Route to becoming a professional gundog trainer
The Gundog Trainers Academy has become the first organisation in the UK to offer specific courses to budding professional gundog trainers. The Gundog Club has invited the Gundog Trainers Academy to be its preferred education partner and will incorporate its training courses into its instructor accreditation process. The academy has also applied for accreditation to the Animal Behaviour Training Council, which sets the standard for ethics and welfare in training and is working closely with DEFRA to bring legislation into animal training in the UK.
The Gundog Trainers Academy is the brainchild of Jules Morgan and Helen Phillips who are experienced gundog trainers and specialise in using choice-based, motivational and positive reinforcement methods.
There are huge numbers of people owning gundog breeds in the UK mainly because they are notoriously biddable, sociable, family dogs. However, the owners are often quite surprised when their puppy begins to demonstrate behaviours they have never come across before. Occasionally these behaviours can become exaggerated, obsessive, or can mutate into something quite bizarre. Inexperienced owners often don’t seek help with these quirky and often ritualistic behaviours until they are quite well established.
Many well qualified, accredited pet dog trainers are quite capable of helping to moderate these behaviours. However, for longer-term resolution, trainers are seeking to refer on to gundog trainers for specialist help so these dogs are given proper, appropriate outlets to enable them to express their innate behaviours. Gundog trainers know these behaviours are actually quite normal expressions of natural instinctive behaviour that are being suppressed or that have little or no opportunity to be expressed.
The dilemma is that there are insufficient numbers of positive reinforcement gundog trainers, often referred to as “force free” trainers. Positive reinforcement trainers are sometimes called “treat trainers”, “food dispensers”, or “ok for pet dogs but not working dogs”. However, there is increasing interest from more “traditional” gundog trainers who would like to learn about using choice-based, ethical, positive reinforcement training.
To fulfil these requirements, the Gundog Trainers Academy is to offer courses starting in February and March 2019.
The Gundog Training for Pet Dog Trainers course is for those who already have a recognised pet dog training accreditation and a good understanding of Learning Theory and its application. The emphasis will be the roles of gundogs, scent, wind, building chains of behaviour specific to gundog work, problem solving, health and safety, shooting, and teaching the foundation grades of the Gundog Club Graded Training Scheme.
The Crossover Training for Gundog Trainers course will focus mainly on introducing and applying Learning Theory as a scientifically proven route to teaching dogs. As well as exploring the nuts and bolts, there will be greater emphasis on ensuring clarity in teaching and learning, problem solving and troubleshooting without the use of aversives. The intention for these trainers is that they will go on to promote ethical choice-based training as the norm in the gundog fraternity.
On successful completion of either of these courses and passing the assessment process, students will be invited to become full members of the Gundog Trainers Academy. This qualification will be a significant step towards becoming a foundation instructor with the Gundog Club. Visit gundogtrainersacademy. co.uk or email: admin@ gundogtrainersacademy.co.uk.