Anyone who even slightly knows me knows that I am a huge dog lover, so it makes sense that we’d have a hunting dog (soon to be two). Being new to the retriever-training world, I set out doing research to learn everything I could about the training process, but I struggled to find quality information that made sense to a novice person such as myself.
During the off-season months, our lab goes to training. That first summer, I was able to pick up on quite a bit of information, however, there were still large gaps in my knowledge of training a well-rounded waterfowl dog. This spring, our lab went to Freddy King who has created this absolutely amazing website called The Retriever Trainer. (www.theretrievertrainer.com) This is a site packed full of videos for anything you’d like to know about retrievers. This place literally has it all. I’m talking everything from health, to hunt tests, to training exercises, and even information on breeding.
The Retriever Trainer website is so easy to navigate and pinpoint exactly what you might be looking for. The training videos are broken down by skill level as well as activity. Under the skill level tab, there are training videos that range from puppy work, all the way up to finished/master level dog work. At each skill level, you have multiple videos to choose from with high quality content. Under the activity tab, the training videos become more detailed and specific to individual drills and performances.
Not only does this site give you a multitude of how-tos when it comes to training your retriever, but it also shows you how to fix many common issues that you might be having with your dog. As Freddy says in many of his videos, “We’re gonna see it all—the good, the bad, and the ugly.” He does an excellent job of addressing problem areas and gives you the information and tools you need to work through them.
What I really like about this site is that you can actually see the entire training process laid out for you, from a brand new puppy, all the way through a master level dog. Being a visual learner, it really helped to see the training process this way while hearing the ‘why’ behind it all. With the many videos that are already on the website, there are 10-15 more videos added each week, making the $60 per year membership fee not only affordable, but well worth it.
Probably the most unique aspect of The Retriever Trainer is ‘Teet’s Life.’ In this on-going segment, Freddy is taking us on a journey through the life of a puppy becoming a waterfowl retriever. In the next few weeks, our new puppy will be ready to come home. The process begins right away, starting with socialization. The videos from Teet’s Life will serve as a guide on how to introduce her to new things, as well as what she should be learning week-to-week to prepare her for her upcoming training. Make sure you stay tuned for part two, where I’ll give a full review of how The Retriever Trainer has helped me in the training process of our waterfowl retrievers.