Quick learning – the most obvious attribute. Youngster walks and runs early; is rarely clumsy even as a pup, and picks up all lessons very quickly.
Problem-solving ability – easily works out how to do things such as carrying awkward objects or climbing fences; is usually a great escape artist.
Confidence – adapts to new situations; friendly towards strangers and other dogs; never cowers and rarely feels the need to bark.
Eye contact – looks directly at you and to you a lot; is quite happy to sit still watching you do things; always looks at you when hearing the whistle, being given a lesson, and so on. Does a lot of
mutual adoration gazes with you (very gratifying)
Scenting ability – always has nose down, wherever you are; finds and brings you stuff from miles away (apples from orchard, dead things); always turns nose into the wind when quartering and
works a back wind correctly without having to be taught.
Concentration – is able to take direction on retrieves from a very early age; rarely forgets things and can hold a mark, sometimes for days.
Competitive spirit – always the natural leader of any group of dogs; doesn’t let other dogs have his retrieves; thrives on any sort of pressure.
Submission – the final, most elusive and most important quality of a top
dog. Despite having huge natural self-possession and independent ability, it is willing to accept your leadership and to work as a team with you.
Gundog class – Training a puppy