Working Dogs on a Scottish Shooting Estate
At our catch up with Graham last month, gamekeeper and shooting expert, we were interested to find out what was going on with his working dogs at this time of the year and what he does to prepare them for the shooting season.
What is the current situation with the dogs at the moment?
There is not too much going on with the dogs at the moment as this is their time off. I do have one cocker spaniel puppy arriving soon so I will get him trained up when he is old enough. All of the dogs have just been wormed as well as the continual checks for any ticks and fleas before they go out for the grouse.
How do you prepare them and get their fitness up to a good standard?
Well in terms of getting them fit, once some of the pheasants are old enough, we let them out of their release pens and start feeding them towards where we want them. Having said that, we don’t want them straying too far so I use the working dogs to help keep the birds where we want them. This gets them semi-fit before they go out on the hill for the shooting season.
Do you change the dog’s food at all during the year?
During the summer months when they aren’t working, the dogs eat a slightly less protein fuelled diet. When it comes to August however, they will get normal food which is more protein based and that serves them well right through to the end of the season. Chudley’s Working Crunch is a dog food I have used for years as it seems to work the best for my dogs.
Summer time in Scotland is never the best time for the dogs as they don’t do their best when they are not very busy. They also never look their best at this time of the year!
On our next visit to Holylee Estate, we will be able to see the dogs in their prime, working hard and looking good! If you would like to read part one of our visit to Holylee, click here.