice.
However, if the deterioration you describe is sporadic or selective then it is more likely that it is behaviour acquired through experience. At her age, she will have learnt the procedure for shoot day, and what is required of her, and will be well versed in the routines, meaning that the input that she requires from you is now minimal. She may feel she can get on with it without your intervention. You can redress this balance by working on more ‘blind’ retrieves where she will need your help if she is to find the bird.
Likewise, around the house, she will be used to your routines and your conversations with family members and other pets, so she will have learnt to ‘filter out’ most of what you are saying. Try to cut out some of your chatter, and when you are communicating with her be clear and definite. Reward her responses so that she feels it is worthwhile paying attention to you.
The UK's only dedicated Gun Dog magazine
As Liam Bell explains, a gamekeeper’s dog needs to be an all-rounder, but its value is not judged purely on performance in the field.
What sort of distance do our dogs cover and how can we prepare them for the challenge? Simon West investigates.
Register for our newsletter to receive gundog news, tips and advice direct to your inbox.
More information |
If you choose to block cookies some parts of this website may not operate. To block cookies please do this within your browser settings. Most browsers allow you to block cookies within their settings and we have provided links to the most commonly used browsers.
Please view our cookie details page for more information on the cookies we use.