Gundog training – Steadiness

Steadiness is like obedience, but much, much more. Top gundog trainer Ricky Moloney keeps his gundogs steady on a shoot day.

For steadiness we are going back to what we have been doing really from eight to ten months of age. Therefore Ricky has already laid his foundations.

Coming out into the shooting field today, Rickey expects two of his dogs Den and Cuba to know the job at this stage. e

Den runs just before the command
Den runs just before the command

Den did run in today. Ricky sends Den quickly for wounded birds but as a side effect Den decided to go before the command was issued. That’s not a problem for Ricky. As soon as Ricky growls, Den knew he had done wrong. Den stops and looks at Ricky when this happens. In turn that is Ricky’s side effect. He has created that and will overcome it.

Ricky wants him to be sharp on marked game. The quicker the is dog off on a bird, especially when it is running, the quicker it will be put into the bag. The longer you delay the more chance that bird has.

Rickey explains the fundamentals of steadliness
Ricky explains the fundamentals of steadliness

Gemma, another dog is let to retrieve a bird the other side of a wall.

The dead bird on the side of the wall wasn’t going anywhere. Ricky says to Gemma “Is it dead?”.

The bird is dead, so it was an opportunity for Ricky to show the dogs they can hang on and wait because there is another dog to retrieve. Not every retrieve is going to be theirs.

Gemma is sent to expect a bird
Gemma is sent to expect a bird

Ricky Moloney runs Ribblesdale Labradors. This series on gundog training tips is brought to you by Skinners Petfoods, maker of the Field & Trial range of gundog feeds. Visit

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