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Hi I have a 6 month old yellow lab and she knows all her basic commands and loves to retrieve but I feel that I don't have the experience (Junior in HS) and Knowledge for my pup to reach her full potential without the guidance of a pro trainer or dog training mentor. She has a good pedigree and hunting background. My expectations are for her to be a very obedient waterfowl hunting retriever, competitive in Hunt Tests and a great companion. I love her to death and just want her to be the best she can be. I want the trainer to train me and the dog and not just the dog. What is "Best" Waterfowl/Hunt test trainer in MN and/or the country that meets my needs? I have flying privileges so the location of training grounds is not big deal but I would prefer to drive instead of fly my dog but if there's a better place far away I'm ok with that. I'm located in Minnesota. I have researched a couple good ones like Granite Ledge Kennels, Fine line retrievers, Dokken Kennels, and Lonny Taylor. Any opinions? Also I emailed Mike Lardy and he told me Right start kennel and Fine line were good ones.

If you could give me some feedback on where you think the best place to send her is that would mean the world! Thanks!
 

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Most of the better ones will have headed south by now.

You mention Jim Van Engen and Rick Stawski. Jim is one of the best young dog trainers in the Country, maybe the best. Never known him to run hunt tests, but you could certainly run s dog that he has trained in hunt tests if you wanted. Rick is very good as well.

If you can get your dog on his truck, I'd say go with Jim.

Others to consider...
Lynn Troy
Steve Yozamp
Dave Rorem
Marc Patton

If you expand to Wisconsin, a lot more great trainers there as well

Check out...
http://www.prta.net/PRTA/State.html
 

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So your goals are just HT and hunting then. I think you are going a bit overboard. Jim Van Engen and Rick Stawski are two of the best trainers in the world but they are more Field Trial focused. These are competitions that over the years have diverted form HT and hunting a great bit.

This is going to have two issues. One they are very expensive. $800-1000 per month. Neither of them have a pup on there truck that cost less then $5,000.00. The second thing is their programs focus on preparing dogs to do FT work. Long marks and blinds in specific patterns. They pay a bit less attention to line manors and some of the concepts you will see in hunt tests. Also dogs that grow up doing 200-350 yard marks often have challenges when going back to HT marks at 50-100. They tend to over run birds or set up big hunts to fast and can sometimes run into problems like switching.

They will be great markers and blind running dogs which are great skills to have and you can cut them down to run HT but it is a bit of over kill I think. I would look more at Hunt test trainers which will run 40-50% less and will be more local. I don't know the MN area so I cannot recommend anyone but just suggesting you change your search a bit.
 

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Hi I have a 6 month old yellow lab and she knows all her basic commands and loves to retrieve but I feel that I don't have the experience (Junior in HS) and Knowledge for my pup to reach her full potential without the guidance of a pro trainer or dog training mentor. She has a good pedigree and hunting background. My expectations are for her to be a very obedient waterfowl hunting retriever, competitive in Hunt Tests and a great companion. I love her to death and just want her to be the best she can be. I want the trainer to train me and the dog and not just the dog. What is "Best" Waterfowl/Hunt test trainer in MN and/or the country that meets my needs? I have flying privileges so the location of training grounds is not big deal but I would prefer to drive instead of fly my dog but if there's a better place far away I'm ok with that. I'm located in Minnesota. I have researched a couple good ones like Granite Ledge Kennels, Fine line retrievers, Dokken Kennels, and Lonny Taylor. Any opinions? Also I emailed Mike Lardy and he told me Right start kennel and Fine line were good ones.

If you could give me some feedback on where you think the best place to send her is that would mean the world! Thanks!
The bolded type says it all. You nee to let us know where in the state you are to best offer recommendations. There are many very good trainers in MN and location can be important to you to get the most out of the experience.

And I would avoid using " best" I your query. Very subjective.

We are blessed with an abundance of good dog people and trainers in this state. Finding one that fits your needs will not be hard, but it needs to be a good fit for all to get the most out of the training.
 

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This isn't accurate, I had a conversation with Rick Stawski a few days ago about taking a pup from me next year, his prices are south of 800. There is limited space on his truck and he mentioned he takes a limited amount of dogs per experience level, just so he doesn't have a range of dogs all over the board which would make setting up on a daily basis a PIA, but pedigree and cost of a pup were not part of the equation.

So your goals are just HT and hunting then. I think you are going a bit overboard. Jim Van Engen and Rick Stawski are two of the best trainers in the world but they are more Field Trial focused. These are competitions that over the years have diverted form HT and hunting a great bit.

This is going to have two issues. One they are very expensive. $800-1000 per month. Neither of them have a pup on there truck that cost less then $5,000.00. The second thing is their programs focus on preparing dogs to do FT work. Long marks and blinds in specific patterns. They pay a bit less attention to line manors and some of the concepts you will see in hunt tests. Also dogs that grow up doing 200-350 yard marks often have challenges when going back to HT marks at 50-100. They tend to over run birds or set up big hunts to fast and can sometimes run into problems like switching.

They will be great markers and blind running dogs which are great skills to have and you can cut them down to run HT but it is a bit of over kill I think. I would look more at Hunt test trainers which will run 40-50% less and will be more local. I don't know the MN area so I cannot recommend anyone but just suggesting you change your search a bit.
 

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To expand on my above statement, he was absolutely great to talk with and extremely helpful to me and I'm not a client (yet). First class trainer and person IMO.
 

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If you indeed want someone who will mentor you as well as train you dog, you are going to want someone who is relatively near to you. This forum is a great place to start, but don't overlook the the best resources that are right in you back yard. Minnesota is blessed with a very active retriever community. There are 15-20 retriever clubs in the state or just over the border in WI, IA, ND and SD. You can find many of the clubs listed on the Greater Minnesota Hunt Test Association's website http://www.gmhta.org/. Most of those clubs have training days year round. I encourage you to contact one near you and get involved. Many will share their recommendations of local pros more readily in a one-on-one conversation than over a public forum. You may also find someone there who will mentor you while you are searching for a pro.

Our hunt test season starts rolling in early May and continues through mid-September. There's a Hunt Test or Field Trial pretty much every weekend somewhere in the state during that time period. I encourage you to go to some of the tests and watch the pros you are considering using. Watch how they interact with their dogs. Are the dogs happy when they come to the line? Do they look healthy? Talk to the pros and decide if that's someone you would want to work with.

Good luck!
 

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Disagree with Nate-C about FT people being less interested in line manners etc. Line manners are critical in running FT. Not likely a dog will do well in FT unless the line manners are excellent. Often the handler has to refine their send by as little as 1% to get it right. The line manners are part of close cooperative teamwork between handler and dog or the team is not going to get to the next series Also --- Blinds are not in specific patterns once a dog gets out of basic training.

My pups sired out of my NFC was less than $5000 --- so that is a bit off in reality also. Not trying to sell anything since the litters are fully sold with waiting lists through next October 2016.

All depends on where you are now with your dog and where you want to go. I have two young dogs with RSK (Right Start Kennels) at the moment. The three main Pros Jim and Craig and Brian as the best you can get anywhere in the USA IMO There are those three Pros at RSK plus several assistants. Two of them are on their way south (slow start to head south due to bad weather in Wisconsin) tomorrow to west of the Thomasville area.

Be happy to talk to you -- write me at e-mail below. I only look at RTF a couple times a week ---and only look at PMs about once a month --- so better to write me privately or I won't find it. I can suggest a couple different options that might be useful to you so you can get started. But need to know much more about you and your goals before suggesting any.

Meantime ---go to Mike Lardy' s website and print his flow chart (it is free) and
study - http://totalretriever.com/images/FlowChartDownload.pdf

It will give you something to think about for sequencing. It is what you need to teach your dog the basic needed skills ----regardless of whether you want to hunt, or do HT or enter FT . I can give you more information on ideas for how to use that flow chart also if you write me at my address below.

Happy Retrieving

Marilyn J Fender, PhD
Windstorm Retrievers - Wisconsin and Georgia
Home of 1996 NFC FC AFC Storm’s Riptide Star (Rascal)
and birthplace to QAA of his son 2000 CNAFC CFC CAFC Quik Windstorm (Chip)
and a few others growing up and soon ready to compete ----
[email protected]
 

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So your goals are just HT and hunting then. I think you are going a bit overboard. Jim Van Engen and Rick Stawski are two of the best trainers in the world but they are more Field Trial focused. These are competitions that over the years have diverted form HT and hunting a great bit.

This is going to have two issues. One they are very expensive. $800-1000 per month. Neither of them have a pup on there truck that cost less then $5,000.00. The second thing is their programs focus on preparing dogs to do FT work. Long marks and blinds in specific patterns. They pay a bit less attention to line manors and some of the concepts you will see in hunt tests. Also dogs that grow up doing 200-350 yard marks often have challenges when going back to HT marks at 50-100. They tend to over run birds or set up big hunts to fast and can sometimes run into problems like switching.

They will be great markers and blind running dogs which are great skills to have and you can cut them down to run HT but it is a bit of over kill I think. I would look more at Hunt test trainers which will run 40-50% less and will be more local. I don't know the MN area so I cannot recommend anyone but just suggesting you change your search a bit.
Lulz. Lest someone reads this and assumes because it is on the internets it must be true, a little reality.

First, there is not much relationship between a trainer's skill and what he or she charges. A good HT or FT pro will probably charge about the same, in the range above, but there are poor HT pros who charge way more per month than an A-list FT pro. There are very few pros of any kind who would charge 50% less, it is simply not enough to pay for all the equipment, help, etc required to train dogs.

Second, the pro will likely never ask what you paid for your pup and the majority any pro's truck are likely less than $5,000 as that is the relatively new common. If anything, any pro would probably encourage you to buy five $1,000 pups instead of one $5,000 pup.

Third, FTs are not in specific patterns which is why it often takes so long for a dog to be ready for AA stakes and line manners are an integral part of any pro's basics in both HT and FT. There are some dogs that have done well in FTs in spite of poor line manners but they are few and far between and a dog that is not a team player at the line is not likely to be successful.

Finally, a dog that can mark at 250-300 yards will be able to mark at 50 yards. It may take a little bit of adjustment to get a steady stream of them but if they can mark, they are not going to run wildly to 300 yards before establishing a hunt. However, it is quite possible that a dog that can mark at 50 yards won't be able to mark at 300 yards, even if you try to stretch them out.

My advice is to find some good amateurs in your area with whom you can train, although most may be south for the winter. There are tons of them in MN. If you get a better feel for it and want to go the pro route, find a good pro who has a record of success on the basics--HT or FT doesn't really matter so much--but is as close as possible so you can go train with them as often as possible. You will really learn a lot in doing so and will be more inclined to do it if it is not too much of a hassle. But if you feel the right fit is someone farther away, I know lots of folks who work with trainers that are two days driving away with great success.
 

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So your goals are just HT and hunting then. I think you are going a bit overboard. Jim Van Engen and Rick Stawski are two of the best trainers in the world but they are more Field Trial focused. These are competitions that over the years have diverted form HT and hunting a great bit.

This is going to have two issues. One they are very expensive. $800-1000 per month. Neither of them have a pup on there truck that cost less then $5,000.00. The second thing is their programs focus on preparing dogs to do FT work. Long marks and blinds in specific patterns. They pay a bit less attention to line manors and some of the concepts you will see in hunt tests. Also dogs that grow up doing 200-350 yard marks often have challenges when going back to HT marks at 50-100. They tend to over run birds or set up big hunts to fast and can sometimes run into problems like switching.

They will be great markers and blind running dogs which are great skills to have and you can cut them down to run HT but it is a bit of over kill I think. I would look more at Hunt test trainers which will run 40-50% less and will be more local. I don't know the MN area so I cannot recommend anyone but just suggesting you change your search a bit.

Not sure where your getting your info from but it couldn't be farther from the truth, I have seen way more bad line mannered dogs with HT pro's than FT pro's. Iv'e had 4 different dogs with Rick at different times and all combined they didn't cost $5000.00 and lastly I think most dogs have a much easier time transitioning from FT to HT
 

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For the op's consideration
An open forum like this gets lots of opinions
Welcome good luck with the pup and you get out of this exactly what you put in.
The basics no matter if you have a future National Champ or a true hunting dog are the same.
The difference is who does the basics !
The area of Mn and Wi is blessed with many fine trainers both professional and amateur. Your in a good area.
The problem today is many of those folks have gone south to train due to your winter conditions

The top guys are the top for a reason - they work hard with good methods.
It's difficult but not impossible to get a dog with these top pros

Good luck with your journey and ask questions
Dk
 

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Where are you located ? City ? Here is my cell 715-220-3186 give me a call. At one time or another I have trained with most all the people mentioned. Am no longer taking dogs myself for the public but would be willing to help you with your choice. There are a couple guys not mentioned in the post that would do a fine job for you.
 

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This isn't accurate, I had a conversation with Rick Stawski a few days ago about taking a pup from me next year, his prices are south of 800. There is limited space on his truck and he mentioned he takes a limited amount of dogs per experience level, just so he doesn't have a range of dogs all over the board which would make setting up on a daily basis a PIA, but pedigree and cost of a pup were not part of the equation.
I apologize. I was talking to averages and do not want to create any assumptions about Mr. Stawaski. However, I was also referring to all in. So it is not just monthly fees but trail costs, bird fees, handling fees...... I think for most high end FT trainers 800-1000 is the right ball park. HT are usually several hundred a month cheaper. The $5,000 is an over statement too. I am sure he has a number of $1500-2500.00 dogs too. Again I was using money to denote quality. I will say this I will bet there are not dogs on either of those trucks that are just hunting dogs. These are very talented dogs that have FT prep work from being a puppy. And if they are not talented they get washed out.

I think you are missing the point. This kid does not need RSK if he is just looking to get his dog to pass a master test. Find a good local pro to help him with force fetch, yard work, transition....ect... Then take the rest of the money and buy some wingers and blinds...ect.. and find a good training group. That is all this guy needs. Most of the guys responding have several dogs and spend thousands on them.
 

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Nate C ..Rick Stawski used to train Bud Grants (ex-Viking Coach) hunting dog and Grant's buddy(Dennis Anderson) used to run the dog for giggles in AKC MH Hunt Tests. All Grant wanted was his dog to be ready for hunting...next...
 

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Nate C ..Rick Stawski used to train Bud Grants (ex-Viking Coach) hunting dog and Grant's buddy(Dennis Anderson) used to run the dog for giggles in AKC MH Hunt Tests. All Grant wanted was his dog to be ready for hunting...next...
Seriously, I just apologized for this. I don't know Mr. Stawaski, I don't know he will take. Based on his website 800-1000 is in the ball park when you include everything. I was under the impression that he focused mostly on FT. I was talking in generalities. Honestly, if he will take the dog, go for it.
 

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For the op's consideration
An open forum like this gets lots of opinions
Welcome good luck with the pup and you get out of this exactly what you put in.
The basics no matter if you have a future National Champ or a true hunting dog are the same.
The difference is who does the basics !
The area of Mn and Wi is blessed with many fine trainers both professional and amateur. Your in a good area.
The problem today is many of those folks have gone south to train due to your winter conditions

The top guys are the top for a reason - they work hard with good methods.
It's difficult but not impossible to get a dog with these top pros

Good luck with your journey and ask questions
Dk
This is one of the posts that stands out to me. If the OP is lucky enough to get his dog in with one of the top young dog pros I don't see how anyone could think he's getting more than he needs?!? If solid basics are the key to a foundation you can build on whether it's a gun dog or a FT dog it makes sense to find someone who has been the trainer behind the successful FT dogs. If moving forward all you want (& I say that w/ no disrespect because I admire a good dog no matter where he picks up his birds) is a gun dog than don't bother w/ advanced FT training.

Better to go with a proven trainer than have to rehab a dog who wasn't properly trained the first time.

M
 

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My only question (because everyone mentioned is awesome) is... why don't we hear about guys like Steinman on threads like these?
 

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No disrespect to other regions or personalities but the Upper Midwest , especially WI and MN has carried the flag for many years for FT and later HT. Very serious amateurs and the 1980s growth of younger pros with their southern winter training has spread their fame and success. Lardy ,Attar, Curtis, Smith , Farmer (MN transplant) , Berger, Roerm , Yozamp , etc....and all their proteges and clients..As an eastern FT buddy asked me some years ago why do those FT amateurs even challenge those guys..my response was they all think everybody puts their pants on the same...

No firm answer but an insight..
 
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