dog training

The 5 reasons why you should give your pet gundog a job

It’s National Bring your dog to work day on 26th June 2020. This is where bosses allow their staff to bring their dogs to work with the intention of making the workplace a more relaxed, productive and enjoyable place.

Therefore, on Friday please prepare yourself to see dogs sitting on office chairs and workplace receptions desks. Probably see a few’ dog at work selfies’ as well. I am sure it’s a thing or at least come Friday it will be.

For those of you, that can’t go to work yet or still working at home then you won’t be able to show off your gundog at work. I know sad face!

So today dear reader, I am suggesting that you ‘give your pet gundog a job’ instead.

No I haven’t gone nuts.

Every member of the household has a job, why can’t your gundog.

I run a Pawtastic Gundog Adventures, Scarlett goes to school, bath’s and puts her princess dolls to bed.

Finn my dog, retrieves his Frisbee and occasionally some gundog dummies.

Dog trainers, myself included, often tell clients that their dogs need a job to do. I recommend this often, especially with highly energetic  gundogs. They were bred for retrieving birds, but  these days, they  are often household companions without their intended jobs to do. So, we need to find other ways to burn off this physical and mental energy.

By giving your dog a job to do, does not mean sending him out to do those things he was originally bred to do necessarily or asking him to carry around a gun – just joking.

Though, if you can find other creative ways to bring out these natural instincts, it will definitely work in your favour.

Giving your dog a job simply means that you are asking him or her to do something for you in order to earn things of value, such as meals, treats, walks, playing fetch, or whatever it is that your dog enjoys and wants. This is your dog’s version of payment for working.

You wouldn’t work for free neither should your dog. Most dogs are much happier having a job to do so they can earn payment.

The 5 reasons why you should get your gundog off the dole;

1) it encourages the natural instinct of a gundog.  This is normally searching and retrieving. In the past, Finn my dog has struggled to retrieve to my hand.

It is Sunday tradition in our house, to have egg and soldiers for lunch.  Once, my daughter dropped a whole egg shell on the floor. Finn went underneath the table to pick up the eggshell in his mouth and give it to me by hand. I was proud as pinch.

2) it provides both physical and mental exercise.

3) if you provide what it needs, less likely to be bored and have destructive behaviour such as chewing your favourite slippers.

4) You can teach gundogs to retrieve anything, such as slippers, socks, keys and phones. You never know when you could be in situation where this type of training would come in handy. For example, you could have collapsed and need to call for help. You could have your very own assistance dog without knowing.

5) A better relationship with your dog. Anything that requires you to throw his favourite toy will improve your bond. A dog that wants to be around you is a much happier and well behaved dog.

Give your gundog a job today or if you don’t have the time. Pet gundog owners are busy.

Then why not take your gundog off the dole and send him on my ‘give a gundog a job’ adventure.

Spaces are filling up fast so you need to move quick. Your dog will receive all the benefits above and more.

If you would like to know more then book a FREE 15 minute discovery call with me.

Stay safe and happy retrieving

Harriet – The gundog lady x

dog walker

How to entertain your gundog during Lockdown

It does feel like the world has gone mad, people fighting over toilet rolls, cancelled sport events, no Soaps and not knowing what day of the week it is.

World has we know it, has completely changed.

I will admit it I do feel a bit lost.

I miss walking my client’s dogs, which was normal for me.

It does feel like normal life is on pause for a while. Other people are going through hell right now, so I am determined to find a silver lining from this.

On Monday 23rd March 2020, Boris Johnson announced that we should only go out for very limited purposes. We can go out for basic necessities, travel to work and one form of exercise.

What only one walk per day?

How the hell can I give him the extra exercise without going for a second walk?

I am sure, you thought the same.

Instead of the walk, I replaced it with brain games.

15 minute mental exercise is the same as 1 hour of physical exercise.

It has made a huge difference, Finn  my dog, is a lot calmer and our bond has got even stronger.

Here are my tips;

Ditch the bowl –  I know that this may sound weird, when all you have ever known is to use a feeding bowl.

 Instead scatter feed his breakfast or dinner in the garden. Use kongs, puzzles, treat dispensers and lick mats. Since Finn was a puppy, I have put his food in a kong. It has always kept him entertained and stopped him rushing his food.

You could split his meals in  a tupperware containers and place them around your house and garden.

Sniffing uses mental energy and will tire him out quicker and gives me something to do.

Teach him something new–  You probably have a lot of free time on your hands so it’s a perfect time to teach him something new like trick training such a spin, rollover, through the legs and touch.

Currently, I have been working on Finn’s self control. I place a gravy bone (he loves them) on the floor. I ask him to wait and look at me then I release him by saying ‘ok’. You can see him using all his mental energy not to nick the gravy bone. This is great for those Labradors who think with their stomach.

At the park, if your dog does not come to you when called first time.  This is the perfect time to work on this, as you will need to avoid the park anyway.

The recall needs to be learnt in the house first, so every time you say ‘insert dog’s name’ then say come when he does, give him a treat and keep doing this.

 If he gets a yummy treat each time, he will learn something good happens every time he comes.

Give him a job to do –  Gundogs  are great  at finding and retrieving things, so get him to do more of this. Dogs are a lot happier when they are doing things that they were bred for.

You could hide his toys in a room and let him find them. Teach him to retrieve items for you. A member of your family could go and hide. Ask your dog to go and find them. This is a great game for the kids and rest of the family to get involved.

It’s hard at the moment to find a routine. Things are changing all the time. Like us, dog love routine so try to keep to the same routine.

My dog has been a great comfort to me, while all this has been happening. Finn always puts a smile on my face, no matter how crap I feel.

I’m sure your dog does the same.

If you would like to tire, train and transform your dog’s mental exercise, while having a better bond with your dog.

Come and join my Free Facebook group ‘Coronavirus Canine Challenge’, daily tips and tricks to help you with your bored dog.

Stay home, protect the NHS and play with your dog.

Harriet x


dog walks

7 reasons why I won’t use a retractable lead

Retractable leads are really popular with dog owners but can cause serious injuries. I will go through the reasons of why I won’t use one with my dog.

 There was thirty serious hand injuries caused by dog leads last year in Cornwall.

According to British Society for Surgery of the hand, Jillian Tisdale, one of the victims of the retracted lead described her injuries as ‘filleting knife’ causing terrible pain.

She has needed surgery to repair the damage. This is not something you really want to be dealing with after a walk with your dog. Her dog became distracted by another dog and ran off excitedly on the lead.

It is not the first time she has become a victim of the dreaded lead. In the past, she has suffered severe cuts and even dislocated her index finger.  

The 7 dangers of a retractable lead are:

1) Injury – When we had our first family dog, Ben being a German Shepherd he used to herd us like we were sheep, so he keep running around us. The retractable cord dug into the backs of our legs and boy did it hurt!

2) It is not just owners that have received terrible injuries, dogs have too. The sudden jerk on their neck can use neck wounds and injuries to the spine.

3)The handles of the leads are bulky and can be easily pulled out of human hands.  This could result to their dog running in the road and getting hit up a car or simply getting lost.

4) I’m guessing you would like a well trained dog that doesn’t pull on lead. This lead is not a good training aid at all. By their nature, retractable lead train dogs to pull while on the lead, because they learn that pulling extends the lead. Dogs do what works.

5)I think it makes owners lazy. They are not watching that the lead is getting wrapped around a tree or their dog is too far away. They are too busy on their phones to care. I was out walking  a staffie, the other day. It was obviously bin collecting day so the wheelie bins were on the pavements. The man in front of me had not noticed that his dog’s retractable lead had gone around the bin a few times and was struck. The owner didn’t not realised until he had looked around.

6)The thin cord can break especially when a powerful dog is on the other end, especially gundogs who take off at full speed, the cord can snap. One client of mine, has told me that her dog actually chewed the cord while on the lead, again this is not ideal.

7) As a solo walker, I have found when using one I have no real control I usually walk reactive or  nervous dogs and the last thing they need is to meet other dogs, so if I do want to make the length shorter, the lead doesn’t respond quickly enough or malfunction. This could lead to a dangerous situation and that why I refuse to walk any dogs on this lead now. Safety is my main priority. 

As you can see retractable leads are dangerous.

My advice  to you dear reader, would be throw the bloody thing  in the bin.

Every owner wants to give their dog more freedom to sniff and play. I would recommend the  use of Halti training lead or 3, 5 or 10 metre long line lead. 

I will receive a small fee if you purchase one of these products but it wont affect the price.

If you would like your dog to go on an non- retractable lead adventure with me then book a FREE 15 minute discovery call. 

I’m off to put a lead on it.

 Harriet x