Fortiscorde Gundogs is a family run business where everyone gets involved…

Gary Watkins


Welcome to Fortiscorde Gundogs, I’m Gary Watkins the owner Fortiscorde with over 30 year experience of dog training. I’m a fully qualified NLP Practitioner which has enabled me to better understand the minds of both the dog and the handler, giving me a unique training style.

I am a former committee member of the Worcestershire Gundog Society.

We’ve always had dogs in our family and when friends and family noticed I had an affinity with their dogs and asked me to do some basic training with them…. I’ve never looked back. I later became interested in gundogs when we got Max, our first cocker spaniel nearly ten years ago. After attending one of the WGDS training sessions, I soon became a passionate member of the gundog fraternity. I love it – the great people, fantastic dogs and that fact that you never seem to stop learning about the different training styles. I really enjoy watching people learn – it’s the handler more than the dogs that need the training I’ve noticed!

As I’m a qualified personal coach, and I work hard to adapt my training style to the individuals particular learning style.

I love showing our dogs off at country shows along side some of our clients, its always a little scary but enjoyable day.

It has been a honest pleasure over the past 12 years to really help people with their dogs. During this time I have enjoyed building a team of excellent trainers that fully understand the Fortiscorde training methods and share our passion for working dogs.

Joanne Watkins

Owner & Puppy Trainer

Jo (Gary’s wife) manages all the administration, social media and manages all the 1-2-1 and group training.

Loving everything to do with the countryside, especially horses – gun dogs were the perfect choice for us.  The energy and drive of cocker spaniels keeps you on your toes, so with 8 dogs it’s never a dull moment in the Watkins household!

Owning and training dogs is a fulltime job and it’s definitely a family affair with their two older children Myles and Sophie helping out.

The Fortiscorde Team

Trainers and Crew

Andy James Profile Photo

Andy James


I first met Gary and his team in 2017 with my working cocker spaniel Isla when she was just a pup! 

After completing a 8 week puppy class with her, I fell in love with the benefits of gun dog training for working breeds and my passion grew.

Having worked through basic training and all group levels with Fortiscorde, I now have the pleasure of being with my girl every day in a calm and controlled manner as well as allowing her to fulfil her potential in the working field.
I am now the very proud owner of a beautiful cocker spaniel… and now have her son Charlie to bring on as well, which I am very excited about. 

Outside of working my dogs, I am a clinical manger for the NHS, a post I’ve worked towards and held for the last 16 years. 

I enjoy running, mountain biking and quality real ales in my spare time, as well as taking my dogs out for local walks in the hills and close to home. 

I’m passionate about bringing the best out of our furry friends, seeing them achieve all they can with their handlers is a pleasure to be part of! 

Ian Hadley


I’ve been a keen shooter for 25 years and always loved watching the dog’s working when out on a shoot. When I got my first spaniel, a Sprocker called Belle, I wanted to train her to work as a gun dog. I had my first lesson with Gary in 2016 and immediately fell in love with the training. I worked with Belle through Fortiscorde levels 1, 2 and 3 and she has become an excellent working dog. You will find us out on shoots most Saturdays from October through to February. It is the best feeling ever when you are out working with your dog. I now also have Belle’s son, Murphy, who is part way through his training and showing lots of promise.

When Gary asked me to become a part of Team Fortiscorde I jumped at the chance. It is rewarding helping others build up the same bond with their dogs as I have with mine, whether they intend to work them or just have them as well-behaved furry friend. Watching the confidence of the handlers grow as their dogs develop is amazing.

Away from shooting and dog training I am a qualified pyro technician, keen skier and follower of cricket and rugby.

Julie Thatcher


Julie is one of our main trainers at Fortiscorde. Julie is the Spaniel Field Trial Secretary for the Worcestershire Gundog Society and has been selected for the Welsh gundog team competing with her spaniels.

Julie competes at the highest levels with her dogs all across the country.

Julie is also a qualified Vet nurse.

Sophie Watkins sitting with Lemon Cocker Spaniel Tom

Sophie Watkins

Puppy boss 🙂
Social Media and marketing

Sophie is the daughter of Gary and Jo and she loves dogs, especially puppies!

So when it comes to Fortiscorde having a new litter, who is in charge and looks after the pups? Yep, Sophie.

She is amazing with them, caring for their and mums every need. She has even completed a dog first aid course and studied puppy care.

Every potential new owner has to be vetted by Sophie before they are chosen for one of our pups.

During the shooting season, Sophie is often seen out at shoots, beating and picking up with her cocker spaniel Tom.

Team Fortiscorde

There as so many people that are part of the Fortiscorde family….here are just a few of them.