| Age** This is based on our started dog program, but every dog is different
|Puppy Socialization/Intro to Retrieving
||8 weeks to 5 months+
|| Depends on the dog
||Intro to water, tall grass, play retrieving, guns, decoys, wings, basics of positive reinforcement
| Obedience 1
||5 – 7 months
|| 4 – 6 weeks
|| Use of a slip lead to teach sit, sit in place, heel, come, “ok” for release command
||6 – 8 months
|| 6 – 8 weeks
|| Obedience 1 with addition an organization of a single retrieve
||7 months and older
|| 4 – 6 weeks
|| Usually for dogs with bad habits, or trouble dogs; usually involves positive reinforcement training with the aid of an e-collar
|Basic Retrieving course
||5 – 8 months+
||3 -5 months
||Single retrieve, double retrieves, introduction to blind retrieve, all on land and water, more decoys, more birds, and more guns
| Advanced Retrieving course
||10 + months
|| 4 – 6 months
|| Stopping and casting with whistle and hand signals, on land and water, longer blind retrieves, and more complicated retrieving scenarios; distance/duration determined by you and your dog
| Blood-trailing or Shed finding
||6 + months
|| 1 – 4 months
||Building of hunt drive, intro to blood-trailing or shed finding in grass, thicker cover, and on long trails
Puppy Socialization/Introduction Course for Retrievers
Our puppy socialization course mirrors the same program we use for started dogs. We begin at 8 weeks of and usually finished this stage at about 5 months of age. During this timeframe, your puppy is introduced to people and dogs at our kennels, making many new friends. After the initial shock of relocation is passed, they will be introduced to water, play retrieving, decoys, tall grass, wings, a 209 primer pistol, and the basics of positive reinforcement. Some people don’t have the time to dedicate to their young retrievers, and this can cause big issues with their training development. I have raised and trained young retrievers for many years, and this socialization course is designed to help prepare them for their next few months of training. If anything can be said about a retriever I have raised, I assure you that they love to retrieve. This may sound like something that comes natural to a “LABRADOR RETRIEVER”, but take it from me, imprinting work is very, very, very important for a dog trained with positive response training techniques. This portion of training is not complicated, and many people choose to do it themselves. However, if you don’t have time to do the basic work, we will take pups in at a younger age. At the end of the day, your retriever’s job is to pick something up and bring it to you. We believe this timeframe establishes that principle.
Obedience Courses (we accept all dogs except toy and miniature breeds):
1) Basic obedience for dogs generally under 7 months of age that do not have 1000 bad habits already. This is generally a 4 -6 week course. We use a slip lead to teach the dog sit, sit in place (sit when you are out to about 15 feet away), heel, come, and “OK”, which is the release command. At the end of training, we generally have your dog where we can let him/her drag the leash while doing these commands. The middle of the 3rd week, and upon course completion are the best times for your private sessions.
At the end of the day, some dogs love to work for people and love to do things with people. If you have a young dog that is like this the first course might be your best choice.
2) Basic obedience with a single retrieve. This course usually takes 6 – 8 weeks. This course covers everything in the first course plus adds a single retrieve on command. The first weeks are spent encouraging a retrieve to hand. The next weeks are spent organizing obedience. The final weeks are spent organizing the retrieve and obedience together. Your private sessions are encouraged during the 4th week, and when your dog is ready to return home.
Some dogs need a bit more than praise as a reward. This is where the single retrieve comes in place. If a dog gets praise and a retrieve as a reward for doing their work, they will generally obey commands smoother, due to the higher reward. The trick is developing drive for the retrieve….they have to enjoy the retrieve if it is going to be the reward.
3) The third course is obedience with electric collar conditioning. This course is for dogs around 7 months of age and older that have numerous bad habits, and/or are out of control. The first 4 weeks of this course are spent going over obedience with a slip lead, while the next 2 weeks are spent conditioning the dog with the e-collar so they understand the entire concept of collar corrections. The final time is spent enforcing all commands with multiple handlers and distraction dogs. This course covers sit, heel, come, down and “OK”, for the release command.
Finally, some dogs have been allowed too much freedom, pushing boundaries to the limit. This lands them in boot camp. Over years of doing obedience work on many dogs, the success rate varies. As owners, you have lots of homework to do when your dog returns home. Owners must be super consistent, doing lots of sessions with the dog. You must ensure that the lead is on, and pressure is applied accordingly, along with praise (remember, this is usually a dog with many bad habits, and numerous memories on how they think things should work). The issues occur when your dog returns to home territory, where they can challenge quite a bit. Some owners do not apply the correct amount of leash pressure. This usually ends up with a testy, mischievous dog. When an e-collar is used, pressure applying is much easier, as there is no need for a physical tug or correction on the owners part. The older, more mischievous dogs take to it much better. Therefore, the positive results are much higher when it comes to the dog doing their obedience on their home turf with distractions.
Basic Retrieving Course
Upon completion of the obedience course, we start our basic retrieving course. This takes 3 to 5 months depending on the dog’s drive and willingness to work while under control. This course covers single and double retrieves on land, and in water. It also includes introduction to blind retrieves, guns, and more decoys.
We have been asked numerous times to simply do obedience for clients, so they can train the retrieving part. Clients will say “My family and I need the obedience most importantly, then we will train the rest.” It doesn’t always work that way. If your dog is expected to retrieve, this is how we do it.
When your dog comes in for basic retriever training, we will evaluate him/her to make sure they posses the basic foundation needed to move forward into retriever training. Some dogs need more imprinting work, more shooting over, more bird work, more water work, or more grass confidence work, etc. There is no need for us to move forward into obedience training with a retriever if he/she doesn’t have the needed basic retrieving foundation which we can organize. If the foundation is not there, we cannot organize the retrieve. Many people request obedience training first, then they want to go into retriever training. Our program does not work well with this approach. If we teach obedience from day one, taking your dog’s freedom away, many of them will have no desire to work, retrieve, and/or deliver the bumper back to us. This approach makes us the bad guys for setting previously unknown limits and boundaries. However, if we spend time getting your dog familiar with us by playing fetch, (teaching him/her to do simple retrieving tasks while they have no idea there are being trained), then it is much easier and more successful doing obedience, and organizing retrieve desire and skills all at once.
Advanced Retrieving Course
Upon completion of our advanced retrieving course, your dog will be stopping and sitting on whistle command. Your dog will also learn to take directional casts on land and water. We also strengthen multiple marks, by casting on and off to retrieve the one you choose first, longer blind retrieves, and other complicated retrieving scenarios. This course can be from 4 to 6 months, depending on you and your dog, and more importantly how far you wish to control your dog.
Blood-Trail and Shed Training
We also offer blood-trail and shed training as well. This usually takes from 1-4 months. This is very specialized and customized training. We will work with your dog to help him/her meet your requirements. We build “hunt drive” to a huge level, then train the dog based off of their hunt drive. The higher the hunt drive, the better the dog generally does in blood trail-training. If your dog has a huge hunt drive upon arrival, training duration should be shorter. If your dog has no or low hunt drive, we will attempt to build this as high as we can moving forward. If we do not see the dog’s hunt drive increase after 4 weeks of attempting to build it, we will recommend the dog be scratched from the program.
Hunt drive is described as “a dog’s desire to search for an object, when the object is out of the dog’s sight”. In other words, if we throw a ball into 4 foot tall grass, how long will your dog “HUNT” for it until they give up on finding it? If they are going to be expected to follow an odor trail for a couple of hundred yards or more, they must possess a high desire to “HUNT”. Your dog is hunting for the reward at the end of the trail without seeing it…..only smelling it.
This is not the only way to train a blood dog, but it is our most commonly used technique. It’s also the one that we have by far been most successful with. Please watch the video below. Please contact us if you would like to have your dog trained for these tasks.
Should your dog require medical treatment at any time, for any reason we see fit, we reserve the right to seek a Veterinarian’s assistance. This includes, but is not limited to, any injury your dog receives while in training, boarding, or transport. It also includes injuries sustained from all additional actvities they may be involved while at Ace’s Gun Dog Kennels. Any and all fees that your dog accrues during his involvement with Ace’s Gun Dog Kennels are your responsibility.
All dogs must be in good health, and accompanied by a copy of current shot records from your vet. They must be current on Rabies, Canine Distemper, Hepatitis, Para Influenza, Parvovirus, Bordetella, and deworming. Training fees cover flea and tick prevention, as well as heartworm prevention. Intestinal worming is recommended every 2 months and costs $20 per dog.