Mason-Dixon Game Outfitters Dog Training – Next available date for take-ins is July 20th
We would love to work with your bird dog and all pointing and flushing breeds are welcome to train with us. Our bird dog training format, known as the Silent Command System, has been developed through generations of the Smith dog trainers and taught to us by our mentors and friends Rick and Ronnie Smith. This training works for any dog, whether a pointing dog, flushing dog, gun dog, NAVDA, hunt testing or field trial prospect. Like any successful school curriculum, our training system begins with the fundamentals and builds skills based on that solid foundation.
We have ducks, pheasants, chukar, quail and pigeons to expose your dog or puppy to at this time. Training prices do no include the cost of birds.
If training assistance is needed to put a specific training thought or need in place, that can be discussed and worked with as well.
Our facility is licensed as a training facility, therefore all dogs staying with us will be worked with to gain a training benefit of some kind. We work mainly with bird dogs, but welcome all breeds except pit bulls.
Training and Boarding Programs
Day Care and Obedience Training offered Monday – Friday as space allows ($25/day)
Development Class: (2 weeks - 1 month) - $750/ month or $350/ 2 weeks
- Build your dog's inherent prey drive and prepare him for formal training on pigeons or quail at our facility. This class will bring your dog's prey drive to a pinnacle. Your dog is guaranteed bird contact every outing.
- 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).
Basic Formal Class Training – ($800/ Month)
- Steady your dog and develop the fundamental skills every bird dog should know. The Basic Class gets your dog started on the right path.
- Generally dogs are mature enough for this class at around a year of age. (3 month class)
Tune Ups and Advanced Classes for Alumni ($800/ Month)
- Bring your dog's performance to a peak and prepare him for a great hunting, hunt testing or trialing season
- Dogs previously trained at Mason-Dixon Game Outfitters are eligible to return for annual tune ups. Starting in September – Sign up now to be sure there is room on our schedule to assist with this.
The Silent Command System of Training Explained
- 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.
- 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 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.
Summer Training Schedule
Summer 2019 Schedule:
Saturday, June 15th – Puppy/ Foundation (10-12) & Intermediate/ Advanced (1-3)
Saturday, July 20th – Intermediate/ Advanced (10-12) & Puppy/ Foundation (1-3)
Saturday, Aug. 17th – Puppy/ Foundation (10-12) & Intermediate/ Advanced (1-3)
Saturday, Sept. 14th – Intermediate/ Advanced (10-12) & Puppy/ Foundation (1-3)
MORE SUMMER CLASSES TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON
Young dogs need the opportunity of exposure to birds in the field to develop their inherent prey drive. At the beginning of training the dog may require a month of PUPPY DEVELOPMENT. This ensures a young dog is excited about birds and has learned the basics of how to utilize his instincts. This level elevates the dog’s intensity of prey drive and readies them for the formal stages of training.
The FOUNDATION LEVEL begins formal training by establishing Points of Contact on the neck and flank. Through the use of the points of contacts conditioned responses are taught, thus shaping behavior or in some cases re-shaping undesired behavior. This is also when work is begun on the
dog’s natural retrieve.
- We introduce the pups to the chain gang, command lead, the long line and birds, birds, birds.
- The one big bonus for the pups on this group session is that they are building prey drive by watching the other pups work through the field and seeing the birds fly in front of them from each pup that is working.
The INTERMEDIATE LEVEL transitions a dog from mechanical cues to 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 dogs point, and quartering on cue.
At the ADVANCED LEVEL, dogs are reaching the point 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.
Persons leaving dogs for training are welcome to come to handle their dogs with us on these days at no charge.
• All classes will be at least 2 hours long or will maintain until we can end each student on a successful note.
• Each lesson will have at least 2 trainers and possibly up to 4 trainers working together to keep everyone engaged.
• We will run each class in small group sessions with some yard work training or problem spot work and then some bird fun.
Cost- $60 per dog for instruction time and 2 birds. (If more birds are needed to make your dog successful that will be an additional charge)
• Please contact us if you have any questions.
• We can handle a few walk-ins, but prefer for you to let us know if you are attending so that we can have help and birds lined up for the day.