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Behaviour & Training





-Steadiness and Reliability-



Gundog breeds are taken for either one-to-one training or Residential Training - to be schooled to their owners’ individual requirements.


Over the years our training and facilities have evolved to enable us to generate what should be your shooting companion. No matter if it is a Retriever on the peg by its owner’s side or a Spaniel flushing in the beating line. All our training is based on steadiness and reliability. Firstly we need to gain both the trust and respect of your dog which in turn helps us guide your dog to voice, hand and whistle commands … through trust & respect, not fear.


All training courses depend on the age, ability, and experience of your dog - can undertake to train you, the owner one-to-one, or your dog on a Residential Basis. In the first week of residence all dogs are profiled – assessed as to their suitability to be trained for the tasks expected of them. This includes time in our two acre Rabbit Pen stocked with both rabbits and pheasants for training steadiness and desensitisation of any chasing behaviour.


After this first week, the ability of the dog will be discussed with you Jack 24-09-06 010a.jpg (232510 bytes)(the owner) as to the probability of success and any possible problems. If the first week's training and evaluation reaches expected progression levels, only then will the dog will be accepted for the remainder of the course. Training any animal is not an exact science and we do not make any guarantees other than to give you and your dog our best endeavours. With this in mind we will make ongoing evaluations at weekly intervals, reporting progress made to the owner


For residential training we would normally expect to have the dog with us for a minimum of six weeks to achieve the basics in obedience required to progress actual gundog training to an acceptable basic level. At this point we would expect to liaise with the owner regarding training so far and the next stage.


The fees for Residential Gundog Training are from £20 to £25 per day, fully inclusive but do not include any vets fees required or insurance. It is strongly recommended that owners make arrangements for insurance.

Click here for Residential Training Contract



rabbit pen




Rabbit Pen 


















A rabbit pen is an important part of a dogs training program; from puppy training, novice training, and refresher training. It is the best way to produce controlled multiple contact flushes in order to steady a dog.


Our Rabbit Pen is usually well maintained and stocked all year round with rabbits and game birds to give the real feeling of the wild, it covers nearly two acres and consists of mostly natural cover such as bracken, bramble, woodland, brashings, etc – all well enclosed in order to create an ideal training environment for all gundogs.



A Rabbit Pen is a great asset to training, as it the best way to produce multiple contact flushes within a predictable, but natural environment, allowing the handler to introduce a young dog to hunt, find and flush game within a controlled environment.  


It can also be used correct faults such as chasing, running in, and other general bad habits – it really is an extra special aid for gundog trainers. If used correctly, it can help develop steadiness to fur to its highest degree in a relatively short time.


Puppy Training: It can also be used to give a reluctant puppy more enthusiasm when hunting and investigating cover – enabling you to teach a young dog a hunting pattern, hunting on scent and introduction to live game, as well as desensitisation to chasing


Novice Training: Encouragement and instruction on how to find hidden game while exhibiting steadiness to live game. Also, simple sit to flush, gun sense and retrieving amongst live game.


Using the Pen

For all breeds, once they have been soundly taught basic obedience such as the sit & stay,
and 'stop' the pen is perfect for added distractions such as thrown dummies; there is no reason why further or advanced obedience lessons should not be undertaken in the pen where the distraction of rabbits running past the stationary dog can be introduced.


Heelwork can also be practised, making sure each time a rabbit runs by the dog remains steady, or better still sits down immediately.

The rabbit pen is an important part of a dogs training program, from puppy or novice training, and then onwards refresher or maintenance training. Used during the summer months it is good way to keep a dog’s training up to scratch and ready for the coming season.


A controlled environment such a Rabbit Pen is a great asset to training as it allows the Gundog handler to introduce a young dog to hunt, find and flush game within. It can also be used correct faults in working Gundogs such as chasing game, running in, etc, but also unwanted behaviour in pet dogs; such as chasing, and other general bad habits.


The Rabbit Pen is used throughout the year but when used during the summer months it is good way to keep a working dog on form and ready for the coming season.




The rabbit pen is not available for general hire now but is available for our students most days and training is offered to all breeds of gundogs and handlers that are inexperienced / novice/ advanced.


The cost of hire is £20.00 per hour a maximum of 2 handlers/dogs


Tuition can be provided if required, for an additional £10 per handler - inexperienced or novice handlers must be accompanied.












Derek Summers is a full-time Professional Dog Trainer and as such is

a Member of British Institute of Professional Dog Trainers and a Member of The Institute for Animal care and Education




















  Please send mail to enquiries@verstone-gundogs.co.uk with any questions or comments about this web site or to link
        Now trading as Verstone Gundogs Ltd.    

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Last modified: March 20, 2017