We start in September on the partridge, on a shoot with challenging ground, where the dogs really need to use their noses. Then move on to partridge/duck/pheasant for the rest of the season where the dogs must be steady during drives and mark well. Runners are always their favourite, and training days or trials have given them access to a wider range of ground and flying game. At a shoot having trained dogs that handle is important, because I can get my dogs to the area of the difficult ones that the gun is certain fell. It's all about retrieving the game as quickly as possible so that it can be humanely dispatched. Then we get home and I always enjoy the fruits of our labours - partridge breast is my favourite. But that's it over for this year, now to get the dogs back into dummies and preparing for the test season.