Providing quality working cocker spaniels.
Alba gundogs is a family run Kennels, located in the South Island Canterbury area. We aim to introduce the working cocker spaniel to the hunting community and provide basic gundog training and guidance for those who wish to own, train,and work gundogs.
We work the dogs over a variety of grounds and cover; and thanks to John Brownly at Craigmore Pheasant reserve we have continued our passion with working the dogs in the beating line.We have also embarked into live game trials.
I have been involved in training dogs for 18 years; spending time in agility, obedience and gundog training in Scotland. Enjoying many a day on the beating line flushing pheasants, partridge, grouse, snipe, woodcock,and ducks. I do most of the training and make sure all the young dogs have the basic obedience well established before developing on live game and hunting abilities.
George has been hunting and shooting from a young age, receiving his first gundog (a lab called Goldy) at the age of 16, he spent most of his time shooting rabbits, hares, pheasants and ducks. Tracking deer was also a task Goldy was an asset in. George was a keen member of two syndicates enjoying shooting and working the dogs.
Kristina has been involved in the beating line since the age of four. Walking out at the side lines, taking some of the easier paths. She loves being out in the country and being involved with the dogs. Kristina is now 15 years of age and a keen dog handler. She is a valid member of the beating line now and helps out picking up from time to time. Her dog is called Gemma and they have a very strong bond; Kristina competed in her first novice live game trial with Gemma in July in 2011; receiving a certificate of merit. Kristina is now going to be embarking on her own training journey with her new pup Amber.
My own personal views on the working cocker.
The working cocker is in a class of its own, they are happy little dogs with a huge personality. They love to be loved, need attention and lots of stimulation. I have heard many people say; once you have had a working cocker you will always have a place in your heart for them.
They have been bred solely for their working ability and not for colour, shape or for show. There differences include a larger build, sharper eyes, shorter higher set ears and finer coats. They are fast stylish hunters; they push through the deepest of cover with ease. They have a lot of stamina and drive for what they love; hunting and retrieving. They excel in the beating line, covering ground and pushing through thick cover, missing little game.
The breed has become more popular over the years in the UK with more people having them as pets, mostly due to its good temperament and loving nature.
They are good in the family environment, with their outgoing and friendly nature. They love to be involved with whatever is going on around them, they can be cheeky if allowed, taking any opportunity available.
This breed is no lap dog. The working cocker thrives in the shooting field and they need a lot of exercise and attention. Our dogs are very much part of the family but they have a passion for the hunt and need to be kept active. They will take to a variety of activities such as agility, fly-ball, retrieving and obedience.
I strongly recommend you read the links before thinking on buying a working cocker.
Training a working cocker can be challenging for a beginner. They are all different in personality, and what works for one might not work for another. They can be sensitive dogs who do not take kindly to harsh words or punishment, firm but fair when training, with lots of encouragement and incentive. They have a great deal of energy and need a stimulating environment. They are quick learners and can be to smart at times.
I do believe cockers are at their best when working and using their natural ability when on a hunt. The trick is learning how to control this.
I have to recommend a book I received a few years ago called Working Springers & Cockers by Mike Smith. I have found this book very helpful and it has training methods that everyone can use.