Training For AKC Senior Hunter – Part 1

| September 23, 2012 | 2 Comments
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Earlier this year I made the decision to take on the AKC Senior Hunter training duties for our boy, GCH AM/Can CH Gingerbred Celestial Thunder JH, CGC, Delta Society Pet Partner – “Zeus”. Zeus has had a great career in the show ring and made great progress in hunt training by achieving his AKC Junior Hunter title under the expert tutelage of Chuck Hilton. Chuck also began the foundation work for the AKC Senior Hunter title by getting Zeus used to double marks on both land and water, and beginning work on casting. After a long Northwest winter, we started talking to Chuck about taking Zeus to go after the Senior Hunter title. We were all ready to send him off when Zeus came up a little lame one day. It turned out to be nothing that a day of rest wouldn’t fix but it got us to thinking about Zeus. Did we really want to send him away for the spring and summer? He is going to be six years old in January and we decided that with all that he had done in his life, spending any more time away from home was not something we wanted for him. So we decided that even if Zeus never gets another title that I was going to take on training him for his AKC Senior Hunter title.

As the editor of Retriever Life it makes sense for me to take on the hunt training duties for my Labradors. I now handle my dogs in the show ring and this just seems like another step in this great adventure called Retriever Life! My good friend, Tonya Struble of Rush Hill Golden Retrievers, who has helped me become a competent handler in the show ring, introduced me to professional hunting retriever trainer, Matt Nolan, and we began the process of preparing Zeus for the Senior Hunter title.

Anyway, over the last few months I have been training Zeus with the help of Matt Nolan and on occasion with Chuck Hilton. We have had our ups and downs but one of the key takeaways I have learned during this process is that teaching Zeus what I want from him before I apply any pressure is extremely important to success. The other thing that I am learning is that this should be fun for me and Zeus. I need to be in the right frame of mind before I train. When I am positive and upbeat Zeus runs much better than when I am grumpy.

Over the coming weeks and months I will continue to log my progress with Zeus and our other Labradors via this blog. My goal is to have Zeus complete his AKC Senior Hunter title by next year and to have some of our younger dogs get their AKC Junior Hunter titles.

Category : 2012 New Year's Revolution, Blog

About the Author ()

Hi, I am Toni Leitão! I am one of the people who came up with this crazy idea for Retriever Life. Retrievers are my life and passion. Oh and I like long walks in the park (especially in the rain) and watching a movie with my Labrador "pillow".

Comments (2)

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  1. cruel burning the dog to a bumper. Retrievers is about team work, not burning with an ecollar. Ecollar should be nick for corrections only and used rarely. Force to pile is totally unnecessary…a pop would mean your dog is confused and you need to backup in your training.

    • Toni says:

      Burning with an ecollar is not in my vocabulary. It is not a burn when it is set to “1”. I do not nick for corrections as needing a correction means the dog does not understand what I am asking. That is my fault and I do not correct with an ecollar I go back a step and teach the behavior I want. I use the ecollar to reinforce behavior and therefore can keep it at the lowest level (similar to getting a static electricity shock when touching a doorknob).

      As far as force to the pile work, I like to use it at is helps me get straighter lines at longer distances. I guess we just disagree on this particular topic.

      Hey, thanks for the feedback and I hope we can chat further about other training topics!

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