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Discussion Starter #1
I've finally found a trainer that sounds quite good, a bit of a distance but I don't mind travelling. I don't want to approach him for lessons if it's not practical to try Willoughby with him having ED.
Willoughby hasn't limped or shown any symptoms since before we saw the specialist in July. We are careful with how we manage him and try not to let him jump or over do exercise. I have been doing little bits and pieces of obedience stuff and would love to try something else to work his brain a bit. Obviously I'm not wanting to compete or anything serious, just fun stuff and us both learn something new. Do gun dog trainers accept slightly disabled dogs on their courses?
 

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I'd say you would be fine doing gundog training with him. Certainly the basics etc.
How serious you want to be about it might be the factor that you need to discuss with the trainer. As the dog is older and yet a beginner. But call him for a chat.
Where or who have u found?
 

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Photo courtesy of workinglineimages (http://www.labradorforums.co.uk/ftopic-102201-50.html)

Here is Luna enjoying some gundog training 2 days before her last elbow op... she got away with all sorts of norty behaviour!!

I find that because gundog training is all about obedience and steadiness Luna can cope with a bit of training. Retrieves are controlled (supposedly!) so the only thing I'd avoid with Luna is too long a training session and jumping fences (which generally comes later on anyhow). Give it a go and just be prepared to say no or tweak instructions if it' something you don't want him doing.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Graham Stephenson at Pickering has been recommended by a few people I've been talking to. They work their spaniels on local shoots and have seen him in action so to speak. I'll contact him and see what he says.
Thanks for the replies.
 

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I take a lot of pet and semi pet dogs who have HD, ED and all sorts of other problems, epilepsy etc etc... you just keep it in the back of your mind, sit out a few cold day water retrieves, don't do too much jumping and its not actually very physcially taxing gundog TRAINING. Much less so than say, agility or flyball as its all about steadiness and good behaviour ;-)

I don't KNOW who you mention so they might be brilliant, all I would say is Spaniel trainers tend to have a slightly different focus to Retriever trainers... so it *might* be worth checking he has a lot of Retrievers in the class. Whilst technically it shouldn't make much difference in the basic stages, you will want emphasis on good heelwork, straight line distance retrieves and so on, rather than hunting patterns and giving them their head which tends to be the more spaniel way of doing it.

Di
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks. Looking at the web page he primarily works with retrievers and has his own Labradors. It looks quite professional, so I'm hoping he does the fun dog stuff. Just waiting for him to get in touch. I stopped going to the local dog club as it was in doors on a slippy wooden floor and I worried about his legs. I miss doing something with him and have just plodded on alone with basic obedience, retrieving in water but it's getting a bit boring. Merlin hated all types of training clubs so when my first dogs got to old I lost touch with lots of good "lab people". I was really looking forward to getting back into the training clubs and stuff but it's mostly agility around here now and very competitive. With not knowing a lot about gun dog training I was apprehensive in contacting anyone in case they wouldn't let us try with him having ED. It's good to know that trainers will take on a slightly disabled dog and a total novice owner. It's probably me that needs the most training as Willoughby is quite a well behaved young dog. :D
 

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Phillipa Williams is up your way too. Might be worth a look.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you, I've just watched Phillipa Williams crufts gun dog demo, it's great, just the type of positive training I'm after. York isn't that far from us so will try and talk hubby into joining up and booking a weekend taster session.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Got our first training date for a one to one assessment. I got asked loads of questions and to be honest I've probably done most things wrong and will have to put lots and lots of work in to get Willoughby anywhere near where he should be. The worry I have at the moment is in keeping Willoughby's focus for any length of time. I'm more used to short exercises and then letting him play a bit. Heel work off lead tends to be practising left, right, about faces and stops, very much obedience competition style and then releasing him. Anyone have any ideas how to get him to keep focus for longer?
 
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