Labrador and Golden Retriever Training in Connecticut

Labrador Retriever Training in CTArguably, the Labrador Retriever is one of the most versatile hunting dogs in the world.   They are well suited to adverse weather conditions and very cold water.   They are an extremely intelligent breed with a strong work ethic.  Our Labrador Retriever Training Program consists of preparing your dog for both waterfowl and upland hunting.

Waterfowl Training

A trained retriever is the ultimate conservation tool.  However, few conditions test a retriever’s training like hunting waterfowl.   A duck that is wing tipped and falls in the tall cattails won’t likely end up in the bag without the help of a well trained retriever.

When it comes to waterfowl hunting, the AKC Retriever Hunt Test program has become the yardstick to measure a dog’s capabilities in the field and marsh.  

1. Basic Waterfowl Training Program

The purpose of this “Basic Training” program is to teach your dog the mechanics of multiple marks and handling.   There is an old saying in dog training – you can’t get it in the field, if you can’t get it in the yard.   No truer words have been spoken.  Dogs that complete the Basic Training Program are ready to pick up multiple marks and simple blinds on opening day.  Also for clients looking to extend their hunting season by running AKC or UKC Hunt Test — their dogs will be ready to run AKC Junior Hunt (JH) Tests and UKC Started Hunting Retriever (SHR) Tests upon completion of the “Basic Training” program.

Yard Work

  • Introduction to Marks
  • Introduction to Gunfire
  • Introduction to Water
  • Formal Obedience
  • E-Collar Conditioning
  • Trained Retrieve (aka – Force Fetch)
  • Force to Pile
  • Stop to Pile
  • Right, Left, and Back from Remote Sit
  • 3 Handed Casting
  • Single T
  • Double T
  • Disciplined Casting
Field Work

  • Single Marks
  • Line Steady
  • Introduction to Decoys
  • Introduction to Boat / Canoe
  • Double Marks on Land
  • Non-Cheating Single Marks on Water
  • Cheating Singles
  • Double Marks on Water
  • Swim-by

2. Intermediate Waterfowl Training Program

The purpose of the intermediate phase is to take your retriever from simple marks and handling drills in the yard to advanced marks and cold blinds in the field.  This can be one of the most exciting times while training your retriever. Dogs that complete the Intermediate program are ready to run AKC Senior Hunter (SH) Test and/or UKC Seasoned Tests.  

Land Work / Drills

  • Pattern Blinds
  • Pattern Blinds with Diversions
  • Wagon Wheel Drill
  • 8 Handed Casting
  • No-No Drills
  • Basic Cold Blinds
  • Triple Marks on Land
Water Work

  • Simple Cheating Singles
  • Channel Blinds
  • Complex Cheating Singles
  • Chinese Blinds
  • Tune-Up Drills
  • Doubles and Triple Marks on Water

3. Advanced Waterfowl Training ProgramRetriever Hunt Test Training

The emphasis during the Advanced Retriever Training phase is training your retriever to be a finished gun dog.   We focus on steadiness and willingness to handle on marks; multiple blinds and handle factors such as diversions, wind, terrain, and cover with ease. Dogs that complete this level of training are ready to run in AKC Master Hunter (MH) Tests or UKC Finished Tests.

Upland Hunting Dog Training

Many people use their Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers for upland hunting on grouse, woodcock and pheasant as well as waterfowl.  For years, only NAHRA and UKC included a “TRUE” upland component to the hunt test programs (that included actually finding, flushing and retrieving birds).  However, as of July 2013, the AKC has changed the format of their Spaniel Hunt Test Program to include ALL FLUSHING BREEDS.

1. Basic Upland Hunting Dog Training

All dogs that go through our program must complete obedience training, this is the foundation work that all hunting dog training is built upon. Dogs that complete our Basic Upland Program are ready to gun over and run AKC Senior Hunter Upland (SHU) Tests.

Yard Work

  • Formal Obedience
  • E-Collar Conditioning
  • Trained Retrieve (aka – Force Fetch)
  • Sit to Whistle
  • Force to Pile
  • Stop to Pile
  • Right, Left and Back from Remote Sit
  • 3 Handed Casting
  • Single T
  • Introduction to Quartering
Field Work

  • Introduction to Retrieving
  • Introduction to Birds
  • Introduction to Gunfire
  • Introduction to Cover
  • Introduction to Water
  • Single Marks on Water
  • Find / Flush / Chase and Retrieve Birds

 2. Advanced Upland Hunting Dog Training

If you are looking for a finished upland retriever, nothing will make you more proud than seeing your dog produce a bird with a strong flush and then seeing the dog sit to wing and shot or a dog that handles (performs a blind retrieve) on water and land. Retrievers that complete the Advanced Upland Hunting Dog Training are truly finished upland bird dogs and ready to run AKC Master Hunter Upland (MHU) Tests.

Yard Work

  • Advanced Quartering Work
  • Double T
  • Swim By
  • Disciplined Casting
  • Wagon Wheel Drills
Field Work

  • Steady to Wing and Shot
  • Cheating Singles
  • Pattern Blinds
  • Pattern Blinds with Diversions
  • Channel Blinds on Water
  • Cold Blinds

Training Terms:

  • Obedience Training  – All dogs that go through our program must complete obedience training, this is the foundation work that all other skills are built on.
  • Introduction to Birds  – We start our dogs off at a very early age with live birds in a flight pen.  This helps to bring out the dog’s PREY DRIVE.  Once we have developed a strong desire to chase and retrieve birds in the flight pen, we move the dog into light cover and eventually heavy cover where they will find and flush live clip wings and flyers.
  • Introduction to Guns – This is a critical area when it comes to dog training.  If done incorrectly, it can ruin a hunting dog for life.  We start with a Blank Pistol, then a 410, a 20 gauge shotgun and finally a 12 gauge.
  • Introduction to Water – We believe that no upland dog is complete unless it can retrieve downed birds equally on land and water.
  • Quartering –  When your dog completes our upland retriever program you will have a retriever that hunts enthusiastically and stays within gun range with little if any commands from you.  Our program fosters a retriever that checks in with each turn at the gun and uses the wind to locate and flush birds.   
  • Trained Retrieve – What good is a retriever if they won’t pick up and deliver a bird to hand?  We teach all of our dogs the HOLD command and the FETCH command.  We expect all dogs that go through our professional training program to properly deliver birds to hand.
  • Steady to Wing and Shot – If you are looking for a finished upland retriever, nothing will make you more proud than seeing your dog produce a bird with a strong flush and then seeing the dog sit to wing and shot.

“We train our Labs like Spaniels and our Spaniels like Labs.” – Geoffrey English

 

 

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