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The Bookshelf
reviews by Bill Fawcett

Problem Gun Dogs by Bill Tarrant,
Training the Roughshooter's Dog by P. R. A. Moxon
and Training Spaniels by Joe Irving

Problem Gun Dogs

Cross-training. That's how I'd have to describe Bill Tarrant's Problem Gun Dogs. If you are a myopic spaniel trainer, there is much to pass over in this book. I believe there is much to learn from all breeds - and in that light this book is very beneficial.

I first ran across some of Tarrant's writings many years ago while training Brittianies. Back then, I skimmed across the references to flushing dogs. Now the tables have turned. However, aside from the pointers on making pointers point, almost everything else in this book is applicable to the spaniel trainer.

Tarrant has a gift of teaching in an entertaining fashion, a bit of good-ole-boy mixed in with a rather concise to-the-point presentation. The book is illustrated better than most.

Two chapters stand out in this book: the chapter on the "Power Bar" and the chapter on "The Magic Table".

"This is a great time to explain a truth of gun dog training. You never solve one problem without creating another."
- Tarrant in Problem Gun Dogs

The "Power Bar" is a simple leverage tool - a piece of conduit installed on a check cord - that is really quite useful in teaching a dog to heel. It really does work, and I can only imagine how useful it would be with something larger than my cocker-sized Springer. I know other spaniel folk that have used it, as well.

"The Magic Table" is Tarrant's term for the force-breaking table. Yes, he actually teaches force-breaking without using that dirty word. I think his explanation is as clear as you will find anywhere, and the pictures really help to get the idea. Actually, the explanation is probably better in the book Best Way To Train Your Gun Dog: The Delmar Smith Method, but Tarrant wrote that too.

The book, Problem Gun Dogs, includes a basic chapter on "The Flushing Dogs" and quite a bit of information on

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