Q. How old does a dog have to be to attend?
A. Dogs of all ages benefit from attending a training workshop. Dogs must be up to date on all vaccinations, and puppies must have puppy shots completed.
Q. Can a female dog in heat attend a school?
A. Yes. We will work with the dog in a different area so she doesn’t interfere with the training of male dogs.
Q. What level of training do a dog and owner need to be able to attend?
A. Dogs of all ages and levels of experience will learn from attending. Trainers and handlers, from novice to advanced, will also benefit from the training. Designed to offer an individualized program for each dog and owner, clinics address owners’ and trainers’ specific goals and questions.
Q. Do I have to bring a dog to attend?
A. No. Auditors will gain knowledge from the presentation, questions, and answers. This also offers the auditor the opportunity to see problems and successes that other owners and dogs encounter. Often, an owner will audit a school and implement what they learned with their dogs at home. They may later attend a one-on-one private session to fine-tune or experience hands-on training.
Q. How many dogs are allowed at a school?
A. The size of the group attending a school is the decision of the individual, club, or group hosting the event. Sometimes the host designs the event as a seminar presentation and covers specific areas of training such as pointing drills, e-collar conditioning, the conditioned retrieve, backing, steady to wing and shot, and handling in range. Often a host will include a puppy day with live quail as part of the event’s agenda.
In schools that focus on field work, I recommend no more than 8 to 10 dogs to ensure individualized hands-on learning for owners and their dogs. Because the host decides what the cost to attendees is, the decision on how many dogs attend is the decision of the host.
Q. What is needed to host a George Hickox Bird Dog School?
- An inside area or tent large enough to accommodate students, an area to present a Powerpoint presentation with electrical outlets, seating for attendees, and a projection screen or television that allows computer hookup are required for classroom learning.
- For fieldwork, an outside area of two acres is suitable for bird manners training. For dogs that will run free in a hunting scenario, 5 acres is enough. However, a larger field is even better. Cover should not be so high as to intimidate young dogs or dogs with limited hunting experience, but high enough to camouflage and plant birds.
- Hosts will need to provide birds for training. Quail and pigeons work great for all drills that we would be doing in most cases.
- Restroom facilities and parking for students close to where the field work will be done will be needed.
- The host can either provide lunch or ask attendees to bring their own.
Q. How many days is a clinic?
A. The number of days is the decision of the host. A three-day event is ideal to allow enough time for me to cover canine behavior, proper e-collar conditioning, avoidance training, clicker and positive reinforcement training, point drills, field drills, nutrition & conditioning, and emergency vet applications in the field.
Some clubs offer a puppy day at the beginning or end of a more advanced workshop for older dogs. A day can be dedicated to point drills, or to e-collar conditioning and the proper use of low level stimulation, basic obedience, etc.
I will discuss the host’s goals and make suggestions in order to make this a great event.
Q. How much time should be allowed for individual one-on-one training and consultation?
A. This depends on the owner’s goals. A full day is too long for one dog, and I recommend half days for the dog work. If the owner has multiple dogs, we would alternate the dogs. A half day of classroom and questions and answers is often incorporated into a full day.
In order for me to evaluate a dog, a half day is normally sufficient. That allows us to watch the dog with birds, hunting, and basic yard training. In the case of a young dog, birds is normally where I would recommend starting. The best program for individuals is to initially do two half days in succession, go home and implement what they learned, and then come back for continued advanced learning and training.
Many dogs are companion dogs in the home as well as hunting partners. Basic obedience is important to owners whose dogs live in the house, go for walks, etc. We can incorporate the training goals for a successful bird dog in the field and both an A+ companion dog. If the owner’s objective is basic obedience that is where I will focus. Programs are tailor-made for each owner.
Q. How much does a clinic cost?
A. The cost depends on George’s travel expenses and the length of the workshop. The pricing for clubs and groups that sell and host the school is designed for the host to earn revenue. We will price the event in conjunction with the host’s objectives.