Chudleys ambassador Richard MacNicol, an esteemed Pointer and Setter handler, trainer and Kennel Club judge takes us through his regime this time of year as he prepares his dogs for the upcoming Field Trial season.
“Now the shooting season is over, most breeds of gundogs are having a well deserved rest, however for some breeds the next few weeks can be very busy – especially for Pointers and Setters.
The Spring Field Trials are fast approaching with several weeks of competition across Great Britain. The trials begin with Grouse and finish around April with Pheasant and Partridge. Before the Field Trials can commence, teams of Pointers and Setters have the Grouse counts to do. This is a very important part of the Grouse keepers’ year to find out what the pair density of Grouse on their moor is and having your Pointers and Setters ready for this challenge takes some work.
They are, in my opinion, the best dogs for Grouse counting as they cover the ground required, point and wait (well should!), then rode and flush the Grouse on command. This is easier said as most Pointers and Setters have been leading a fairly sedentary life through the winter! All my dogs are rather heavy during the winter months – I increase their diet to help with the colder weather. They also lose some of their muscle tone.
Now the regime to get them fit for the counting and Field Trial season seriously starts! Running round the kennel or garden won’t be enough and if it is a cold day all the dogs will choose to be inside! To increase my Pointers’ and Setters’ fitness levels I walk them on the road and take them on short runs on the heather moorlands – you can gradually increase the length of their run as they get fitter. The heather moorlands will also help to build your own fitness as it is very challenging!
Don’t forget, diet is also of the utmost importance to meet the demands of these athletic dogs. Chudleys has been my product of choice for 25 years, a product that meets all the nutritional needs for the working dog.”
Do you want to find a Field Trial or Working Test competition near you? You can learn more here.