The Countryman's Weekly


December 19
08:04 2018

Things to do with your gundogs this festive season

by Wendy Bardsley.

WHETHER you are introducing a young dog to the field, retiring a long-serving companion, preparing for a field trial or working flat out with a picking-up or beating schedule, follow these four things to do in the festive season with your gundog. The dummies and dummy launchers may not have their regular uses at this time of year but there’s no time to rest for the gundog handler.

Practice your marking

For many of us retrieving is the heart of gundog work. A successful retrieve in the field is such a rewarding feeling and a pricked or wounded bird should be a picker-up’s top priority. But how many times have you sent your dog to the fall of a pricked bird that you both marked and it’s disappeared? Being able to accurately mark and send your dog to the correct area can be a challenge, particularly if it’s shot early on in a drive and fallen into undergrowth, sugar beet or rape.

One of the common reasons the pricked bird and dog end up in different places is poor marking by the handler. I’m not ashamed to admit it’s happened to me a few times this season. Birds that look dead on falling early in the drive have a tendency to rise suddenly and aim for the nearest piece of cover.

The festive season is a good time to improve your marking skills. There’s no doubt your dog will have a good marking ability and standing well back will give you both an advantage of making it easier to observe as much of the drive as possible.



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