Sinead Wilkinson (formerly Macmillan), East Yorkshire
sineadmaclabdogs@hotmail.co.uk - Tel: 07716 858017

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Sinead's Introduction to Training

Sinead bought her first gundog (Fern - Dreamacres Wigeon Von Mekoro) in 2008 with a view to train up for the peg and to come out rough shooting. Fern was a fantastic picking up bitch, sired by FTCH Leadburn Viceroy she produced some lovely litters, in which many went to trial and win (FTW Mekoro Devil Ash). It was not known at that point how addictive and rewarding training a gundog could be.

Within a short space of time it was evident that Sinead had "caught the bug" of gundog training and with it began to compete in working tests and eventually in 2011 ran in her first Novice Trial with Amancio Falcon (Leo), who is now an Open Field Trial Winner and numerous Open Field Trial Award Winner. Only 4 years later Leo gained a Diploma of Merit at the 2015 IGL Retriever Championships after winning a 2 day open stake, he was handled by Sinead at all trials.   

Training and working a gundog is extremely rewarding, and with a training programme that encourages positive attitude, focus, structure and patience the benefits seen to the dog and handler relationship is great. Whether teaching a family pet the basic manners, or a picking up dog to work with a handler or aiming to compete in field trials, guidance and instruction is offered by Sinead.

Training Opportunties

Training Ground

The ground used for lessons is the land situated around our farm and owned by ourselves. It is mainly arable, worked farmland yet we grow Sugarbeet and Mustard as well as having over-wintering stubble with wildflower mixes. All of which are great for walked-up, beating and field trial training, especially as we have a large family of hares! There are margins of maize, fields of potato, carrots and parsnips with lots of dykes, hedges and some fences. Once out of the winter months we can train in the woods which have different levels of cover within, such as bracken and grassy terrain. We have 3 different sized ponds with varying levels of difficulty to enter and cross. We also have access to other land nearby, such as open grassy fields, land on the wolds (for gradient terrain) and ponds with islands.

Gundog demonstrations

Sinead has been providing gundog demonstrations for local gun clubs, shows and agricultural events for a couple of years. The aim is usually to provide humour but also present the talent of a working gundog to the public. Regularly seen at the Bishop Wilton Show and at events such as the Countryside Day at Askham Bryan College, York. Contact Sinead to discuss requirements and availability.

Individual lessons

Mekoro Labradors is fully insured and offers 1-1 lessons which are suited around individual requirements. Usually knowledge regarding the dog and handler's ability and previous training is needed to decide upon the length of the session, especially if pre-set up is required (such as blinds). 1-1's are a good idea if you want help with a puppy or are new to training yourself. 1-1's are a great place to resolve problem behaviours or if you want specific guidance on an element of training, such as placeboard training, water retrieves, tackling fences. Prices are £35 per session and they are usually between 1hour and 1hour 30minutes, although longer sessions can be requested or recommended (dog ability dependent) for an additional cost.

Group lessons

If a handler would like to organise a small group lesson of between 2-4 people it is advised that all handlers/ dogs are of a similar ability to ensure the training is worthwhile to everyone, most importantly the dogs. A group lesson is usually scheduled for between 1.45 hours-2.5 hours (depending on the number of people) and costs £25 per person (if training on our ground, additional costs may apply if training elsewhere).

Residential Training

Dogs requiring long-term consistency can be provided with residential training. This is a limited form of training. It is recommended that the dog be left for a minimum of 3 weeks to allow for settling in before training can commence and a maximum of 6 weeks (in one block). A training schedule will be completed with aims/ goals of what the owner would like to be achieved in the time period given. Prices vary between £150- £200 a week depending on the nature of training and amount of time/input required.

Training Courses

From March 2018 training classes will resume similarly to previous years. These will be group sessions for a set time period, usually consisting of between 6-12 dogs (more advanced courses have less dogs). There will be a helper on the courses as well as Sinead and they are beneficial to watch other dogs and handlers as well as to train your own dog.

All training class details will be announced early March, bookings can be taken from then. The classes to run will be: 

March-May

  • 12 week Puppy Socialising and Training- gundog breeds only (10weeks- 12months old)
  • 4 sessions (bi-weekly) Pre-Novice Gundog Training
  • 4 sessions (bi-weekly) Novice/Advanced Gundog Training

July- August

  • 8 week Advanced Puppy (6months-18months)

August

  • 4 week Open Walked-Up Gundog Training (2 weeks on sugarbeet and 2 weeks on the moors with stone wall training).
  • 4 week Water Training for all Gundogs (must have had previous water experience)
  • 2 x Cold Game training days in sugarbeet

November-January

  • Introduction to shoot days- live shot game (Wednesday's from the middle of November)