It can be a very frustrating experience to try to train a dog to retrieve during a hunt without the assistance of a professional dog trainer. Not only do you need to learn the training, but you need to apply it correctly for your dog to understand and master. Help your dog reach its full potential by signing up for gun dog training at Sorenson Kennels! Working with our experienced hunting dog trainers can help you and your dog meet your training goals.
Gun Dog & Retriever Training Programs
Similar to our Obedience Training Program, our retriever training mission focuses on positive reinforcement to ensure the dogs have fun while they learn in an effective way. We utilize the marker training technique, which is a science-based training method that uses treats and other rewards as motivation and to encourage good behavior.
At Sorenson Kennels, we train all retrievers and breeds to hunt. There are four different gun dog training programs to fit the needs of any and every hunting dog. Learn more about our programs below!
Puppy Head Start Program
The Puppy Head Start program is designed to introduce young dogs to the concept of retrieving. During the hunting puppy training, your young dog will be introduced to birds, water, and gunfire. Your puppy will also be introduced to the proper obedience commands. The age requirement for this hunting puppy training program is 13 weeks to six months.
Basics / Gun Dog Program
During the Basics/Gun Dog program, your dog will learn all the basic necessities to be a good gun dog. During retriever training, your dog will learn how to deliver bird to hand, retrieve long land and water marks, and be steady to the shot. Your dog will also be introduced to any hunt scenario you wish, such as duck hunting, bird hunting, etc.
Your dog will also be collar conditioned to all obedience commands. Collar conditioning is an off-leash training tool that reinforces the importance of following commands on an electronic collar. Eventually, with the proper training and techniques, dogs can be trained to transition from the e-collar to working off-leash when they are retrieving.
This gun dog training program is a mandatory three months in which your dog stays at our facility, but we encourage you to visit your dog! And be involved in the training.
Transition / Advanced Training Program
This program is designed for dogs that have completed the Basics/Gun Dog program and can compete at higher level hunt tests, or if you simply want a fully trained gun dog. During this advanced hunting dog training program, your dog will learn how to perform a blind retrieve and mark multiple birds, as well as be exposed to more challenging concepts.
Pre Hunting Season Tune-Up
This gun dog training is designed to get dogs ready for the upcoming hunting season. If your dog needs some reminders of their basics or to get in shape, this is the program for you. Your dog must have completed the Basics/Gun Dog training to enter this program. This tune-up takes a minimum of one month in which your dog stays at our facility, but you can visit your dog during that time.
Please contact us for more details and pricing for all hunting dog training programs.
What Are the Best Hunting Dogs?
There are several breeds that make good hunting dogs. The most important trait a good hunting dog must have is a strong desire to hunt/retrieve. If a dog doesn’t have a strong natural instinct it is difficult to make them a good hunting dog no matter what breed it is. Popular gun dogs include:
- Labrador Retrievers
- Golden Retrievers
- Chesapeake Bay Retrievers
- English Springer Spaniels
- English Pointers
- English Setters
- Irish Setters
Hunting Dog Tips
- The most important thing to do is research your puppy before buying it and ensure it is a good breeding. Make sure that the parents, grandparents, etc. are proven retrievers and hunting dogs.
- The age requirement for our hunting puppy training program is 13 weeks to six months; however, you can start retriever training as soon as you bring your puppy home! Just be sure not to throw too many retrieves for your little pup. 3-5 retrieves is a good number for small puppies to start at.
- Training equipment such as treats and dog whistles can help boost positive behaviors and help you communicate with your pet without yelling, dummies that are weighted like the actual game.
- Your hunting dog will need to be able to adjust quickly to new locations, terrain, and hunting situations, and this requires good socialization. You can help socialize your dog by:
- Taking them to new places and different terrain that will expose them to many new scents
- Exposing them to water, rain, and snow
- Exposing them to new people and other dogs
- Introducing them to new noises and equipment
On the Hunt
- Keep your dog dry while duck hunting when it is cold
- Have lots of water and keep your dog hydrated, especially when it’s warm
- Always know where your dog is at to avoid any accidents from happening
Why Work with Our Hunting Dog Trainers?
Tom Sorenson’s love for dogs is evident by the long list of awards he accumulated during his 45-year career as a professional retriever trainer, including the AKC Lifetime Achievement Award in Performance. Tom was a professional hunting dog trainer and handler with more than 50 AKC field trial champions, and he was included in the prestigious Retriever Hall of Fame. Tom won the 1973 National Retriever Championship, the most coveted prize in professional retriever field trials, with a magnificent Labrador named FC Bairds Centerville Sam.
There is no doubt that Tom Sorenson will go down in history as one of the top professional performance trainers and handlers in the country—and we are proud to carry on his legacy here at Sorenson Kennels! Tom’s grandson, Cody Sorenson, is following in his footsteps and is now the head Hunt Trainer.
Enroll Your Dog in Our Hunting Dog Programs
For 40 years, Tom Sorenson’s commitment to a higher standard of quality dog training and customer satisfaction stands true today in our family-owned operation. Come see for yourself!
Sign up for a training program with our experienced and reputable hunting dog trainers and achieve peak performance from your retriever. Please bring information from your veterinarian and/or current vaccination records for us to keep on file. Contact us today!