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Bahnemann Kennels

Training my working cocker spaniel

I’m an avid game shooter and for years have been in admiration of people’s gun dogs that seamlessly work their trade; however until only a few months ago I’d never owned my own dog to stand on the peg with me – a complete novice handler you might say…

In Molly’s ‘puppy’ months I read Janet Menzies “Training the working Spaniel” book in readiness for her training ahead of us – which whilst it was informative was too passive for me, who prefers a more hands-on and kinaesthetic approach to learning. It was obvious to me at an early stage that I needed professional coaching if Molly was to ever realise her potential (for me and her).

By the age of 7 months – Molly and I were regularly driving over an hour in the car to have one hour training sessions at Franks facility in Essex; at our first session my idealistic preconceptions of dog training being like a simulation of a shoot were rapidly wiped away, as I found myself holding the end of the dog lead walking the perimeter of his courtyard. (It wasn’t until we mastered walking on the lead we even saw a dummy or whistle – but in hindsight I wouldn’t have had it any other way – sometimes you have to take one step backwards to take two forwards).

Frank is regimented in his training style (and he can be a task master) – but very quickly Molly was transforming into a more obedient, steady and focused dog in front of my eyes; therefore I did everything I could to emulate Franks “clear-and-concise” methods with Molly in all aspects of her life, and we’re progressively seeing the results now. (Not to say Molly isn’t capable of being a complete rogue at times – like many 11 month old Cockers before her).

I continue to refer Franks services to friends and aquantances (with success stories) – but first explain to them, Frank deals in creating proficient gun dog handlers, NOT ‘off the shelf’ trained dogs for incompetent owners.