Guest: Jules Morgan & Helen Phillips

Jules Morgan has lived with dogs all her life and has been fortunate enough to work as a trainer for over three decades.

As dog training education was not the same as it is today, much of her learning was independent and very much based on trial and error. As such, Jules’ journey to find new gundog training methods took some time and was not always supported by the people she was training with. Nevertheless, in 2006, Jules became accredited with the APDT.

Jules today still feels very strongly that dogs and owners should be supported and encouraged by their trainer with empathy and understanding as well as being properly qualified.

Understanding that there is always more to learn about dogs, Jules considers two working cocker spaniels, Buckle and Raffle, and Labrador, Otter, three of her greatest teachers. She continues to keep up her studies and remains up to date with research into behaviour, psychology, neuroscience and physiology which further expands her understanding of dogs and what motivates them.

Jules’ main passion is for working and training gundogs. Over the years she has gained a wealth of experience in all aspects of lowland shooting from large estates, through to small farm shoots, and rough shooting including beating, picking up, shooting, and shoot management.

Today, Jules specialise in gundog training for pet dogs, working dogs and those looking to participate in competition from her base in Surrey. Courses available through Teach Your Gundog include The Gundog Club graded training scheme, as well as bespoke workshops and courses covering specific topics at all levels. She also hosts her ever-popular series of Gundog Games workshops held around the country which enables people to find out about the world of gundog training using only ethical, choice based methods and to start to build their foundation skills. Jules also hosts more advanced Gundog Games camps twice a year in Cumbria.

Currently, Jules is the secretary, and co-founder, of the Vale & West Gundog Club which offers a safe stepping-stone into competition through its annual working tests and working gundog certificate (KCWGC) assessment days. She has also organised, judged and competed at many working tests, assisted at field trials, and helped at numerous Kennel Club Working Gundog Certificate assessments both on dummies and game.

Qualifications and accreditations:

  • Member of The Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT)
  • Accredited Animal Training Instructor with the Animal Behaviour & Training Council (ABTC)
  • Accredited Trainer and Assessor for The Gundog Club
  • BASC Safe Shot Certificate
  • LANTRA Shooting Assistant/Loaders Certificate
  • Qualified First Aider (Emergency First Aid at Work/Rural Skills Certificate)

Helen Phillips has been shooting and working dogs in the field for over thirty years. Having owned a variety of breeds from crosses, to Spaniels and HPRs, Helen has an extensive understanding of living with and working with hunting dogs.

Currently, Helen owns Vizslas, Jack and Dibble, and English Springer Spaniel, Wren. All the dogs work in a variety of roles on the shoot from beating, picking up to partner on the peg. Helen has also achieved the Kennel Club Working Gundog Certificate on Dummies and on Game, has competed in working tests and participates in grouse counting.

Over the last decade through her training business, Clicker Gundog, Helen has developed a range of workshops and seminars to help teach the essential skills to both the handler and the dog. Her focus is on promoting the use of positive reinforcement training techniques and strategies within gundog training and field sports in general. She is also the author of the popular ‘Clicker Gundog’ training book.

Helen has a strong ethical stance in respect of this and endeavours to promote this within the shooting field. One of the UK’s most qualified gundog trainers, Helen has a Distinction in Canine Training and Behaviour from Warwickshire College and, as a City and Guilds level 5 qualified teacher, taught the same Canine Training and Behaviour course at two levels for nearly a decade. She also obtained the Clicker Trainers Competency Assessment Programme levels 1, 2 and 3 with Distinction.

Helen is a member of the Special Council for the Pet Professional Guild (PPG), is a registered ABTC Animal Training Instructor, and is an Instructor and Assessor for The Gundog Club, an organisation that declared its force free policy in 2018 and runs courses each year for all levels.

In this episode we discuss:

  • What reinforcers are in play when training and working with hunting dogs.
  • Working with behaviors when the reinforcers might be hiding out in a bush where you can’t control them.
  • Strategies for breaking down critical distractions for gun dog training.

Links Mentioned:

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