top of page

British Labrador Training Methodology

GameKeeper Kennels Director of Gun Dog Operations and Chief Trainer Bill Gibson has spent over a decade learning to train Labrador Retrievers using training techniques acquired from some of the best trainers in the United Kingdom.  He is an "A-Panel Judge" in the British Field Trial Society of America, and was a member of the U. S. Gun Dog Team in 2004 that won the Irish International in a competition against England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and The Republic of Ireland. Also, his team won the Atlantic Cup in a competition with Northern Ireland. Using the techniques learned in the United Kingdom, Bill and his staff of trainers are focused on training British Labrador Retrievers to be a hunter's best companion on and off the field. Accepting a limited number of pre-qualified dogs and a no e-collars policy creates an ideal learning environment at our enclosed training facility. In addition, we have several training sites that offer exposure to both land and water training and all types of hunting environments.  The state of the art kennel offers each dog a personal kennel with covered outdoor space and a climate controlled inside area.



On puppy pick day, we offer our clients the option to reserve a guaranteed training spot for their pup when it reaches the age of six months.  For this service there is a $100 nonrefundable reservation fee.  This guarantees that their pup will be admitted into our program on the first day of the month after the pup turns six months of age.  This $100 reservation fee will be deducted from the amount they owe for the first month of training.  We charge $850 per month to train the pups that we sold and delivered to our clients. 


All pups from other kennels are considered "outside pups".  Because demand for training pups that were purchased from Mossy Oak Gamekeeper Kennels is extremely high, our kennel space is very limited. Since assurance is given to our clients that their pups will be given priority for training slots, we will only take "outside" pups when we can reasonably assure ourselves that kennel space will be available for a sufficient length of time to properly train the pup.  When and if space becomes available for "outside pups", the training fee will be $950 per month.


A basic guideline...

Our hunting dog training program is designed to encompass four levels of training. The first two levels will produce a “semi-started hunting dog.” After completion of the first two levels of training, your pup will be ready to be introduced to real life hunting situations. Once the pup has been introduced to real-life hunting situations, we would then classify a pup as a true "started gun dog" ready for the next two levels of training.  Completion of the next two levels of training will produce a “finished hunting dog”. 

Level 1: Basic Obedience 

This level of training normally takes about one (1) month to complete. At the end of this phase, the dog will walk at heel on lead, sit on the whistle, stay on command, recall on the "here" command, and will make single retrieves out to and beyond thirty (30) yards on both land and water. The dog will remain steady until sent for the training dummy and deliver to hand. The dog will also be properly introduced to gunfire.

Level 2: Semi-Started Hunting Dog Training

Completion of this level of training takes from one to three month(s) and at the end, the dog will heel off lead, sit for extended periods, stay for extended periods, and recall on the "here" command, all on whistle. In addition the dog will be trained on the place command and will be introduced to blind retrieves out to fifty (50) yards and double marks and trailing memories out to fifty (50+) yards. Gunfire will be the norm for marks and the dog will be steady to wing and shot. Also, the pup will begin the first steps of stopping on the whistle, leading to remote handling in more advanced levels of training.

Level 3: Advanced Hunting Dog Training

This level of training generally takes one to two month(s) to complete.  Again, the heel, sit, stay, place, and here commands continue to be reinforced. The dog will be worked out to seventy-five (75) yards on marks, trailing memories, and blinds. In addition, the dog will be reinforced to stop on the whistle, recall on the whistle and introduced to basic hand signals.


Level 4: Finished Hunting Dog Training

This level of training takes one to two month(s) to complete. All training at this level is done off lead and steadiness is the norm. Emphasis will have been on reinforcement of basic obedience and hand signals to the point that they have become conditioned habits. Also, marks, trailing memories, and blind retrieves will have been lengthened to (100+) yards. At the conclusion the dog will be a “finished hunting dog."  

The length of time required for completion of each of the levels is at best an estimate.  Many factors impact these estimates, many of which are owner induced.  These issues can take from a few days to several weeks or more to address and correct.  That is why we highly recommend that the new owners stick to our guidelines in dealing with the puppy during the interval between go home day and six months to bring the pup up to its maximum potential without creating issues.     


The following health standards must be addressed in a letter from a veterinarian replete with a copy of the pup's health records before your dog will be accepted for training:

  1. Must be micro-chipped.
  2. Must have 8-way vaccination, inclusive of DA2PP and CVK/4L, within the last 6 months.
  3. Must be current on Bordetella vaccination. 
  4. Must be current on Rabies vaccination.
  5. Must test negative for intestinal coccidia, giardia, whip worms, round worms, and tape worms.
  6. Must test negative for ticks and fleas and be on a regular monthly preventative.
  7. Must test negative for heartworms and be on a regular monthly preventative.
  8. Must test negative for Lyme disease. 

Dogs not meeting these criteria will not be accepted into the training program. 

bottom of page