Jen, I've tried to write this several times, and several times I've had to stop due to my emotions overtaking my ability to pen thoughtful words. For the last year, I have ... (more) - Shaileen English
Gun Dog Training
Retrievers, Flushing Dogs, and Pointers
Training hunting dogs from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and all of New England
Quinebaug Kennels' 50 acre facility provides a fantastic training setting for daily lessons beginning with introduction to birds and gunshot. Field obedience teaches whistle commands, quartering skills, marking, steadiness, whoa, and retrieving in a variety of settings from fields, woodlands, hedgerows, swamps and ponds. In addition we have access to hundreds of acres of challenging and exciting training areas. Quinebaug Kennels enjoys a great relationship with several shooting preserves where dogs in training have the opportunity to hunt acres of classic New England covers including corn fields, tall grass fields, pine stands, briar patches and ideal woodcock covers that hold native birds. Sporting dogs learn to track and find a variety of game including quail, pheasants, Hungarian and chukkar partridge.
Our gun dog training program is customized to fulfill your training goals for breeds including:
- Labrador Retrievers
- Golden Retrievers
- Springer Spaniels
- Field Cocker Spaniels
- German Shorthair Pointers
- English Pointers
- Wirehaired Pointers
- English Setters
- and all other gun dog breeds!
We begin all of our Gun Dogs with a specially developed
TWO WEEK HEADSTART PROGRAM
1st Round "Developing the INNER BEAST!"
Over the years we have realized that TOO MANY puppies and dogs come to us lacking the basics. We now take puppies as young as 10 weeks for this preparatory training. We have a special isolated puppy boarding room for the youngsters! Whether your your pup is under 6 months, an adolescent or already an adult, ALL of our gun dogs begin their initial GUN DOG TRAINING PROGRAM with this 2 week preparation course. Why wait for the fear periods to develop and set in, or for bad habits to start? Let us help you get the best start!
- Table work - Pups/dogs learn confidence building skills on our elevated table where we teach them to lead, be still, touch them all over, begin hand in mouth fetch and hold, and basic manners and patience.
- De-sensitizing - Pick up, handle, nail trim, accept touch all over with calmness and relaxation
- Patience Chain and Figure 8 - Pups/dogs learn all about how to be part of a stable pack attached to the chain with us all day. From learning to be still, patience, boundaries, structure, watching other dogs work, and calmly waiting their turn, everything starts with the principles of the chain, teaching points of contact and getting the dog's minds ready for work! We then integrate the FIGURE 8 string to control their mouths to STOP all undesirable behavior...from barking, whining, fighting, digging, jumping and carrying on. This entire practice and structure 'gets their head in the game to be still, relax and prepare for training!'
- Lead Obedience - Using the principles from the chain and the table with the points of contact, we now teach pups/dogs the whole concept of GO - STOP - COME with the WONDERLEAD
- Check Cord Work - Those points of contact are now overlayed from the WONDERLEAD to the collar and check cord to teach pups to quarter in the field, stop, pack up and stay with you.
- Field Work and Birds - Bump birds, chase, play, run and be free pups! No rules, no pressure, no stress, just have fun, find birds, learn how to use your nose, track, grab, catch, be brave and be a PREDATOR! At this time when pups are bird chasing hellions we are able to properly introduce gun shots and before you know it, birds = fun = gunshot = birds = fun!
What Comes Next?
Go Home or Stay and Learn?
If your pup is under 6 months, we encourage them to go home with you after the 2 week headstart program to grow, develop, mature and have you practice the basic skills we have taught them. You both can come back any time for more bird work, lessons, or enroll pup in additional weeks with us for more puppy work.
Most pups over 6 months have the maturity to move onto the next phase of training. If your family misses your pup too much, then take a break and come back. If you want the whole program in its entirety, then prepare for:
2nd ROUND Gun Dog Foundation
4 Weeks of Pointing Dog Foundation Work
- Point Of Contact - Here we continue the basics from the first 2 week program. The dog now has an understanding of the lead and pressure, and we start to 'fine tune' the points of contact to teach obedience and lead the dog through our unique and challenging obstacle course to build confidence, give direction, and get rid of resistance/refusal and other non compliant behaviors. All of this is done in an obedience ring setting, never in the field!
- Electronic Collar - The transition is SEEMLESS! When the leash foundation and points of contact are done right, we simply overlay the e collar pressure to take the place of the lead points of contact to follow our GO - STOP - COME commands. Before you know it pup is off leash!
- Whoa Post - Teaches the pointing dog to learn and accept point of contact pressure on the flank so that we can easily enforce a beautiful stop and stand still in the field. We are able to overlay the e collar on the flank to use very light cues to stop/whoa/be still.
- Off Leash Field Work - With the above skills taught and mastered, pups are confident and happy to handle off leash in the field with light cues from the e collar.
- Fetch Training - Back on the table to learn the skills of fetch, hold, carry and retrieve to hand.
- Field Hunting - Combining all of the skills from the 2 week Head Start Program and the above training, pup is not only eager to hunt and has such a great foundation of GO- STOP - COME skills, pups learns to be still around birds and eagerly accepts the control. Lastly, pup is taught to be steady to bird and flush!
- Patience Chain and Figure 8 - We continue to utilize the priniciples of the chain to allow the dogs to be patient, watch other dogs work, be calm, quiet and prepared to work.
NOTE: The pointing dog program is the inital 2 weeks of Headstart Training and later the 4 week Foundation training for a total of 6 weeks of training. The pointing dogs take more time than the flushers, and here is why: Pointers need to run through the field with lots of confidence and independence at greater distances. We do not just keep them within a 30 yard gun range like a flusher to bump and chase. The pointer needs to be held to higher standards of obedience so that we need more control around the birds. They must work with us as a team and when they find a bird, they must make the decision to cooperate and work as a team. We must hold them to a higher level of obedience and control in the height of excitement. It takes more time to gain their trust, cooperation and control, especially at greater distances, even out of sight. We are careful to integrate their prey drive with obedience in order to maintain style, drive and confidence.
Retrievers, Spaniels and Flushers:
3 Weeks of Flushing Dog Training
- Point of Contact - Here we continue the basics from the first 2 week program. The dogs now have an understanding of the lead and pressure, and we start to 'fine tune' the points of contact to teach obedience and lead the dogs through our unique and challenging obstacle course to build confidence, give direction and get rid of resistance/refusal and other non compliant behaviors. All of this is done in an obedience ring setting, never in the field!
- Electronic Collar - The transition is SEEMLESS! When the leash foundation and points of contact are done right, we simply overlat the e collar presure to take the place of the leash points of contact to follow our GO - STOP - COME commands. Before you know it pup is off leash!
- Whoa Post - Teaches points of contact on the rump so we can use the e collar overlay to teach and enforce remote sits and be still.
- Off Leash Field Work - With the above skills taught and mastered, pups are confident and happy to handle off leash in the field with light cues form the e collar.
- Fetch Training - Back on the table to learn the skills of fetch, hold, carry and retreive to hand.
- Field Hunting - Combining all of the skills from the 2 week Head Start Program with the above training, pup is not only eager to hunt and has such a great foundation of GO - STOP - COME skills that pup eagerly stays within gun range, chases, flushes and delivers bird to hand.
What Can You Expect After These Programs?
An exciting first season we hope! With the above training your pup should handle consistently in the field to go, stop and come. Your pup "Understands The Game" and has a great point of contact foundation built for future advanced training! We encourage you to have fun, let pup learn from the birds you are hunting, refine their scenting skills, and gain valuable field experience as they continue to grow, learn and mature. We demand that pointing dogs are steady to bird but are careful about the control enforced beyond that. Flushing dogs are kept within gun range but allowed to flush and chase. Steadieness is the goal for intermediate and advanced training. Age, maturity, breeding, genetics, personality, health conditions, fitness level, and past negative experiences can certainly accelerate or be a great obstacle with any dog! Not ALL dogs can or want to become a Gun Dog. We typically know after the initial 2 week program whether we will advise you to pursue the Foundation training or not. Our goal is a Happy, Stylish, Eager Gun Dog!
Intermediate and Advanced Training
We are always working our gun dogs. Whether it is enforcing obedience, enforcing or refining steadiness, honoring, or teaching specific skills for field trials, hunt tests, NAVHDA tests or more, the journey never ends! From pre-season gun dog tune up training to fitness training to prepare for the season as well as private coaching, our skilled team of gun dog trainers are here for you as you enjoy this journey, learn, and grow! We offer weekly training camps for all dogs as tune ups or advanced work once they have been through our programs.