How to Help Gun Dogs Train Themselves, Taking Advantage of Early Condtioned Learning
Winning Ways: Training Your Pointing Breed Dog for Hunting and Competition by Jack Sharkey
Training the Versatile Hunting Dog
Best Way to Train Your Gun Dog: The Delmar Smith Method
Over the last year I had done a lot of reading on bird dog training and field trial competitions. The above books are very good. As I read them, I thought what a great understanding of the continental breeds and how to train them these authors have.
I have visited with most of the California field trial dog trainers over the last year while at different field trial events. They are a great group of people. Kind and caring and qualified to train a good Vizsla to a field championship.
This week I chose Bailey's field trial trainer and my mentor in this great sport and activity.
Randy and I visited over a few days last week. I went out to his kennels on Hastings Island. We hit it off very well. He did a short field evaluation of Bailey to see what kind of dog he had to work with.
He reminded me of the authors of the above books - professional and a man who really understands these dogs and how to develop them to their greatest potential.
Bailey at 2 years old is like the 18-year-old high school top athlete just graduating primary school and in prime physical condition.
Bailey is a hunter. There is no doubting that.
Joe Lanlois, Bailey's first trainer, told me once (Bailey was maybe 10 months old) while we were standing in a cow pasture, "Rod, Bailey is a German Shorthair in a red coat. Bailey is as tough as any Shorthair I have come across. You have a great dog."
I thought of the branches of the military. (I was a "military brat" growing up.) If Bailey were human, he would have gone and joined the Marines, the hardest and toughest boot camp in the services.
In a month, Randy and I will sit down and see if Bailey has what it takes to be a field champion. I know Randy will not BS me if Bailey doesn't have "it." Bailey started "boot camp" last Monday.
It is important to note that not all dogs mature at the same pace. If an owner has a good prospect, but the dog is not yet ready for more structured training, Randy will not take the dog into his advanced program. Rather, he will give the owner suggestions as to what he/she can do to provide the dog the necessary foundation and experience needed for further training.
If an owner has a nice young field prospect and can afford to leave their dog with Randy to develop and train, he will gladly take the dog and bring it along. This is important because a field trial prospect is developed differently. To be competitive in later life the dog needs conditioning, horseback handling, patterning, bird exposure and open country development. Randy can provide this level of training more readily—and with more consistency and insight than most owners.
I trust Randy with my dog. I'd trust him with my life. That is how trust is with me.
Also from Randy's website:
"Spanning 40 years of experience, Randy Berry of Von Steuben Kennels has successfully trained over 250 dogs for companion hunting. He has finished 23 AKC hunt test Master Hunters and over 23 AKC Field Champions. 2009 marks the year in which Lizzie, trained and handled by Randy, became the #1 GSP in the country in Open Limited Gun Dog. Lizzie's success is a product of Randy's dedication and high standard of training—the very same standard that he commits to every dog in his care. Add Randy's quiet style of professional handling and the combination has made Lizzie a top winning GSP in 2009.
If you are looking for a professional trainer with a high standard of ethics; a trainer who will care for your dog as his own; one who judges his success based on your dog's success, this describes Randy.
Please take your time and enjoy our website. "
Link to his website: