Nick Ridley's Gun Dogs
Whether you're on a peg or in the beating line, picking up or a walking gun, game shooting simply wouldn't be the same without our trusted companions... the humble gun dog.
Working dogs are a pleasure to be around, to observe and to direct. Their intelligence, instincts and willingness to work (in most cases) is astonishing. However, other than perhaps a handful of extremely talented puppies, gun dogs are not just born, they are made. It takes years of hard work, commitment, patience and a good sense of humour to train a dog.
Here at Atkin Grant & Lang dogs play an important part in our work and lifestyles. All of the team have dogs, working and pets, and treasure them as a vital part of country life. This inspired us to contact Nick Ridley, the renowned and highly respected dog trainer and photographer. We thought that our customers and members would enjoy the opportunity to learn some top tips to take home to their own dogs, and Nick certainly didn't disappoint.
Nick showed our guests a range of training techniques all centred around his place board. The demonstration involved Nick's beautiful working cocker Ted, whom is rather famous in his own right, often featuring in Sporting Gun magazine. The event was a real family affair with Ted's six month old daughter Fern making an appearance to show off her skills. Becky, Fern's owner, helped Nick show guests how to teach their dogs to hunt close to their handler.
Nick's wife Debbie was chief dog handler, and helped Nick swap between Ted and his latest puppy Percy.
Percy gave a great show and was a real crowd-pleaser, demonstrating how place board training is started. Being only three months old, little Percy did a marvellous job at maintaining his focus and even retrieved his tennis balls like a pro.
The demonstration ended with Nick showing us how to call Ted off a retrieve and then sending him out to pick up the scent of another fallen bird. This was done with a dummy launcher and cold game on a line. Ted obediently left the dummy he was hunting for, listened to Nick's commands and then picked up the scent of the partridge that had been dragged along the bank. After successfully retrieving the partridge, he then went back to the original dummy and returned it to Nick. The idea of this display was to show how useful it is to call your dog away from a bird if, for example, a pricked bird falls and needs to be retrieved immediately.
Having full control of your dog in the field doesn't just make the day more enjoyable and successful, but also a lot safer for all involved.
Following the demonstration, everyone returned to our shooting lodge for coffee and cake, and a chance to discuss the event and what they had learnt. Nick took this opportunity to chat to everyone and help with any queries guests had regarding their own dogs and training progress.
We would like to say a huge thank you to Nick and his team for putting on such a great demonstration, and to all of our guests who attended.
Nick is working with us to plan the next event, if you would be interested please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about Nick Ridley and his team, click the link below -