Quite simply, all domesticated dog breeds maintain the desire to please their master, owner, or handler. We utilize a training philosophy that taps directly into the instincts of hunting dogs so that dogs trained here learn and react in a way that is positive both for the dog and also for the master or handler. Hunting dogs, especially Labrador retrievers, find true joy and fulfillment in fetching and retrieving and helping their master. They also find joy in attention, affection, exercise, and interaction with other humans and other dogs. All of these attributes are viable parts of the overall training philosophy here at Blackbelt Retrievers.
Brandon Smith and Mark Bedsole use time-tested techniques that focus on a dog’s desire to work and retrieve to please their master. These techniques allow a young puppy to grow from a bundle of nerves and excitement into a hunting-partner that is also a calm member of the family. With proper training, encouragement, nutrition, and time a dog can go from simply reacting on instinct, to reacting on command. And when you have a dog that reacts on command, you have an extension of yourself in the field, which is the result of the Blackbelt Retrievers philosophy.
Blackbelt Retrievers – Great Lakes was developed after we expanded and hired Anthony Cavalli-Singer in 2020 to come train with us. Anthony graduated college and wanted to get into the training/outdoor industry so he decided to head south and work at the kennels and handle dogs at Soggy Bottom Lodge. This would add to his knowledge he had gained from working with his two dogs Henry and Annie after getting them back from Blackbelt. So after learning and training a variety of large breed obedience dogs and hunting dogs ranging from labs to pointers we decided to add another element to Blackbelt.
In the fall of 2022 we sent Anthony with a trailer load full dogs to South Dakota’s Double P Ranch to work pheasant and duck hunts with our dogs. This adds a great tool for our seasoned dogs to gain a tremendous amount of experience in the field. Soooo, in 2023 we decided to open up Blackbelt Retrievers – Great Lakes in Webster, Wisconsin! This allows us to run a variety of hunt test and send dogs back and forth from the Great Lakes area to the Southeast. This also makes it easier to run dogs in the fall at Double P Ranch in South Dakota each year. Anthony purchased 30 acres with 2 training ponds with access to thousands of training grounds in Burnett County Wisconsin. We look forward to working with many new clients from the Great Lakes, Twin Cities, and all around the Upper Mid West. Please give Anthony a call and we’ll answer any questions you have.
All dogs must be at least 5 months old to be eligible. This program teaches your pup to be able to handle upland hunting situations for either flushing or pointing dogs. Starting with the basics of formal obedience; sit (whoa for pointers, come, heel, place and down). After the formal obedience is complete your pup will be taught the hold and fetch command to foster a reliable retrieve to hand. Once the fetch command is taught your pup will be ready to learn a proper hunt pattern in the field. Taking directional casts and “quartering” through the field to be the most effective bird finder. This is especially useful for chasing pheasants on the prairies of South Dakota at Double P Ranch (Hyperlink). If chasing quail is more your style we can train your pup like the expert guide dogs of Soggy Bottom Lodge (Hyperlink). This means we can have your flusher walking at heel until the pointer locates the bird and we can direct your flusher in to put the bird in the air for a safe shot. This pointer/flusher dynamic is highly effective and makes for safer shooting.
This 6-8 week program is offered only to dogs we have trained in the past. With the season always coming up around the corner…you need to get your dog off the couch and in mid season shape! Are there a few issues with your dog you want resolved before you set up the decoy spread? Every fall we offer tune up options with our affiliates Double P Ranch in Clark SD and Soggy Bottom lodge (link) in Linden AL. During the South Dakota trip your dog will be hunted as a guide dog by trainer Anthony Cavalli-Singer. Your dog will hunt everyday getting LOTS of bird contacts within a short amount of time, whether its ducks, doves, or the famous South Dakota rooster. This trip is always leaves late August and gets back late October with hundreds of retrieves under your pups belt. The Soggy Bottom package offers action packed flight conditioned mallard hunts that allows your dog to pick up multiple limits of ducks under the expert guidance of Brandon Smith. These hunts are great for introducing a young dog to the chaos of a waterfowl hunt. We’d need to pick up your dog early September and we start hunting October 1 – late November or later if you’d like. Both options offer lots of videos of your pup in action and how we handle different scenarios. Both of these trips allow your dog to knock the rust off and work on fundamentals so they won’t skip a beat on opening day!