Meet the authors Elsa Blomster and Lena Gunnarsson. We are dog instructors at our own dog school and small publishing company, Klickerförlaget (which in Swedish means the Clicker Publishers).
Throughout the years we have met hundreds of people who, in a way, have been our best tutors. The great variety of dogs and people have been a challenge to us, and have helped us in developing as instructors and dog trainers.
This blog will describe our training for field trials – in prosperity and adversity – and offer pieces of advice for solving problems. It will also contain a few exercises from the book Retrieving for All Occasions and some videos about encountering certain challenges in training the dogs and solving those. All our training is force free and reward based – using the clicker training philosophy.
We welcome you to follow us on this journey!
My gun dog training began rather haphazardly. When I bought my first dog Ludde I knew that I wanted a cream golden retriever and that we would take a course in everyday good behavior – that was all. Attending this course I came to realize how much fun dog training was, and immediately subscribed to several other courses. I was given my first dummy and was introduced to gundog training. My interest in dog training kept on increasing and I began training obedience and gun dog training, along with educating myself as an instructor.
After a while I understood that Ludde was not as fascinated with training as I was. He was, for his whole life, quite content with dazing on the couch, strolling in the woods and generally being cozy. Pretty soon the idea of another dog emerged, this time a working golden – and what a worker she is. Diesel and I have competed in obedience, rally obedience, tracking and field trial and obtained official qualifications in all these disciplines. With Diesel I’ve got a prize in the Swedish Open Class B-type cold game trial and competed in the highest class in working tests.
2015 I went to the UK and got a working golden, Seeker. With him I trained for working tests, trials and hunting. We also started at Swedish B-type cold game trial and got a third prize. Unfortunately I needed to find him a new home when my daughter was born since I didn’t trust his resource guarding around her.
Since August 2018 I’ve got a working labrador, Keen, who came to me when he was roughly 2.5 years old and then he already had a first prize in Swedish B-type cold game trial. Now we’re training for upcoming trials and have started a few working tests. We also participate in hunting days when we have the opportunity and hunt for example pheasant, duck, pidgeons, geese and rabbits.
I like to learn more all the time and regularly participate in courses, both with my own dogs and as an observer. I also like to travel to the UK, where I’ve attended several courses and been helping f ex carrying game at field trials. I also enjoy judging at the occasional working test when opportunity arises.
The “hunting part” i.e. gun dog training is the main part of our training. Both me and my dogs thoroughly enjoy it and I am so happy to have found a congenial and efficient way of training. And then when pupils say “Training this way is so positive and so pleasant, not needing to be harsh to my dog”, “Why didn’t I come to you earlier for retrieving training” and “You ought to write a book about it” – well, that certainly warms my heart and proves we are on the right track .
I’ve been an instructor for more than 14 years and have given courses in f ex basic every day obedience, puppy training, recall, obedience and positive gun dog training using the clicker philosphy. At the moment I primarily give gun dog classes, both in Sweden and abroad. Together with Lena Gunnarsson I own and run Klickerförlaget Göteborg AB, who spreads the word of positive dog training through books, videos, clinics and courses. We’ve also written the book Retrieving for All Occasions together.
I’ve got a masters degree in supply chain management and a bachelor in industrial enginering and my day job is as an organizational developer within IT in the construction business.
I’m also an accredited instrcutor (Foundation Asessor 1 – 3) through The Gundog Club in the UK England, a trust with only force free trainers. The Gun Dog Club aims to help gundog owners train their dogs successfully using humane, reward based training methods. They offer a graded training scheme which is a great way of measuring your progress. The grades create a series of achievable goals or targets to strive for. Each test is a little more challenging than the last. The Field Tests are non-competitive and gundogs do not need pedigree papers to enter.
I started the hunting oriented training because I felt obliged to let my cocker spaniel Totte work with what he was genetically designed to do. He was extremely interested in it, so I had to join him.
During the first yeas it was merely a liberal and pleasant business, without demands, carried out during our daily walks. It became a non-prestigious let-up from our regular obedience training. Totte suffers from a chronic disease, so I have no intentions of entering him in a field trial. We practice this expressly because we enjoy it, which is quite enough for me.
Eventually I became increasingly involved in the training, and we now work more systematically and goal-oriented. It is so much fun, especially seeing Totte’s focus on his task, his happiness, his stamina and experiencing co-operation and and the wonderful contact between us. He seems to be made for this (although he is not a working cocker spaniel).
Having become this dedicated to training we had to enlarge the family with the working cocker Tassla in the summer of 2012. Tassla has competed in FCI obedience class III. Obedience was was my biggest passion for quite some time, but now the hunting has become my primary focus. I’ve competed in working test, beginner trial type B and open class with Tassla (with two third prizes as a result) and I hunt with her as much as I can and have time to. I’ve got both hunters license and hunt over my own dog as much as possible. It’s so much fun and so difficult to both shoot and handle a dog! I’ve also had the opportunity to trial with a friends working cocker in winners class and the Swedish spaniel championship, which was a great experience and I learnt a lot. 2017 I got another working cocker, Quling, whom I’m currently training to become a trial and hunting dog in the future.
I have trained animals all my life, and dogs for the past 18 years. My own experience of training horses and dogs and educating people has taught me quite a lot about learning. For 20 years I have worked in a non-dog profession, supporting people to solve problems and encouraging them to take on challenges, which has made a confident coach out of me. Add the fact that I am essentially a journalist, I love to write – the step to co-writing a book was not a big one.
Elsa lacked a book to put into the hands of her retrieving-pupils. There was no book available that described retrieving training the way she wanted it. Only one thing to do for a determined lady – write one herself! So when she asked me if I wished to be part of the project, of course I did! And now we are rolling.
Our dogs all have their charming personalities and make sure we develop as dog trainers all the time.