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Retriever Training

Tired of picking up your own birds? Once you’ve hunted with a well-trained retriever, you’ll never hunt without one. We provide retriever training in TN and MS. Our Retriever training classes will mold your dog into a skillful hunter. Formal training can begin at around 7 months for most puppies. Remember, development begins very early with a retriever. They are like empty sponges waiting to be filled. Be sure to put good things in. To help with that, we offer a Puppy School session. It’s a 1-on-1 session with us and your pup. We’ll go over everything you need to get started correctly. It helps you be more confident with developing your pup at home. Plus they advance further with it, which ends up saving training time and expense. Puppy School can be done anytime between 8-18 weeks of age. It helps you build the good habits and get in front of the bad habits to keep them from becoming a problem. 

bird hunting dog

Dogs begin with obedience training, collar-conditioning, and force-fetch. They progress to handling and marking drills. Before long, they are doing advanced marks and cold blinds on land and water. At completion, a finished retriever should be able to do multiple marks and handle reliably on land and water. They will be steady to shot, comfortable working with live birds, and experienced working with decoys. They are a solid hunting dog ready to go to the duck blind. The level to which this is extended depends on the dog and what the owner chooses, but is generally equivalent to AKC “Senior” or UKC “Seasoned” hunt-test level. They will be a solid hunting companion for life. We’ll work with you to ensure that you and your dog are working comfortably as a team. Our “Retriever Manual” will help guide you through the first few weeks at home as well.

We stress owner involvement. Put simply, no training classes are effective if life at home is not consistent with the training environment. In addition to teaching your dog new skills and perfecting existing ones, we will show you what needs to be done at home. We invite owners to watch or participate in their dog’s training. Local owners can come by to check in on the progress of their companion.

Owners that are too far to visit in person get periodic video updates so that they can keep an eye on how things are moving and what their dog is being taught. Whether in a duck blind or the living room, working effectively with your dog is a team effort. Keeping owners involved helps insure that they understand what is being taught and that they are confident when they return home.

We understand that even the most frequent hunters still have a pet for most of the year. We don’t forget the household obedience with the retrievers. Getting them to pick up birds is a big part of what we do – but, making sure they’re a joy for the rest of the year is just as important. The whole family should be able to enjoy a working dog.

retriever training

Hunt Tests

For dogs that are participating in finished retriever training, we offer hunt test handling to allow owners to earn bragging rights and increase the value their dogs. We participate in UKC and AKC tests in the spring and fall. Hunt tests are a great opportunity to see your dog perform in the spotlight with other highly trained retrievers. Ask for details about participating.

Puppy School

hunting dog training

Getting your retriever off to a good start is a huge help for his development. Many owners end up shying away from doing as much with their pup because they’re scared they’ll “mess him up”. This causes them to develop more slowly and confidence to decrease on both sides. Wondering about what you need to do? Our Puppy School will show you everything you need to ensure your pup is headed in the right direction. Sessions are done on an individual basis and take 1-2 hours. You and your pup come by and we’ll walk you through everything to get started right. It is absolutely the best time you can spend with your pup. He gets a good start, you feel more comfortable knowing things are being done right, and later training will move faster as a result. We tailor it to fit what benefits you best. For experienced owners, or older pups, we can do more advanced work. For new owners, or younger pups, we spend more time on the basics. Give us a call or email for details.

Tune Ups

Do the screws need to be tightened a little? For previously-trained retrievers, we offer a refresher course based exclusively on what you need. Whether it’s a general review to get ready for the season, or a few sessions dedicated to solve a specific problem, we’re glad to help however we can. Durations vary depending on what needs to be covered. Problems can often be corrected with a quick phone call or 1-on-1 session. Give us a call to discuss what’s going on.

What we will need from you:

  1. Vet Records: Dogs are required to be current on all vaccinations, including bordatella, rabies and leptospirosis. Bring a copy of your vet records showing that all are current
  2. Fecal Exam: Within two weeks of arrival. Bring documentation from your vet showing a negative fecal test.
  3. Current Flea / Tick and Heartworm medications: We will administer them during training monthly. Dogs must be current on medication before training begins. Please provide enough medication to last for the time the dog will stay with us. Any unused portion will be returned.

You are welcome to come for a visit whenever you would like. Our retriever training center is located in Tennessee and Mississippi. Please call or e-mail to schedule an appointment.

Payment for obedience training is due when the dog is picked up to go home. Invoices for retrieving are sent at the end of each month. Payment is due monthly. Final payment is due at pickup.

For all training programs, it is critical that the dog see consistent commands and enforcement when they return home. We’ll work with you as much as it takes to ensure that you understand exactly what to do when you leave. With a little effort, you and your dog will have years of enjoyment ahead.