Can pet gundogs be successful?

by admin on November 6, 2011

People often want to know if a ‘pet’ gundog can be a good ‘working’ gundog.  The answer is absolutely  –  yes.

Most working gundogs are pet gundogs

The vast majority of successful working gundogs in the UK today, are first and foremost pets.

Most gundog owners do not work their dogs on a daily basis, even in the shooting season.  Most gundogs live indoors as companions and spend their evenings snoozing on the hearth rug.  

Some aspects of gundog training may be easier if a dog is kennelled but it is by no means essential to kennel your dog in order to succeed in training him.   

There are two principle factors which will affect the ability of your pet dog to learn gundog skills and to perform in the field

  • Genes
  • Training


Your dog’s parentage,  the genetic information he has inherited, are important.  Whether or not he is a pet, a gundog with working parents is likely to be easier to train, and more successful than gundogs with show  parentage. 

However there is no reason why many show gundogs cannot achieve a reasonable standard provided they are willing to follow scent outdoors,  and like to carry things in their mouths. If your dog has these characteristics you can make a start with gundog training. 


 The way you train your dog is all important.  The crucial fact to remember with a companion dog that lives indoors, is that training is not something that you do simply in special timeslots called ‘training sessions’ . It is happening all the time. 

Every time your dog responds in any way to anything you (or your partner, or your children) do or say,  he is being trained. For better or for worse.  And this is why it may be easier to train a kennelled dog who is not influenced by the natural flow of family life and the disruptive influences of friends and children.

You can however, like many others do, succeed despite the influence of family life. It just takes a little effort and some planning.  Don’t be afraid to make a start. Your dog will only benefit from the training.

You might also like to read  ‘is my dog a gundog?


patrick hargan December 18, 2011 at 8:27 am

we would like to bring our 13 month old lab puppy to a assessement

centre with a view to training for field trials. We live in Whitby in

north yorkshire – who and where would we contact.

thank you Patrick

admin December 20, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Hi Patrick, we have a trainer and assessor in Allerton, North Yorkshire.
you can get his contact details from our office 01428 717529

Kirsty February 13, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Hi would you be able to recommend a gun dog trainer to me. I am interested in doing field trials with my working ESS bitch (9 months). We are in Chorley, Lancashire, can you recommend someone local.

admin February 13, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Hi Kirsty, there is a list of our instructors here: Affiliate Instructors

Georgina February 22, 2012 at 10:56 am

Hi, We are looking into basic and initial residential gun dog training for our 7 month old lab. We live in South Gloucestershire (GL9). Who can you recommend in our local area that offers residential training. Many thanks.

admin February 22, 2012 at 11:14 am

Hi Georgina, there is a list of our instructors here: Affiliate Instructors Many of them offer residential training in addition to classes. You can send an email directly from their webpage on this site. Our Gloucestershire instructor is based at Prior’s Norton

Ben Standen September 5, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Hi I have a 14 month old lab retriever I am looking to start him dog training with her is there any good ones in the Hampshire area near Portsmouth

admin September 9, 2013 at 10:55 am

Hi Ben, you can find a list of all our registered intructors in the menu bar at the top of each page. Good luck with your dog

Sue Davies March 27, 2014 at 10:48 am

I live in Gloucestershire and have a pet working cocker spaniel age 2 and I need some help training him as he won ‘t come back when let off the lead! Can you help?

admin April 11, 2014 at 8:59 am

Hi Sue, follow this link to our list of instructors

Rowena Brown June 17, 2014 at 7:20 am

I have several Labs of various ages all of them very keen on retrieving. How old is too old to start gundog training and do you know of any instructors in the Carmarthenshire/Ceredigion, West Wales area?

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