Hunting Dog Training Services | Blackbelt Retrievers
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Training Programs

Training Dogs for Fetching Perfection

We train waterfowl retrieving and upland retrieving skills to our dogs. We emphasize all the essential hunting and obedience skills focusing first on socialization, basic obedience, steady, retrieving, delivery, lining, casting, hand signals, and marking.  Every dog will be exposed to all aspects of the hunting environment – this includes duck blinds, boats, lakes, fields, 4 wheelers, gunshots, canoes, decoys, actual dead ducks, multiple dogs, multiple marks, etc.  We believe that a dog should be trained how they’ll work.


We highly recommend that you come to Blackbelt Retrievers regularly while your dog is in training here.  This allows you to see the progress of your dog, but it also allows the trainers to show you how to handle and manage your dog.  This is a critical step to helping transition your dog from one in training, to obeying you, and then continuing to obey you once you get home.  It also allows you to ask questions about behavior and progress while your dog is in training.


Below are the curriculums and training services we provide.  All accepted dogs must meet the age requirement and be current on all vaccinations and worming treatments.  We require a 5 month minimum commitment for our BASIC Retriever Training Program.

Puppy Head Start Program

This is the very best way to introduce your new puppy (2-5 months old) to the life of the hunting retriever. We take a limited number of puppies for this program. It takes a lot of time to properly socialize your pup, which is an incredibly important step in building the foundation for hunting dog development. Once this program is completed, your dog will be ready to start formal obedience at 5 months of age and be familiar with decoys, gunshots, etc.


  • Pups are well socialized with other dogs at various experience levels.
  • Introduced to – water, boats, decoys, gunfire, and bumpers/ducks.
  • Experience riding in trucks, boats, 4-wheeler/Ranger, etc…



ALL BREED Obedience Program

6 week program teaching your pup how to be the good all around citizen you hoped for while laying the foundation for a hunting companion. Dogs accepted into this program must be at least 5 months old. Our obedience training program is split into two stages:


On-Lead Training: 3-4 week obedience training program teaching your dog the commands under control on lead. These commands include Come (whistle & voice), Sit (whistle & voice), Down, Heal, Kennel & NO.

Off-Lead Training: 3-4 week training program that enforces the known commands above with the aid of an electronic collar since there is no leash or lead. Dogs may only enter this training program once they have successfully completed our On Lead Training Program. You will likely want to purchase an electronic collar after your dog finishes and we will show you how to correctly use it only as a training tool.


6-8 weeks – $1500-$2000 total

BASIC Retriever Training Program

All dogs must be 5 months old or older to enter this program. This 4-5 month program teaches your pup the basics of retriever training and includes the All Breed Obedience Program as well as force fetching (forcing hold command & fetch command).  The basics of hand signals are taught during this time as well so that in the event you want additional field training for your dog it will have an advantage.  Your dog will be introduced to gunshots, decoys, duck calls, boats, blinds, and 4-wheelers during this stage of training while getting highly socialized around other dogs.  You can expect your dog to be obedient at home and in the field be able to perform simple doubles on both land and water.


  • Basic Obedience – Force Fetching Program – Steadiness to gunshot – Multiple Marks
  • Dog that completes this program will be “ready to hunt” and will be steady to a hunter’s shot, pick up marks that he/she has seen fall, and deliver the bird to hand.
  • Dog will be efficient on Whistle Commands (whistle sit and come)
  • Introduced to Handling/Blind work with drills like…Baseball, T, etc….that teaches Right and Left Back, Right and Left over for picking up birds that the dog does not see fall.
  • In most cases the dog can run a SIMPLE blind retrieve in no cover or open water.


4-5 Months – $1000/month

TRANSITION Retriever Training Program

Our 2-3 month program will advance your dogs skills they acquired in our BASIC Retriever Training Program.  A lot of complex and advanced drills are used during this time to teach your dog the skills of running blind retrieves on both land and water.  Your dog will be introduced to difficult marking scenarios as well.  You can expect your dog to quietly honor other dogs as they perform their retrieves.


  • Take what they have learned in BASIC and will complete Blind Work….the dog for example will be able to pick up a bird he/she did NOT see fall up to 200 yards or so with obstacles in the way like levees, ditch, etc…
  • Dog will pick up multiple marks at various distances up to 150 yards
  • Will be steady hunting with other dogs or “Honoring” while it’s his/her turn to pick bird up


BASIC Program + 2-3 Months – $1000/month

FINISHED Retriever Training Program

Our 3-4 month program will further your retriever’s skills into some advanced commands and understanding.  All dogs must be have completed our BASIC and TRANSITION Retriever Training Programs or prove appropriate skills proficiency.  At the end of this program, your dog will have the skills needed to be an advanced retriever in the field.  You can expect your dog to do complex blind retrieves as well as multiple marks at extreme distances while showing steadiness and multiple mark memory.


  • The goal here is to obtain the ULTIMATE hunting companion….he/she will excel at the TRANSITIONED level and be ready for the next step.
  • This dog will be picking up 3-4 Marks in heavy cover, different conditions, over many decoys, etc….(ex a snow goose hunt with levees and 3,000 decoys), he/she will run blind retrieves with pinpoint accuracy (ex- 300 yard blind with only 2-3 cast/whistles)
  • Also includes upland hunting skills (quartering for pheasants/quail)
  • Basically a retriever ready to hunt in any situation or environment


BASIC & TRANSITION + 3-4 Months – $1000/month

Upland Training Program

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.

  • Pup will have completed all off lead formal obedience and force fetch program.
  • Pup will be able to work a field effectively to find birds and either point of flush for you.
  • Pup will be efficient with whistle commands such as come and sit. Pointers will be whoa broke.
  • After completion of this program your dog will be ready to start chasing birds in the uplands and retrieving your birds to hand


3-4 months/$1000 month

Test Handling

If you would like to see your dog perform competitively against some of the best dogs we know, ask us about our upcoming test schedule and we can arrange an opportunity for your dog to work and compete before a trial.

Terms & Commands

To see a full list of the terms and commands we use at Blackbelt Retrievers, please click here.


We limit the number of dogs in training to ensure that every dog gets the required custom attention and training.  To book your dog at Blackbelt Retrievers, please contact us as soon as possible and we will get you and your dog added to our waiting list.


*As of Jan 1, 2023 we are adding a 3% card fee to all credit card transactions