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Of particular value, is the chapter on "Quartering to a Pattern", which has some pretty good diagrams. Erlandson recognizes pattern work as essential; with Spaniels, scenting is everything, and using the wind effectively will give your dog an edge.

"A Springer should work for scent as well as on scent, in other words, he should be willing to hunt on command whatever the conditions. If the terrain where he is cast off is completely devoid of game or scent, he should not care one iota but hunt on what has been termed 'the cheerful optimism of the Spaniel', with the idea at the back of his mind that although his nor tells him the ground is bare of game and has been for at least ten years, maybe, just maybe, half a mile away over the ridge there might be a whin busg with a rabbit in it but in the meantime, he had better explore evry nook and cranny in case something just happens to be there."

Erlandson departs from the brief chapter format when he addresses the topic "Shooting over a Young Spaniel", and this is most welcome in the detail that he offers. This is followed up by another detailed chapter entitled "Working on Runners".

For many, the icing on the cake is the final chapter. As mentioned before, this is of tremendous interest to those who have an interest in breeding. Each of the twenty sections starts with a three-generation pedigree. But what is behind those names is even more fascinating. Erlandson take the time to talk about the circumstances of the dog, how it was obtained, who owned it and so on. Then he details some of the training and trialing highlights of the dogs career. It is in these details that we see the practical application of the training techniques from the earlier chapters.

In this chapter, we might learn how a specific problem was resolved. We also gain insight into the nature of Field Trials in Great Britain - and more specifically, the nature of the Judging. Erlandson is also kind enough to share a few of his techniques used to show his dogs at an advantage. In all respects, this portion of the book is entirely fascinating.

Finally, Erlandson has very specific criteria that he feels is important in a Spaniel. It is one thing to explain those criteria, another to live it out as Erlandson talks about his dogs. Few of us will ever come close to his experiences with hundreds of gun dogs leading to the quantity of Field Trial Champions that Erlandson has. It is worth taking the time to listen.

Copies of this book are available from:
Spaniel Journal Bookstore

Gundog Training, second edition
by Keith Erlandson - Copyright © 2000
hard cover, 245 pgs., b&w photos
Swan Hill Press - Stackpole Books
ISBN 1-85310-498-1

Bill Fawcett resides in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with his wife Cindy and his Springer, Jenna. He is a hunter, field trialer and member of the M-AHSC. He also maintains a public FB ESS pedigree database at

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