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Smith Method Training Apprenticeship

Our goal is to effectively convey our expertise and enthusiasm in training exceptional bird dogs to anyone wanting to improve their training skills. Unique in its structure, this program immerses its participants in the day to day activities of a professional training facility.  It is an intense work program with the apprentices getting as much benefit out of the experience as the amount of effort they put in to it.

The program parallels our dog training classes so that each apprentice can gain in depth knowledge of our system. Each level of training consists of a four week apprenticeship at Ronnie Smith Kennels in Big Cabin, Oklahoma. While we recommend taking all of the certifications in one 3 month period, it is possible to separate each apprenticeship in to shorter 4 week sessions.

Each apprentice begins at the Foundation Level and works progressively through the 3 stages of training. We recommend planning to complete the apprenticeship through the Advanced Level. With that level of proficiency apprentices can complete a dog's training on their own.

Apprentices work beside us as we go through our system of dog training. Hours are long, but the rewards are great!

The apprentices will have the opportunity to utilize the Ronnie Smith Kennels facilities and equipment to gain a working knowledge of a professional training facility.  Each apprentice will be able to work with a large number of dogs with different personalities and breeds.  Apprentices have the opportunity to learn to deal with a wide variety of training issues and learn the proper use of an e-collar.  The Apprentices deal frequently with clientele and become accustomed to teaching the training process to others.  Achievement of a Smith Certification prepares apprentices for working at a professional training facility or establishing their own training business.

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Foundation Level Apprenticeship

Foundation Level Apprenticeship

This level of apprenticeship covers the 1st stage of the 3 stage Smith dog training format. This is the beginning level of training. During this stage Ronnie and Susanna work with the apprentice to gain expertise in the following areas of puppy development and foundation training:

  • Socialization
  • Building prey drive / prey chase through bird work
  • Recognizing an honoring situation
  • Introduction to the gun
  • Stake-out Chain
  • Quartering drills
  • Building Points of Contact for handling and stopping
  • Obedience and agility work
  • Heeling on lead

The program correlates to the Formal Training Classes at RSK so the apprentices can have the benefit of seeing a large group of dogs progress through each level. This level of training can be completed during the months of either April or July of every year. Apprenticeships are filled on a first-come-first-served basis. To hold a spot please contact us for an application.

Intermediate Level Apprenticeship - $3,000

Intermediate Level Apprenticeship - $3,000

This level of training covers the 2nd stage of the 3 stage Smith bird dog training format. Ronnie and Susanna work with the apprentices to gain expertise in the following intermediate areas of training:
  • Transitioning to remote stimuli of e-collar
  • Overlaying commands to known commands
  • Handling in the field
  • Honoring
  • Steadying dogs on game ("stopping the chase")
  • Building the proficiency of each dog
  • Physical conditioning

The program runs in relation to the Formal Training Classes at RSK so the apprentices can have the benefit of seeing a large group of dogs progress through each level. This level of training can be completed during the months of May or August of every year. Apprenticeships are filled on a first-come-first-served basis. To hold a spot please contact us for an application.

Advanced Level Apprenticeship - $3,500

Advanced Level Apprenticeship - $3,500

This level of training covers the final stage of the 3 stage Smith dog training format. Achieving this level of training ensures the apprentice is well versed in the entire Smith training format and can take a dog from start to finish.

During this month, Ronnie and Susanna work closely with the apprentice to gain expertise in the following advanced areas of training:

  • Transitioning to one Point of Contact on the neck
  • Working to the point of learned behavior
  • Completing the steadying process ("stopping the creep")
  • Working multiple dogs in the field
  • Proficiency at training a dog to a finished polish
  • Transition from pigeons to game birds
  • Transition to shooting game birds over dogs

The program runs at the same time as the Formal Training Classes at RSK so the apprentices can have the benefit of seeing a large group of dogs progress through that particular level. This level of training can be completed during the months of June or September of every year. Apprenticeships are filled on a first-come-first-served basis. To hold a spot please contact us for an application.

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