But it really has so many permutations that it becomes impossible to answer unless a reply is "When its Ready" ! ..Even that Is not an answer to the person asking ,but it does have a grain of truth in it.
Often the euphoria of many who have had success during the Spring /Summer in competition Gun Dog Working tests with a Young dog would be in the belief that this is the time ?
Often there are many who take the approach "It will learn on the job" ,and by the end of the first season it will be Experienced?
So, "What age" is usually the next consideration/Question !
Well, An 8 year old dog that hasn't any previous training is most likely to behave on a shooting day like a 1 year old with the same level of Training ?
So Its Not an age entry level.
It cant be an experience level within a shoot environment with a 14 month old dog come August on Grouse/Hare/Rabbit ! (Earlier if its Pigeons) ..That would mean in our Game season the dog would have to been exposed to that shoot environment Last year ?.. Do the Arithmetic . The dog would have to be exposed to this when it was 8 weeks old or before it was born !
When/What time of year the Gun dog Is born plays a vital part in the Opportunities for experience or development training at a younger age than some .
A Gun Dog Puppy arriving in your life at 8 weeks old in September will be 9 months old at the start of the Working Test Season in April, but have the opportunity during December/January at aged 5/6 month old to experience game in season .
A Gun Dog Puppy arriving in your life at 8 weeks old in March will be 9 month old come the Shooting season for Pheasants but had all the opportunities during the summer months for Water Training in good weather ,but too young for even Puppy Working Tests during Apr/May/Jun/July.
So ..How do the Experts manage to get a Ftch no matter the day in the year it is born or even "When They Take their Gun Dog out Shooting" ?
Im sure its a management decision based on many factors other than "When" .
What about the many that have a great dog in the shooting field and never gave a thought about any management of time or training for seasoned game . ..Dont you just love them dogs .
The "Shooting Field" would have to be quantified . A driven Shoot on pheasants for a Picking up Dog behind 8 guns in sight of the dog with the guns firing 25 shots per gun at over 300 birds in the sky over a period of 40 minutes is vastly different to a dog walking at heel and one bird being flushed and one shot being fired .
It would also have to be quantified where a hunt involving the dog in front of One handler and only one piece of game being flushed and the dog commanded to stop as opposed to 10 dogs being hunted by 10 handlers in a line and 50 birds being flushed .
I have taken many 5 month old Spaniels on live walked up shoots and they have taken it in their stride . I have been asked to Train many that have not.
I have taken 5 month old HPRs on a Beating line and many folk thought I was a raving lunatic . I never told them I played a continuous loop recording of the shoot in the dogs kennel for 2 months ?
" When Can I take My Gun Dog Out Shooting ?"
If you have to ask ...Its Not ready ,neither are You .
(But You will,and the dog in spite of us will still have a good day)