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Training with Will Tyler

Training with Will Tyler – Introduction

I bought my first Brittany in 1988. It was partly an accident as I had been looking for another breed. I was given a demonstration of his half-sister working and was smitten by the elegance, speed and intelligence. I knew nothing of the breed but then learnt that it was some sort of working dog. For the sake of my dog and out of interest I decided that I ought to learn more. The breeders were helpful, encouraging and knowledgeable and set standards to which I try to work to this day. I joined the Brittany Club.

I went to many training days, a couple of working tests and a lot of field trials and spring pointing tests. These were organised by the Brittany Club and many other breed clubs. It was interesting to meet people, learn things and see all the different styles. I began to find some matters and opinions confusing and conflicting. Inside, I began to think that there must be clear logic, sense and facts in all things. At the same time I was becoming disillusioned with aspects of the trials and tests. I decided that I needed to learn more for myself from first principles. I did some hunting for other shooters and then I decided that I had to buy a gun for the sake of my dog. I found, with great difficulty, places where I could shoot.

I tried working on organised shoots; only one was good and useful. I realised that conventional shoots were completely unsuitable. Pointing dogs had not been bred for this type of work and that if I continued it would be detrimental to my dog. I realised that I had to work alone with my dog in order to use its skills fully in the right way. Eventually, I found myself shooting on a very small farm locally, in north Wales and in the highlands of Scotland. Most of the game was wild. This was a good thing as wild game is much more challenging than put down game.

Working with dogs is a never ending process but I have answers to at least my original questions and doubts. I will try to write down most of the things that I have learnt.