While some trainers have a "one technique works for all dogs" approach, we understand that each dog has a unique personality and each one needs a training program tailored to their unique personality and talents. Because of this, we intentionally limit the number of dogs in our program. The training programs described below are designed to fit each owner and dog's needs/ability.
It is important to remember that all dogs mature and learn at different levels and speeds. Therefore, training time can vary depending on your dogs's natural instinct and ability.
Before a dog will be accepted into our training program, we require a completed release form, documentation that the dog is current with its rabies, distemper, parvo, and kennel cough (bordatello) vaccines, and payment for the first month's training.
Our release form is available below so you can complete it in the convenience of your home or office.
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Click Here to download the release form, print it out, and legibly fill in the all of the yellow-highlighted, required information.
Scan or take a picture of the release form along with your dogs vaccination documentation and email them to us or bring them with you when you bring your dog for training.
We highly recommend that you come to Waterfowl Widowmakers regularly while your dog is in training. This allows you to see the progress of your dog, and allows our trainers to show you how to handle and manage your dog. It's our goal to teach each owner how to handle their dog in order to enjoy the benefits of its training. This is a critical step in helping to transition your dog from one in training, to obeying you, and then continuing to obey you once you get home. It also allows you to ask questions about behavior and progress while your dog is in training. Prescheduled, owner training sessions are included with all of our training programs.
We limit the number of dogs in our training program to ensure that every dog gets the required attention and custom training. To reserve a spot for your dog, please contact us as soon as possible and we will get you and your dog added to our waiting list.
Our specialty is retriever training. It is extremely rewarding to train dogs to do what they love and to be part of earning titles which validate their abilities. We train for both waterfowl & upland hunting, as well as training for AKC & UKC Hunt Test, Field Trial, and SRS competitions. We have access to thousands of acres of training grounds with various terrains and bodies of water. This helps to ensure that the dogs we are training are exposed to as many hunting/testing scenarios as possible.
Basic Retriever Training
*4 month minimum training contract required. Dog must be at least 6 months old to participate.
This is the most important part of retriever training and is the foundation of all retriever training to come. Our basic retriever training program consists of basic obedience on and off-leash, whistle commands, collar conditioning, force fetch (hold, fetch, and drop), and basic marking concepts on land and water. Your dog will be introduced to gunshots, decoys, live birds, dog blinds and stands, and a variety of hunting settings.
When a dog completes our basic retriever training program, it will be obedient to verbal and whistle commands, deliver birds to hand and be retrieving out to 100 yards or more on single marked retrieves, on land and in water. They also will be reasonably steady to shot.
Most dogs are also beginning to learn the basics of a blind retrieve by using hand and whistle signals.
At the completion of our basic retriever program, your dog should be capable of handling basic hunting situations, and successfully compete in Started and Junior level hunt tests.
If you wish to pursue more advanced training, the foundations are in place to move to the next level which is multiple marks, blind retrieves and other advanced concepts.
Transition Retriever Training
Our transition retriever program is for dogs that have completed the basic retriever program. It normally takes a 4 to 6 month period to make it through transition. It is important to remember that much like people, dogs learn at different paces, and actual training time will vary depending on your dog's natural ability and maturity level.
During transition your dog will learn a variety of new concepts and strengthen ones that they have already learned. Dogs in the transition retriever program will learn 3-handed casting, remote sit, and be forced to the pile. A variety of complex drills are used during this time to teach your dog the skills of running blind retrieves on both land and water. Your dog will be introduced to difficult marking scenarios as well. Your dog will also learn the concepts of honoring, diversion birds, and walk-ups.
When your dog completes our transition retriever program, it will be able to complete difficult multiple marking concepts, will handle smoothly, be steady, and honor another dog's work. Your dog will be able to handle most situations that may arise in an average days hunt and will have the skills necessary to compete in Seasoned and Senior level hunt tests.
Finished Retriever Training
Our finished retriever program includes perfected handling, literal casting, carrying a straight line, land and water triples and quads, and how to fight the factors. During the finished program, your dog will learn advanced marking concepts and advanced blind retrieves, with emphasis on precise marking, handling and straight lines through cover, difficult terrain and water. Hunting scenarios will include exposure to poison birds, blinds under the arc, inline marks, etc. By this point in the program your dog will be retrieving multiple marks over 250 yards and running blinds in excess of 300 yards.
When your dog completes this program, it will be prepared to compete in Finished and Master level hunt tests.
Basic Obedience Training
Waterfowl Widowmakers also offers a two-month Basic Obedience program for all breeds of medium to large size dogs. This program is for clients who don't hunt, but want an obedient companion.
*We recommend waiting until your dog is at least six months old before beginning this program.
Obedience training is one of the best things you can do for your dog and yourself. It is the key to having a great dog, and the foundation for all future training. Training opens up a line of communication between you and your dog. This communication is necessary to instruct your dog about what you want it to do.
It is extremely important for your dog to start off on the right foot. In order to have a dog that everyone wants to be around, you must start with obedience.
During Waterfowl Widowmaker's Basic Obedience program, we will teach your dog the following commands: sit, down, heal, here, place, and kennel. All dogs begin with obedience on lead. At the conclusion of this program, your dog will comply with all of these commands off lead and at a distance. Your dog will also be taught general manners and what not to do, such as excessive barking, jumping up on people, play biting, etc.