I love being a gun dog handler! I get to meet some fabulous like minded people who have a similar enthusiasm for the countryside and dogs. I would like to share this privilege with my readers so I've decided to create an occasional profile page of various friends, colleagues and trainers within the gun dog field which will enable you to catch a glimpse of their passion and meet their incredible dogs.This week my first profile is a local gun dog handler, Jackie Davis, who owns Labrador Retriever Baillie.
Together with Jackie's enthusiasm and Baillie's willingness to learn they have worked hard this year to progress within the gun dog training field. Their achievements for Working Tests 2014 include:URC Hants& SW:1st Special Puppy, Arun & Downland: 4th Special Puppy and Isle of Wight Gundog Club Novice – Awarded ‘Keepers Choice’
It started when I went to Fun4Dogs (http://fun4dogstraining.com) obedience training class. Christine Walton suggested I had a go at the gun dog training class so I went along and I’ve been hooked ever since!
Who inspires you?
Chris was the person who got me started and as we've progressed I've started training with gun dog trainer, Sarah Miles. She's such an inspiration and has raised the level for me in many ways. Sarah is strict within the training field and has high expectations. You have to keep practising until you get it right. Sarah pushes Baillie and I beyond our comfort levels which I enjoy and she always offers constructive feedback. The training is related to positive re enforcement.
Recently I competed in a novice URC working test and I had to send Baillie for a blind retrieve which was over a wall and up a long track and then at 45 degrees there was a shot fired at the top of the hill and I was instructed to send Baillie for the blind first and then the retrieve at the top of the hill. I was convinced Baillie wouldn’t do it but to my utter amazement he did it! I was so over the moon …the feeling was amazing, I was grinning from ear to ear for the rest of the day J
Do you have any pre-competition routines?Yes, I give Baillie some tripe in the morning and always walk him before the test. When I get to the event I do a bit of heel walk and a few retrieves just to settle him as he’s still quite young and can get excited before the test.What are your current challenges with training?Heel work.. It's my biggest challenge with Baillie. It’s never to o early to start your heel work!
What advice would you give to people wanting to get into gun dog training?Just have a go! It’s a great excuse to spend some time in the countryside with your dog and it can be very rewarding and fulfilling.And a final few words from Jackie...Baillie is the first gun dog I have trained and I am very fortunate to have such a lovely dog. He's my constant shadow and makes my world complete! Many thanks to Jackie and Baillie for their time and Sarah Smith (www.purbeckpaws.co.uk) who supplied the photos.