Poppy is our fourth Labrador. I’ve done some (very) basic gundog training with her three ancestors and brought them to an acceptable – if still basic – standard. We sensed early on that Poppy could do more and actually wanted to do more, so we took her along to Frank for help and advice. Frank’s concern wasn’t, of course, with the puppy but with us – and particularly, with me. I was mortified to learn how inconsistent and foolish I’d been. Still, Frank helped me and my wife smarten up our training, be more consistent and thoughtful, and engage with the dog as a gundog should properly be engaged. It was a matter of repetition, variety, structured fun – and then some more reinforcement. Because Poppy responded so well, none of the training was ever dull and like generations of gundog owners, we learnt a great deal about ourselves in the process. We also trusted Frank and his advice so much that after taking Poppy along for stand-alone lessons we asked Frank to take her in as a residential ‘pupil’ for 6 weeks. At the end of that time Poppy (still only a year old) was steadier, even more biddable, keen to work and a credit to the training she’d had (and was still enjoying). We’re continuing the lessons and by the end of Poppy’s second year I expect we may even have a reliable, quiet and lovely gundog on our hands (if we don’t mess it up in the meantime).
It’s been great to work with Frank and I strongly recommend his teaching and support if, like us, you’d like to work more with your own and others’ gundogs, learn about them – and learn about yourself in the process.