FTW Grayspeed Deneb

photo by      

    sea and air!
         FTW Jambo  Habari of Hele at Grayspeed                                                                              FTCh Grayspeed Tutbury
Robin does not believe in any form of harsh treatment of any dog and he trains his dogs – and will teach you to train your dog - by loving the dog and the dog loving you, and with a mutual desire to please each other so that you will develop a bond and a strong partnership, and that means you will be able to read your dog, and the dog will know your expectations and read you as a handler.
You can have one to one training with Robin or group training. Some 2000 acres including water are available and hence nearly every situation can be tailored to suit your dog's needs from puppy through to field trial standard, whether you want an obedient pet or to pick up and shoot over your dog. Frequency of lessons depends on you, and also your dog's learning ability with 'homework' being the most essential factor plus a chat over coffee when you do return to assess progress and problems before a session.
                      RETRIEVERS ONLY                 



          One to One:                 £20 per hour, minimum 2 hours.  If lesson exceeds 2 hours there is no extra charge.



   Group Training:                Minimum group - 2. Maximum group – 6

                                               £40 per handler



                                             We only take Novice and Open Groups 

                                             with dogs at a similar level.








Grayspeed endeavour to find new training ground as an ongoing project – we feel it is most important particularly for our trained dogs to keep experiencing new retrieve situations and 'bunkers' to overcome.





  Care to join me for a session?








What I have written below is obviously not comprehensive, but I hope you enjoy reading it,

and that there are some pointers which may help you train your puppy.





                        Which one is baby Tut?!                     

The above is Tut's registered Kennel Club name and with this litter of 10 black Labradors my wife and I decided to call them after different brands of crystal.


 Tut spent his first seven weeks in the whelping house and run, and watched as his brothers and sisters went to new homes and he had less playmates. Throughout the previous three to four weeks my wife played a CD when the pups were fed - noises such as heavy traffic, washing machines, children crying, gunfire, fireworks and all manner of scary sounds. This was played quietly at first and increasingly loud so by the end of six weeks the pups, associating the sounds with food, were oblivious to noise. Children and adults came to visit the pups and handle them gently in the first weeks and this was the start of Tut's socialisation with other humans. I also had him on my lap a lot and fussed him – how can anyone resist a puppy and that lovely perfume of pup!


7 weeks Tut is now in our house in a collapsible wire kennel with a cardboard box and a piece of Vet Bed in it. He has water and toys. This is his “den” and when he is put back in, he is told “kennel”. When he is fed three times a day the food bowl is banged and held above his head and by doing this he automatically sits and is told “sit”and then “get on” to food – at this stage no delay.  Tut has a lot of cuddles and playtime and when he attempts to bite me I say “ow” followed by “NO”. From coming inside he has been put outside the back door and encouraged to do his business. When this is happening he is patted on the head and told “PLAY” and “good boy”.


8 weeks When Tut is a little distance from me either in the garden or the house I squat down and clap my hands and encourage him by name to come back to me, occasionally as he comes back I peep three times on an Acme 2 11½ whistle. So now Tut understands his name and also whistle recall. Of course on return Tut gets a lot of stroking and cuddles.  Whenever Tut comes back to me (when he is out playing) completely of his own accord with no prompting, he is 'not ignored' as this is a golden opportunity to recall as he comes in, and then to praise him.   Pups do not wander far, but as they mature they will extend the distance they go from you and test you on recall, hence it is most important to get instant recall from a very young age, as I do not want a potentially very challenging recall fault to cure when Tut is mature.   As with a lot of puppy training, control is very often a lot easier when the pup is close up and under your influence as against being a long way from you -  when he could learn that he can get away with being naughty - so I will not allow Tut to get in that situation. 


10 weeks Tut had his first injection and had no fear at the vets. He was lifted into the car dog box and this will continue until he is around 12 months old – jumping is out of the question until then. Tut weighed in at 7 kg. From car to vet and back Tut was in my arms, and at no time was he put on the ground or floor for obvious reasons.


9-11 weeks Tut is now having a single retrieve most days. I crouch down with Tut between my legs and one arm around him and then throw one of his toys about ten yards. When Tut ceases to struggle and the tension goes out of his body I say “OUT” and let him retrieve. With just one retrieve at this stage he is bringing it straight back to me and I say “DEAD” and gently take the toy – he is then given the toy back and allowed to play with it. I have found that if I give him 2 or 3 retrieves Tut loses his concentration and at this stage it is the foundation of what he will do at a later date and  hence he is not encouraged to “RUN IN” even as a small pup, or play with the retrieve when I want it directly back to me. Tut, fortunately is a keen to retrieve dog. Some pups are not and hence you allow them to run in, but it is another problem to cure later if one has to do this, and steadiness from the onset is a bonus. There is plenty of time and situations when he may run in at a later date.



When I cuddle Tut I occasionally slip my leather slip lead around his neck and get him used to it, and sometimes let Tut take me for a walk a short way wherever he wants to go., having fun with the lead on him. Proper lead training will not start until 12 weeks.


Tut needs to have lots of fun and is taken for short walks and sometimes in long grass – this is the start of getting him used to cover; sometimes I throw some of his food into the long grass and Tut enjoys hunting for it and I tell him “HI LOST” and Tut gets his nose down snuffling about for the food, and he is also learning subconsciously to hold an area in a fun way with the reward of food.


We live near a busy road and although Tut heard all kinds of noises as a very small pup, now he needs to associate some of the noises with the actual object and hence with Tut in my arms and a few puppy treats he is taken slowly nearer to the road and given a treat as the traffic goes by – any sign that Tut is frightened and I back off immediately and fuss and comfort him. Also when Tut is on one of his short walks I will clap my hands and this simulates gunfire.


13 weeks Tut retrieved a snipe thrown a short distance and was allowed to sniff some partridges. He was encouraged to sniff the snipe and teased with it before a short retrieve. On Tut's walk he has a paddle now in a shallow stream about 2 inches deep. He walks merrily to heel on the lead, and has several about turns to keep him tight and stop him pulling on the lead We stop occasionally on our walk – I want to be his centre of attention - and Tut is given a lot of fuss and sometimes he sits to “SIT” - other times I just put one hand under his chin and just ease him gently into the sit position – I may say “SIT” at this stage several times. He is made to sit before the lead goes on and when it comes off. When Tut is off playing and investigating, I sometimes crouch down and peep on the whistle or call his name – or both – and he will come back.


14 weeks On Tut's walk he follows me through short brambles and thin cover, tail wagging enthusiastically. I let him play with leaves and he will occasionally pick up a twig and run along happily with it. He must enjoy his puppyhood. I am starting to do more heelwork for about 5 minutes now, i.e. Figures of eight, right and left turn, about turn, enforcing the word – all this still on the lead at slow and fast walking pace and the occasional trot and plenty of stopping and “sit” and then “heel” again before walking off. Retrieves have been cut to every other day – and just one with “out”, “lost” and recall then “dead” to deliver. I know he will retrieve and so do not want it to become boring but to remain fun. Tut is given lots of love and cuddles, but not allowed to jump up at me – I either turn away from him, or gently push him down and ignore him if he jumps up. His walks are now about 400 yards a day. I do not use a collar for heelwork, only a soft leather slip lead, as I do not want any harshness put on Tut's neck; if Tut does not turn with me I pat my calf and say “heel” and he turns with me tail wagging merrily.


15 weeks Tut does his business on the lead occasionally; I am not worried about this as young pups cannot contain themselves long, and eventually he will get the idea that when he is told “go play”, this is the time to empty himself. He also sniffs a lot on the lead – this can be rectified later. I want Tut to explore his world on and off the lead just as long as he is at heel and does not stop to sniff, in which case he is encouraged along.


As Tut sits well now, I am introducing the stop whistle, i.e. “sit” and then one blast on the whistle so that eventually he will sit to either command. He did his first “sit & stay” today. I sat him up and gave him a 'policeman's hand out' stay and slowly walked back the length of the lead on him, i.e.  3 feet saying “stay”. The first couple of times he moved towards me, and so he was gently put back and told “stay”. Success came on the third time with him, and I slowly went back the 3 feet to him and praised him “good boy”. With a puppy I will repeat the command perhaps several times, but as soon as the command is understood and the pup is doing what I want, the command is said once only, and if the pup does not do it, he is gently made to.


All training other than heel work is done perhaps 2 or 3 times a week; I do not want to bore Tut, it all has to be fun, not a military exercise as I love Tut, so I want him to love me and want to please me. If he is doing something I do not want, then the word “NO” but no other chastisement, and if he is doing something wrong, I divert his attention to something else, for example, if he starts chewing furniture when inside I say “NO” and get one of his toys for him to play with.


We are into the shooting season now, and we bring pheasants and other game home to eat, and Tut is allowed to sniff all this game and shows a great deal of interest.


Extra Comment I never give Tut a lot of eye contact when training; the only time I do this is when I fuss him inside our house. I do not want a dog that looks up at me all the time – I eventually want a dog that marks game and dummies. The other thing I want is a speedy dog going out and coming back and hence whatever Tut has been doing, i.e. If he ignores his recall, I also ignore this at puppy stage, and eventually when he does take notice (and make sure you only recall when he is looking your way) he comes back speedily. I feel that getting gruff either close up or at a distance can kill the enthusiasm to go out and come back fast, and in my mind there is nothing worse than a ploddy dog – we want game to hand as quick as possible at a later date.


If you cannot socialise your puppy with other dogs and humans, you will probably find local puppy classes advertised or through your vet – these are usually excellent and worth attending. Tut has many doggy friends; we keep a lot of dogs and have many visitors, and I do not feel the need to take him to puppy classes because of that..


Our first dogs we train are sometimes the best, how often do you hear 'old Purdey was the best dog I ever had' – in the right hands he would have been a Field Trial Champion! Probably we think this because the first dog is a learning curve and we taught the dog things we thought would be impossible for the dog to learn and us to teach. I well remember with my first dog giving him 15 to 20 retrieves per session, fortunately he was hard going and loved it, but a lot of dogs would have crumbled under the strain. My attitude now is 3 to 8 thought out constructive learning retrieves is enough and as with Tut one retrieve at the moment every other day is plenty. Retrieves are sometimes just to satisfy the handler and the foundation of heelwork, steadiness, stop whistle etc. is sometimes neglected at a cost to the dog and oneself later in the shooting field.


 Another error with puppies – or mature dogs – is to train when you are not enthusiastic or weather conditions do not permit; yes at a later stage we want a dog to face a strong head wind and work in all weathers, but that all comes at a far later stage than a young pup. Your mood goes down that lead if you have a strong bond with your dog.


 I will deal with and explain problems with Tut as he matures, but Tut is an individual and has his own character and one has to 'read the young dog you have and adapt accordingly. Hence the range is from very sensitive to very hard going and in general we do not know how the pup will turn out until he is about 12 months old, and I hasten to add there is still a long way to go even then to achieve a good peg or field trial dog, and some may never make that grade but can still be good companions, shooting and picking up dogs. The main aim is for the dog to enjoy and be happy throughout their short lives. Whatever they end up doing in the shooting field or as a pet.


Another pitfall I find with people that come to me for training lessons is that in some cases they think their dogs are far better trained than they are, and they consequently accept a far lower standard and are blinkered to achieve a higher standard that the dog may be well capable of, but the handler is not. I cannot comment further as like dogs we are all individuals and set different standards in life, but the bench mark should be to spectate at open working tests and field trials to see the standard a dog can be taken to and to see if that is what you want for your dog.


There are many good books on dog training and videos to refer to; however it is such a comprehensive subject and to date I could have incurred any number of problems with Tut, but I can only write as I find with him, and with another puppy I could have perhaps written half a book by now. I am sure some of you will be calling Tut 'wonderpup' by now, as I have encountered so few problems, but let's see how he progresses over the next 16 months, and hence if you are training a dog of similar age or intend to, do keep in touch with a trainer that has experience of training many dogs over the years, and can answer your queries as they arise, and perhaps go to them every 3 to 4 weeks for tuition, so that you as a handler do not put bad practices into your puppy, and, of course, it is what you do with your puppy between seeing your trainer that really counts. To train a puppy you need to forego 15-20 minutes per day maximum per dog at this stage, that is all, and it is very rewarding.


16 weeks On Tut's walks I send him off to play and periodically call him back to me, and fuss him – this will be the procedure throughout his life, I want him to enjoy his walk and free run and exercise, but not free run all the time. With my trained dogs taken en masse, they are sat up and told to “go play”, and they have come to understand this is their free time to empty themselves and sniff and do doggy things, and after a few minutes they are called up and the procedure repeated throughout their walk. All this keeps your dog under control, and at a controllable distance, but mainly it keeps obedience instilled, and they accept you are the pack leader dictating the terms and pace of the walk.


17 weeks Everything mentioned so far is ongoing and nothing new has been introduced – slowly slowly – however Tut has now been to the seaside and paddled without any prompting in the sea up to his thighs, he saw other dogs and humans and I made sure that the sea was relatively calm and not breaking huge waves before this introduction.


 On my way back he was walked round our local town, he was hesitant about some aspects and was reassured as it was completely different from his normal countryside walks. If my pups react well then I do not bother with towns again; however if their reactions are not good they are taken back several times. Tut has been in the dog box several times – the car ride made him sick on one occasion, but he seems quite happy now to ride in the dog box, and again I emphasise he will be lifted in and out of this until he is 12 months old as our vehicle is very high off the ground


My final objectives for Tut seem very far distant, but they come down to OLD – my motto – ie. “OUT” “LOST” “DEAD”. Tut will have been taught to keep going, but hunting with nose and eye on the way through any obstacle such as hedges, jumps, woodland, rivers etc. until he is told “Hi Lost”; he will by command stop, go left and right, back and come in closer, and hold an area which by experience he will expand on his own initiative such as runners that have gone from the fall in a given area to elsewhere. With Tut at 16 weeks old it all seems impossible, but stage by stage I hope to get Tut to that level. Along with all this he has to be steady and patient at the peg so onwards Tut and I go!


Final objectives should perhaps have been stated at the outset, but the aforesaid level should enable me to run him in working tests, shoot over him at the peg, pick up in a controlled way, and the ultimate would be a Field Trial win;  to me that would signify Tut had been trained to the highest level. 


A word or two about chastisement – at the moment with Tut it is a lower unfriendly tone of voice and “NO”. At a later stage the same will apply, but I will arch my arms and make myself look bigger and give wide eye contact and a gruff “NO”. The very worst chastisement I give a dog is to put them back on the lead and take them back to where they did wrong and give them a few sharp downward jerks on the lead at that point and for example if they have disobeyed the stop whistle I blow it again. Most dogs respond and want to please, and hence the jerks on the lead in no way hurt them and they realise something has gone wrong; this way you never ever lay a hand on the dog – as a great friend of mine 'Mr. M.K.' taught me years ago “Loving hands” you love and stroke your dog with your hands, you want it to deliver to hand and you control it with hand signals and thus you do not want it frightened of your hands, regardless of that if one cannot train a biddable dog without resorting to violence, then there is something drastically wrong with the trainer, and I believe that applies to all breeds of dog. As with Tut at the moment it is so important to get that loving bond so that he wants to have fun with me, and most of all please me and learn. If one kills that enthusiasm you are on a loser, how many dogs do you see mooching along at heel with there tail between their legs, it always speaks volumes to me and the days of breaking or hard training a dog should have been gone years ago and in general I believe they have.


I hope you have enjoyed reading 'Training Tut' - he is now 16 months old, and has gained an award in a Puppy Test and also a Novice Working Test (see News page). Tut has already had a run in a Field Trial and shows great promise; more than that he is a super loveable pet. Tut is an exception to the rule – most dogs I train have not been ready for peg shooting/trialling until 2 – 2½ years old, so do not push on with your puppy too fast based on what I have written – you have to read your dog as an individual and train it accordingly. The last thing one wants is to ruin a potentially good dog by training too hard, or putting a very young dog in a situation for which it is not ready.

If you think it would be a good idea to fill in on Tut's training between 17 weeks and 16 months and ongoing, then please email me with your comments.


12th December 2009


West of England Labrador Retriever Club Novice Field Trial

Nr. Frome Somerset


FTAW Grayspeed Tutbury (Tut)


3rd in 14 dog stake


Trecrest Goblet for best looking in the awards

Tut's first Field Trial award at16 months old


Owner/Handler Robin Gray


Sire  Grilstone Gingko of Grayspeed

Dam   Dorset Dandy of Grayspeed


 February 2010

Since writing the above, many people have been in contact by email and telephone, and the main question has been: “How did you introduce Tut to gunshot and the shooting field?”  I suppose these questions arise because in general people do not go to a trainer come the shooting season.

This question is best equated to teaching someone to swim – some people can be plunged straight in at the deep end and they swim; however a lot sink! Hence, far better to start at the shallow end and build up slowly and confidently.


 Over the course of most seasons' shooting, I am asked and hear about dogs that are gunshy or whine or are wild in the shooting field and the owners want to rehome them as pets, and in some cases I know that these dogs were thrown into the shooting field at the deep end in spite of good basic training as a puppy and adolescent, but were then put under too much pressure..


'Gunshy' can mean two things – frightened of the sound of the gun and frightened of the actual gun.


To get Tut used to the gun, I sat down and put the actual gun over my lap, got my wife to let Tut in and encouraged him to me with my legs apart, and fussed Tut with his head resting on the gun. Over a period of days (i.e 5 minutes each day) I started moving the gun about slowly, still fussing Tut so that the gun became the norm to him and not a threatening object . I also let him smell a fresh empty cartridge case to associate this with the gun so that at a later date Tut will be taught to follow a powder shot line which on occasions will definitely help him to find game.


 Next I introduced him to shot noise (Tut was already used to hand claps before his retrieves and his feed bowl was banged about as a very small pup). I sat Tut up behind an older dog – Tut's mother Ming in his case - and got my wife to fire a blank pistol some 100 yards away down wind. Tut was praised as soon as the muffled shot went off and he also saw that the older dog was not perturbed.. Over a period of a fortnight, the distance that the shot was fired was decreased and hence louder and Tut was always praised. As the shot got very close, I sometimes had a dummy thrown so that Tut associated the bang with a pleasurable retrieve afterwards.


 With Tut all this was done at 10 – 11 months old.

 Many shots are far different from the single shots to date and hence we went clay shooting! Not literally as I took Tut with an experienced dog and my wife, and over a period of perhaps an hour, I walked Tut behind the older dog from about 300 yards away from the shooting very slowly, say 25 yards at a time, towards the banging, watching for reactions at each stop, and praising him as the shots went off. When we got next to the shooters and the bangs and Tut showed he was confident and even marked a few clays, the job was complete and it was time to go, and not over do the training and the noise as who knows what that would do to Tut's hearing if prolonged. I hasten to add this all went well, but if Tut had shown signs of fright or nervousness, then we would have backed off and gone back to the beginning and built the whole situation up again over a period of weeks, taking even more time for this introduction.


Introduction to live game and the shooting field

'Dogging in'

Our local gamekeeper Bryan is very pleased for Tut and me to encourage his pheasant poults away from the shoot boundaries in late summer and autumn. Bryan does not want his poults frightened and scattered in all directions, and hence the hedgerows are not 'worked out' with Tut and neither would I want that for him, but tapped out with a stick, as poults move on very easily anyway. Initially Tut was on a lead to totally ensure steadiness and also to make sure a precious poult was not pegged had he run in.. As with heel work initially lead on, then lead loose over pup's back, then lead wrapped around neck – all in stages – then eventually lead off. So with lead off Tut is at heel as I tap the hedges back to the release pen and cover crop areas. Poults are very often in groups, and once one heads towards home the rest follow, either running or flying and very tempting for Tut. When this happens Tut is told 'sit' and just watches. When all this became the norm over the period of a week I would occasionally drop a dummy unbeknown to Tut, about turn him away from where the poults were heading home and send him back for a retrieve i.e. completely away from where he had seen all of the poults and excitement going on. Initially I would say 'gone away' as birds flushed, turn Tut away from the action and just walk him off the latter before the sit and watch stage. As poults tend to stray regularly, this training was done sometimes three times a day for a period of weeks, and obviously although very exciting for Tut initially, he soon became very used to the procedure and the smell and excitement of running and flying poults very close to him. It kept Tut and me very fit!

 Next to the shooting field , and this was introduced to Tut at 14 months old - after being introduced to dogging in in late summer. It can perhaps take two seasons with some dogs , depending on the individual dog and its age come the first shooting season. After all, we hope to end up with a steady controllable dog for the rest of its working life so taking time pays off. We are privileged to have several shoots where I could take Tut ranging from very light days to very heavy. I took Tut on his own with no responsibility for picking-up after or during the drive. In fact when I had slowly walked him into the drive once it had started; one drive with a few shots and say 8-10 birds down first time out was plenty - no retrieves and off home. If Tut had been too excited or nervous I would have had to walk him away and build it all up again at a slower rate next time out. A week later I repeated the above but this time one retrieve – not a bird that Tut had marked down during the drive, but an unseen put out in totally the opposite direction from the birds that Tut had marked and to where he expected to be sent. I walked Tut several paces from where he had 'sat up' so that he learned – particularly for peg shooting - that he must switch off and will not get a retrieve while he is sat at the peg. At a later date I sat him near to someone else whose dogs were picking up as a further steadiness test. All this I hasten to add off the lead as I put 100% confidence in my basic training and trust Tut 100% - until he lets me down!! With Tut on his own I was also 100% focussed on him and not watching the shooting etc. and getting diverted from the job in hand. To start with I always sent Tut for a bird that was on its own, after the drive had finished, as I did not want him to have the temptation of changing birds. During the drive, if birds fell near to Tut and me I walked out and picked them up by hand leaving Tut sitting up. This was ongoing and I gradually built up the length of time and number of drives that Tut sat through and the quantity of birds shot and the number of retrieves that Tut was sent for eventually actually sending him during the drive occasionally. He was also introduced to runners and walked up rough shooting but they are subjects on their own.


 Tut was taught a great deal more than I have included in the articles I have written. I hope the information has and will help handlers with young dogs to overcome some of the problems that they encounter but do not necessarily go to a trainer to overcome.. One tip I can give is that if a problem arises with Tut – as it most definitely will!! - I will take him back to basic training and build up slowly again. Tut's training will be ongoing as it never does any harm to take even a fully trained dog back to basics to keep it ''honed', particularly dogs that pick up regularly during the shooting season. To sum up, a great friend of mine 'Mrs. J. R' often tells me:

“Robin – you are only as good as your last retrieve”

That motto to me sums up the whole issue of dog training in a sentence!


August 1st 2010


(and how I see it at current time)


I can see from the results below that Tut is now up with the top dogs in the South West in demanding Open competition, and at just 2 years of age he is knocking at the door to progress from consistent fourths to hopefully consistent first and seconds. Tut's training now is a lot more demanding and he is gaining experience all the time and as with most Labradors he will probably not come to his 'peak' until 4 to 4½ years of age, so Tut has plenty of time to achieve my ambitions for him.   More importantly Tut is having a happy, fulfilling life doing what comes naturally to him.



His Achievements So Far

3rd     North Devon WGC Novice Test                   July 2009               Age 12 months

 2nd   West of England LRC Puppy Test               August 2009           Age 13 months

 1st    Thursday Club Novice Test                         October 2009         Age 14 months

 3rd    West of England LRC Novice Field Trial      December 2009     Age 16 months

 4th    North Devon WGC Open Test                     April 2010             Age 20 months
 4th    Westward GS Open Test                            May 2010             Age 21 months

  4th    Cornwall FTS 25th Anniversary                   May 2010            Age 22 months  

  :       Team event:  Grayspeed 4 dog team

          (Tut 8th over all out of 24 dogs &

           highest placed in our 4 dog team)


          Selected to represent North Devon WGC     May 2010            Age 22 months

          BASC Inter Club team event at

          Sherborne Country Fair. Team not placed

          (Tut 2nd highest placed dog in 4 dog team).


          Selected North Devon Team at NDWGC        June 2010           Age 22 months

          25th Anniversary Event. Team not placed.

          No individual scores given 


  1st    Twinney Park Team Challenge                                 July 2010            Age 23 months

          Tut won the scurry organised by

          North Devon WGC. Tut and I had great fun!


  4th  Cornwall FTS Interclub Team Challenge          July 2010            Age 2 years

         Werrington Park  Launceston.

         7 teams competed.Tut was selected for

         North Devon WGC team which came 4th.

         and Tut also came =4th individually out of 21

         dogs running.  He was the highest placed dog

         in our 3 dog team.


  4th  Charity Open Working Test                           September 2010   Age 2yr 1m

         Curry Rivel Somerset 

         25 dog competition


 1st   Twinney Park Shoot Invitation only                  October 2010      Age 2yrs 2 months

         Fun Field Trial



1st & Guns' Choice

         West of England Labrador Retriever Club     November 4th 2010  Age 2 yrs 3 months

         Novice Field Trial 14 dog stake

         Prescombe Shoot Wiltshire



FTW Grayspeed Tutbury

photo by






The above result is the level I set myself to achieve with Tut right from a pup -  anything else will now be a bonus - let's see how he performs in Open Field Trials and how the rest of his life and hopefully awards unfold.  I know many people worldwide are following 'The Life of Tut' hence I will continue to update his achievements throughout his life.  Tut is also now at stud.  He will continue to have a very happy life!




10th   West Dartmoor  WGC Open Test       April 3rd 2011        Age 2 yrs 8 months 

         21 dogs running


"Tut and I Fail "      

The above was Tut's first working test this year and not a result to be proud of but it shows there will be highs and lows with Tut i.e. up on a cloud in bliss with a win and down on my bottom now;  that is how it is with dogs, they can be great levellers in life, and on this occasion Tut got a zero on one test.   He thought he knew best and  went for the wrong dummy, hence he has got to a stage in his life where for the first time he did not trust me.   What do I do now?   The answer is to get up off the floor, analyse what went wrong and train Tut accordingly and forget this disappointment.   Tut is not a machine, he is an animal and normally a very honest dog, and it is my fault not his that we did not do better.   However it was still a good social day out for both of us even though now I have probably been labelled as the "Whistle Blower"!!



2nd    Retriever Team Challenge                    30th May 2011        Age 2 yrs 10 months

           Sherborne Castle, selected for

           Wiltshire WGS.  8 teams ran, Tut

           came equal 5th out of the 32 dogs running.


 3rd    "Team Spreacombe"                         26th June 2011          Age 2 yrs 11 months

           NDWGC & WDWGC

           The Working Gundog Team Challenge

           Clintons Estate.   Tut highest scoring dog

           in our 4 dog team. 8 teams ran


 4th   Charity Open Working Test             August 2011          Age 3 yrs 1 month 

         Curry Rivel Somerset

         35 dogs ran


2nd   Westward GS Open Working Test    11th September 2011  Age 3 yrs 1 month

         (Shikar)  25 dogs ran






Further Education for Open Field Trials


September 2011

Age 3 years 2months


Tut has been up to Northumberland rabbit shooting which taught him to follow a powder shot line, and he also went to Norfolk twice in the sugar beet and Tut learned to mark walked up shot game and he retrieved his first hares, and we overcame steadiness and heel work in a root crop, and the stop whistle in circumstances where, with a root crop rustling in his ears and a lot of game about, was a problem – but rectified.


Tut is now a well travelled dog as he also went to Leicestershire to the ground which is the venue for this year's IGL Retriever Championship for further walked up training.


However we have now had 8 Open Field Trial running orders back with absolutely no chance of a run. The window of opportunity for Tut to achieve an Open Field Trial award is possibly now only 3 seasons, so we are keeping our fingers and paws crossed that we get some runs. We have no illusions about the fact we will be up against some of the best dogs in the country if we do get any runs; however I feel that I have to go for it with Tut, and give him that chance in his life. He is the first dog that we have bred and trained from a pup that I feel is up to a good worthwhile Open Field Trial standard – however time will tell, and if Tut or I have a fault, trialling will undoubtedly find it out as it is the ultimate test of a gundog and handler.





3rd    West of England LRC                      17th/18th October 2011  Age 3 yrs 2 months

         2 day AV Open Field Trial

         24 dogs ran.  Walk up and driven


COM  Westward GS                                  21st/22nd October  2011  Age 3 yrs 2 months

          2 day AV Open Field Trial

          24 dogs ran.  One day walk up one day driven


3rd    North Devon WGC                           9th January 2012             Age 3 yrs 5 months

         1 day AV Open Field Trial

         12 dogs ran


"Tut" First Season Open Field Trial Summary 2011-2012

Tutty ran in 5 Open Field Trials to gain the above awards, and before the season my ambition for Tut was to gain one Open Field Trial award over the next few years, and hence if Tut was to do nothing else in his life, at the level for which I aim with dogs he has already achieved all of my ambitions for him, and done me proud.  Now I have to set new targets for Tut to achieve, and wait and see if they transpire.


The life of young Tut goes onwards and upwards I hope but it really is not that important to me any more - I shall just continue to enjoy him and we will both do our best in competitions in which we run, and no doubt continue to have a lot of fun and enjoyment together - having said that,make no mistake - we always go to win.




1st   North Devon WGC                        8th April 2012                    Age 3yrs 9 months

        Open AV Working Test

        15 dogs ran


2nd  Exmoor Gundog Club                    22nd April 2012                 Age 3 yrs 9 months

          Open AV Working Test

          20 dogs ran


         May 4th Selected Wiltshire GS Team for Sherborne

         Team did not get a run


2nd   West Dartmoor WGC                            10th June 2012                     Age 3 yrs 10 months             

                Selected AV Retriever Team Challenge

          7 x 3 dog teams ran

          No individual scores given


1st     Werrington Park Team Challenge     5th August 2012                   Age 4 yrs

           Cornwall FTS

           Selected for winning North Devon WGC team

           8 x 3 dog teams ran

           Tut = 2nd overall


1st     Help for Heros Charity Test                26th August 2012                      Age 4 years 1 month

           Open Test

           24 dogs ran


COM   Westward GS                                   2nd September  2012                   Age 4 years 1 month

            Open Test (Shikar)

            36 dogs ran


September 2012

Time flies - I cannot believe Tut is now 4 years and 1 month old.  The end of the Working Test season and Tut has achieved some good results.  He is getting to be a very experienced dog now, and we go forward into a new Field Trial season.  If we achieve another Open award I would be more than happy. Of course we always aim at the pinnacle of the gundog world - but achieving it is another matter!!



COM   Usk Valley GS                                  15th/16th October 2012                  Age 4 years 2 months

           2 day Open AV Walked Up  Field Trial

           24 dogs ran


1st      Arun & Downland GS                       29th/30th October 2012                  Age 4  years 3 months

            2 day Open AV Field Trial

            24 dogs ran

            Qualified for the 2012 IGL Retriever Championship




November 1st 2012


Tut has exceeded all of my expectations yet again, and won the above 2 day Open Field Trial.  He now needs a one day or a two day win to make him up to a Field Trial Champion.   Unless the 'wheels come off' I have the rest of this season, and I would think two more seasons to achieve this with Tut;  however I have seen many dogs over the years fail on this final hardest hurdle, but regardless of all this, he is the first dog I have qualified for the Championship, and that when it is over, will be a memory I will cherish and be proud of for the rest of my life.   Thank you Tut - regardless of the outcome!


1st    Cornwall FTS                                     5th November 2012                           Age 4 years 3 months

          Open AV Field Trial

         12 dogs ran

          Made up to a FTCh.




November 5th 2012


What more can I write! Tut is now a FTCh. and is going to the Championship - how can we better that?!! I thank all of the people who have helped me over the years regarding good advice training dogs, and I have proved that my training methods work, i.e that a good mutual bond based on respect and love between man and dog will eventually bring the desired result, and as I wrote earlier in the life of Tut, I do not believe in any form of harsh treatment or abuse of any dog; it cannot be justified and is completely outdated regarding training a gundog or any dog.


On a happier note - I was going to carry on Tut's life history, but in mind he has achieved the pinnacle of the gundog world, and to do that I had to put Tut in perhaps hundreds of different training situations that would fill a book!! No I am not going to write a book! Suffice to say it all came together in less than a week for Tut and me.


I am sure Tut will go on to achieve more in his life and to be a happy and contented dog and enjoy, but this really is the final chapter on this page of Training Tut from a lovely little pup who we bred and watched being born just over 4 years ago.


From Tut and me... we hope you enjoy training your dog and that you go forward and achieve whatever target you set for your puppy. Love and enjoy man's best friend. Last but not least, thank you to my wife Sue for her support patience and understanding throughout my campaign to make Tut up to a champion.



Qualified and ran at the IGL Championship 2012

at Cawdor Estate Scotland




       Tut in the bluebells at Colquite








© Robin Gray 2016