Beating advice

Q I will be taking my dog out beating on a driven shoot for the first time this season. Do you have any advice you can give me so I don’t get in trouble with the gamekeeper?

A NICK RIDLEY replies: Been there… done that! Being in the beating line with a young dog can be a nerve-wracking experience for both the dog and handler. The best advice I can give you is that if you see that your dog is getting ‘hot’ (that is to say, overly excited by the occasion) then do not be afraid to put it on a lead until it calms down. At the flushing point there can be a lot of birds and this can really wind up a young dog. Either call it in to heel and sit it next to you whilst the birds are flushed or just put it on a lead. It can be a long, hard day for a young dog, both physically and mentally, so if you have the chance to do just a half day to start with that may be better. Take your time and don’t spoil the months of training you’ve put in!