How my life led me to being a Gundog Trainer
I grew up in Wensleydale and my love of field sports began at the age of 16 when, for my 16th birthday, I was given Elley, a Springer spaniel who became my first ever gundog. From here my passion for working on the moors and with dogs grew. One year later I decided to start working Elley on local shoots. By the time I was 21, I had gained a few more dogs which lead me to training and getting them prepared for the season as a picking up team.
I was very privileged and honoured to be given the chance to start picking up at such a young age – this has allowed me to experience 16 years working in the field and learning all aspects of fieldsports. My passion for training dogs was seen by others allowing me to combine both training and working in the field allowing me to make a living!
I was welcomed on the shoots that I pick up on with open arms as my passion for it was seen by everyone who shares the same love for picking up. My team consists of an 8 dog picking up team which are trained to work in union on a shoot day. Currently I have four Labradors, Bonny and Grouse, new editions Maddison and Ruby, two Cocker Spaniels Maisy and Perry, one Sprocker, Lexi and last but not least my Springer Spaniel, Forest.
All of my dogs are trained individually at first then as a team. I teach them to be patient and learn not every retrieve is for them. Together, as a team they are great as they all work so differently to each other. Perry my cocker is fantastic at marking birds – I often send him for runners during the drive. Grouse, my lab is the dog I use for handling onto birds that I have marked, and he is also great if you can only work a certain area due to the next drive being so near. They all mark birds but I only work a few during the drive as we like to leave birds for other guns who bring their dogs. It is also polite and courteous as a team on shoot day, we will all sweep the ground together.