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The Working Flatcoated Retriever Development Programme.


The FCRS is pleased to announce the launch of our new training programme, the Working Flatcoated Retriever Development Programme. The WFRDP was developed following the outcome of the online survey conducted in the autumn of 2023 which indicated that handlers wanted a training programme that was available nationally and that offered structured goals to work towards.

The WFRDP consists of 4 levels, each covering Control, Obedience, Hunting and Retrieving. You can read more about the different levels and what they encompass here.

A Guide to the Working Flatcoated Retriever Development Programme

The programme is designed to have something for everyone, so that: whether you are new to the sport of gundog work or an old hand, whether you have a pet dog who might benefit from using his nose and brain as he was bred to do, or a youngster you would like to train to work on a shoot, whether you are interested in Gundog Working Tests (or not), or whether you are aiming to run your dog in field trials, this programme has something for you.

Each level can be assessed in a number of different ways and will be certificated by the Society. Gundog training, indeed all dog training, is not something that is done once, passed and forgotten. It’s more like continuing professional development; skills that you and your dog will acquire but keep returning to, to revisit and practice together, so any level of the WFRDP may be repeated as wished. However as each level is achieved you will be offered ideas as to how to progress to the next level, what to aim for next.

There is also more than one pathway through the levels. Levels 0, 1, 2B and 3B all involve training on canvass dummies. Levels 2A and 3A are still in development by our Field Trial Sub Committee. 2A and 3A will cover the introduction of dogs to live game and progression to training on live game. Level 4 are our field trialing dogs. Some handlers may wish to train solely on dummies. Others will move interchangeably through the levels encompassing both dummies and game. Some will start on dummies and progress to game. Some will aim to test their skills in Gundog Working Tests or the Kennel Club Working Gundog Certificate on Dummies. Others may wish to take their Shooting Dog Certificate, their Kennel Club Show Gundog Working Certificate or their KC WGC on Game. (More information on the SDC can be found here. More information on the KC WGC on dummies and game and on the SGWC May be found on the Kennel Club Website).

Level 1 training is being undertaken by 40 dogs and handlers this summer at various venues around the country. Several handlers new to the sport are already working towards level 0 and ten or more handlers have embarked on level 3B training.

What is your goal? Whatever you are aiming for, we hope that the Society’s Working Flatcoated Retriever Development Programme will help you to achieve your goals with your dog, building their control, obedience, hunting and retrieving and in so doing, to strengthen your partnership. Do go to our Working Forms Section to find out more. Link to Working Forms