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Long Gray Line

Four Winds or Blaine - need your advice

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Long Gray Line

I'm looking at taking 2 choc lab pups to a trainer that's closer to home. I'm in the NW metro and have heard good things about both Four Winds in Buffalo and Blaine Kennels. Anybody have any good info or experiences to share that'll help me decide?

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duckbuster

How long are you planning on leaving the dogs and what are you hoping to get accomplished? These are just a couple of factors that might change the outlook of which to choose.
Lets us know.

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setterguy

Dale Westerburg at Blaine kennels is a class act all the way. Very informed, patient dog man. I don't have any experience with the other kennel you mentioned but I wouldn't hesitate to send my dog to Dale.

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FISHER ED

My vote goes to Four Winds. Craig personally trained my dog and I've casually trained with Tim. Both know their stuff and are excellent with dogs. I'm not sure if Four Winds keeps your dog for the entire time but when I called around, Blaine Kennels keeps your dog and I was told they really didn't even want me coming around much to see him. Personally, I didn't drop that kind of $ on my dog to not be around him in his early stages. At the time, Craig and Tim worked through another trainer and they gave one on one trianing to both me and my dog. Craig and Tim have now gone off and started Four Winds. I was there this spring and they have huge training grounds with a lot of water on site so your dog easily gets the full work out. Good luck in your decision. Ed

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Long Gray Line

Your right, I should have elaborated. The pups will be 5+ months old. I'm going fishing for a week up to Chippewa Flowage and will need to board my dogs. Since they're going to be gone, I'm looking to leave them for a month or more for training. I've started the obedience (sit, stay, heel) and retrieving, I'm looking for work with birds that I can't do here in the burbs and to get them started with the collar, field work, maybe some water work. Conditioned retrieve (force fetch) can come later.
BTW, Tks for the input so far! Good stuff!

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superfish2

Another one to look at might be northland kennels in blaine.

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simcox282

i USED BLAine kennels and would not hesitate to go back to them. It seems that you got the wrong impression about not being around. For the first two weeks I could not go up there (confuson overwho she should listen to). After that I hung out with him--made sure I knew what he was doing, why, how come, how long, and what I should be doing. I could even pick her up on the weekends if I wanted to. I did once to bring her swimming. Dale knows dogs and knows how t owork with them to bring out the best in them. During the first two weeks I could not go see her as that would bring confusion into the picture of who she should be listneing to. Upon graduation Dale took me out should me what to do and why,when, etc. I have been back to get a refresher course for both me and the dog (free). Again I would strongly recommend Dale and blaine kennels.

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jlm

Just my opinion but 5 months is waaaaay to young to be doing field work with the dog already. He should be concentrating on obedience at this point and thats about it. Field work (if our definition is the same)should not begin until all the basic are down perfect. Same goes for water work. You do not have to train your dog using the force fetch approach if he holds natural retrieving instinct. This is not written to criticize in anyway, please do not take it that way. I just don't want you to have high expectations and then be disappointed.

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Benny

LGL,I just droped off my 6 month old yellow at Elk River Kennels.I had heard bad things and good things about both Blaine and Elk River kennels, so I called them on the problems I heard about.
Blaine wouldn't talk about thiers(it did not pertain to training per say) so I left it at that.
Elk River kennels said the problem didn't work there any more so I went with Al Frieberg , he assured me they don't shock the you know what out of thier charges.

No one I called would let me be around the dog for the first two or three weeks, after that only Pete Ficsher would let me come up there for a short visit.

The reason I got from all were that they need the dog focused on them or thier assistants to get the results they want with in such short time.They also said the dogs will get confused if you slip up and try to call them to you, as they to are trying to focus on learning thier new skills.

As for age, I researched this with a lot of breeders,trainers and vetranarians.Almost everyone agreed that these dogs learn so fast that the earlier you start the better it is for the dog.One point they all made though was you have to read the dog, not every pup can advance as fast as the top gun dogs do.Let them be puppies as well, don't expect them to be field champs as young as they start them.

Every pro trainer I talked to started thier pups out at4 months of age with the very basic of comands and drills.
At 6 months they start the training to make a gun dog, including collar conditioning.

Yes even Dale, Al ,Terry Holsinger and Pete Fischer all said the pups learn better if started by 6 months with the collars.
They did say the pups have to have and understand the big three, Here,Sit,and Stay.

Heel, forcfetch,steady to shot,through decoys, boat intro all come later as they learn how to work with the trainer.

So with that all being said, I don't want any one to think I am stepping on toes, just trying to help you out with the same questions I had a few month ago.

If you would like to get together for some training with the pups when they get back , I have access to a 60 acer parcel off HWY 65 just North of Viking BLVD .Lots of grass, legal to shoot a firearm and it's private land.

I would welcome the extra help in tossing dummies or releasing birds.And more than willing to give help back.

Benny

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Long Gray Line

Lots of good feedback here!

JLM- I agree that 5-6 months is too early to expect an accomplished hunter and I completely agree that obedience is the main concern right now. I'd like to have birds thrown in (pun intended) and field work start to get mixed in as soon as possible though. This is how we did it with the pups' mom (my main hunter!). The pups will progress at their own pace, just like people. If a task seems like too much, we just back the pace down, spend a bit more time, etc. I've been working on the basic 3 (sit/here/heel) since they were about 12 weeks old. Not very long sessions then! I don't teach "stay" though, "sit" or "down" means stay sitted or down. I don't use the "heel" command either. "Here" means be at my side, whether it means walk beside me 'cuz the dog's already here (heel) or come to me to be at my side (come). I think it gives the dog fewer commands to learn and still gets the desired result. It's funny to see other hunters' reactions when I don't use "come" or "stay" and still get same response.
Anyway - I'm going up to Four Winds on Saturday and Blaine on Sunday to watch them work w/ other dogs, see the facilities, get prices, etc. I'll post what I find out.

Benny - great offer man! I will take you up on that! Working in teams makes training alot more effective. I just found out about a facility up by Princeton too. $20 year gets you unlimited use of about 100 acres of fields & ponds. With Oakwood right there, you could pick up the birds on the way to the place.

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ATM

Long gray line, can you shoot me an e-mail about the place in princeton, I would love to take advantage of that. adam_miller11@hotmail.com. thanks adam

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jlm

LGL-
Sounds like we do things very similar! Don't forget the most important command of all, NO. That one comes in handy with the pups, that is for sure. Please let us know what sort of results you get, I am very interested. Good luck with the hounds and happy hunting!

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Koda

Benny, I'm up for tossing dummies and helping out anytime.
Long Gray Line, I'd also be interested in learning about the area near princeton. Please shoot me an email, jkeck@mn.rr.com

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duckbuster

My guess is that he is talking about the Benton County Retriever Grounds. It is located about 6 miles west of hwy 169 on hwy 95. The 20 dollars is probably their club membership fee. The club will put on 4 license trials a year. In May they will hold trials on back to back weekends then one in July 9-11 and again September 3-5. If you really want to see what a well trained Lab can do try to make it to one of these events.

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Benny

Hey this is the makings of a new chapter for a hunting dog club.Some thing like the hunting retriever clubs I have heard about.

The place I am refering to is Beaverbrook Gun club.I am a member there and do lots of volinteer work for them so I can get access to the grounds to work my dog.I wouldn't have access to the main club house but the rifle range house is open to use.

There is at least 60 acers of grounds there, with a swamp and trees as welll as tall prearie grass to work the upland stuff.

I get a two week evaluation report the Monday after next, and the pup will be ready to go on the 29th of June.


LGL,if your looking for a boarding kennel, I just used Dove Kennels North of Crosstown BLV and Handon BLVD over the weekend.They were ok, gave the dog a bath even.They are about $4.00 more per day than some of the other kennels though.

Any time some one wants to go up there to train is alright with me.
The best days would be Mondays,Thursdays,Fridays, and the weekend as Tuesday, and Wesnday there is league shooting for trap.

I have a few dummies, and a .22 cal pistol.Just need to buy some blanks for the pistol.

Benny

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The Bronco Kid

I have had a very good experience with Tim at Four Winds. He is a great guy and will work with the owners and their needs as well.
His number is 682-5860. Tell him Jess Kline referred you. He'll know who I am.

------------------
Here for all you mortgage needs!
Jess T. Kline
Kline@Strategicmortgagegroup.com

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3dogs

I have to comment on Superfish2's post. If the owner/trainer of Northland kennels name is Les, the saying buyer beware can't be stessed enough.

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