Training From A Dog’s Eye View

| January 24, 2012 | 0 Comments
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The Director’s Chair

Larry Saavedra and his dogs -

Larry Saavedra and his dogs

Larry Saavedra has been producing television and DVD video content for more than a decade–featuring everything from outdoor lifestyle adventures to off-road competitions. Today, he turns his cameras on his true passion, the wonderful world of working dogs.

“Interpreting how the environment impacts a dog’s ability is a concept used for years by trainers. Most notably, I give a great deal of thanks to people like Wendy Pennington of Sea Lion Labs, who first pointed out to me the differences between how we see the environment and how a dog sees it,” Larry said.

“We presented this trusted strategy in a narrative style, so that the average dog owner could get a real picture of how dogs learn to retrieve marks and blinds using their senses,” he added. “We designed camera systems that allowed us to take the viewer along as the dogs busted cover, crossed water, and ran at full speed in an effort to share an aspect of proper handling that was being mostly overlooked.”

Together with his wife, Janey, a professional graphic artist, they have spent years participating in AKC competitions, including some work as certified Hunt Test judges. Their chocolate Labrador Retriever, Jetta, is an AKC Master Hunter and “little” Jersey, their youngest black Labrador Retriever, is an AKC Junior hunter, who’s working on a Senior AKC title.

Outdoor enthusiasts can read Larry’s column about Working Dogs at the Outdoor Hub.

Related Articles:

Hunt Training, Product Reviews

A Chance Encounter

I received a call from Larry Saavedra one day while I was busy working on this latest issue of Retriever Life. Larry said that he was introduced to Retriever Life through Janet Peters who had recently written a great article for us about the history of the Master National Retriever events. Larry was impressed with our online magazine and wanted to introduce me to his concept for helping folks train their retrievers. As I talked with Larry I knew he was onto something that could really take retriever training in a new direction.

Quick Dog Productions Logo -

Click to visit Quick Dog Productions

A New Perspective

Every once in a while something truly innovative comes along. As I watched the Quick Dog Productions’ “Retrievers In The Field – From The Dog’s Perspective” DVD, I am immediately struck by a number of things. First the production quality of the video is top-notch. The video is shot from multiple angles in high definition and the audio is crystal clear. Now solid production quality is hardly a “great leap forward” in retriever training videos but it does make the video much easier to watch than many of the retriever hunt training videos available today and potentially much more valuable to the student because the production is engaging. The real innovation in this video is taking advantage of new technologies by harnessing a high-definition video camera directly to the retriever. This gives the viewer the unique perspective of seeing what the dog sees and experience how the dog moves over different various types of terrain. This exposed some really profound revelations to me. There is one particular scene in “Retrievers In The Field” where they have set up what appears to be an easy mark from the the handlers point of view which actually has a lot of challenging terrain that could easily distract or throw off a young dog. That alone made the video worth a watch for me. It has shown me the power of just getting down on my knees to see what the dog sees is important when setting up a mark.

So Who Is This Video For

Most retriever training videos go right into how to train the dog and can oftentimes get bogged down in technical jargon that confuses or even scares off a novice retriever trainer. “Retrievers In The Field” begins where it should – at the beginning. This video targets the retriever lover who is thinking about getting into the hunt test game and has little-to-no prior experience with hunt tests. As a member of the Puget Sound Labrador Retriever Association and a Labrador Retriever breeder, I run into lots of folks that would love to get into hunt tests with their dogs but just do not know where to begin. Steve Raney of Raney Ranch Retrievers does a great job introducing retriever training concepts followed by great video examples of the concept. Steve walks us through beginning retriever skills all the way to advanced retriever skills. This is all done from the dogs perspective so we get a solid picture of what we have to look forward to while training our retrievers. The Raney ranch training grounds are nothing short of spectacular which makes for some awesome water entries and challenging land retrieves. It really got me fired up to begin training my youngest black Lab – “DJ“.

So can the more advanced trainer get anything out of this video? I think there is a lot of good material in this video for advanced trainers. Some of it is just seeing great retrievers work which always gets me fired up to see my dogs work in the field. More importantly I believe that seeing dogs work from their perspective can really force a different way of thinking when setting up training marks.

So What’s Next?

Larry told me that he has big plans for moving this project to the next level. Building up a curriculum around solid retriever training concepts coupled with awesome production quality will help bring a trainer from a beginning trainer all the way to the master level trainer. I, for one, am looking forward to viewing it.


Category : Hunt Training, Product Reviews

About the Author ()

I am one of the founders and editor of Retriever Life. My passion is Labradors of all sizes and shapes but I am a big fan of all the retriever breeds.

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