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Gundog Trainers Academy

2025 GTA Handler's Course

2025 GTA Handler's Course

Regular price £2,500.00 GBP
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The GTA Handler's Course is an exciting opportunity to take your ethical, science-backed, non-coercive gundog training to the next level. It is for gundog handlers of all abilities, with any breed of gundog, looking to improve their training skills and develop their understanding of learning theory.

The Gundog Trainers Academy Handler's Course is suitable for you, if you... 

  • Have a gundog of any breed, any age and any ability
  • Are looking to learn more about gundog training
  • Want to improve your overall dog training skills
  • Want to dive into understanding more about learning theory
  • Are wondering if positive reinforcement only methods can really work with gundogs
  • Have a pet gundog and would like to use gundog training to enrich their life and harness their natural hunting and retrieving instincts
  • Would like to work your gundog in the field and want to experience a shoot day and gain an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of working gundogs
  • Are working towards your Gundog Club Graded Field Tests (G1-G5) and/or Kennel Club Working Gundog Certificate
  • Want to explore the Clicker Trainers Competency Assessment Programme (CAP)
  • Are committed to taking your training further in the future and would like to one day enrol on our Teacher's Course

The Handler's Course is made up of four modules. The dates for 2025 are as follows:

  • Module One - 10th to 12th March 2025
  • Module Two - 5th to 7th May 2025
  • Module Three - 14th to 16th July 2025
  • Module Four - 6th to 8th October 2025

The course is held at the Clicker Gundog Training Centre in Charlton, Worcestershire, WR10 3LQ. The purpose-built training facilities include a large indoor training area with classrooms, toilets and a kitchen. Outside, there is everything you could want for gundog training, including retrieving lanes, a jumping pen and fences, a large pond for water work, short grass and cover crops.

The Handler's Course covers everything you need to train a gundog.

The contents of each module will be tailored to those attending the course. Generally, Module One focuses more on the theory, and will help you to understand how dogs learn and how we can use clicker training to effectively communicate with our dogs and teach them the skills they need. There will still be plenty of practical handling too.

In Module Four, there will also be the opportunity to attend a live game training day at the Clicker Gundog shoot, which has been set up and managed for the sole purpose of training. You will be able to participate in beating or picking up with your dog, depending on their breed and your preference. You will also learn about shooting etiquette and how to prepare game for the table.

During the Handler's Course, you will be invited to take your Clicker Trainers Competency Assessment Programme (CAP) Level 1. This was developed by Kay Laurence at Learning About Dogs, and it is with her permission that we can assess our students and provide pass, merit or distinction certificates.

From 2024, students wishing to join the GTA Teacher's Course will be required to pass their Clicker Trainers Competency Assessment Programme (CAP) Level 1, as well as needing to complete the full Handler's Course. For more information on CAP and to see what is required for Level 1, please click here.

There will also be the opportunity to take one of The Gundog Club Field Tests with your dog. Prior to the start of the course, we would suggest you find out more about The Gundog Club grades to help you understand what the requirements are for each level and breed group.

On one evening per module, we go out to a local dog-friendly pub for an early meal, which is a good opportunity to relax and get to know each other in a more social setting.

Students booked onto our in-person courses also receive 10% off our online membership. If you would like to join the membership, please email members@gundogtrainersacademy.co.uk after enrolling on this course.

NOTE: If you choose to secure your place by paying the £500 deposit today, the remaining balance of £2,000 is to be paid in full at least one month before the beginning of the course. Payment plans are available, subject to a 5% administration fee. Please contact members@gundogtrainersacademy.co.uk to arrange.

 

 

 

📸 Photography credit Alice Loder Photography

FAQ

Is the Handler's Course right for me?

The Handler's Course is suitable for all gundog handlers - whether it is your hobby or job. It is also suitable for all breeds of gundog, puppies and those looking to embrace ethical, non-coercive training methods.

Do I need to budget for accommodation?

Unless you live locally, it is highly recommended that you plan to stay nearby for the duration of each module. There are plenty of dog-friendly pubs, campsites, Airbnbs and other accommodation options to suit all budgets within a reasonable travelling distance of the training site.

Why train with Helen and Jules?

Together Helen and Jules have over 50 years' dog training experience. Both are talented handlers and work and compete with their dogs. With Vizslas, Spaniels and Labradors between them, they understand gundog work from all aspects.

Most of all, Jules and Helen are deeply passionate about the way they train. They co-founded the Gundog Trainers Academy to support, nurture and encourage high standards of ethical, science based, non-coercive and effective methods of training for gundogs in the UK and overseas. Both are currently teaching the next generation of ethical gundog trainers through the GTA Teacher's Course and have successfully educated and instructed many other professional gundog and pet dog trainers on how to teach their proven methods in classes and to students. 

Does the Handler's Course include 121 coaching with Helen and Jules.

While the Handler's Course does not included 121 coaching from Helen and Jules, it is possible to book 121 sessions with them through their own gundog training businesses, Clicker Gundog and Teach Your Gundog.

Will I be qualified at the end?

While there are opportunities to take assessments such as CAP Level 1, Gundog Club Grades 1 to 5 and the KC WGC, the Handler's Course itself is not an accredited programme. Those who have attended the Handler's Course and passed CAP Level 1 will be invited to enrol on the GTA Teacher's Course, which is accredited with the ABTC.

  • Suitable for all gundog handlers and enthusiasts...

    This course is open to all gundog handlers. Even if you are not planning to become an accredited professional gundog trainer, this course will give you the structure and skills you need to progress your gundog training to the next level.

    We will teach you proven, science-based methods and strategies to implement. Along with a year's support and guidance to ensure you're implementing what you're learning and progressing on your gundog training journey.

  • Suitable for professional dog trainers...

    If you are already a dog trainer, or would like to become a qualified gundog training instructor and plan to take our Teacher's Course in the future, this course will go into greater depth of gundog handling skills. We will give you the why, when, what and how to train a gundog the Gundog Trainers Academy way.  

    After you have completed this course, you will then be invited to enrol on the Accreditation on Dummies course which will then teach you how to teach everything you have learnt in the Handler's Course to students.

What's included on the GTA Handler's Course?

Instructor led practical training

The GTA Handler's Course comprises four modules of three day instructor-led practical training for you and your gundog. Alongside classroom-based theory discussions, you and your dog will be working in a variety of terrain including woodland, cover, farmland, pasture, and water.

Assessment opportunities

During the course you will be able to explore the clicker trainers competency assessment programme (CAP), with the opportunity to take one of the CAP level assessment at the end of the course. At the end of the course, there will also be the opportunity for practical assessments (Gundog Club Graded Field Tests (G1-G5) and/or Kennel Club Working Gundog Certificate) available to all students.

Shoot day experience

The final module will also include exposure to live game and cold game, and everyone on the course will be invited to a training shoot day. This will allow you to experience a day in the shooting field either as a participant without your dog if they are not ready, or as a full handler and dog team beating or picking up.

Whether you are a pet dog trainer who has never trained a gundog before, or a gundog owner who has never learnt about learning theory there's no need to worry. We'll walk and talk you through everything you need to know.

On the Handler's Course you will learn about:    

  • Clicker training
  • Application of R+ strategies
  • Drive and motivation
  • Transitions
  • The power of cue driven behaviour
  • Isolating the cue
  • Troubleshooting
  • How to break down exercises
  • Arousal and management
  • Flexibility
  • Targets
  • Chains and sequences
  • Ethical gundog training the GTA way
  • How a shoot day is run and what is expected of working dogs 
  • ...and so much more

Got more question about the Handler's Course and if it is suitable for you and your dog? Please email members@gundogtrainersacademy.co.uk