What is the point in gundog tests?

by admin on February 15, 2012

Successful gundog test candidates

Taking a test, even a non-competitive test,  can be a little daunting. 

So why do people put themselves through it?  

After all, you don’t need to be ‘tested’  in order to  complete the gundog training process.

There are lots of personal reasons why people take gundog tests.  Here are a few

  • Comparison
  • Recognition
  • Achievement
  • Motivation


Test are useful in helping us to compare our progress with that of other people and their dogs.  If one gundog trainer has won or passed a lot more tests than another,  it gives us some idea of where that particular trainer might stand with regard to competence or ability.

 If we can compare one working dog with another that helps us to make decisions about which dogs to breed from or even which dog to buy.

Using test results as a way of comparing one dog with another is problematical with competitive tests, where the standard of the winner may depend on the standard of dogs entering on the day.  It is much more straightforward with a non-competitive test,  like the Gundog Club’s Field Tests,  where the dog is measured against a set standard, rather than against other dogs.


There are probably hundreds of outstanding gundog trainers in the UK that have never entered a test and never intend to.  That said, tests results provide recognition of a person’s skills as a trainer in a way that is meaningful and this is undoubtedly the motivation for many of those taking part.   To have your ability recognised can be a very satisfactory feeling.


There is no doubting the satisfaction that comes with reaching a goal, and passing a Gundog Club test provides the student with a wonderful sense of achievement.   The great thing about our non-competitive tests is that everyone who puts in the effort,  and works on their training stands a very good chance of succeeding,  and of gaining that sense of achievement. 


It takes a long time to train a gundog.  It will be many months before your young puppy is ready to go to work on a shoot,  or to enter a working test  or field trial.     Somehow,  you need to keep yourself motivated along the way.    The great thing about the Gundog Club tests is that they break up the training process into digestible chunks,  and every test you pass helps to boost your motivation and encourages you to continue. 

Enjoy the journey

Training your gundog should be a pleasure.  And there is no need to  be tested if it does not appeal to you.   But if you need that extra bit of motivation,  or want to feel a real sense of achievement, give it a go.  Most people find the whole process very enjoyable and rewarding.


Janet February 13, 2013 at 1:02 am

Hi, when will you be doing any tests please? We’ve been taking part in Novice Dog/Novice Handler Working Tests but whenever we do well the world and their dogs do to! We’ve been members for some time & I’d really like to try the non-competitive way to see if we can progress that way instead as competitive working tests give me the willies! Also do you have any ideas on how to get onto a shoot in my area? I’ve been a member of NOBS for the past 3 years and although I’ve put us forward for a couple of picking up jobs, I’ve never heard anything back. Maybe they’re as scared of the word ‘novice’ as I am 😉

At the moment Bert has reverted back to being unsteady again, I say again because he was for a long time and then we seemed to crack it but for the past few months he’s doing it again & I don’t know what to do now! I’ve ordered the stage 1-3 books and I’m going to start from the beginning in a kind of crash course. Bert is very fast, I’ve only managed to catch him once when he launched (yes he’s like a rocket), when he goes nothing stops him! He is extremely keen & a very fast learner so any bad habits he picks up real quick! I’m in the South East where there aren’t many/any trainers around, but I’ve sent a message to the lady (web page says ‘she’) in Orpington to see if she can fit us in, but thought I’d pop a message up to see if there’s any stage 2 or 3 tests in the pipeline.

Thanks very much x

admin February 14, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Hi Janet, you can take a test at any time. Just give the office a ring and they will arrange it on a day that suits you. If you want to take the test in a group (it’s cheaper that way too) just get a few people together and make a group booking. Alternatively, you can wait until the Orpington trainer arranges the next group tests for her students.

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