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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've never been willing to send my dogs off for field training, because I don't want to miss out on that time for obedience training since that is our main focus, and plus I would miss them so much!

But I am very likely going away for a month to school for a month this summer, and instead of just boarding the dogs I thought this would be a great chance to go ahead and get some training in. I still don't want to send them off for several months, so I am looking for someone that would be willing to take dogs in for just a month or so. I know most good trainers require a minimum time commitment, so does anyone know of someone they would recommend that would take dogs in for only a month? Or is this really not a good idea?

A note about the dogs I would be sending: Conner has been force fetched, collar conditioned, and has been running up to 100 yard marks. I would like to get him some more practice running land marks and he needs a lot more water experience. He is a soft dog, so I would need someone that can handle that. I would also have Flip, who would be a year old by then. He does not have a much field experience at all yet, but he is not a soft dog and has much more drive than Conner. I might be willing to part with him for a little longer.
 

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I shoot, they fetch.
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IT depends on what your goals are for the dogs, and what your capabilities are to get them there. If you think Flip has the potential to do higher level tests, then it would certainly be worth the effort--and I would leave him in for more than a month!! With good basics, you can then work at moving the dog ahead in progressively more difficult marking concepts, etc. Depending on the dog, that could take from 3 to 6 months to be done through swimby and moving into decheating and pattern blinds.
I will qualify this by saying that at this point I have never sent a dog in for basics, but I have worked with a pro, and with the next breeding I have planned will likely send that pup in as we will have GOALS!!! The pro mentored me through FF, CC, FTP etc with Breeze, as well as intermittent trouble shooting. I'll go out and gun for her for a day, and get my one-on-one at the end of it. We're going down to her winter grounds in Alabama for a week in March to get a bit of a jump on the spring tests. I'm also lucky to have a terrific training group full of very experienced people-two have GMH dogs (one of them is judging at our MN this year), others have QAA dogs, and one won the Open FT at the Golden national two years ago. ;) We try to always do a drill to teach the dogs something when we train, and then incorporate that into a marking setup to consolidate the learning. Applying knowledge in a systematic way is important, and if you don't have that voice of experience to guide you through the process, then your dog can be held back--I learned that with my boy, and the now years of repairing the mistakes and holes in his training. Such a difference between running him, and running my girly!

Of course, I am in an entirely different country, so cannot give you too much advice as to who would be good. Lots of folks are training on the Spillway at this time of year, so there are many non-resident pros in your area at the moment as well. Over on RTF there was mention of a fellow called Ed Thibodeaux who has experience with Goldens. I have watched Mark Smith (South Lake Kennels) on the line in a trial at the Cattle Ranch in AL and was VERY impressed. Dogs performed extremely well, and were happy, focused, and eager about their work. He was also very quiet and deliberate on the line, which is something I like to see. He runs dogs in field trials, but basics are basics--the dogs need the same logical progression to learn those foundation skills.

I would recommend going out for a day of training to observe before you commit to leaving your dog with someone. Check out how their client dogs are living, how much work the dogs get on a daily basis, and how they interact with the dogs. Remember, in the retriever game, anyone can call themself a pro, and there are plenty who should not! So I would also want to see a record of the achievements of dogs they have trained--look them up in Entry Express and see their success rate. For example, there was someone at some of the AKC tests I was at who was running a truck full of dogs (not Goldens!!) that should have been able to do the work, but not a one of them could hunt their way out of a wet paper bag, let alone run a blind. He didn't have a single dog pass a single test at any of the three test weekends I saw him at, running multiple dogs in JH and SH. Some of them were still running JH who had run JH with Breeze the summer before! A waste of the clients' $. He has one MH titled dog who I have since found out was trained and usually run by someone else!! So, caveat emptor!!!
 

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Well said Shelly. I think a trainer would take a dog for a month for tune up work, especially if you tell them the circumstances. The pro I sent Breeze to gave a price break for dogs left over three months, but would have taken her for just a month if that is what we wanted. I know of two pros I would recommend, but I don't figure you would want to send your dogs to the West coast.
 

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I shoot, they fetch.
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Lots of folks send the dog in for a tune up--which could work well for Conner since he already has the simple tools in place. My friend and I might be transporting a dog down just for March, so she can get up to speed for the start of test season; she's well into transition, and her owner wants her to get some good early water work. But if the dog hasn't had basics yet, I'd say bite the bullet and stick it out to have it done well.
A good way to approach it is to put the dogs in for the month for an "evaluation" and at the end of that time see if there is the potential there that you want to cultivate by continuing with the pro. Even if it helps to establish the relationship so that you can go out an day train a couple of times a week, you will at least have that resource available to you moving forward.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks so much for the advice. One problem I'm seeing is that many of the trainers here go up North for the summer. Here are some trainers' websites I've been looking at that are within a one day drive for me:

http://www.gundogretrievertraining.com/index.html
Briarmarsh Kennels - This is the only local trainer I could find. So the obvious benefit would be the close location. A few people in Texas have recommended them to me. The down side is I doubt they have any experience with goldens, but the up side would be I could see if they would let me leave the dogs there during the week and bring them home for the weekends.

http://www.hiddenlakeretrievers.com/
This one is about three hours from my home. I know a lady in the Houston area that sends her goldens there.


The following three I got from the GRCA:

http://www.crosscreekkennel.com/

http://www.tiogaretrievers.com/

http://www.turtlecreeksportingdogs.com/
This one is the farthest from me (over twelve hours) and much pricier than the others.

I have read really good things about Ed Thibodeaux also (http://www.satinbelleretrievers.com/index.html), and he only lives about an hour from me, but I also read that he will be making a 4 month summer trip up north. Maybe I could work something out with him when he comes back in the fall.

If anyone has anything to say about the above trainers let me know.
 

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I shoot, they fetch.
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Well, the Hidden Lake fellow worked for Danny Farmer, and got his start on the Vinwood grounds--that is a good thing!!!! Farmer is one of the top people in the game.

Tioga is Angie Becker--she is also very experienced and has been at this a while. Of course she mainly has labs, but I know that she has been training some from show lines recently, so she is accustonmed to something other than the stereotypical field lab.

The southern pros go north for the summer for the same reason the northern pros go south in the winter--the conditions are better for consistent training. While our pros are escaping snow drifts and hard water, once it warms up down south it can be too hot to do the repetitive drills involved in basics, or to run big marks, and the reptilian wildlife gets more active, and more dangerous. Going north is better for the dogs' training and safety!
 

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the party's crashing us
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Jodie, when are the dates you are leaving?
PM me.
 

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and be sure they provide MAJOR tick protection up here :(
 

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I was a member of the Greater Houston Golden Retriever Club before I moved to Dallas. Kirk Wichman of Hidden Lake Retrievers has successfully trained and competed with several of the club members goldens from the JH to MH levels. The Club is having its annual Hunt Test April 10th at Kirk's place, so it may be a good opportunity for you to drive over and take a look.

I made the hard decision to send my golden away for training. A hard decision, but the right one. He's from show lines, has his JH and is currently training with pro Patsy Martin for his SH. She's a wonderful trainer and he's having a blast. She's about an 1 1/2 hrs north of Dallas. She normally goes north for the summer, but will be staying here for this summer.

Ann
"Scout" - Hyegold John Wayn Lucky Txn JH WC CCA
http://www.k9data.com/pedigree.asp?ID=204385
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I was a member of the Greater Houston Golden Retriever Club before I moved to Dallas. Kirk Wichman of Hidden Lake Retrievers has successfully trained and competed with several of the club members goldens from the JH to MH levels. The Club is having its annual Hunt Test April 10th at Kirk's place, so it may be a good opportunity for you to drive over and take a look.

I made the hard decision to send my golden away for training. A hard decision, but the right one. He's from show lines, has his JH and is currently training with pro Patsy Martin for his SH. She's a wonderful trainer and he's having a blast. She's about an 1 1/2 hrs north of Dallas. She normally goes north for the summer, but will be staying here for this summer.

Ann
"Scout" - Hyegold John Wayn Lucky Txn JH WC CCA
http://www.k9data.com/pedigree.asp?ID=204385

Does Patsy Martin have a website? I think I've heard of her...I believe I read that Pat Jones used her.

Would you send a dog from show lines to Kirk? Conner isn't a conformation dog, but he does have more of that temperment.
 

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Yes, Pat Jones did use Patsy for her golden. Patsy doesn't have a website, but her email address is here: [email protected]

Yes, I would send a conformation dog to Kirk.

But wherever you decide, I would recommend seeing if you could come out and watch or throw birds for a training session so that you're comfortable that the trainer, their methods and the facility is the right fit for your dog.
 

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Just curious what "that temperament" is. I spend a lot of time hanging out around conformation shows these days, and I've seen such a wide variety of temperament, with the most common one being dominant, active, alert and eager that I wonder what you consider a "conformation temperament".


Does Patsy Martin have a website? I think I've heard of her...I believe I read that Pat Jones used her.

Would you send a dog from show lines to Kirk? Conner isn't a conformation dog, but he does have more of that temperment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just curious what "that temperament" is. I spend a lot of time hanging out around conformation shows these days, and I've seen such a wide variety of temperament, with the most common one being dominant, active, alert and eager that I wonder what you consider a "conformation temperament".
I realized as I was typing that I probably shouldn't have used that term, since it was stereotyping. I was using my own experiences of what differences I have seen in training goldens from field vs. conformation lines. My experience with conformation line golden temperment tends to be what you wrote above, plus with not as much drive as a field golden and softer.

So let me take back my earlier comment and just describe Conner's temperment instead of stereotyping:
Conner is high energy, but not necessarily really high drive (some people think they're the same thing but they're very different.) He isn't very brave, so needs encouragement to do things he thinks are scary. He gets discouraged easily if he isn't correct often enough. He is absolutely crazy for ducks, but thinks being sent to retrieve something plastic is kind of stupid.
 

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I am thrilled to see someone making that comment. Way too many people confuse high drive with high energy, and as you said, they are VERY different.
Conner sounds like he will need a very understanding trainer!


Conner is high energy, but not necessarily really high drive (some people think they're the same thing but they're very different.) .
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I took Conner to a beginning retriever training camp last year in Georgia. I told the trainer I wasn't expecting much from him, that he had no retrieve desire at all, and I just wanted to give him the chance once to do what goldens are supposed to do. Boy did he surprise everybody there! We let him chase a live duck, and something just clicked in him. For the rest of that weekend he was a maniac dog, all obedience training out the window, all he cared about was getting to those ducks. The trainer said she'd be thrilled if I'd leave him there to get his JH, thought he could probably get his SH despite being older.

Took him to another trainer a few months later in south Texas for a few days of training. He was just as much of a monster there, nearly pulled the trainer off her feet trying to get to the birds, and barking and howling with the best of them when put up in the truck (so unlike him!). She also said she thought he'd have no problem getting a JH, maybe SH.

I have had him seem to get kind of lost and shut down on me on water work a couple of times. I think he just needs more experience on water (he loves to swim, just seems to get a little unsure of himself out there sometimes). Unfortunately I don't have access to much water to practice on, and with any water in this area I do worry about gators.
 

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IMO, there are few things as exciting as seeing that instinct kick in, especially when you're not expecting it! The first time I saw it in calm, mild mannered, lazy Tito I about fell over. He whined and vibrated and pulled on his leash so hard my hands were raw from holding him back, none of which he had ever done before.
It's amazing, it's just so IN them.



I took Conner to a beginning retriever training camp last year in Georgia. I told the trainer I wasn't expecting much from him, that he had no retrieve desire at all, and I just wanted to give him the chance once to do what goldens are supposed to do. Boy did he surprise everybody there! We let him chase a live duck, and something just clicked in him. For the rest of that weekend he was a maniac dog, all obedience training out the window, all he cared about was getting to those ducks. The trainer said she'd be thrilled if I'd leave him there to get his JH, thought he could probably get his SH despite being older.

Took him to another trainer a few months later in south Texas for a few days of training. He was just as much of a monster there, nearly pulled the trainer off her feet trying to get to the birds, and barking and howling with the best of them when put up in the truck (so unlike him!). She also said she thought he'd have no problem getting a JH, maybe SH.

I have had him seem to get kind of lost and shut down on me on water work a couple of times. I think he just needs more experience on water (he loves to swim, just seems to get a little unsure of himself out there sometimes). Unfortunately I don't have access to much water to practice on, and with any water in this area I do worry about gators.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well, it's not looking good so far. I heard back from Kirk today, and he is only taking in dogs with a 4-6 month contract. I never did hear back from the trainer here locally, but it does say on the website that they require a minimum of 6 months. So that's 0-2.

While I was at class in Houston last night I was speaking with another golden owner. Her dog is a Hootie son, and she's looking at sending her dog to the Miners this summer. Too far for me, but I did find out that their winter training grounds are within driving distance for me (I knew they came to Texas for the winter but Texas is a really big state so I figured it wouldn't be near me). But that doesn't help me now for what I'm looking for.
 

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What about Anne McGuire in Katy? She's a golden owner, trainer and has a boarding facility. When I was in Houston, I sent my boy to her for 6 weeks for the basics/force fetch to get him ready for his JH. Her email: [email protected]

Ann
Dallas
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I was actually going to try Anne next. I know her from obedience and I've taken the dogs out to her place a few times.
 
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