Patricia Hammet is the owner of the lovely working cocker in this photo. Patricia is doing an brilliant job with her talented little dog and this is her story.
For the first 8 months we went to our local dog training, so he could meet other dogs and I could get guidance with the basics, as well as working through the puppy manual.
As Gunner approached his first birthday, I contacted the Gundog club and they put me in touch with Tony Brazier, in Cambridge.
A distant dream
At the first class, Gunner walked nicely to heel but when sent for a retrieve decided to run round the field!
My class mates were very supportive but at that stage passing grade one was a distant dream.
Tony gave me a few tips and by week 4 the running off had stopped.
The Grade One Test
The day of the test came round and I began the drive from Essex to Bedford to meet the assessor, Jacky Ward. I was doubly nervous, as Jacky breeds one of my favourite lines of working cockers, Breezybrook.
Jacky was lovely and put us all at ease as well as giving a demonstration of what we were aiming for with one of her spaniels.
Gunner passed with a distinction and I was one very proud owner.
On to Grade Two
Spurred on by our success I continued the 150 mile round trip to see Tony every weekend to work on grade 2. Gunner was superb in the classes, so come the day of test, I was quietly confident.
What a mistake. We did pass, with a merit, but it was Gunners, and my, worse performance. Rabbit scent being far more interesting than canvas dummies!
Jacky, as well as being the assessor, also gave me tips to help with the next stages of training.
And then Grade Three!
Shooting season was now upon us, so I stopped my training with Tony for a few months. Come February, I had a dog who thought he did not need me.
Back to see Tony for help. We passed our grade 3 last month, with a distinction. Now working towards grade 4.
Meeting others and getting help
My advice is if anyone has a working dog, The Gundog Club training is a must. You meet all sorts of other people and realise….. you are not alone. Thank you to everyone who has helped Gunner and I along our journey to date.
And we would like to say ‘Thank you very much’ to Patricia for sharing her story and to wish her and Gunner lots of luck in the Grade Four test. If you would like to share your story with our readers, please send a jpg photo to firstname.lastname@example.org with some accompanying information about you and your dog.