Fred is the gun dog trainer, and believes a well behaved dog is a pleasure to hunt over and to live with. Consequently, he puts a lot of training, and yard work into the dogs before they ever see a bird.
Taking in a limited number of dogs at one time to assure proper attention, they are handled daily often several times a day. They are trained to sit, stay, to come when called, to heel , and to retrieve. Fred trains the dogs to stop to the flush of the bird, watch the bird be shot and then retrieve the bird on his command. He does not permit the dogs chase birds wildly, as it can be a difficult control situation; a dog could run off after a bird and be lost or continue to hunt without its owner, spoiling the day.
Anyone considering training, will be asked to first bring the dog to Fred for evaluation, so that he may determine if dog is actually ready for training. Completing evaluation, Fred will advise the owner when to leave the dog to begin its training. It is very helpful if the dog has been crate trained, and accustomed to being left in a crate to sleep. Many people housebreak their puppies this way, and find it a valuable, and necessary lesson. At night, the dogs boarded in the basement of our home, and sleep in crates for safe keeping.
Thus, we prefer an owner to crate train his dog before it arrives for classes. The dogs are calmer, quieter, and happier when trained to a crate.
When the training day begins, new dogs get lessons in heeling, sitting, staying, recall (come when called), and retrieving. Once they have mastered these elements it's time to move on to quartering in the field, introduction to game, and gun shot, (not at the same time) retrieving dead game, and hand and whistle signals.
A dog learns to sit to dummies and a starter pistol, and works on "marking ability" the ability to see where a bird or dummy falls. The dog is trained to run out briskly, search the area, find the fall or bird, and return the game quickly to hand.
Once the basics are solidly in place (and only then), the dog will be ready to have game shot over him. The dog will quarter in the field, turn when signaled, find game using his nose, push, or "flush " the game into flight. The dog then sits until the game is shot. The dog visually marks the fall, and waits for the handler to release it by its name. The dog rushes out to where it marked the game, finds the fall, picks up the bird gently, and delivers it to the handler. The dog, releases the game on command and sits quietly, waiting for the next instruction.
Putting all of these pieces together takes time and patience. Some dogs come along faster then others, but any dog with a little natural ability should come along given the opportunity.