Bird Dog Training
We have devoted our lives to training all breeds of pointing dogs and helping people interact with their animals in a way that better benefits the dog. The Smith Training Method (also known as the HuntSmith Silent Command System) has been developed through generations of the Smith family training dogs and works for any dog, whether a pointing dog, gun dog, or field trial prospect. Like any successful school curriculum, this training system begins with the fundamentals and builds skills based on that solid foundation.
This training format helps to bring dogs' inherent prey drive to a pinnacle and then begins to mold that natural instinct into the desired behavior of a confident, mannerly bird dog. Through the development of conditioned responses and learned behavior we are able to have dogs that go with you in the field, are proficient bird finders, and are mannerly around game. We work in partnership with the dogs as we train, giving them leadership and relying on their natural abilities.
All pointing breeds are welcome to attend any of the classes at RSK. We do not specialize in any particular breed. At any given time in our kennels you will likely find an assortment of English pointers, English setters, German shorthairs, Brittanys, labs, drahthaars, pudelpointers, and more. To us it is not a particular bird dog breed that is important, it is the individual dog and their innate ability to be a bird dog.
We personally work with each dog in our training program. The largest part of our daily routine is spent training, cleaning kennels, caring for our dogs. We only take a limited number of dogs and take the time to work with each individual.
We feed Purina Pro Plan to the dogs staying in our kennels. It is a high-quality feed that we wholeheartedly believe in because we have seen great success with it over the course of many years. Bird dogs use a lot of energy and Pro Plan is an excellent fit for their dietary needs. Our dogs that remain on Pro Plan have good endurance, glossy hair coats, firm stools, and overall good body condition. There are many reasons that professionals choose Pro Plan, we believe in the science and quality control that Purina implements in their feeds.
- This class introduces your dog to all of the elements of the field, builds your dog's inherent prey drive on birds, and prepares him for formal training. This class is designed to bring your dog's prey drive to a pinnacle. There are no rules taught at this level.
- We recommend dogs be at least 4 months old to attend this class. This is a great preparatory class for any dog going into the Basic Formal Training Class (even if a mature dog). The class is designed to allow individuals to roll right into their Basic Formal Training Class the following month without interruption. There is no upper age limit for our Field Intro. This class focuses on building prey drive and preparing dogs for formal training.
- If your dog has no prior field experience on game birds, the Field Intro Class is required before a dog can begin Formal Training.
- $600 (2-week class)
- Next available classes: February 13 - 27, 2022 and August 15-29, 2022
BASIC FORMAL TRAINING CLASS
- Your dog's career as a bird dog begins here. This 3-month class will steady your dog on game and develop the fundamental skills every bird dog should know. During this class, we will teach dogs both an on and off-lead heel, teach them to work scent and be steady on game, work on handling, honoring, recall, loading, and basic manners to be a refined bird dog. At the end of the Basic Class these dogs have seen numerous 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 first month of training works to develop behavior or conditioned responses to mechanical cues of a rope (ie: on lead heeling, on lead recall, whoa post, direction changes, etc). The second month progresses to transitioning those conditioned responses to the remote cue of an e-collar and begin the steadying process on birds. The third month puts the finishing polish on the dog and brings them to the cusp of learned behavior. This 90-day program teaches a dog all that he needs to know to be successful and mannerly in the bird field and in life in general.
- If your dog likes to retrieve, we will work to polish that natural retrieve and work on the dog's ability to hunt dead. Trained retrieve is not a part of this class.
- Generally, dogs are ready 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!
- If your dog has not had any prior bird and field exposure, the Field Introduction Class is a pre-requisite to enrolling in this class. Field Intro can typically take place during the two weeks prior to the beginning of the Basic Formal Training Class.
- $1200 per month (3-month class)
- Next available classes: March-May 2022, Oct.-Dec. 2022
- Please Contact Us soon if you'd like to reserve a spot for your dog in a class. If a class has already filled, we can place you on our waiting list.
TUNE UPS & ADVANCED CLASSES
- This is an annual opportunity to bring your trained dog's performance to a peak and prepare him for a great hunting or trialing season. Just like with people, when dogs do not perform a certain skill for a period of time (ie: the off-season) they get "rusty" and out of shape, both mentally and physically. This class is designed to prepare your dog to hit the ground running on his first hunt of the season focused and giving his best performance. Only dogs previously trained at RSK are eligible for this level.
- $1300 per month
- Next available classes: October 2021, January 2022
WILD BIRD EXCURSION
- 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. All RSK canine alumni are eligible for Wild Bird Excursions!
- $1150 per month
- Next available trips:
Montana Wild Bird Training
- September 2021
- On premise private instruction is offered at $100 an hour, $300 for two hours and $1,000 for a full day of instruction. Advance notice is required.
Contact Us to schedule a class.