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Shawn Sims

Shawn Sims

I grew up hunting deer and guiding deer hunters in Bullock County, Alabama. Until, one day, a buddy of mine convinced me to go duck hunting with him and I fell in love with it immediately. No one in our hunting group had a retriever and it became clear pretty quickly that a retriever would be a valuable asset for retrieving the ducks we were shooting in those Alabama swamps and stick ponds. So, I told my wife at the end of that duck season that I needed a retriever to pick up the ducks for me. I got home from work that spring and she had bought me a little, yellow, female lab we named Casey. That started my training journey. Fortunately, I worked a seasonal job that afforded me plenty of off-time from July through February so I was able to spend hours and hours working with that young dog and researching training techniques. I made a lot of mistakes along the way but I wound up with a nice retriever that would pick up every duck that we shot. 

A couple years later, after moving to Austell, GA, I had so many friends that wanted a puppy out of Casey that I decided to breed her. While looking for a stud, I learned about hunt tests. My wife and I decided to go visit one to see what all of the fuss was about. We drove to Zebulan, GA and watched the Atlanta Retriever Club Started test. I was convinced that my dog could pass Started. We then moved over to watch Senior and Master, and I realized that Casey and I still had a lot to learn.

My competitive nature kicked in and I went home and became obsessed with finding a way to successfully compete in Hunt Tests. I began researching advanced training techniques, talking with other trainers, learning about health clearances, and studying titles and pedigrees. Casey learned a lot and was a great wood duck hunting companion, but in order to compete, I decided to get a new puppy that I could start off on the right foot. Enter Drake. As I was training and competing with Drake, people who had seen Casey in action and were now seeing Drake's success, began asking me to train their dogs and were referring others to me. What started as a dog here and there, grew to the point that we made the decision to move to Hogansville, GA so that I would have more property to train on. I built a kennel and bought a dog trailer, training and competing during all of my available off-time.  

By 2013, I had so many dogs in training and wait-listed, that I decided to leave the security of my other job, and begin training full-time. What was once a hobby, has now become a career.

Over the years, I have had the privilege to train a lot of wonderful dogs. I've trained dogs to be obedient and have manners in the house; retrievers to fetch ducks, geese, and/or pheasants for their owners or guides during hunting season; and retrievers to successfully compete in all levels of AKC and UKC Hunt Tests, Super Retriever Series events, and Field Trials. From 2021 to 2023, I have earned AKC Field Trial placements with 15 different golden retrievers.

I can honestly say, I love what I do for a living and I look forward to what the future holds. Training techniques and tools are constantly evolving, and I continue to seek ways to grow as a trainer so I can do my part to help each dog that comes through my kennel reach its maximum potential.

                                                                                                                                      -Shawn

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