There has been a video doing the rounds on the web of a Gundog trainer with a spaniel. In this video he is teaching the dog to stop (sit) a simple thing to teach when there is no game involved, as was the case in this video.
In the video he makes a comment on how he will make the dog move from the sit to enable the trainer to tell the dog off. This is done, the dog moves, he picks the dog off the ground by its ears and shakes it, he then goes on to place the dog back where it was originally, just two or three paces away and hits it on the back. After doing this the dog, obviously, creeps towards the trainer where upon the trainer says “ and it wasn’t hard enough, why, because he came forward again, so……..” and so he picks it up once again by the ears, shakes it, places it back down and hits the dog harder across the back and he hits it twice this time.
Now I have looked at other videos he has openly placed on the web and sadly but not surprisingly, in the videos that I have seen, all the dogs showed total fear towards this man.
This is not going to be about that person though, this is going to be my worries and thoughts to the reaction that this video and videos’ like it, will cause, and the views that people will make from them.
Most of us come into the Gundog world because we love our dogs and thoroughly enjoy training them, and/or because we have seen what they can do with just their natural instincts and therefore we wish to harness this to make our dogs and our self a team, a team where we can go onto shoots meeting wonderful like-minded people and experiencing one of the most legal-highs possible to us, that high is the joy of working with your dog in partnership, watching your dog work for you whilst doing what it was breed to do and what it
loves to do with a passion.
Those are the reason most of us come into the sport, we do not therefore, come into the sport expecting or wanting to be told that
‘That’s alright, you can train your dogs to work for you but you can only do so if you’re willing to hand out physical punishment’
‘unless you do this you will not have a good gundog’!
Why would we want to destroy the one reason we are looking to train our dogs, which is, our dogs.
Yes, later we may get the trialling bug, but there are many top trialling people out there who would never dream of physically abusing their dogs, so physical abuse isn’t a necessary evil which we have to do to achieve trialling, even to the highest standards.
Can I also say at this point, even if one was convinced that physical abuse towards the dog was the only way to train a dog up to trial standard, which I don’t and many others do not, even if one thought this, one has absolutely no human right to do so. As I have said, there are many wonderful trainers out there who do not need to use these so-called-methods to train a dog, so if you are one that does, well then you need to get another job and leave it to those who can train in the correct manner, enabling them to pass on their wisdom to the next generation of gundog owners and trailers. Because, unless we back the good trainers, and ignore the bad trainer, or if necessary report the bad trainers to the authority. Unless we do that, the gundog world will end up with only nasty people in it, people who will hurt their animals even more because there is no longer anyone left to stand up and say
“ No, that is not how it should be done”.
If the gundog world is perceived to be full of gundog owner/trainers who train only by cruel methods, we will lose even more new people who may have come into this sport. I say ‘even more’ because I have meet an awful lot of people that own a working breed and one of the first things they will say to me is, ‘I’d love to train my dog to work but I couldn’t bare the thought of watching other people hit their dogs, let alone know what trainer trains without physical abuse methods’. Every single time I hear that my heart breaks.
These people that we are losing are the type of people who would bring money into the sport by buying new equipment, going to trainers on a regular basis come rain or shine, and then support their local shoot, more than likely taking their young children along to join in on a wonderful day in the countryside.
All these business people need support in this economic nightmare we are all in at the moment.
My first trainer trained with brutal techniques, though he was more devious than the trainer above in that he waited until you moved up into his second group before his true training techniques came out, so he has a high turnover.
Sadly some do stay with him because they put their needs way ahead of the dogs needs and they see no wrong in physical abuse.
To watch a HPR dog being whipped hard and many times across the back with a metal chain lead, and to watch as most in the group turned around to pretend it was not happening and do nothing, was enough for me. Do not be part of a group that is slowly numbed to brutality.
After that very nasty event, I went on to train with other trainers, and I thoroughly enjoyed every session with every single one of them.
I learnt something different from them all but the one main thing they all had in common, was they would never, ever, reprimand a dog in the manner that chap does in his video.
I know without doubt, that there are excellent trainers out there that one could happily go to and learn how to train your dog to whatever standard you desire without the need to, pick your dog up by its ears and shake it, or to whack it on its back, or to even whip it with a metal lead across the back!
If you are thinking of training your dog up for gundog work
You will be most welcomed
and there are many wonderful trainers and people out there that you will meet on your journey, some will become lifelong friends, but the best thing will be the joy you get from watching your dog work for and with you
Yes, there are some trainers out there who train by physical abuse and in doing so suck all the joy out of the dog by making it more worried about not doing anything that may bring on the next beating.
A sight I have seen in the dogs on those videos’
But just remember to walk away from any trainer who trains in that manner or from any class that allows it to happen.
And, if necessary, report them to the RSPCA as whilst what you have seen may not be enough for them to act straight away, they will compile a file from people like yourself. Also, tell your friends of the bad experience you had with that trainer so word of mouth can be spread.
Don't give up though, just move on to one of the wonderful trainers, gain loads of wisdom from them and spread the news to everyone you can that your trainer is an excellent trainer.
That way you can enjoy your dog, your dog can enjoy its work, and all the bad trainers will be pushed out for they no longer have enough people going to them.