Q: I am new to gundog ownership and have just bought a six-month-old spaniel. I want to go beating with my new dog next winter but I need some help. Where should I start?

Jeremy Organ: I recommend you look up where your nearest gundog clubs are via the Kennel Club website where you will find all the clubs’ names and contact details of the secretaries. Contact them and ask if they hold training classes.

I think it is a valuable introduction and an important part of the puppy’s development. The spring and summer time is when the clubs host these classes. Alternatively you can seek out a professional trainer that specialises in the breed that you have and go for a one-to-one lesson, or they may hold group lessons. Whichever option you choose you will be with like-minded people, you will have a lot of fun and at the same time both you and your puppy will learn a lot.

Q: I’ve got a young pup. How should I introduce it to kennels with the older dogs?

Laura Hill: It depends on your set-up at home, but I like to have all my young pups in the house when they are really young, usually up to the age of about 6–8 months. This enables me to toilet train them fully and socialise them with the old house dogs, family members and visitors. We also do snippets of fun training while the pup is indoors, and it will learn the ‘house rules’ and some general manners.

When the puppy is ready to go into the kennel, I will put it out there for some short sessions, an hour or two during the day, to familiarise it with its new home, before letting it spend a full night in the kennel.

I don’t usually put a young puppy in the same compartment with another dog. Each dog has its own separate space within the kennel, but they can see each other. If you are limited for kennel space, and need the youngster to share, ensure the older dog is happy with its new companion first. Old dogs can sometimes find puppies extremely irritating and they may not welcome the intrusion of the newcomer into their space.

Q: I have kennels with runs in my garden. I lost a tree last year which provided shade for the kennels. Any tips on how to keep my dogs cool in the hot weather?

Jayne Coley: If you haven’t already got a roof over your runs, I would certainly recommend having one fitted. This will provide vital protection against every type of weather all year round. There are also a number of excellent shade cloths, sails and canopies available online which are worth investing in. One of these could be particularly beneficial if the sun bears down on one side of the kennels/runs. If you are considering planting another tree to replace the old one, choose one which does not bear fruits or berries.

Make sure your dogs always have plenty of clean water, replenishing their bowls with fresh cool water in the daytime, if necessary.

Hose down concrete runs during the day. Purchase a child’s plastic sandpit and place it near your kennels, keeping it topped up with water. Most dogs will love jumping into this!

When you let your dogs out to go to the toilet during the day, on hot days they only need enough time to be clean. Take them for a good run first thing in the morning and later on in the evening when it’s cooler.

Pay particular attention to young and elderly dogs. If we have an exceptionally hot spell and a dog looks uncomfortable with the heat, bring them indoors. If the dog is not used to being in the house and is likely to chew or be a hooligan, putting them in a suitably large cage in a cool part of the house would be ideal. There are a selection of water bowls made to be attached to cages on the market.