Today marks 6 months since we took our new puppy home – Hamish. Hamish joined our family, to hopefully become a working/gun dog, like our other dog Bubba.
The past 6 months have been a whirlwind, quite apt really seeing as Hamish’s kennel name is “Typhoon” – literally a whirlwind every day!
I have had a dog in the past, but I have never owned a puppy. Wow. Nobody tells you how constant having a puppy is. How tiring it is, and how much you sound like a broken record every day, stuck on repeat!
But having a Gun Dog puppy initially is no different to having a pet puppy. You still have to teach the basic commands, walk on a lead, socialise, and let them learn things through play, making everything fun and a good experience, but also they need to be told off when they do something wrong, just like any other puppy.
But having a working dog means introducing other things while teaching the basics. Learning your puppy to listen to a whistle and the commands you give. Making sure that they “hup” (which is sit!) when told, making them steady to the whistle, learning to come back when recalled, being able to pick up a ball or a dummy and take it back and walking at heel on the lead.
But the progress we have made in the past 6 months has been good. Hamish now “hups”, retrieves, comes to the whistle and walks on the lead. We have even started jumping over ditches, started using his nose to hunt, retrieved a dead pigeon, duck and a mouse and picked up the 1/2 pound dummy! *Proud Mummy alert*.
But these are all things we will be working on over the summer, progressing his training week by week, learning him on hand signals aswell as voice commands, and slowly introducing him to the Gun, so he is not gun shy when he comes to start his first shooting season (husband will mostly be doing this – seeing as he as the shotgun license!).
So yes, the past 6 months have been constant, non stop and very tiring. But having a head strong Cocker Spaniel (who literally will not do anything he doesn’t want to do) has been challenging and rewarding. My little squishy face puppy is turning in to a handsome and very clever young man.
Stay tuned for more Hamish Gun Dog Diary updates!
And if you’d like to keep up with our training progress, videos and photos of both dogs, head over to our Facebook page Gaibheach Gun Dogs.