In June this year Wendy arranged an All-day training event with a couple of professional Gundog trainers who have access to dedicated training ground with water. We initially had a bit of difficulty locating the venue - we couldnt believe we had to go through an enormous pair of ornamental wrought iron gates! But once in we got parked up and were warmly greeted by Mark Bott and Philippa Simpson, our trainers for the day.
The group that initially went with Philippa did some steadiness and recall exercises, followed by some more challenging retrieves, including having to jump over a fence and also from very dense cover. After a couple of hours we changed trainers and Mark helped us to steady our dogs to the sound of gunshot, and also do some long retrieves using a dummy launcher. It was lovely to see how one dog who was initially quite unsettled by the sound of shot soon became much more confident after some gentle guidance and coaching from Mark and handler. We then moved to the lake. Here several of the dogs were initially quite reluctant to enter the water or go beyond paddling depth, but eventually, again with expert guidance from Mark, all the dogs were having a great time with their retrieves. For the final exercise of the day Mark and Philippa strode all around the lake, quarry and woods firing and throwing dummies all over the place, including into the lake. The first group were then given 15 minutes to see how many of the 30 or so dummies their dogs could find and retrieve. The incredibly sensitive noses of the Welshies didnt let us down and we came back with all bar one, plus one from a previous event that had been missed. The second group had a similar result, but also had to contend with a very heavy rain shower!
We felt we had all learned a great deal on the day, and could see the progress the dogs had made. But most of all we had had a lovely day out with our spaniels, who also seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. I think we can say the trainers were well impressed by the group as a whole as they expressed a keenness to have us again. Hence, two further days were arranged for the end of September / beginning of October.