• Training

    Break it Down- by Tok Mostert

    There is no doubt that seeing a well trained dog doing everything right is a pure delight to owner/handler or observer, not to mention a judge. The seamless way they cut up a field missing no ground, the sudden stop and lock up on point, the flush on command, the stop, the marking of the fallen bird, the glance for permission to retrieve, the retrieve and the delivery all flowing like a gentle mountain stream over smooth rock. Pure dog poetry in motion! What few understand is how exactly you get a dog to that level. Many fail due to their lack of experience, the experienced fail due to their…

  • Training

    There is no off season, just time off- by Tok Mostert

    Spring is drawing ever closer and our field season has pretty much closed down. It has been a long hard season for Flake, many hours, many miles and many birds. Off days where non existing: we always had a trial or a hunt going on, that was in between the training. A season like we had takes its toll on a dog, mentally and physically. No matter how well conditioned the dog may be at the start of a season, he is likely to lose weight during the peak of the season. Just like losing weight, a dog will also lose some discipline, it cannot be helped, or prevented, unless…

  • Training

    Too much of a gundog – by Tok Mostert

    As I walked through the door of the large gunshop, the familiar aroma of gun oil mixed with freshly ground coffee filled my sense of smell. The well stocked bookshelves drew my attention and I headed to the dog training section, maybe hoping to find a quick fix to training a better gundog. With a pile of books under my arms, I settled in the plush leather couch to learn a thing or two, I did learnt something, but not what I wanted. The generic layout is one thing, but every chapter in every book that covers selecting a puppy may as well have been plagiarism, it is way too…

  • Dogs & Country

    On Italians training, hunting and trialing abroad

    Italy won the European Cup for British Pointing Breeds (Grande Quete),  the European Championship for English Setters and the European Championship for English Pointers (other results are still pending at the moment).  Everybody is happy, but many rumours started and the social media went crazy. I read every sort of rumors, polemics, attacks and accuses, which I do not want to spread further, but two topics deserve a deeper analysis, especially the second one. People complain about dogs whose nationality changes to make them able to enter the competition. Right? Wrong? I think this is a grey area. Italy has a huge number of dogs whose natural qualities make them…

  • Training

    Do you click with your dog? – by Tok Mostert

    Just in case folks think I have forgotten about training dogs😊 Do you click with your dog? It normally took years for trends to reach African shores, that was until Africa discovered the worldwide web. Information and training techniques spread like wildfires over a sun-dried African savannah, for good or for bad these techniques were spread like the gospel and seen as the miraculous training method. This, unfortunately, does not only apply to Africa, but to many parts of the world. To break it down, you need to have a comprehensive understanding of how a dog’s mind works. A dog understands his name by repetitive training and positive reinforcements. A…

  • Training

    Name Training by Tok Mostert

    I have seen many people train dogs yet I have seen very few people name train their dogs. I had a interesting conversation with Flake’s breeder yesterday on this particular subject. Sure your dog knows it’s name, but do you use it consistently before every command? I know I do. “Flake – Out” “Flake – Sit” ” Flake – Stay” ” Flake – YES, YES” Sounds pretty simple and for the most part name training a dog could be seen as pretty useless, but for those of us who train multiple dogs and run with bracemates, name training may just give you the edge over someone else. For instance when…

  • Training

    A Time to Reflect (on Training) by Tok Mostert

    I am busy packing for a long holiday, Louise, my companion, says she is actually taking me away so that Flake can get some rest. There is truth in that, sometimes we get caught up in pushing so hard and trying to get to the next level with our gundogs that we forget to have fun, so should your dog. What few of us realize is that the “next level” holds more problems, more challenging training situations and that often we made a mistake in our initial training and that we now have to go back and fix that before we can move on. If you are serious about your…

  • Training

    Gun Proofing your Dog by Tok Mostert

    Introducing a dog to gunfire is and will remain a critical element in his training. Many good dogs have been ruined by a wrong use of gunfire and some develop problems later that are not easy to solve. Having a gun shy dog is frustrating and leads down a long path of re-training and sometimes a dog that cannot be hunted at all. The dog becomes so frightened by gunfire that when he does scent a bird he will avoid pointing, as this will lead to a shot or even more shots being fired. I have a somewhat different approach to training my dogs, gundog or lapdog all receive the…

  • Training

    Mind the Wind by Tok Mostert

    So… you think running a good field dog is all about the dog, maybe, but a good handler will be able to interpret the conditions and “assist” the dog to have the best possible chance of finding birds. Temperature, moisture content, humidity and wind all play a part in the scenting conditions and that is something all dog handlers should keep in mind, if they want to consistently hit birds on the field. Often handlers will say, the wind just did not work for us or the birds where holding tight and the dog could not find them. Even a great dog will have days in which the wind plays…

  • Training

    We are Losing Legendary Methods (Fieldwork 4) – By T. Mostert

    Tok Mostert, a Professional Hunter from South Africa, now living in Sweden,  is sharing his writings on dog training with us. You can start reading them from Part 1 here. We are Losing Legendary Methods (Fieldwork 4) – By T. Mostert Hunting your Dog, the Best Experience Flake kept on improving to the stage where we shot several birds over her, placed birds and wild birds. The single biggest mistake you can make with placing birds, is making the game it too easy. The dog should work, work hard for each and every bird, some days I placed no birds or only ran her once other dogs have cleared a field.…

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