Clicker Gundog by Helen Phillips


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by Helen Phillips

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Gundogs have inherited specialized skills that have been honed over hundreds of generations. This book looks at taking this natural skill, enhancing it and using it to enrich a working partnership that is a joy to experience.

Good field work is built on an understanding of the dog's ability to maintain self control and the handler's ability to understand this and the environment.

With Clicker Gundog you can learn how to develop a partnership with positive training in detailed, easy to follow recipes. From the basics to hunt and retrieve training, the key to success in all these areas is high level control that exceeds the stimuli of a shoot. This is achieved by careful planning and avoids any negative experience.

"At least once a month I get a poignant letter from someone who wants to train his or her new hunting dog with the clicker, instead of yelling and correction.Usually their hunting partners and associates are laughing themselves silly; but surely it would be possible? Yes, of course; but for each hunter to invent a whole clicker protocol from scratch is a daunting task. Now one of Kay Laurence’s colleagues has written the essential guide to clicker training the gun dog. You’ll see that while she fully understands the field requirements for all sorts of bird dogs, and she respects the dogs’ natural abilities, she doesn’t fall into the usual trap of teaching a method for solving one problem after another. Instead she describes what’s wanted, and then gives you principles and goals and tools for getting there.

Here are suggestions for teaching a major job of the bird dog, working at a distance; for teaching long-duration behaviors; for teaching the retrieve as a chain, and maintaining the elements by back-chaining parts of the chain. The powerful tool of free-shaping is put to work in shaping the hold and shaping the hand delivery. The trainer has some learning to do too, such as learning to standardize your body language for working at a distance, and knowing how to position yourself relative to the wind, as cues for guiding the dog when teaching quartering. I’m so relieved; from now on I can tell those e-mailers “Get this book,” and know that a) they’ll be able to hunt without having to punish, and b) their friends will still think they’re nuts, but will start making cash offers for that oh-so-smart and reliable dog."

- Karen Pryor


About the author:

Helen Phillips has been shooting for many years with her team of Hungarian Vizlas. These multi purpose dogs will hunt, work with the beat, point, flush, retrieve from all terrain and in water. The dogs accompany both Helen and her husband on a range of different types of shoots from large commercial events to a pleasant day rough shooting. Helen has Distinction in the Certificate in Canine Training and Behavior and now teaches on the same course at Warwickshire College. She teaches a variety of clicker training courses at Learning About Dogs including regular workshops in gundog training.

This is a Level 3 Book in the Clicker Trainers Course and builds on the skills achieved in the Foundation (Level 1) and Novice (Level 2) Books.