I recently attended gun dog trainer, Ben Randall's live game training day. It was a unique and wonderful opportunity for a novice handler and dog. The friendly and enthusiastic guns and handlers really brighten the day and made me feel part of the team. My blog offers an insight to the day and captures the essential elements for a superb live game training session.
Chris, Sarah and myself found Ben's training session a real confidence booster. The session was challenging, enjoyable and valuable in so many ways. Chris gained some top tips throughout the day. "Ben could instinctively see my dog's strengths and weaknesses. He helped me as a handler to be a lot calmer. I have also put in place his concept of stopping the dog on the way out to food. Amazing!"
Ben’s Father helps out on the driven days and shoots throughout the season. He firmly believes Ben has a drive within him to succeed....
"He’s a positive thinker and aims to get the most out of everything he does. The biggest thing for Ben is that he wants to put back what he takes from the sport. His goals are to be good at what he does and he wants the dog and handler to succeed."
Ben's Father enjoyed being part of the walk up today.... “There were alot of inexperienced dogs today and they all did well. Ben spent alot of time concentrating on the dogs and we can change the way we shoot to suit the dogs. All of the birds were picked today by the novice dogs which was good to see. Ben always finishes on a high with the handlers and dogs and he knows they take away alot from this event. “
Danielle has a passionate affiliation with the countryside and enjoys being a gun for Ben's training events. " Days like this are always welcoming." Danielle who recently won the Really Wild Female Face of Fieldsports added "I like to think I give as good as I get! Just don’t take yourself too seriously and you can have alot of fun on the day."
Michelle Osman has been a regular visitor at Ben's training sessions throughout September. Her 8 month old Spaniel, Beggarbush Pride is bred by Ben. "I enjoyed watching the young dogs work today. You could see in the morning they started off with a challenge and a few issues and by the end of the day Ben is putting things right for them."
Jasper travelled from Denmark to take part in Ben’s training course. "This is the closet we can get to doing the real thing just before trialling starts. We are unable to do this in Denmark so we come over here to get the experience prior to the season starting."
Nicola enjoyed handling her dog, Piper. " This training has been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It’s been a great opportunity to see how my dog is going and see how the basics stand up to a more demanding and exciting environment. Generally I was pleased with him today and I know what I have to work on."
Chris was delighted with Paddy. "He did an awesome retrieve today and he's hunted well. He’s listened to me! I’ve had a few issues with him lately so I’m pleased with how it’s gone today. I’m taking alot away with me and i’m going home to post my entries off for the trials."
Sarah (far right) enjoyed taking Rufus for his first walked up. The day enabled her to learn the essential elements for a live game training day. "Being an inexperienced handler with a young dog this was the best way for both of us to experience our first live shoot. Ben keeps an eye on everyone and chooses the right retrieve for each dog and handler taking time to offer advice throughout the day. Can't wait to go back!"
Leahouse was our stop over for the night. This little gem of a B & B is situated 20 minutes from the training ground and was a perfect retreat after our long and challenging day. The owners, Sophie and Andy gave us a warm welcome and the rooms were cosy with an individual charm and elegance. We were able to have the dogs in the rooms and the ambience of Lea House enabled us to relax and enjoy the evening. Sophie served an outstanding breakfast before heading back to Bournemouth. Highly recommended! For more info visit: leahouse.co.uk
Gundog trainer Stewart North gave me lots of support during the training session. He had two open dogs and a novice dog with him. "I managed to get the dogs to learn something during the course of the day and that’s what’s it’s all about. These live game events are the only way to train a dog properly. Stewart firmly believes there's no such thing as a brilliant dog. It’s all about a dog performing on the day!
Michelle's pup Purdey was enjoying the excitement of the day!
At the end of the day Ben gave us some final tips on heel work and highlighted the importance of getting the fundamentals right before moving onto the exciting areas. "Today was a very novice day today and different from a normal day. Lots of training involved rather than shooting and retrieving. There was a focus on individual handlers allowing them to go wrong and putting them right rather than just moving onto the next retrieve. A huge focus on handlers learning from me and letting the dogs achieve. By demonstrating with my dogs how things can go wrong and how you can put it right gives the handlers an understanding why I do things a certain way."
Getting the fundamentals right is crucial before you can move onto the exciting areas....