Gundog training: The best equipment & techniques

Gundog training requires a range of essential skills and techniques, and is made a lot easier through the use of great equipment. Read our guide on gundog training equipment…

The fundamentals of gundog training encompass a range of essential skills and principles. Whether you're starting with a new springer spaniel puppy or working with an older labrador dog, mastering these basics lays the foundation for a well-trained gundog.

Here are some of the key techniques to focus on, and also the best gundog training equipment on the market. If you’d rather see this equipment for yourself, pop into the John Norris store in Penrith…  

Obedience training – whistles

Your gundog should know basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, come and heel, however, they will also need to take their obedience to the next level. This calls for quick reaction times, great retrieval skills and knowledge of when to leave an animal.

A whistle is an indispensable tool for gundog training, offering clear and consistent communication with your dog, even at a distance. The use of specific whistle commands, such as recall or direction signals, allows you to give precise instructions without raising your voice.

Dog and Field Training Dummy - 1lb

Retrieve training - dummies

Training dummies, also known as retrieving dummies or bumpers, are excellent aids for training gundogs to retrieve game in a controlled manner. These devices simulate the launching and falling of game birds, providing a realistic training experience. Training dummies are commonly used to teach steadiness, marking, and blind retrieves.

Dog and Field Hen Pheasant Dead Bird Dummy

They allow trainers to extend the dog's retrieving range while maintaining control, building confidence and precision in retrieving tasks.

Our range of dummies includes weighted training dummies, rabbit dur dummies and easy-grip water dummies – perfect for training gundogs for a range of scenarios.

Dog and Field Cotton Rope Slip Lead

General control & steadiness – slip leads

A slip lead is a versatile tool for gundog training. It is a lightweight and adjustable lead that can be quickly and easily slipped over the dog's head - slip leads are particularly useful for teaching heelwork and steadiness, while also allowing the owner to have as much control as possible, the idea situation for a newly training pup or a more difficult dog.

Dog and Field Pro Trialler Slip Lead - Red

They provide gentle control and allow the dog to feel connected to the handler without restricting movement, enabling effective training sessions both in the field and during obedience exercises.

Dog and Field Original Clone Pheasant Dummy Ball

Gun introduction

It’s important that your dog is used to loud noises, so that they are not startled when firearms begin to trigger. Gradually acclimate your gundog to the sound and presence of firearms, with short introductions that get longer as the gundog gets more comfortable.

This is also a good time to begin introducing a wider variety of dummies, mixing them with the sound of firearms to crease a real-life scenario of shooting.

The Dog and Field Dummy Balls are designed specifically with the dog and handler in mind, the advanced marking visibility and eye-catching realistic appeal of the dummy to help your train your dog with the convenience of dummies and the realism of the types of game birds your dog may be retrieving in the field.


Remember that gundog training requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. Tailor the training to suit your dog's breed, temperament, and individual strengths. Seek guidance from professional trainers or experienced gundog handlers if needed.

At John Norris, we stock industry-leading gundog equipment, allowing you and your gundog to feel at ease while also learning crucial skills.

Browse our range of gundog equipment here, or visit us in store to see our range for yourself.