talk to me about gun dogs (any breed)

druid

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I have to put my hand up for working labs. Incredibly active yet want to work with you. My one experience of failing miserably with a spaniel (not blaming the dog) was a breed that didn’t give a rats bum where you were or what you were doing.
My fault totally but I decided I like dogs that want to be with you and I don’t want to be training 24/7, I also like long walks with them mooching. Spaniels don’t mooch.
Depends on the dog, the bitch pictured above is the most with me I've ever had. Very much a velcro dog. She's the exception to the rule although shooting over them really helps them to learn all about gun range and keeping inside it for the fun stuff (flushes and retrieves)
 

GSD Woman

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It sounds like your working labs are very different from ours, in a good way. Field labs here tend to be very high energy, needing gobs of exercise and training. I believe they're also a bit harder because they've been selected for e-collar use.
 

Clodagh

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It sounds like your working labs are very different from ours, in a good way. Field labs here tend to be very high energy, needing gobs of exercise and training. I believe they're also a bit harder because they've been selected for e-collar use.
Mine are very high energy and I train daily, but not incessantly.
Druid would know the answer but I think they just use e collars a lot out there for training, it’s an acceptable norm. They also teach forced hold which I don’t know if in the UK. I’ve not been there though so pure supposition.
 

Clodagh

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Thistle

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I have 2 labs (one is a pup) a springer and a rescue working cocker. Labs are easy, just like driving a range rover, you turn the key and off you go. The spaniels are much more hit and miss, my springer is bordering on totally crazy (despite the fact he does lots of training) cocker is totally screwed up, horribly noisy yet a loving boy in the house.

The spaniels are the reason the next dog was a lab puppy!
 
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Velcro in the house… but you have to agree you can’t go for a relaxed walk with them? X
Depends where you take them! We’ve only had the one run after deer/trekking through woods at midnight incident ever. I didn’t trust them after that, but they actually are extremely keen to be with us when out. They have a very high prey drive which needs careful monitoring but if I have a dummy/ball in hand, they’re fine.
 

Clodagh

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Depends where you take them! We’ve only had the one run after deer/trekking through woods at midnight incident ever. I didn’t trust them after that, but they actually are extremely keen to be with us when out. They have a very high prey drive which needs careful monitoring but if I have a dummy/ball in hand, they’re fine.
(not arguing - debating) if I walk with a ball or dummy mine will walk avidly to heel, panting hysterically. I have just done what I consider a relaxed two hour walk where the dogs did entirely their own thing the whole way with only a 'wait' when we get to roads. I got bought a lot of gifts, from loin of hare to a deer's skull, but at no point did I have to prevent them hunting or running off. That's my sort of walk. :)
 

CanteringCarrot

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Another thing I love about my Lab is her prey drive is low/controllable. She's often off leash on walks and hikes. She stays on the path or meanders around a bit. If she starts off after something (rare) I just call her off and she's right back to me. When she sees a deer, rabbit, squirrel, or whatever she doesn't go bounding off. When she sees another dog on the path, she stops, and waits for my command, which is usually come, but if it is a friend she is allowed to meet with, I will tell her it's ok to go meet.

She is a bit driven toward ducks, birds, and things flying in the sky. Doesn't pursue, but is aware and will watch.

She is so easy to train. Teaching her commands for swimming/in the water took like 10 minutes 😅
 

druid

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Some USA lab lines are harder but you can be top drawer with a British bred lab out there also - they just need drive. The e-collar provides polish for the (in my opinion) ridiculous 400 yard + retrieves that are norm and running out over dead birds for further away ones. Force fetch is another obedience tool, used in Europe too but much more on the QT as it's entirely coercive.

I agree you can't go for a walk as such with a working Springer, I do take the stud dog on hikes and such but he's told to heel and then does so for 4 or 5 miles. I can't allow him to mooch about like I do the non gundogs or he'd be self hunting constantly. They get their free running in the paddock and also do 5k 4-5 times a week Canicross, they don't want for exercise or stimulation!
 

spacefaer

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For a first gundog, a working lab 100%

We've got cockers. My OH trains and works them - when he's been away for a while, they run rings around me, given half a chance, and I'm not dog-stupid.
Training cockers is fun, but they're dogs who never do anything FOR you - they work for themselves - it's a question of making them think you and your requests are the most fun things to do in the world.
 

maisie06

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Now I'm retired I have an itch that won't go away.

I'd like to (maybe) get a gun dog breed and train. I'm lucky enough to live near a good gun dog trainer so that would be my route.

BUT what breed? Lab, spaniel?

Thoughts please but treat me kindly. And honestly.

And I will eventually be getting terrier because I just can't live without one!
If you enjoy running around the countryside and frustrating yourself - buy a Spaniel!! If you want a more sensible animal have a Lab!!! There's a saying that Lab's are born half trained and spaniels die half trained! If you go down the spaniel route go for a springer - I find mind so much more trainable than the Cocker who is the most self opininated and stubborn thing I have come across!

Do you want to work the dog? If so Springers are good all rounders and will work cover in the beating line and also be equally at home on the peg or picking up, Cockers can be noisy in the picking up/peg as they get so frustrated easily..

It's my dream one day to have and train a working Clumber.
 
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(not arguing - debating) if I walk with a ball or dummy mine will walk avidly to heel, panting hysterically. I have just done what I consider a relaxed two hour walk where the dogs did entirely their own thing the whole way with only a 'wait' when we get to roads. I got bought a lot of gifts, from loin of hare to a deer's skull, but at no point did I have to prevent them hunting or running off. That's my sort of walk. :)
Like I said, depends where they go. Together, they can be tricky sometimes. Currently, I’m walking Bear separately as Zak is really unwell. It’s blissful, no worries about meeting other dogs, I walk where I want, he does his thing but comes to call. I taught him very early on to come to 3 short whistle blasts. I can usually hear him crashing through the undergrowth! Because of the amount of injuries over the years, I tend not to walk in deep woods.
 

druid

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Like I said, depends where they go. Together, they can be tricky sometimes. Currently, I’m walking Bear separately as Zak is really unwell. It’s blissful, no worries about meeting other dogs, I walk where I want, he does his thing but comes to call. I taught him very early on to come to 3 short whistle blasts. I can usually hear him crashing through the undergrowth! Because of the amount of injuries over the years, I tend not to walk in deep woods.
See - for me the dog being out of view is not close enough for a (working) spaniel. Unless actively hunting cover on command. Horses for courses!
 

Clodagh

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If you enjoy running around the countryside and frustrating yourself - buy a Spaniel!! If you want a more sensible animal have a Lab!!! There's a saying that Lab's are born half trained and spaniels die half trained! If you go down the spaniel route go for a springer - I find mind so much more trainable than the Cocker who is the most self opininated and stubborn thing I have come across!

Do you want to work the dog? If so Springers are good all rounders and will work cover in the beating line and also be equally at home on the peg or picking up, Cockers can be noisy in the picking up/peg as they get so frustrated easily..

It's my dream one day to have and train a working Clumber.
I’m not keen on clumbers, all that pink skin and they are so clumpy. A keeper friend uses them for dogging in and beating and swears by them, slow and thorough he says.
 
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See - for me the dog being out of view is not close enough for a (working) spaniel. Unless actively hunting cover on command. Horses for courses!
Mine don’t work tho, despite being semi-trained. The only one who was ever in view was Jake, very low prey drive. Ours are trained to go into cover, never too far but if not training, they can have so much freedom but never too much! I don’t want them out of earshot. Their recall is good (bar that one time!)
 

TPO

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A ray of sunshine 🌞
My mum had always had dogs and co.peted in different things when she took a notion for training a gun dog.

She got a wire haired German pointer.

Bad points -

it was the worst pup ever for separation issues. It cried at night for 3wks constantly. Mum is a very experienced breeder and trainer but nothing worked on this pup. Eventually all the rules were broken and it got put in my bed just so everyone could finally get some sleep. After that she progressed to her crate in the kitchen with the other dogs (norfolk and cairn terriers) and was fine.

Very much a one person dog

Need a lot of mental stimulation

I'm not 100% sure on the rules but this was a working bred dog and she still had tail and I think dew claws despite the whole litter going to working homes. She bashed her tail something awful even just in the house and I'm pretty sure she got some sort of dew claw injury in the field.

Good points -
Incredible brain

Easy to train

Want to work

Loyal

Great character

Temperament to die for. Absolute sweetheart and really affectionate

Mum went to a gun dog training group and became friends with a few of the folk sp ended up doing a lot with the dog.

The dog won out of novice at her first trial and people were offering silly money for her or a pup from her.

Dad took the dog beating too for additional exercise and she was brilliant a it and always asked for.

She made thr whole gun dog training/competing thing really fun and rewarding.

In the end mum couldn't do enough physically with the dog because of her (mild) MS and having me or dad run her was a vicious circle because the sitter she was the more she needed. What she needed was a job and to use her brain.

Mum gifted her to a friend of one of the trainers. The young guy couldnt afford a well bred or trained dog but wanted a dog to be his pet and go shooting/retrieving with and could offer a 5* home. He loved the bones of her and she settled straight away as the only dog and being his everything.

But yeah just another breed option. I'm surprised they weren't already mentioned.

I knew someone with english pointers and they were horrific. I think it was her fault as none had a recall and they all (3) did as they pleased and were a bit nervy/nippy.



Now I think about it a friend had a male German wired and he ended up giving it away to a gamekeeper. Friend had a pest control business so did a lot of hu ting and he was a falconry/shooting sort. He kept the dog in outdoor kennels and the dog kept running away. I'm presuming training and no relationship thing because mums dog wouldnt leave her side without permission.
 

Parrotperson

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See, springers absolutely do want to be with the humans. I’m forever tripping over Bear, who likes to half pass up the field next to my ankles. I can’t even go to the toilet without them.
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Ha
See, springers absolutely do want to be with the humans. I’m forever tripping over Bear, who likes to half pass up the field next to my ankles. I can’t even go to the toilet without them.
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Ha! There are lovely even if they insist on going to the loo with you!
 

Parrotperson

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If you enjoy running around the countryside and frustrating yourself - buy a Spaniel!! If you want a more sensible animal have a Lab!!! There's a saying that Lab's are born half trained and spaniels die half trained! If you go down the spaniel route go for a springer - I find mind so much more trainable than the Cocker who is the most self opininated and stubborn thing I have come across!

Do you want to work the dog? If so Springers are good all rounders and will work cover in the beating line and also be equally at home on the peg or picking up, Cockers can be noisy in the picking up/peg as they get so frustrated easily..

It's my dream one day to have and train a working Clumber.
Now I've always fancied a clumber but aren't they hard to get hold off?

Plus with what everyone is saying I might be better with a lab/golden retriever
 
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