Philosophy

Happy Well-Trained Dogs

Big Sky Kennels uses positive training methods to form high performing dogs. The dogs are motivated out of the desire to please while experiencing their own inherent hunting instincts. We DO NOT use electric collars as a training tool, instead by using creative layouts or “sets” as an influencer, the pup will obey the trainer using the constrictions of the training course and the positive stimulation that follows. Repetition of the desired action will lead to predicable performance. One step leads to another until there is a happy well-trained family/hunting dog.

Training Methods

Positive Training Methods

Positive Training Methods

Positive Training Methods

positive hunting gun dog training

Big Sky Kennels uses positive training methods to form high performing dogs. The dogs are motivated out of the desire to please while experiencing their own inherent hunting instincts.  We DO NOT use electric collars as a training tool, instead by using creative layouts or “sets” as an influencer, the pup will obey the trainer using the constrictions of the training course and the positive stimulation that follows.  Repetition of the desired action will lead to predicable performance.  One step leads to another until there is a happy well-trained family/hunting dog.

Happier Dogs = Better Bond

Positive Training Methods

Positive Training Methods

positive hunting gun dog training puppy

We have taken years to develop “sets” that coerce the pup to perform the step-by-step series of successive lessons, with much of this system influenced by from pro trainers, Tom Ness and James B. Spencer. The positive methods result in more thoroughly trained, happier dogs that form better bonds with their families.  Also, more of their natural hunting talents emerge to make them better bird finders.  Our success can be measured by the number of repeat customers that come back to us for more trained dogs. 

Age Appropriate Training

Positive Training Methods

Age Appropriate Training

positive hunting gun dog training puppy

Disciplinary obedience methods are avoided until a bond is created between the pup and trainer, usually 5 -6 months of age.  For example, the pup learns to retrieve in a hallway with the doors closed.  They must come back and when they do so, they are shown affection. Before long they reliably retrieve any place. 

Learning process

Learning process

Age Appropriate Training

positive hunting gun dog training

Concurrently with the retrieving process, the pups begins to walk the field or woodland where they gain confidence and learn to use their nose to find exciting things like frogs, song birds, etc.  During this period, through a process of positive reinforcement, they learn to respond to hand signals.  They naturally learn to stay close to the handler by gaining a bond, learning the handler is the source that helps them find the game they enjoy.  

Obedience

Learning process

Accommodations

positive hunting gun dog training obedience

Once they are introduced to the gun and learn to return dead game, the obedience process begins.  After a month or so of “yard” obedience the pup returns to the field to learn obedience commands there as well and to become a partner with the hunter.  The end result, the hunter can go for a hunt for upland birds and approach the most likely haunts without saying or whistling to the pup. This enables them to slip up on game and get great shots, or in the situation of a slew, the pup stays quiet until the ducks swing in and enables the hunter to get quality shots. 

Accommodations

Learning process

Accommodations

positive hunting gun dog training

Big Sky Kennels can adapt methods to accommodate clients that may want a more advanced training level, in which the pup learns to find birds through hand and whistle signals to find birds that have fell out of sight.  The hunter does not have to walk to the basic fall of the bird or slog through the slew.  Simply give the dog a hand signal in the direction of the bird fall, they run or swim in the direction given using their scenting and listening capabilities to find the hidden bird.