Retriever Training

We offer extensive retriever training for companion hunting, hunt tests, and field trials.

    1. Puppy Basic Program

The Puppy Basic program is the basis of which good retrievers are built. Retrievers will be steady to shot, and reliably retrieves and delivers the birds to hand under a variety of hunting scenarios.

  • We begin during the first month with a thorough obedience   program that teaches your dog five commands: Sit, Down, Heel, Here, and Kennel. We train your retriever on a leash and then transition to off-leash obedience on an electronic collar. Basic Obedience is the foundation of a good retriever and a high priority is placed on this stage of training. We also introduce and expose your dog to birds (pigeons), gunfire, and swimming; and encourage the desire to retrieve with lots of fun bumpers. This process takes approximately one month, but can vary from dog to dog.
  • Next, we teach your retriever how to properly hold, drop, and fetch bumpers and birds on command. This process is important because it teaches the dog how to heel and deliver the birds to hand, and avoid problems such as playing, eating, or mouthing the birds. This process takes approximately one month, but can vary from dog to dog.
  • During the third month, we take the training that your dog has learned in the first two months and apply it to a basic retrieve in the field. We show your retriever how to retrieve on command and be steady until sent, how to hunt and find birds in cover, and how to reliably return your birds to hand. We apply this to both land and water. This process takes approximately one month, but can vary from dog to dog.
  • Once your dog understands the process of a basic retrieve, then we begin to introduce him or her to a variety of hunting scenarios. From dove hunting from a bucket over a stock pond, to duck hunting in a blind over a big spread of decoys, to goose hunting a field of Texas rags in lay-down blinds, we expose your retriever to every hunting scenario imaginable.Our goal in this stage is to try and familiarize your retriever with as many different set-ups as possible so that he or she can be comfortable in any setting that you might choose to hunt your dog in. This process takes approximately one month, but can vary from dog to dog.
The Puppy Basic Program is also designed so that your dog is prepared to run the basic level hunt test programs for both AKC (Junior) and HRC (Started). 
    2. Advanced Training
Many times in the field, we need a retriever that can mark and retrieve multiple birds in the field, and be able to take hand and whistle signals. The advanced stage of training takes approximately four to six months (in addition to the basic program) and prepares your retriever to perform at a level which will make you the envy of all your hunting buddies. Below is a breakdown of what is involved in the advanced training program:
  • Multiple Retrieves- Your retriever is taught how to watch and memorize the fall of multiple birds in the field, and retrieve them efficiently.
  • Blind Retrieves- This is the core of the advanced training program. Your retriever is taught how to take hand and whistle signals so that you can direct him or her to the fall of a bird that he or she didn't see fall.
  • Diversions- When your retriever is coming back from a retrieve during a hunt, sometimes we manage to shoot another bird down and we don't want them to switch birds. Your retriever is trained to finish the retrieve before going out for the diversion bird.
  • Walk-ups- When jump-shooting a duck pond or walking a fence line for doves, we train your retriever to be steady to shot so that he or she doesn't scare the birds or break before being sent to retrieve.
  • Honoring- Many of our hunting buddies have retrievers that they take with them to the field and it is important to teach our retriever that every bird that falls is not necessarily theirs to retrieve! Hence, we teach your retriever to 'honor' another dog's retrieve.
  • Upland Training (additional month of training required)- Retrievers are versatile and many owners enjoy hunting upland game such as quail and pheasant. We train your retriever to quarter and hunt for birds in cover, sit (on whistle) to flush and shot, and then retrieve the birds on command and deliver to hand.
The Advanced Program is designed to also prepare your retriever for the advanced levels of the hunt test programs- AKC (Senior and Master) and HRC (Seasoned, Finished, and Upland).