As I mentioned in another thread, we first took Harv gundog training when he was quite young (around 6 months old). We were still quite inexperienced with dog training generally (Harv being our first dog) and Harv was, well, Harv - racing around like the lovechild of RoadRunner and Taz of Tasmania Frankly, it was a bit of a disaster! Fastforward to the present - Harv is now 4 and (a bit!) calmer than he was and we have a bit more experience with this dog training mallarky. So, we thought we'd re-visit gundog training. We found a dog training school that was having a guest gundog trainer to run a few courses (8 weekly classes of a little over an hour and at various levels). When we filled-in the pre-class questionnaire we were asked to fill-in details of all the things that we were most interested in working on. Our classmates entered long lists of all things gundoggy. We entered but one thing - steadiness! The trainer actually confided to the class that this had caused her to pause and gulp as this signified that she may have a bit of a task on her hands You see, even at the 6 month stage, we'd never had any problems getting Harv to race off after a dummy at Mach 1 with his hair on fire and then collect the dummy and return at the same speed. The problems were - getting him to wait to be released to fetch the dummy and getting him not to 'buzz the tower' (ie head straight for us and then veer off at the last second) on his return! In the Beginner class we covered walking to heel and being able to turn either to the left or right with the dog following closely, sit/stays with distractions (ie dummies and balls being thrown around) - this was fantastic practice for Harv's steadiness and he did it all brilliantly, hunting to the whistle, heel and sit/stop using the whistle, seen and blind retrieves (in a retrieving alley), recalls to the whistle, recalls and stops to the whistle, sending dog to left and right seen retrieves. In the Intermediate class we've done more heel work (including off-lead and being able to turn 360 degrees on the spot with the dog staying at heel all the time - both to the left and to the right - Harv excelled at this for some reason), more sit/stop to the whistle, sit/stays, more steadiness with lots of dummies and balls thrown and then collected by handlers (not dogs) - again, to my amazement (and, I'll confess, with some pride), Harv impressed everybody by not racing off after every distraction , seen, blind, back, and memory retrieves (in the open), more stop whistle work (*), recalls with distractions. It was the last class yesterday and we finished with some retrieves through a hedge. This was not something that we had ever done before and Harv was a little bemused initially but he got there in the end and found a gap big enough to get through. All of his classmates were much smaller (all bitches) and seemed to find adequate gaps in lots of places and went through the hedge, got the dummy, and came back through the nearest gap. Having spent a while finding an appropriately sized gap Harv insisted on going back and using the same gap for his return! * We thoroughly enjoyed both classes but the real standout moment for me was some Stop work. We've always struggled with this cue for some reason and it's the only thing that has prevented us from doing the Gold Good Citizen test. Harv is so, erm, 'enthusiastic' on his recall that by the time I've given a Stop cue he is virtually back with me! I'd tried doing this at greater and greater distances and even giving the Stop cue a split second after the Recall cue but it never really got any better. What the trainer got us to do was rather than extend the distance we shortened it - less time for me to give cues but, crucially, less time for Harv to get up to full speed! In addition to the classwork we practised between classes too and Harv gradually got better and better. In one of the classes we had our dogs in a sit/stay facing us while we threw one dummy to the left and one to the right. We were then to move to a poiint roughly halfway between the left dummy and the dog, send them for the left dummy, stop them, and re-direct them to retrieve the right dummy. To say that I was not optimistic was an understatement (and I am, normally, pretty optimistic about most things). However, Harv shocked me, the trainer, and everybody in the class by stopping instantly when I blew the Stop whistle and being happily re-directed to the other dummy. I was so pleased with, and for, the little chap! Anyway, if you've ever tried gundog training (or any other area of training for that matter) and thought it might not be for you and your dog and that was some time ago - maybe think about giving it another go. You and your dog may have progressed to the stage where it may now be a viable choice. Go on! Don't just make excuses - do it!