A few weeks ago I enthralled and educated you all with a riveting report from the gun dog training day held in the deep back end of beyond somewhere in the English Counties. This following little report is a sort of follow up to that, and this time specific to water training your gun dog.

Deep in the wilds of South East England there is an idyllic spot for training the gun dog in the art of water retrieving. It’s a substantial area that used to be a gravel pit. Now nature has taken over and it serves many other purposes, and today was no exception as it was given over to a gun dog training day. The Dearest One and friends had decided to enter into the opportunity and so Freya was our nominated Spin and Claude was to make up the other entrant. Both young, both eager?? And of course both determined to outdo the other……….let battle commence!!

The Contestants:

Claude!! Freya!!

The dogs were put into groups and the most experienced dogs went off to the other side of the gravel pit.

Meanwhile the ‘Spins and Barbet’s’ (and yes there was two of them)!! were to stay together at the opposite side of the gravel pit as they had their own specialist beginners trainer.

But two things had already gone wrong?

1. Someone who will remain nameless: locked her keys in the car. And sadly missed the day!! But at least you avoided number two’s fashion disaster for field work!!
2. Someone else turned up in PINK boots – AGAIN. Didn’t you learn anything about dress code? Remember the Warning!!! You bring those ‘things’ to our house then be prepared to be scented out, hunted down, shot and then retrieved by YOUR own Spins!!!!

The Dearest One had travelled down to Annette’s house who for some unknown reason provided covered shelter for her for the night. Why? I don’t really know but it was very welcoming and a BIG Thank you to Annette for that……..honest!!

Of course you know who made it known he was back – and typically if ‘he’ thought a small delicacy was available then why shouldn’t he be there!!


And so it was that they let ‘him’ out into the garden to explore…………

And after a duckless event in the back garden it was back into the house to rest……..


And so to the lake for the training day………..oh and look who’s here?

Someone who had not quite got the idea of “Gravel Pit = Water”

And someone who had got the idea of “Gravel Pit = Water”

But first there was an introduction to be conducted and that was Claude being re-united with his Dad. Since Claude had moved on in the world this was the first time they had been together and what a reunion it was as well….lots of fatherly advice!!

Again this is all about the owner and not all about the dog. The objective is to get the owner to understand all about the dogs natural instincts and make full use of them. But it also has to be fun, if you’re enjoying it then so will the dog. They have remarkable sensing you know!!

When you’ve got one fully trained you’ll know what I mean?

Get the gun out and the dog goes into an excitable “Oh come on let’s get out there” mode, or even put the shooting coat on and the same result applies. The dog knows what’s coming…….

Now try that when you’re NOT in the mood to train him or her?

The reaction out in the field is quite the opposite too excitable…….the dog will have adjusted down to your mood level.

The word Enthusiastic is required……..if you are. Then so will they be

So let’s start with Freya…………

Freya has spent her young life in the show ring and so these training days are to add to her CV and hopefully later on use her for what she is really all about. It is also about giving her another interest, and perhaps if all goes well enter her into field trials. Who knows??

At the first training day all went well for her ‘first’ time out in this kind of environment but of course this environment was a little different. Less fields and a lot more water and this takes some getting used to – especially as the lake is a little bigger than our pond!! And a little deeper as well!!


Freya got the idea of the retrieve from the water slowly but surely, and as time went on she got deeper and deeper…….


…….until it got just a little out of her depth and despite encouragement from Captain Nemo she was not going to swim for it, and it looked as if Freya was not yet ready to take the ultimate plunge. It will come…….she just needs some more guidance and a little more encouragement. She has been swimming before but today she just wasn’t in the mood so best not push her and let her do it on her own.

However, watching from the shoreline was Claude………and he was never going to miss an opportunity to show up the Italian!!

Claude took to the water next and clearly was going to make the most of the opportunity to show up Freya, but little did we know just by how much!! First the dummy was an easy retrieve for him from shallow water…….but he just got more and more confident as the session wore on…

The tennis ball was next and this meant having to swim for it, the bigger dummy (human) did not need retrieving but at least was appropriately dressed for the occasion!! But note the encouragement….as if Mousieur Ego himself needed it!!

Then the ultimate retrieve for him and the one that really set the trend for a session of feeling his way through the various dummies…..this one was his prize retrieve of the day. The feather dummy………he sensed ‘Duck’!!

Claude, from then on couldn’t be stopped from his swimming and retrieving and so set the tone for his session and beyond as he went from confident to over confident??


Over confident……..

And so at the end of the session we have a wet Claude, a happy and over confident Claude and of course The Dearest One now has to put up with his ego all the way back home!!
And Freya?? Well she was much happier on dry land and the training day she did a few weeks ago, but all is not lost. We’re back to developing her instincts and talents and giving her the right mix of both to enable her to develop naturally.

But most of all? They both had loads of fun…………

And the last they saw of Claude before setting off home??

And that was it for the day………..and what a great day it was as well………everybody enjoyed themselves. I think?

And the strange mystical figure in the lake? Well you work it out!!!!!!


Many thanks to the Bracco Italiano Society for organising the event.

See ya soon and take care out there…….


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