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tussocks, bushes and places where game will hide he will quickly learn to check them out. Scent is often variable, so to ensure that no game is missed, we are always working at creating a hunting pattern where your dog works all the cover and all the ground. At the same time, taking scenting conditions and the distance at which scent can be touched into account. Heavy rain, wet ground, tucked in rabbits and pheasants along with poor scenting conditions demand dogs that cover, in fact run over, nearly every inch of ground. Even hunting a foot to one side of game in these conditions can mean your dog misses it. For some shooting men where they do not have a lot of game, the pattern and hunting ability of a dog can be the deciding factor that determines whether they come home with dinner or not.

To really get a dog hunting under controlled conditions one of the best places for this is a rabbit pen. Dogs that will not hunt or are a little lethargic can be given a good chase of rabbits to really get them going. Then by gradual introduction of basic obedience learned outside the pen, keep them hunting, but under control. Obedience to the sit, turn and recall whistle becomes a necessity once they are enjoying the hunt and chase. But don't be too tough on the dog at this time to reinforce these commands as sometimes being tough stops them hunting and even causes them to ignore game. However, for the shooting dog and owners who are not always as experienced as some regular trainers, control is essential - even to the extent that the dog looks a little 'sticky'. There is no doubt that once the dog gets onto real game in the open, it will loosen up. Unless the controls are well ingrained, he will take advantage and often become a little 'hard of hearing' as he 'hots up'.

When your dog is beginning to hunt and find for you, it is now time to introduce the sit to the flush while hunting and a 'remote' send. That is sending your dog not from your side but from the position the dog sat when he flushed the game. If a handler is not very careful when shooting, a dog will quickly learn that a flush and a shot is followed by "fetch". This, together with the excitement of the hunting, results in many dogs in the shooting field being unsteady. So now we begin to polish hunting and put more control on the dog by asking him to sit to the flush, sit to the shot, and sit to the whistle at a distance when hunting.

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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