Sooner or later, if you want to work your gundog in the shooting field, you will need to get involved with the shooting community.
Finding a way in to gundog fieldwork can be quite daunting for a person with no ‘connections’.
The shooting community in the UK is quite close knit.
It can also be quite wary of newcomers.
This is the unfortunate result of being targeted by anti-fieldsports campaigners.
Finding out who runs what shoot and when shoots are being held can be difficult unless you know someone involved.
There are three main routes to getting involved in the gundog ‘scene’.
- Through participating in the sport of shooting
- Through working or helping out on a shoot
- Through a professional gundog trainer.
Lets have a look at each of these in turn
Participating in the sport of shooting
Gundogs are an integral part of the UK shooting scene and if you take up shooting as a sport, you will come into close contact with the gundog community and make a great many ‘doggy’ contacts.
You can find out more about the different types of shooting available to residents in the UK by following this link: Getting into shooting[wp_ad_camp_1]If you decide to take up shooting in any capacity other than on a driven pheasant shoot (where picking up is carried out by a dedicated team of experienced dog handlers), you will need a trained gundog.
Or you should be accompanied by someone who owns a trained gundog.
Gundogs are a crucial part of ensuring that game is collected and humanely despatched without delay.
Helping out or working your dog on a shoot
Many new gundog owners are keen to plunge into gundog work as a picker-up or beater.
Getting an invite to participate can be tricky, as many shoots are picky about whom they inform of shoot dates and include in shoot activities. A good way in is to offer to help out in some other capacity first.
Check out this article: Helping out or working your dog on a shoot for more information
Through a professional gundog trainer
Paying a gundog trainer to help you train your dog and to ‘mentor you through your first season of gundog fieldwork is one of the very best ways to get involved with the shooting and gundog community.
Good gundog instruction is not cheap, but it is worth every penny.
A good instructor will not only help you train your dog, but will also introduce you to fieldwork, and competition if you are interested in having a go. Check out this article: Lessons from a professional gundog trainer for more information
You can find a list of accredited gundog trainers on the Gundog Club website
Whether you chose to pay for driven shooting, help out on a shoot, or to pay a gundog instructor, getting involved with the shooting community is a wonderful experience.
You will meet people who love their dogs and are passionate about maintaining and preserving the countryside. You will probably be fitter and healthier for all that exercise too, and so will your dogs.
If you enjoy my articles, you might like my new book: The Happy Puppy Handbook – a definitive guide to early puppy care and training.