If you are a proud owner of a gundog breed, you know that they are an intelligent and athletic breed. Proper training can help you to bring out the best in your four-legged friend, making them the perfect companion for hunting, retrieving, and other outdoor activities. But when should you start training your gundog? In this blog post, we will explore the ideal age for starting gundog training.

Understanding the Development of Gundogs

Before you start training your gundog, it is important to understand their development stages. Puppies go through different stages of physical and cognitive development. By understanding these stages, you can start training your gundog at the right time, helping them to become well-trained companions.

Early Development Stages

During the first few weeks of life, puppies are in a very delicate and vulnerable stage of development. From the moment they are born, they are completely dependent on their mother for their survival. At this stage, they are blind, deaf, and unable to regulate their own body temperature. As such, they spend most of their time sleeping, eating, and cuddling up to their mother and littermates.

As they approach the three-week mark, puppies start to become more active and curious. Their eyes and ears start to open up, and they begin to explore their surroundings. This is an exciting time for the puppies as they begin to develop their senses and learn more about the world around them. During this period, the puppies will start to interact more with their littermates, playing and roughhousing with one another. These interactions help them to develop their social skills and learn how to communicate with other dogs.


By the time the puppies reach six weeks of age, they are much more independent and confident. They have started to eat solid food and are able to regulate their own body temperature. At this point, they are ready to start socializing with humans and other animals. It is important to expose them to a variety of experiences at this stage to help them become well-adjusted and sociable adult dogs. This includes meeting new people, being introduced to different environments, and learning basic obedience commands. By starting their socialization and training early, you can help to ensure that your puppy grows up to be a happy, healthy, and well-behaved adult dog.

Socialisation and Developmental Stages

Between six to twelve weeks of age, puppies undergo a significant period of growth and development. During this time, their bodies are becoming stronger and more agile, and their minds are rapidly expanding. Puppies become more active and curious during this stage, exhibiting playful behaviour and exploring their surroundings with enthusiasm. It is crucial to take advantage of this time for socialisation, as puppies need to learn how to interact with people, other dogs, and their environment.

Socialisation during this stage is essential for a well-adjusted and confident adult dog. The more positive experiences and interactions a puppy has during this time, the more likely they are to grow up to be friendly and well-behaved dogs. Puppy socialisation classes, where they can interact with other puppies and people in a controlled environment, can be extremely beneficial at this stage.

At around twelve weeks of age, puppies start to develop their adult teeth, and their jaws become stronger. This is a sign that they are ready to continue into informal training.  It is important to note that every puppy develops at their own pace, and some may be ready for more advanced training earlier or later than others. However, it is generally recommended to start simple training at around twelve weeks of age when the puppy is physically and mentally capable of handling it. We have a course on this for society members Instilling Confidence and Cues In Your Puppy

Overall, the period between six to twelve weeks of age is a crucial time for a puppy’s socialisation and training. By providing them with positive experiences and training during this time, you can help them grow into well-adjusted and confident adult dogs. It is essential to be patient, consistent, and positive in your approach to training during this stage, as it can have a significant impact on your puppy’s future behaviour and personality.


When to Start Formal Gundog Training

When it comes to gundog training, the timing of when to start training your canine companion is critical to ensure a successful outcome. The ideal age for starting gundog training may differ based on the breed of your dog and their individual development, as every puppy grows and matures at their own pace. However, in general, most gundog breeds are ready to start training at around six months of age.

At this age, puppies have already developed enough physically and mentally to begin learning basic commands, obedience training, and retrieving exercises. They have gained enough strength and stamina to handle more rigorous activities, and their attention span and cognitive abilities have improved. Additionally, six months of age is an excellent time to start gundog training because your puppy has already passed the critical socialisation period, which is crucial for their long-term behaviour and adaptability.

However, it’s essential to keep in mind that the training process for gundogs is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Each puppy is unique and may require varying levels of training and attention. Some gundogs may be ready to start training at an earlier age, while others may need more time to develop their physical and mental capabilities. It’s crucial to take your puppy’s individual development into account when deciding when to start their training.

Moreover, it’s important to start with basic training and gradually increase the difficulty of the exercises as your puppy progresses. Basic training can include obedience commands such as sit, stay, come, and heel. It is crucial to ensure that your puppy has a strong foundation in basic training before moving on to more advanced exercises, such as retrieving or hunting.

Basic Training

Basic training should start as soon as your puppy is ready, usually around six months of age. Basic training includes obedience training, such as teaching your puppy to sit, stay, come, and heel. It is essential to start basic training early to build a strong foundation for more advanced training.

The LWDG provides an online course for all those wanting to train the basics to their gundog. the Hot Mess Handler course can be a great resource for you. This course is designed to help you overcome common challenges that you may face while training, and provide you with valuable techniques to improve your dog’s behaviour and obedience.

By enrolling in this course, you will have access to expert advice and training sessions, and a supportive community of fellow dog owners, all focused on helping you become a better handler and trainer.

The course covers essential topics which are fundamental to gundog training. By learning and applying these techniques, you can build a stronger bond with your dog and prepare them for more advanced training exercises. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced handler, the Hot Mess Handler course can help you take your basic training skills to the next level and set your gundog up for success.


Puppy training packs

Looking for a puppy training starter pack? Field and Fireside have put together different packs for our community here:

Training Starter Pack 1

Training Starter Pack 2

Training Starter Pack 3

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, gundog training should start as soon as your puppy is ready. The ideal age for starting gundog training is around six months of age, but this can vary depending on the breed and individual puppy. It is important to start with basic training and gradually increase the difficulty of training exercises. Proper training can help you to bring out the best in your four-legged friend, making them the perfect companion for hunting, retrieving, and other outdoor activities.

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