British Training for American Retrievers by Vic Barlow
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2003 edition, 256 pages, soft cover, black and white photos
There has long been a disconnect between the retriever training methods in the United Kingdom and in North America.
British Retriever Trials are primarily a test of a dog's skills at finding game, while American Field Trials are a test of the handling techniques of the owner. The British teach their dogs to find every bird, while American handlers are training for an event where tracking cripples plays no part. The British method, for many American and Canadian hunters, makes more sense on a day-to-day basis because its aim is to produce a finished gun dog who is steady, quiet, and reliable in the field.
Barlow's methods are built on one very important concept: What does your dog really need to know to be a good performer for the gun? Everything else, as they say, is elaboration. His methods are built on common sense because they train for the situations your dog will see in the field or marsh, not for a once-in-a-lifetime blind quad on 300-yard ducks. For those who are brave enough to take "the path less traveled," the rewards for both owner and dog will be a revelation.
Vic Barlow is the U.K. correspondent for Retriever Journal Magazine, but he is in the U.S. more than he is at home. And there's good reason for it - he keeps getting called back by folks who like the way he shows them how to turn their dogs into steady, reliable, and sociable field performers.
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