I have had 2 dogs from DH and will continue to buy from them. My friends have started buying from them as well. They produce solid dogs that are very athletic and easy to train. A few things that are worth mentioning. Dh dogs are smaller than most. Females are 40-50lbs and males are 50-60lbs. I like this size but some don't. The dogs are extremely driven and can be trained by any method and will be successful in most games. Milner of course recommends positive training but they, of course, respond to any method.
As far as positive training, I went down that road and attended his seminar and went to a few tower shoots there. I talk to the trainers there pretty frequently. Learning this method has made me 5 times the trainer I was. HOWEVER, I went back to the collar. Having exact timed correction at a distance was too much for me to ignore. I recommend learning from Milner as he is a wealth of imformation. Just bc you learn his techniques and theories doesnt mean you cant use others. Part of the problem ios that Milner does not have a true program to follow. He teaches a set of techniques to use and his seminar is full of theory. For someone trying to train a gun dog it is simply not enough information in my opinion. If he would produce a program like the Wildrose Way but instead use his positive techniques then I think more people would be successful. But it is hard to train a gun dog by simply learning theory and a few drills. Having said that, I did find most of his techniques to be extremely quick and efficient. His whistle stop, delivery to hand, long unseen cripple are all very efficient and easy.
If you have specific questions about sires I can probably give you some insight into them. I have seen pups from them and even handled a few of the sires. I can also ask the trainer about specific litters.
I should also add that Milner has been very good to me. He will answer ant if my questions by email or his preferred method on his forum. His solutions are usually spot on. He understands k9 behavior and bang read dogs better than most. So i find him extremely helpful and will continue to support him.
I have a pup from Duckhill and I think he does breed good dogs. My little girl is 42 lbs at 19 months and is a little ball of fire. I think we should be running Master level HT by the end of next summer. She has been very easy and fun to train although she is very sensitive and needs to be handled with kid gloves. With that being said, she does respond well to low amounts of pressure and has thrived in the Hillmann/Lardy programs.
I got into the Hllmann and Lardy after I tried to do Milner's positive training. Like Bob, I found it just wasn't enough. The theory is great and his stuff also helped me become a much better trainer but IMO there's just not enough structure there. Just like most things, Milner's training method has some diamonds and chunks of coal. If you're interested in positive training I would check him out and I would also check out Lorie Jolly of Rosehill Retrievers. I don't know a ton about Lorie but I am definitely going to look into her seminars and book. She uses what she calls motivational methods (not all positive). She has a couple of MHs and has trained a couple of FC/AFCs in the past (I assume with more commonly used methods). http://www.rosehillretrievers.com/book.html
Also of interest for motivational training would be Michael Ellis (protection dogs). Great for theory http://michaelellisschool.com/lecture.htm
I train on property belonging to a guy who recently purchased 2 DH dogs. Both females, small but well built, both run very hard and have all the natural talent they need for the makings of excellent gun dogs and certainly hunt test dogs.
As for pedigrees, the issue of titles arises after you import particular British lines and continue those lines here in the states. These guys, myself included, rarely have interests in American trials or tests, and are just watching the pedigrees closely based on the dogs' they are breeding performance and the puppies performances. Even still, I understand that this isn't as close to a "guaranteed good dog" as getting an FC MH GRCH etc for the same $.
I think Golden Retrievers are a better bet.:D
I must buy one or two of those!!Quote:
Even still, I understand that this isn't as close to a "guaranteed good dog" as getting an FC MH GRCH etc for the same $.
Personally I think too much can be read into pedigrees; outside of the health status, all they indicate is the possible ability level of which the dog might be capable. What you wind up with after training and a bit of field experience will be the decider and is in my experience most definitely not guaranteed. I've seen dogs with pretty ordinary pedigrees (and no pedigree at all) do outstanding work, and so called top class dogs fall at the first hurdle, in one case literally so.
I think the 80:20 rule applies with dogs, both in breeding and training.
Too many puppies are being bred for salability instead of usability. The phenomenon of the 'popular sire' being used to sell pups skews our bloodlines too far in one direction.
With availability of so many health tests today, there are so many sires being under utilized, and far too many sires being overused.