Field Training for the Fall

By Alison Schultz


This is a typical Hunt test mark set up at a training day. Note the bird boy (thrower) across the lake. And the variety of distractions your dog will need to learn to work around. Weeds, cover in the water that the dog will need to swim through, the boat floating in the water, which is actually tied to a floating log that the dogs can swim over. The bird rack, and gun rack right behind the handler and dog. The handler is calling for the right hand mark with duck call in her mouth and is getting ready to shoot.




Hopefully everyone has been working on their basic obedience during the hot summer months and now that it will be cooling off we can progress with our training.

Our next training day will be held on Saturday September 11th at Richard Davis’ in Bushnell, FL in conjunction with the Central Florida Hunting Retriever Club Training Day. A beginners field obedience class will be held from 9-10 AM. Please RSVP to Alison at to participate in the beginners class. I will send you directions and a list of what you need to bring. After the beginners class you can run the land and water marks that are set up for the club training day.

So how do you get started in Field Training?

#1 Find and Follow a Training Program.
There are many ways to train a dog and you need to find a program that you are comfortable with and follow it. I have learned this the hard way and my first dogs would have gone so much farther if I had followed this advice.

The beginners field obedience lesson that I sent out this summer can be used as the first step in any program that you follow.

Come more basic tips can be found at

#2 Find people and places to train.
Several of our own members have property to train on and would be happy to help you: Claire Koshar in Montverde (just west of Orlando), Pam Hind (just east of Tampa), or PJ Lacette (northeast of Orlando).

There are also many field clubs in Florida that you can join:

Central Florida Hunting Retriever Club - Holds monthly training days in Montverde and Bushnell. Left over birds are available for purchase after training sessions. Members receive a list of other members who are interested in being contacted to train outside of regular training days.

Jacksonville Retriever Club – Limited access to training grounds for members. Despite the name, the grounds are actually located in Williston, FL (southwest of Gainesville.)

Northeast Florida Hunting Retriever Club – Holds monthly training days and members have full access to the property for training. Whisper Creek property is located near St Augustine. On occasion live flyers are available for purchase at training days.

Tallahassee Hunting Retriever Club - Membership allows access to training grounds at Borderline Plantation, located at the Florida/Georgia border area, between Tallahassee Florida and Thomasville Georgia.

Treasure Coast Retriever Club – Holds monthly training days near Okeechobee, FL .

#3 Have a goal.
We hope everyone is excited about participating in our March 13, 2021 WC/WCX test. That is a great goal to start with as it takes only one pass to get a title. Rules and requirements can be found here: You need to start training now even though it seems months away!

It’s important to have a goal so you know what you are training for. A Junior Hunter title only requires single marks (the dog getting one bird at a time.) A WC requires the dog to do a double (two birds are thrown so the dog has to remember where both are). How you train will be slightly different depending on your goals, but most people find out field is so much fun that even if they “only” want a JH, after you get going you will want to continue on ☺

#4 Just do it!
Many people procrastinate because they don’t have land or water to train on, the right equipment, people to train with, or just don’t know how to start. So the Field Committee and your fellow members are here to help you! Start with those obedience lessons and come on out to the September 11th training day and we will help you. And when you go home with a tired and happy flat coat – you will be hooked!