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Basic Retriever Training:

(Includes Advanced Obedience, 4-5 Months Total)


A dog that has completed the basic retriever training program will be able to compete in a hunt test at the junior level and go on its first real hunt. This program produces a dog that walks at heel (off leash) with its owner to the designated hunting spot and sits next to its owner patiently waiting for birds to come in.


When you shoot, the dog “marks” the fall and remains in the sitting position at your side until you send the dog to retrieve the bird. The dog returns to your side and sits in the heel position with the bird in its mouth until you tell the dog to release the bird.


***This program is designed for dogs who are retrieving at the time they are dropped off. Not every dog is capable of making it through basic retriever training; retriever desire and sensitivity are factors in your dog's ability to complete training.***




Basic retriever training Includes:

  • Basic obedience

  • Advanced (off leash) obedience

  • “Hold”command: This keeps your dog from chewing or spitting your birds as it brings them back.

  • Force Fetch: A command to have your dog pick a bird up off the ground. (Traditional force fetch training consisted of 4-5 steps or phases, this placed a lot of pressure on the dog to produce behavior that he did'nt understand.  My Force fetch cosistists of 24 low pressure phases.  Breaking the force fetch down into a longer period of time in easier to understand steps sets your dog up for success.)

  • Steadying: Teaching your dog not to go on the retrieve until you say its name to release.

  • Plenty of gunfire and live birds (If you find that your dog is “gunshy,” don't worry.  This is typically easy to fix. 90% of dogs on average can overcome fear of gunshots and other loud noises.)

  • 85-100+ yard retrieves in water and on land, teaching your dog to follow the gun barrel when you say mark.

  • Honoring- your dog will be able to sit steady at your side as another dog retrieves, making it so that you can hunt with your friends and their dogs.

  • Double Concept (double retrieves at short distance with bumpers)

  • Water confidence.

  • Diversion birds and diversion shots.


Force Fetch-  Watch a short clip of Maggie the Vizsla working through my 24 phase low pressure force fetch.  

Force Fetch- bringing it all together.  Watch Kane the yellow Lab put it all together as he transitions from the force fetch table to the field.

Marking in the Field- The final month of retriever training consists of learning to mark birds fall in the field.  At compeltion your dog will be able to consistently mark falls up to 100 yards ensuring you get your bird, every time. 

Advanced Retriever Training

(6 Months of training to be completed after basic retriever training)

After completing the advanced retriever program your dog will be ready to compete in a senior level hunt test. A dog that has completed this course accomplishes everything mentioned in my basic retriever training program and much more. During this program your dog will be taught to run blind retrieves on land and in water.

A dog capable of running a blind retrieve is an invaluable resource to a hunter, as your dog will not always see where your bird falls. Being able to send your dog on a blind retrieve ensures that you get your bird delivered to your hand every time. (No more throwing rocks.)



During this program, I introduce more advanced marks as well as doubles and triples. A poison bird, or a diversion bird, is a bird that is shot closer to the dog’s position while you send him to retrieve a blind at a further distance. This is helpful when trying to send your dog to pick up an injured bird over a dead bird, and in other hunting scenarios.

I sometimes suggest that dogs complete Basic Retriever, then get their first hunting season under their belts before they begin this program, but it depends on the dog. I find that dogs who have used their basic retriever training in a real hunting scenario typically have a better attitude and understanding during advanced retriever.


Advanced Retriever Training Includes:

  • Blind Retrieves: Casting or hand signals to your downed bird

  • Swim by: De-cheating in water

  • Marking doubles in the field at 0-120 yards.  Teaching of easy for short birds and way out for long birds.

  • Marking Quads in the yard with bumpers.

  • "No" off marks to run blinds, or pick up alternate birds.




Master/ Finished Level Training

This program is designed for the dog who already has their advanced level titles, but is preparing for complex concepts that we typically only see in competition work.  This program is billed at a discounted rate for dogs who already possess a finished or master pass.