Training your gundog to hunt for live quarry is like being a premiership football manager – your job is to teach a naturally talented young athlete to use his skills in the most effective way, rather than just running enthusiastically up and down the pitch.
There are some charming pictures popping up on social media of dogs studiously reading my book, Training the Working Spaniel, and we all agree that if only dogs could read, it would solve all our training problems. Would it though?
Ever since I rescued her when she was stuck in a hole, Fizz has been being good. Normally, as a Field Trial Champion she considers me, the handler, to be somewhere between unnecessary and irritating. Now she is spot on the whistle, hupping instantly the moment I blow the stop signal, and watching me intently for commands.
There might be no quick fix for dogs pulling on the lead but it can be solved easily by going back to basics.
Fewer than five per cent of dog theft cases ever end in conviction, so how can you make sure you keep your gundog safe?