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The Introduction to Eric Begbie's book "Gundog Training Made Easy":
A well-trained dog is of immeasurable assistance to the shooting man or woman. The financial investment in a gundog is considerable when one considers that there is not only the outlay of up to $600 for a puppy from good working stock; the dog will cost upwards of $4000 to feed and maintain during a normal canine lifetime. For this reason, if for no other, the owner should begin with a firm commitment to maximise the return on his investment by training his dog to an acceptable standard for service in the field. Working a well trained dog is immensely satisfying.
By concentrating the most important lessons in a series of easy-to-follow lessons and by keeping production costs to the minimum, I have been able to provide this comprehensive gundog training course for not much more than the price of a good whistle! The amateur handler who follows the step-by-step instructions carefully and patiently should be able to train his gundog puppy to a reasonable level of competence within one year. Many users have said that my lessons are far more helpful than any other book or video. This training course has now been used by tens of thousands of hunting dog owners on all five continents.
Because the instructions contained within those lessons are based scientifically upon accepted psychological principles they provide a very easy-to-follow system.
Individual owners may select those lessons which are appropriate to their intended use of the dog but it should be stressed that all the basic obedience and control exercises must be mastered before success with more specialised work can be expected. In this respect the Stop Whistle is probably the most important lesson of all.
Although initially designed for gundog breeds, the lessons are also an ideal training aid for family pets and other working breeds. If your dog is intended only as a pet or companion, follow the lessons up to at least Lesson 5 plus the walking-to-heel exercise in Lesson 6. But why stop there? You and your dog can have a lot of fun together if you continue the course. Retrieving practice and water work are an ideal way of exercising a family pet.
A good gundog is a pleasure to work with and a positive asset in any hunting situation; it is, therefore, worth spending a good deal of time and energy on basic training. The Age Range and Duration given at the start of each lesson are for guidance only. They provide a rough measure against which the trainer can assess the progress of his puppy but they should not be taken as definitive in every case. Some pups learn faster than others but even the "plodders" can make highly satisfactory gundogs if their owners have sufficient patience.
Eric Begbie has not only bred labradors that have become Field Trial Champions, he has – much more importantly – a lifetime of experience of working gundogs in the field while wildfowling and game shooting.