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MULLENSCOTE BLOG - DECEMBER 2011

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Hi Everyone! It's hard to imagine that we're over half way through the shooting season already and that Xmas is upon us! Still, I always think it's a great time of year for working the dogs – let's just hope the weather stays bright & cold and not too wet. Remember, if your dog does get wet during a day's shooting, try and keep him/her warm during breaks for lunch etc perhaps by using a dog coat – there are plenty of really good coats available.

Be aware that we now have a "Sporting Shooter" link on our Mullenscote Gundogs website with video clips to illustrate my monthly training articles that appear in the Sporting Shooter magazine. In addition, we'll shortly be launching a new website for the Lains Shooting School side of our business. Exciting times – keep watching this space for more news next month.

Anyway, this latest blog reminds you of our Scurry Day on 1st January, keeps you updated on my trialing efforts(!) and offers further advice on increasing your dog's steadiness. Enjoy!

The Gundog Event of the Year – the Mullenscote New Year's Day Open Scurry Challenge!

Many of you will have heard about or perhaps even joined us for our New Year's Scurry event in January 2011 and will know that it was a huge success. There were loads of dogs of all shapes, sizes and breeds, plenty of hot mulled wine, hot food and gundog events to match every ability of handlers and dogs alike. It really was a brilliant and fun event, so much so that we're going to do it all again next year, only this time it'll be even bigger, better and more exciting. As the name suggests, it's all going to happen on 1st January 2012 here at Mullenscote, as the following day will also be a bank holiday. So we can think of no better way to clear the head after the previous evening's celebrations whilst, at the same time, having a really fun day out with your dog and other like-minded people.

This year we intend to raise the bar again by putting on trade stands, more scurry events, air rifle & archery competitions and hot refreshments. The day will start at 10 a.m. and finish at about 2 p.m. with prize giving. Bob Parnell and his Scurry Bandits will be joining us again bringing their expertise to the events.

The Main Arena will be sponsored by Wood & Douglas Ltd who specialise in wireless system design, development and delivery of high quality bespoke radio equipment. We hope to be able to fit a wireless camera to one of the Mullenscote dogs and relay it to a screen, giving us all a dog's eye view of the Scurry day!

Andrew Wood, a Mullenscote "graduate", from Wood & Douglas Ltd remarked:

"P. A. W. S. (Portable All-terrain Wireless System) is a 3 in 1 evidence gathering capability that can be deployed on a dog but transferred to a man or machine ensuring that the equipment is used for the most amount of time in any operational deployment. When used on dogs we gain video footage in places and in rapid timescales that humans would find either difficult or impossible to deliver. Decision making video is now available."

In addition to trade stands, cold & hot refreshment and a variety of competitions, there'll be other attractions aimed at keeping the little ones amused! We'll be running some fun competitions on our air rifle Field Range as well as letting anyone having a go at archery. Naturally, there'll be supervision at both stands to ensure that everyone remains safe.

We also will need time keepers and scorers / stewards for each event. So if you could spare an hour or so we will keep you supplied with hot tea and cake. Training will be given on the day, but a good sense of humour, an ability to use a stop watch and a warm pair of boots is all you'll need!/p>  

So, if you would like either to offer your services to help on the day, please email me on howard@lainsshootingschool.co.uk mentioning in the title "New Year Scurry Event".

Howard's Trialing Successes!  

Link continues with his great Field Trial record running in three trials and gains a second place award in all three, whilst Kizzy (who won the Kintbury Novice stake last year) made a return visit to the Kintbury Open stake this year. She almost pulled off the double but was pipped at the post by Simon Tyres with his Field Trial Champion Dovescar Demon - so yet another second - but still not bad, particularly as it was her first run this season

Gundog Training Courses at Mullenscote - 2012 

Here's a quick overview of the courses we have planned in the near future together with some guidelines for entry requirements. If in doubt, give the office a call on 01264 889467 and we'll be happy to advise:

* Our experience shows that dogs aged over 12 months that have not yet mastered the basics covered in the Foundation Training Course will almost certainly have ingrained behavioural patterns that are best addressed by one-to-one training – hence the upper age limit of 12 months for the Foundation Training Course.

Mullenscote on Tour – 2012

Here's a list of our venues and dates for the Country Shows and Game Fairs at which the Mullenscote Gundog Display team will be appearing in 2012. As always, we would love to see you all there – just look out for the big yellow lorry!

New Shooting Stand in Place

We now have in place a new "Variable Driven Pheasant Stand" in what we affectionately call "Charlie's Pit". It's been really well received to date. One of our clients, Andrew Foundry, summed it up as follows:

"I loved it; it's fantastic to be able to shoot a clay target that offers so much variation; it's the best Stand I've ever shot on."

So get down to Lains soon and polish your skills before the end of the season!

Not too late to grab a bargain!

Why not take the stress out of finding a Christmas present? This year, you'll not have to ask yourself "What do I get the gundog enthusiast who already has everything?"  That's because we're offering you the opportunity to buy both of our Gundog Training DVDs "Establishing the Basics" and "Get On" for the reduced price of £18 + £2 p&p.  These DVDs do what it says on the tin: they take the novice gundog owner right through establishing the basics of sit, stay, heelwork etc and then, in the 2nd DVD, move on to cover the more advanced techniques of training & handling a gundog. Together, they'll form an indispensable reference for the lucky recipient as they progress with their little bundle of fur!

If you would like to take advantage of this special offer, just call us on 01264 889467 and leave your Xmas worries behind!

And finally… Steady as she Goes - Part 2

Last month we talked about the problems many of us face when out in the shooting field and your dog takes it upon himself to run in!  Whoops! "You'll need to get after that dog nipper, he's in need of some steadiness training," snipes your shoot's gundog "expert" in a slightly condescending voice!  

Once a dog has learned to run in, it can take some serious effort to get things right again. Don't panic! Instead, address the issue immediately making sure that you put him straight back on a lead to prevent the problem from developing further. Revisit those early steadiness lessons and gently rebuild his self control. Fixing the Problem

Start at the beginning! Is your dog steady to a thrown dummy? If he is then does he mange to control himself if you roll a tennis ball past him? The movement created by a ball is often the catalyst that makes the dog move - don't forget this is a natural reaction. Your dog has got it into his head that everything that moves is for him, redress this balance using a one in ten ratio (for those of us with a poor memory that means just send him for an occasional retrieve opting to pick most by hand!).

Stage 1
Sit the dog on a loose lead alongside you and throw a dummy. If he tries to run in, give him a check on the lead and then turn walk him away at heel. Put him in a sit and then walk to the dummy and pick up the retrieve yourself. The loose lead is really important, as a tight lead serves only to restrain the dog not allowing him to choose his behaviour and therefore unable to learn anything from the exercise.

Stage 2
Further steadiness work can be done with the dog placed in the sit position. Walk around him throwing dummies and balls to condition him. We are not trying to get him to fail but in this article we are dealing with a dog that has previously been steady but has become 'too hot.'  If the dog runs in to retrieve one of the thrown dummies, intercept him and frog march him back to the original sit position. If you are having real issues and struggling to catch the dog when he runs in then it helps if you put him on a lead or long line to ensure you remain in control.

Once steady to a tennis ball, there will need to be a period of consolidation during which the steadiness work will continue using dummy launchers, gun fire, cold game, other handlers and dogs working alongside and around you. For some dogs, this will be a very short period. For others, this could take a while. Once the dog is reliably steady, we can think about reintroducing him to shot game.

Stage 3
Access to a rabbit pen is real bonus at this stage but as we are dealing with a dog that has been giving us a few problems, make an effort to contact a professional trainer who has a pen- even better have a lesson or two at this stage because if the dog is going to start running in again, it will be at this stage that it happens. No matter how steady your dog is to dummies and cold game, his 'engine' will run at full throttle when faced with flushed or shot quarry. I know that a lesson in a rabbit pen with a well- regarded trainer costs money, but if the trainer helps to ensure that your dog stops running in, then all the time and effort will be well spent.

Before you know it both you and your dog will be back in the shooting field sharing a partnership that on a good day will leave you as 'High as a Kite.' Working Gundogs! Beware - they're highly addictive!

Keep an eye out for more news on the website and watch out for next month's blog when we'll have a report on the Scurry Day and news about our new website! Hope to see you soon at Mullenscote soon. Until then, have a Brilliant Christmas. Keep Training!

 

Howard

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