Training — Philosophy
Training thoughtfully means seeing the world as your dog sees it.” Justin McGrail
Our approach has produced the best results time and time again. A bird dog of the finest kind does not come about accidentally. There are three core components...
Most knowledgeable bird dog people agree that today’s dogs are the best ever. Not that the past lacked great individuals, but today there are more of them available to anyone willing to do their homework and find the right breeding to match their lifestyles, hunting, and personal preferences.
Notice I said right breeding, not right breed. One thing that was immediately obvious in my training career is that within each breed there is great variance among individual dogs. As people, we like to categorize things. You can’t do that with sporting dog breeds. We owe much to dedicated breeders who consistently produce sound, healthy animals with great genetic talents. Finding the right match to you is important. Good genetics are very essential because with training we can only mold, shape and develop what we have to work with.
Solid Foundation of Fundamental Training
To get the most out of a great dog, they must be in tune with you, their handler and hunting partner. You need to have the right bond and become a team. When you hunt with your dog you are not a spectator but an active participant in the performance. What you do or don’t do is influencing your dog’s actions. Anyone who has witnessed superb dog work on a bird hunt will tell you it is a special thing to be part of. Generally, there is a good dog handler behind that great performer. Dog handling is not ordering a dogs nose where you think it belongs. Bird dog handling is an art form, which the best make look easy. But in truth, takes many years to become skilled at.
Part of being a capable handler means having the solid foundation of fundamental training. This requires ability to control your dog’s actions in an infinite range of situations and having the knowledge what to do or not do, helping them along.
Some of the key areas we focus on are:
- Teaching the “Whoa” command for pointing breeds
- Sit or “Hup” for retrievers and spaniels
- Achieving desired level of steadiness
- Searching for downed game after the shot and retrieving
- Range and hunting pattern
- General obedience
This is the area where many owners of good dogs have difficulty. Normal work and family commitments limit the amount of real hunting their dog gets each year. Our goal is to give your dog six seasons worth of experience by the time they are three years old.
Every truly great bird dog I’ve ever seen had one thing in common; they all hunted a lot, and I mean a lot! Wild birds are the best teacher there is and the more of them a young dog contacts the better they become. While we have better bred dogs more readily available today, the bird hunters of years past had the edge in this area. Only access to quality habitat with an abundance of wild birds will allow a talented dog to truly master the craft. We offer sporting dog owners the best of opportunity for their dogs.