Starting out – A Guide to Gundog Working Tests
Click here for N & D's handout on Working Tests
and also see the Kennel Club links below
and also see the Kennel Club links below
INCORPORATING text From the kennel club site
Before you decide whether you want to get involved with this sport you should find out as much as possible about countryside sports from a number of sources.
If your dog comes from working stock, the breeder should be able to advise you about how to start to develop your dog into a working Gundog and introduce you to other people in your area with similar interests.
There are many large Game and Country Fairs held all around the country every year which are well worth attending if you want to find out more.
There are usually working Gundog demonstrations at these Fairs and you should take time not only to watch the displays, but also to talk to those people involved and ask their advice.
The Kennel Club also sends a stand to some of the larger Fairs and the staff are more than happy to discuss the sport with you and help to clarify any rules and regulations you need help with.
There are plenty of specialist publications which are filled with articles and tips about training your Gundog and the role of the dog owner and dog in the countryside. Some titles include ‘The Shooting Times’, ‘Shooting Gazette’ and ‘The Field’. These magazines also have sporting calendars which list when and where Game and Country Fairs are being held.
If you decide that this sport is for you, you can begin the process of training.
You should remember that not only must your dog be fit and healthy to do a day's work, but you need to be as well. You will need to be fairly robust to be able to tramp across some of the rough terrain encountered on some country shoots!
The training you do must bring out the traditional working abilities for each category of Gundog in the shooting field.
The first step is to join a Field Trial society or gundog club who can offer a range of training
opportunities throughout the summer months.
The Kennel Club will be able to help you find the most suitable society near to you. Field Trial Societies will be able to help you with specialist Field Trial training and can suggest trainers who may be willing to train you to the gun on a one to one basis.
Training a working Gundog is really a sport in itself and can take many years of hard work, developing a good rapport with your dog to create a dog capable of working in the field.
Field Trial Societies may organise members' competitions and training assessments which are designed to develop your dog's ability and help with your training technique. These are helpful as your dog should learn to work
surrounded by other people and dogs, as it would do out in the field. Clubs may also publish newsletters and magazines and organise a range of social events.
Joining Field Trial Societies is also the only way you will be able to enter gundog competitions.
Over 600 Field Trials and many Gundog
Working Tests are held every year, and they are nearly all over-subscribed.
Preference is always given to club members so, if you want to go into competition you will have to join several clubs to stand a chance of getting a run.
Once you have joined a Field Trial Society you should ask to attend as a guest at one or two Trials to see the standard required of dogs working in the Field, and also to try to pick up training tips from top handlers in
The majority of Field Trials are held in the
autumn and winter during the shooting season.
Gundog Working Tests (GWTs)
Most Gundogs aren't ready to work in competition for at least two years and the first sort of competition you will probably enter will be a Gundog Working Test. These competitions are for members of the organising club but non members can also enter in many cases.
They are designed to further good, sound, Gundog work and encourage dogs' natural working ability, but do not involve shooting live game. Work is done with dummies, and these friendly competitions are a natural extension of the training you will already be doing with your dog.
Gundog Working Tests are designed to suit the different working abilities of the three Gundog groups, Spaniels, Retrievers and breeds which Hunt, Point and Retrieve.
At a Field Trial dogs will be required to be steady by the handler whilst being shot over until commanded to quest for dead or wounded game, from land or water, and retrieve tenderly to hand. (J(B)1.9)
At GWTs Retrievers are tested on their game finding ability and the speed and directness of the retrieve. Judges will be looking for quick pick ups and fast returns, natural nose and marking ability, quietness in handling, control, drive and style.