It was an early, brisk Saturday morning on the 16th of March when 11 enthusiastic ladies and their eager dogs gathered in the scenic North Yorkshire town of Skipton, ready for a day that promised to be both challenging and rewarding. The occasion? A special training day dedicated to laying down the gundog foundations, complete with the chance to earn the prestigious Ladies Working Dog Group Foundation Certificate.

Our very own Sarah Drake, alongside Becca Doveston from Dovemoor, kicked off the day with warm introductions. They laid out the day’s agenda, setting the stage for what was to become a memorable training experience. The blend of excitement and anticipation was palpable as we all geared up to take our partnership with our dogs to the next level.

Sarah Drake and Becca Doveston

Diving Into Training

The training ground became our classroom, with the crisp morning air filling our lungs and the lush greenery of Skipton providing a perfect backdrop. We started with heelwork, sit, and recall exercises. These aren’t just tricks; they’re the foundation stones of effective gundog training, crucial for ensuring our dogs can operate smoothly and attentively in any setting. The focus was palpable as each dog, guided by Sarah and Becca’s expert advice, began to adapt to the commands, showcasing the beginnings of true field discipline.

Sarah and Becca demonstrated the versatility of the stop whistle, showing us how to integrate it with the day’s exercises, turning each command into a step towards mastery.

A Moment to Recharge

After a hearty session of learning and practice, we took a well-deserved break. Gathering under the gazebo, sipping tea, and sharing stories, we reflected on our progress. The camaraderie among us was a reminder of why we love these gatherings so much – it’s not just about the dogs; it’s about the community, the shared passion, and the collective journey towards excellence.

Post-tea, we split into two groups for more focused sessions on hunting skills and retrieves. It was a treat to watch each handler-dog duo take the spotlight, receiving bespoke advice from Sarah and Becca. This personalised coaching is what makes these days so invaluable.


A Culinary Pause and the Certificate Challenge

Lunch at The Elm Tree Inn was more than just a meal; it was a moment to bond, to laugh, and to share our aspirations and challenges. Energised, we returned to the field for the certificate assessments.

Gratitude and Goodbyes

The day concluded with heartfelt thanks, especially to Sue Lister, our LWDG Regional Coordinator, whose support and insights were instrumental in the day’s success. Her equipment tips and the thoughtful goody bags, complete with LWDG pink dummies and treats from Hoddy’s and Cobbydog, were the cherry on top of an already perfect day.

Goody Bags

The Journey Continues

As we parted ways, the air was filled with a sense of accomplishment and anticipation for the journey ahead. The certificate results, awaited via email, would bring personal feedback from Sarah and Becca, offering each of us a roadmap for our continued progress.

This training day in Skipton was more than just a gathering; it was a milestone in our gundog training journey. A day where passion met purpose, and where every lady and her dog stepped closer to becoming the team they aspire to be.

To all who joined, and to those who supported us from near and far, a massive thank you. Here’s to many more days of learning, growth, and shared adventures.

Remember, every step forward is a step towards excellence, and every day like this one is a reminder of the incredible bond we share with our dogs and each other.

Congratulations to all those who passed their Foundation Certifications, and to all who took part in this fabulous day!

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