Discussion in 'The Gundog Club and The Gundog Trust' started by editor, Apr 4, 2013.
The Gundog Club has accredited a new instructor for Kent.
I contacted James as I wanted to book for some training sessions. He did replied but is only taking on new people and their dogs if one of his students refers them. Sadly I don't know any of his students
James isn't too far from me, hopefully one day we can get booked on training.
Apologies, I don't think it was James that I needed a referral from a student member. I have contacted James again tonight and am eagerly looking forward to hopefully getting some 1-2-1 sessions and group sessions booked.
Hi there, that's really great. But just to be aware, the Gun Dog Trust instructors are not all positive trainers, some are traditional trainers. There is nothing wrong with this, but if you want a positive Gun Dog trainer you have to check and make sure you are going to the right trainer for you.
I'll definitely keep that in mind Julie. It's so difficult finding a trainer and I definitely want a positive trainer. I don't know whether to email him and ask before he gets back to me or just book a 1-2-1 and see for myself as a lot of trainers say they are positive but then don't use clickers, high value rewards, varying the value etc. They don't all get or use the totally positive methods or even give the students the advice of starting out training a behaviour with no distractions before building them up. I'm not saying they are wrong as I only know what I know from this forum, Pippa's sites, books and the Internet and so far it is working great doing it this way. I know I've made mistakes that have set us back but using these methods and going back to basics and asking for advice on this forum has really helped and I'm gradually getting us both back on track.
If I can't find a suitable trainer but keep patiently working through the grades and other behaviours myself as a complete novice, do you think it's possible to succeed in gundog training or very unrealistic?
It's not the be all and end all for Dexter as he is first and foremost our pet who has the opportunity to join a shoot if he can be trained.
Foremost though we want a well mannered dog that we could take everywhere, who is happy and a joy to be with. The latter two we have, the taking him anywhere and him being calm is work in progress but we are getting there in baby steps.
@Newbie Lab Owner why not speak to him regarding his methods for training and behaviour modification. I've just been reading the rules and regs of the Guild of Dog Trainers that he belongs to and nowhere does it mention force free or positive reinforcement as their standard, as far as I can see. It mentions humane but also applicable to breed and need.
I have sent an email asking, hopefully politely. I just said that I am using positive reward training with Dexter, using a clicker or verbal marker and would this be inline with his training. I feel that at the end of the day, I need to know and stand my ground for how Dexter is trained, he can't ask for himself.
I have emailed him and asked. Oh it's such a worry. Had it not been for this forum or Pippa's sites I'd have never known the difference. I'm so grateful that I found out early on in my pups life.
It's not unrealistic at all! OK, you might not end up with a Field Trial Champion, but you can still get a very well-trained dog. I don't live anywhere near any type of gundog trainer, let alone a +R one, but I do what I can from reading books and, most importantly, with the help of this forum. My two had their first training session (a 3-hour one-to-one) when they were nine months old, when we were in the UK and then again in November, we went on a three-day course, where Shadow ended up going on a training shoot! He picked up birds and everything! Not bad for a dog that's had so little formal training and with a completely novice handler
I do think it's worth scheduling a one-to-one with a good trainer to give you a good grounding, even if you have to travel several hours to get to them (I had 15 hours of driving each way, not counting rest stops ). One session will give you enough things to work on again for a few months, especially with the help of the forum.
I'd suggest you get the training manuals from the Gundog Club, if you don't have them already, and a copy of Clicker Gundog by Helen Phillips.
I went to a few traditional gundog trainers at first. They were all helpful, encouraging, and got me started. But I was never entirely comfortable, and looking back on it now, it wasn't how I would have chosen to start. I picked up some bad habits, and because I was chopping and changing methods - I confused my dog I think. But mainly, I failed to understand my dog. Going to a positive gundog trainer was the right thing for me to do, even though it's a long old drive for me and I don't get there very often.
You can work through things in books, of course. I do think that it's difficult not to have any training from a professional, and not to be able to join in some kind of class but you'll still benefit massively from any structured training of course.
The other thing is, most of the foundations you need - a calm, focused, engaged dog with a good walk at heel, recall, stop etc. can all be trained in pet dog class. None of this requires a gundog trainer. You need a gundog trainer for retrieving and so on, but the rest you can do in any class.
Although, the biggest difference (in my experience) between a pet dog class and gundog training is the expectations around standards. I find the standards are so much lower in pet dog classes, and so having the right required standard in you mind is helpful I think.
That is reassuring to hear.
I do have the grade 1 & 2 books and a positive gun dog book that uses clicker training.
James has emailed me back and is happy for me to use a clicker, he tends to use 'yes' as a verbal marker. He's going to give us a 1.5hr lesson to start with so that he can see where Dexter is with his training and give me guidance on his training.
I'll let you know how we get on.
I'm glad you have heard back from James, hope you enjoy your lesson - I have only heard good things about him. Good luck and let us know how you get on
I really hope you and Dexter enjoy your lesson Donna x
Thank you Pippa, I'm really looking forward to going.
How did your training sessions go with James, I am in Kent so would be very interested in this, hopefully you had a good session
Training with James is great fun, my dog absolutely adores him.