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I am not a traditional gundog person at all, or at least I am not what I perceived gundog people to be like.

I have always been intrigued by it but did not think I would be welcome, that Willow was well behaved enough or that we would fit in.

I have a pink waterprrof coat, flowery wellies, Willow has pretty decorative collars and matching leads and until recently I owned a black converitble with a fairy on the boot- ( now have a white hot hatch with a fairy on the back)... So in most ways I am not your "usual" gundog person.

Both of Willow's parents are working gundogs and I promised when we got her that we would do "something" with her, be it gundog, agility, dancing.. anything to keep her active and thinking.

We started attending pet dog training classes when she was a pup and she was getting on well, one of the trainers recommended that we try puppy gundog training once she got to 6 months (very basic stuff, walking nicely, recall, few basic retrieves), I put it off as I didnt think we would fit in but he finally convinced me to give it a go.

I must admit I was VERY nervous when we first went (feeling a bit like a child on their first day at school), I grabbed my wellies, coat and Willow's slip lead and off we went. My little car with its low profile tires and big alloys struggled its way down the dirt track (holding up a 4x4 behind us) but I was pleasently relieved when another person arrived in a red astra who struggled down the road too.
One comment was made that I was very colourful (compared to the others in coordinating brown, beige and green) but the people are lovely and very welcoming. I still go each week wearing my flowery wellies and pink ski coat but do you know what? Willow is doing just as well as the dogs whose owners wear green and drive 4x4's.

She is getting more out of 1 hour of gundog training than she is out of 4 hours of pet dog classes and its good fun.

So basically what I am saying is if anyone is putting off trying gundog training because they dont think they will fit in, because they dont think their dog is obedient enough or they are worried that they wont like it. All I can say is don't worry about it it isn't half as scary as you think it will be and you don't know until you try!!

We tried it and we are loving it (and plan to keep on doing it!)
 

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Thanks so much for the post. I have Willoughby booked for his first gun dog training session next month and was stressing we wouldn't fit in with my bright green corsa and pink flowery wellies. Like you I've been interested in gun dogs, we've watched the local shoot in action and loved watching the dogs working. I thought you had to be interested in shooting to train a gun dog and I'm a bit of a whimp so thought it wasn't for me. I'm wanting to do some type of activity, agility and fly ball are out because of his ED so thought I'd give gun dog training a try, I think it's good to do something with your dog and enjoyed the years I spent doing obedience competitions with my previous labs. Hopefully Willoughby will enjoy the training to.
 

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Gundoggery maybe needs a big up shake up, and flowery wellies and pink coats could be the way ahead, just try not to get shot :wink: :lol:
 

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Brilliant post . This is something I've been thinking about doing with Bruce . Normal obedience classes don't seem enough for him even though he enjoys them so I wanted something a bit more challenging and enjoyable for him but I wasn't too sure I would fit in . Your post has helped me make my mind up to contact the trainer I've been looking at for a couple of months now . Thank you

Claire x
 

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:) glad you enjoying it :)
It's addictive and fun and I love it xxx

I started with pink and pattern Wellies but now I find myself with a wardrobe of green and brown lol
 

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I walk in the hills a bit so tend to have red coats (in case I need to flag down a passing Mountain Rescue Helicopter! :wink: ) and I must admit that I did feel a bit daft in bright red among the greens and browns :lol:

Angela
 

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Thrilled you are enjoying it!

What i would say, generally to readers, is not all gundog trainers are equipped for beginners, and so, may not be quite what you are looking for. Most would expect a certain level of manners and basic control to join their classes.... but if you can find one with a beginner class, who explains things well, and is positively kitted out for starting people from scracth its a WONDERFUL way to train your gundog.

Every year people are put off going to gundog classes because the words 'Novice class' might sound really basic, but then you get there and 'novice' doesn't mean YOUR idea of 'Novice' ;-) But don't be. More and more beginner trainers are around, where you can start really really straightforward, possibly even teaching the dog to heel, stay, come back with distractions etc etc and move onwards to more specific gundog work.

Noone with a negative experience of joining a group they felt out their depth in need give up. Its not the trainer being snobby, its just your idea of novice, and theirs may not quite collide... but have another hunt, and a genuine beginner class will be somewhere within reach for everyone - hopefully! :)

My top tip, as a beginner trainer, is to look for a class CALLED Starter, or Beginner.... or maybe very Novice... and then you will usually be cooking with gas whatever standard of obedience your dog has (within reason, wink).

Di
 
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