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is where they will want to be. A young dog will tend to bore forward as well as go out to the side. Avoid this by turning it and not allowing the dog to go too far ahead. Keep them patterning tight, no more than fifteen yards on either side and five yards ahead. If you find there are large bushes that need working, direct the dog into the bush and within seconds, use the recall whistle to bring it out again before putting it back in once more. This is essential with a young, inexperienced dog to make sure that it realises you are still in control even though you may be out of sight. Under these bushes, lurk the dangers of running pheasants and rabbits. Your dog will quickly learn bad habits if it gets away with misdemeanours because you cannot see what is happening. Can you imagine if, out of sight, your dog flushes a rabbit and has a short chase before the rabbit goes down a bury? You, not knowing what has happened, recall the dog on the whistle and then praise it for returning. Your dog, however, is still remembering the chase that the praise reinforces - which is not quite what you meant.

In the early days with a young dog experiencing game for the first time, don't be afraid to use the whistle regularly to turn him, bring him back in, and stop him on the flush. Learn to play the whistle like a 'controller' and make sure that he obeys every time. Obeying the second blow is one blow too late. You may feel that you are blowing the whistle too much, but providing that you are doing it correctly and at the right time, after a while you will need to blow the whistle less and less. However, always be ready for the reminder if ever there is a distraction that just pulls your dog a little bit further than is safe or good for the hunting pattern.

When you get into more haphazard cover, such as scrub and woodland, you cannot expect your dog to still work the perfect left to right pattern. It can miss ground, so this is where your skills come in: helping the dog to maintain it's flow but at the same time making sure that the bush he has overlooked is checked by directing him to it. If you miss it, you can bet that is where a bird is hiding.

Hunting a spaniel well requires practice. Many handlers seems to spend considerable time on retrieving and handling their dogs onto retrieves, but unless we get the hunting right with a spaniel we probably will have little to retrieve, anyway.

Ray Cacchio and Martin Deeley

Martin Deeley has trained and handled gundogs for over 25 years. He is internationally recognized as not only a trainer of hunting dogs, but also of their owners. Deeley has authored three gundog training books, directed and commentated a series of British gundog training videos, and is regularly published in magazines on both continents. Martin established the International Gundog Training Center and presents Gundog Workshops in Europe and the US with reknown American trainer Ray Cacchio.

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