Bill Fawcett Reviews
Professional Gundog Training: The Trade Secrets by Joe Irving
This is quite an interesting book, and I'm not yet sure
what to make of it. Joe Irving is quite good at teaching structured training, and has done so with his
book, Gundogs: Their Learning Chain. As such, he
developed "The 'Macsiccar' Training Plan" back in the 70's. (Macsiccar being his kennel prefix). Irving
lives in southwest Scotland, and his techniques are a reflection of the UK trial scene and training with rabbits.
This book attempts to explain his training plan, but does so in an unusual format.
After briefly presenting the element of his training plan with two pages of text and a two-page
grid showing the pups age along with the tasks the pup should be working on, he then discusses
each of those tasks in a separate section (this would be real neat in an HTML format with hyper-links).
Chapters 1 (A) through 24 (Z) then contain sections on each task alphabetically.
And that's it for the book.
This is an aptitude born from the individual dog's
accumulated experiences in the shooting field and
makes its presence known in a variety of ways. It
usually begins to manifest itself during the dog's
second or third season. As it is an acquired sense it
cannot be taught. I have noticed that in some cases
depending on each individual dog's experience, an
almost uncanny expertise in game sense coupled with a
level of adroitness, far beyond anything taught by me,
was displayed in the dog."
I think that it makes for some interesting pick up reading - a bit here and a bit there - but would
totally befuddle the novice. Perhaps one of his other books should be suggested as a companion.
Irving is now retired from the gun dog world, and I suspect this is his last hurrah. I'm glad he put
down his thoughts on training tasks and problems "A to Z". Because his many years as a professional trainer
taught him all the tricks... tricks he used and tricks used by others. And within the chapters are also
sections on other aspects of gun-doggery: breeding, buying, trialing, and husbandry.
Irving is a story-teller and almost every topic is laced with anecdotes gleaned from his many years of
training and trialing. This books makes for some interesting casual reading and especially so to the intermediate or
advanced spaniel enthusiast.
Order your copy of this book from:
Spaniel Journal Bookstore
Professional Gundog Training: The Trade Secrets
Copyright © 2006 Joe Irving
Swan Hill Press, an imprint of Quiller Publishing Ltd - UK
Stackpole Books - US
Bill Fawcett resides in the Shenandoah Valley of
Virginia with his wife, Cindy, and his Smythwicks
Springers: Jenna, Beebe, Chip and Dottie. He is a
hunter, field trialer, breeder and member of the
the ESSFTA. He maintains a public FB ESS
pedigree database at smythwicks.org.