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Bird Dog Training

We would love to work with your bird dog and are able to accept a wide variety of dogs here for training. Our bird dog training format (also known as the Silent Command System) has been developed through generations of our family training dogs and works for any dog, whether a pointing dog, flushing dog, gun dog, or field trial prospect.  We have drawn on all of our experiences working with animals to develop a dog training format that works for each dog.  Like any successful school curriculum, our training system begins with the fundamentals and builds skills based on that solid foundation.

Our training format helps to bring dogs' inherent prey drive to a pinnacle and then begins to mold that natural instinct in to the desired behavior of a confident, mannerly bird dog. Through the development of conditioned responses and learned behavior we are able to produce dogs that are proficient in heeling off lead, handling on cue, and confidently steady on birds. We work in partnership with the dogs as we train, giving them leadership and relying on their natural abilities.

Before they can be ready for formal training as a bird dog, dogs need to be given the opportunity to develop their inherent prey drive through exposure to birds.  Our Development Class ensures a dog's prey drive is at a pinnacle and that he is prepared to begin formal training. During this class we focus on introducing dogs to birds and building their enthusiasm for finding birds. Once a young dog is excited about birds then we can properly introduce gun fire. There are no rules taught during this class, it is all about bringing out the natural ability in the dog in order to prepare them to be successful in their Formal Training Class.

All pointing breeds are welcome to attend any of our classes. We do not specialize in any particular breed.  At any given time in our kennels you will likely find any assortment of English pointers, English setters, German shorthairs, Brittanys, labs, drahthaars, pudelpointers, and more.  To us it is not the breed that is important, it is the individual dog and his genetic ability to be a bird dog.

Our basic training is three months long. This is the quickest we feel that dogs can confidently grasp all of the behaviors that are asked of them as a bird dog. At the end of the Basic Class these dogs have seen multiple birds and hunting scenarios every day of class and they are ready for the experience the world outside the classroom will give them. These are "green broke" dogs ready to begin a career!

The Foundation Level is taught during the first month of the Basic Formal Training Class.  During this month dogs get to work multiple birds every day, retrieve birds, and get used to being in the field. By using the mechanical cues of checkcords, whoa posts and command leads we are able to teach fundamental behaviors to the dogs.  Through repetition we are able to develop conditioned responses.  A dog has reached the level of conditioned responses when he will do a certain thing every time when cued, no matter what his distraction level is. This is the hub of our training format as everything builds upon the dog’s conditioned responses to these basic skills.

The Intermediate Level transitions a dog from mechanical cues to low level remote cues in the field and ultimately verbal commands are overlaid to the conditioned response. At this level dogs are becoming steady on game, learning to honor another dog's point and quartering on cue.  The intermediate level of training occurs during the second month of the class.

During the third month of the Basic Training Class dogs enter the Advanced Level.  At this time dogs are at the cusp of learned behavior. They learn to work scent in adverse conditions, how to look for and recognize backing situations, mark and hunt dead, retrieve, and take direction and go with you in the field.


Development Class - Pigeons in Oklahoma

  • We highly recommend adding this class to your dog's education. This class ensures your dog is ready for formal training and helps to ensure their success in their formal training. 
  • Build your dog's inherent prey drive and prepare him for formal training on pigeons at our facility in Oklahoma. This class will bring your dog's prey drive to a pinnacle.
  • We recommend dogs be at least 4 months old to attend this class. This is a great preparatory class for any dog going in to the Basic Formal Training Class (even if a mature dog). The class is designed to prepare individuals for formal training and allow them to roll right in to their Basic Formal Training Class the following month without interruption.
  • There is no upper age limit for our Development Class. This class focuses on building prey drive and preparing dogs for formal training. If your dog does not have much bird exposure, this is a good preparatory class to consider enrolling in.
  • $650 per month (1 month class)
  • Next available classes:  June 2019 in Oklahoma

Basic Formal Training Class

  • Steady your dog and develop the fundamental skills every bird dog should know. The Basic Class gets your dog started on the right path learning the basic behaviors necessary for a good bird dog.
  • Generally dogs are mature enough for this class at around a year of age. If you just received a new puppy now is a good time to sign up for his Basic Class next year!
  • $950 per month (3 month class)
  • Next available class:  July-September 2019
  • Please Contact Us if you'd like to reserve a spot for your dog in the 2019 classes. 

Tune Ups & Advanced Classes for Alumni

  • Bring your trained dog's performance to a peak and prepare him for a great hunting or trialing season
  • $950 per month
  • Dogs previously trained at Ronnie Smith Kennels are eligible to return for annual tune ups.
  • Next available classes: September 2019

Wild Bird Training Excursions for Alumni

  • Opportunities to be a part of these trips take place during fall and winter.  These are great ways to get your dog in shape, both physically and mentally, for a season of hunting wild birds. This class is similar to a semester abroad for a young student. It broadens their horizons, matures them, and polishes their skills more than any other class. This is the real world experience that will really mold their behavior for life.
  • $1,050 per month
  • Any dog previously trained at Ronnie Smith Kennels is eligible to be a part of our Wild Bird Excursions. This is a great tune up for dogs every fall!
  • Next available trips: 
         Texas Wild Bird Training, November 2019 - January 2020 (dates are customizable)

Private Instruction

  • On premise private instruction is offered at $100 an hour, $300 for a half day and $500 for a full day of instruction. Advance notice is required.

Contact Us to schedule a class.

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