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The Gundog Dictionary – A Glossary of Terms

With our new dog catalogue out, and all the amazing new gundog training gear we have, we decided it was time to update and expand on our previous list of gundog terms.  

Below you will find an extensive alphabetised list of common gundog terminology.  Have a look and see how many you already know and if there are some new terms you weren’t familiar with...

Gundog Training

Action & Style – The way a gundog works when retrieving or hunting

All Out – Beaters can call at the end of a drive

Back Gun – Any gun placed behind the line of beaters or behind the main line of guns to shoot pricked game or game that flies backwards

Back wind – wind from behind

Bag – Quantity of game shot during the day

Bangers – cartridges/squabs

Beater/Beating – Individual who flushes the birds over the guns

Biddable – Intelligent and skilled dog showing eagerness to learn

Blank In – Driving birds from one location to another to be flushed over the guns

Blind Retrieve – Bird/Dummy is out of the gundog’s sight, requiring direction from the handler

Blinking – When a gundog refuses to pick up a located retrieve

Cheek wind – wind from the left or right

Cheeper – Young bird that should not be shot

Clean/Cleanly – Shoot and kill game instantly with out damage to carcase3

Cold Game – Preserved dead game for training use out of season

Cover – foliage to protect and conceal

Cover Crops – Planted fields that provide food and cover for birds

Covert – The area that houses game

Covey – A group of partridge or grouse

Creep/creeping – When a gundog inches forward when instructed to ‘sit’

D/DC – Docked and Dew Clawed

Dead – Verbal command for a gundog to release what they retrieved

Decoy/Distraction – Object that diverts the dog’s attention from what it should be retrieving

Drive – Part of a driven shoot, entering and going through cover

Driven Shoot – Typically organised by a gamekeeper, game are ‘driven’ to waiting guns

Dummy – Object used to train a gundog to retrieve – they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and weights

Feather DummyBall Dummy Water Dummy

[Pictured Above:  Examples of Training Dummies]

Eye Wipe – Term when a dog fails to retrieve and another dog (or individual) locates it

Face wind – wind into your face

False Point – When a gundog points but no game is retrieved

Fetch – Verbal command given to a gundog to retrieve, typically, a marked retrieve

Field Trial – This competition sees gundogs compete against each other for live game

First Dog Down – This is a ‘Field Trial’ term when a chance is missed to find and retrieve ‘game’

Flanker – Last beater on a drive meant to stop the birds breaking out sideways

Flush – When a gundog goes into cover and rustles up the game so it’s visible to the guns

FTAW – Field Trial Award Winner

FTW – Field Trial Winner

FTCh – Field Trial Champion

Gallery – The audience watching a field trial

Game – Birds and animals legally hunted for sport

Game Bag or Game Carrier – Item used to carry hunted game

Eazy Game Carrier Game Bag Leather Strand Game Carrier Double Loop Game Carrier

[Pictured Above:  Examples of Game Carriers & Game Bag]

Gamekeeper – Professionally employed individual charged with caring for game and wildlife in a certain area

Game Sense – A gundog’s natural ability to locate dead/injured game

Game Steward – Individual who carries and despatches game for a gundog field trial

Get In – Verbal command for gundog – usually meant to instruct gundog to ‘get in’ the water or similar.

Get On -  Verbal gundog command tell dog to proceed in a straight line

Get Out – Used alongside an arm direction to indicate left or right to the gundog

Give – Verbal command instructing gundog to release what they retrieved

Giving Tongue – Sometimes called squeaking, when a gundog makes noise i.e. bark/whine/whimper while working.

Go Back – Verbal command typically used for ‘blind retrieves’ to indicate the gundog should proceed in a straight line until locating game/dummy.

Gundog – A dog that has been trained for hunting

Guns – Individuals carrying guns and shooting

Gun Sense – A gundogs awareness of gun swing and shot direction

Gun Shy – A dog which is frightened by gun shots and other loud noises

Handle – skill of a gundog handler to direct dogs from a distance

Handler – Individual in charge or gundog(s)

Hard Mouth – When a gundog damages game

Heel – Verbal command for gundog to walk beside its handler (typically on the left)

Hi-lost – verbal gundog command to hunt in a particular location

HPR – “Hunt, Point, Retrieve”

Hup – verbal command, common with spaniels, telling gundog to ‘sit & stay’

Line – The route a gundog takes, to and from retrieving game/dummy

Long line – A very long gundog training lead

Making Good the Ground – Typically used with pointing breeds, after the first flush, find and produce remaining game in the close vicinity.

Mark/Marking – To watch and take note of where birds have fallen

Marked Retrieve – A retrieve that has been seen by the gundog

Memory back/retrieve – When a dummy/game is placed in view of gundog but significant time/distance has elapsed before dog is sent to retrieve

No-Mans land – area where no individuals or gundogs should enter

Out – Verbal command to tell gundog direction indicated by handler’s arm

Over – Term beaters shout when birds are about to fly over the guns also a verbal command to tell gundog to ‘jump’ or get ‘over’ an obstacle

Pace – How quickly a gundog hunts

Pattern – The shot spread from a shotgun into which quarry flies

Peg/Stand – Indicated fixed location for each gun on a drive

Peg Dog – Gundog trained to sit next to the peg/stand and wait to retrieve shot game

Pegging – When a gundog catches uninjured/un-shot game

Pick Up – To retrieve birds at the end of a drive

Point/Pointing – Distinct stance by a gundog to indicate game location

Pottering – A dog that doesn’t have a pace or style when hunting, lingers on scents, etc.

Pricked – A bird that has been wounded but not killed

Quarry – The target for the guns and gundogs, typically live game

Quartering/Quarter – A distinct side-to-side hunting pattern flushing, and pointing, gundogs are trained to follow.

Recall – When a handler calls gundog back

Retrieve – When a handler sends the gundog to bring back dummy/game, and the dog returns, the complete process.

Right & Left – When both gun barrels are used to kill successive birds without re-mounting in-between

Rough Shoot – Informal shoots on private land, or estates, where guns walk and shoot as game rise/run in front of them

Run – The activities of a gundog while testing under a judge in a field trial.

Runner – Game that has moved from place of shot/fall

Running In – Dog leaves their handler without orders for a retrieve

Run-off – An additional test at a field trial to determine the place/award (i.e. a tie-breaker)

Slip Lead – A special dog lead and collar in-one, used by gundog handlers as it allows for quick removal in the field.

Slip Lead

[Pictured Above:  Field Trial Pro Slip Lead]

Soft Mouth – A gundog that retrieves game gently without damaging carcase

Steadiness – Essential gundog skill to remain sitting and still in the presence of game, gunshot, dummies, etc.

Bolting Rabbit Skin Dummy

[Pictured Above:  Bolting Rabbit Skin Dummy Kit - Designed to teach your dog steadiness control]

Sticking on Point – Reluctance by a gundog to flush pointed game

There – Verbal command for a gundog to hunt in a specific location

Under – Verbal Command to gundog to indicate going ‘under’ an obstruction as opposed to ‘over’ it

Whistle Command – Commonly used in gundog training and control

Dog Training Whistle

[Pictured Above:  Dog Training Whistle on a Lanyard]

Working Test – Competition where gundogs compete against each other using dummies instead of live game.

X-ray Vision – Gundogs with exceptional sight/sense during a shoot