The shooting season will soon be coming to a close, which can only mean one thing – game fair season is just around the corner! After you and your dog have had a well-earned rest, you might be thinking about training for the Chudleys Gundog Championship? The competition is held at five Countryman fairs events across the year – how many events you decide to compete at is completely up to you! The competition welcomes gundog handlers of all ages and abilities, and you are invited to sign up on the day of the event.
Lee Barlow claimed the Chudleys Gundog Champion title in 2012, 2016 and 2017 with his Springer Spaniels Kia and Tilly. Lee won’t be competing in the 2018 competition, but he will be attending all of the Countryman Fairs events. We tracked him down to answer a few questions and offer some pointers to anybody thinking about entering the 2018 Chudleys Gundog Championship.
How long have you been handling gundogs?
I’ve been handling gundogs for 9 years now.
How did you become interested in handling gundogs?
I wanted a Spaniel for a long time and when the opportunity finally came, my wife and I went to get my first spaniel 9 years ago.
At what level do you feel the dog should be trained at for them to be able to complete the scurries?
Your dog needs to be trained to a standard where they won’t be distracted by the crowds and the excitement.
Where do I begin with training my dog?
If your dog is a new pup, it is important to start training right away with a small canvas dummie. You can even improvise with a sock rolled up and begin training in the hallway or living room at home.
What equipment do I need to begin training my dog?
The equipment needed to begin training would be small, medium and larger sized dummies. A launcher would also be a good investment but not essential in the early stages. Try to train with a second person and not on your own.
What advice would you give to somebody competing for the first time?
To people who are competing for the first time: take your time and do not try to rush through any scurries until you are satisfied that your dog knows the test.
Did you make any mistakes when competing?
Yes – when I first started competing in the scurries I tried to do tests too fast and my dog wouldn’t follow commands properly. This made me frustrated so I would advise to take your time and everything will slot into place.
The first competition of the Chudleys Gundog Championship will be held at the Kelmarsh Country Show in Northamptonshire on 1st and 2nd April, bringing yet another set of first class demonstrations and countryside activities to the Kelmarsh showground. Grab your tickets now at www.kelmarshcountryshow.co.uk<... tuned as Chudleys reveal more exciting news in the coming weeks. For more information on the Chudleys Gundog Championship, please visit www.gundogchampionship.com