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  Page Updated 05/25/08   


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Photo Journal of HOPE in Gun Dog Training

(click on any photo to enlarge it)

Pea Ridge Kennels - Trenton, TN - (click here to visit their website)

8/19/06 - On this day, we took Bristol to Pea Ridge Llewellin Kennels in Trenton Tennessee to stay for a 3-month long gun dog training session with Dr. Phil Fortner and his lovely wife Jane.  

Pea Ridge Kennels - entrance Pea Ridge Kennels - dog kennel facility Pea Ridge Kennels - Dr. Phil and Jane Fortner

During our brief stay , Phil did some preliminary testing with Bristol in order to evaluate her natural instincts. First, we took a walk around the property to the live bird pens. Bristol proved to be very birdy when seeing the birds in fly around in the pens. Then he tested her birdiness in the field.

Bristol on point - first live bird!

Bristol on point - first live bird!

Bristol on point - first live bird!

This is Bristol reacting to finding her first live bird in the grass (a tethered pigeon).

She also proved to have natural backing instincts when a remote controlled pointing dog appeared in the field. (Sorry no photo of this, the camera person (me) was too slow on the draw!)

  Bob and Laura with Bristol

Then, after too short of a visit, it was time to say good-bye to our baby girl for three long months and head home to Iowa; then anxiously await updates on Bristol from Tennessee.




Training Begins...       (all photos are courtesy of Phil and Jane Fortner)

8/23/06 - Bristol was collar conditioned today. She responded to a very low setting on the Dogtra 2000 which is good. Brissy was able to turn off the very low level of stimulation by obeying commands. Phil uses the neck for all "here", "heel" and bending commands, and the flank for all "whoa" work. He establishes those points of contact by using both checkcord and e-collar. All commands may be reinforced with the e-collar.  Training is progressing extremely well!

Bristol on the "chain gang"

Bristol on the "whoa barrel"

These are photos of Brissy on the "chain gang"
and on the "whoa barrel"


8/29/06 - Bristol is learning the "hold" command so that she will gently hold a bird in her mouth until she is told to release it.

Phil teaching Bristol the "hold" command Bristol learning the "hold" command

These photos show Bristol learning the
"hold" command.

9/03/06 - Bristol is very birdy and has a good nose. Today she was in the field on a pointing drill using tethered birds. Bristol is now holding a "buck" in the trained retrieve and Phil intends to begin introduction of the gun next week.

Bristol during a pointing drill Bristol during a pointing drill

Bristol during a pointing drill on live pigeon.

9/10/06 - Bristol is working on the "fetch" portion of the trained retrieve. Phil uses a very light ear pinch as method of reinforcement and Bristol is responding nicely to this technique. Bristol is also beginning to stand longer when pointing before breaking on the bird...  Bristol is having loads of fun dashing through the fields and finding the birds.

What a grand dog!

Bristol with the "buck" learning the Fetch command Bristol in the field - pointing pigeon

Bristol holding the "buck" on the trained retrieve and
in the field pointing live pigeon.

9/18/06 - Bristol on her first backing drill! The white wooden remote controlled dog is pointing and it's pure instinct for her to point too, even though she does not see or smell the bird herself. She's doing great!

Bristol on a "backing" drill

Bristol on a "backing" drill

Bristol during her backing drills, honoring another dog's point!

9/26/06 - Brissy has a frozen quail and she is working on the "hold" and "release" commands during a trained retrieve session.

Brissy with frozen quail working on trained retrieve and hold Brissy with frozen quail working on the hold command during a trained retrieve session

Bristol holding a frozen quail while practicing the
"hold" and "release" commands.

10/03/06 - Bristol is waiting to be released from her kennel for another training session in the field with more live pigeons. She has a great nose and is becoming quite staunch on her birds.


Bristol waiting to be released from her kennel Bristol pointing live pigeon in the field.

Bristol waiting to be released from her kennel and
pointing live pigeons.

10/08/06 - Phil is using an electronic collar at a very low setting on the flank to reinforce the "whoa" command and increase staunchness on her point!


Bristol on point: e-collar on the flank provides stimulation when she doesn't hold her point. Bristol pointing pigeon

An e-collar is being used on Bristol's flank
to reinforce the "whoa" command.

10/22/06 - A note from Phil:

The last 2 sessions with Bristol have been outstanding!! She had 3 solid points...stayed steady to flush and retrieved all 3 birds. She is becoming the "star" of this group. She is very fast and active in the field but also very biddable. I think y'all are going to be pleased with her progress!

--  Phil Fortner, Gun Dog Trainer  

10/31/06 - Happy Halloween!


Bristol on Halloween in Tennessee

Bristol on Halloween in Tennessee
which is much warmer than here!!

11/05/06 - Picked up Bristol at Pea Ridge Llewellin Kennels. Due to an unfortunate equipment malfunction, I have not even ONE photo to display for this date.  Anyway, when we arrived, Phil demonstrated all she had learned and ran her through her paces, showing us step by step the commands and what she was supposed to do.

Then Phil went into the training field and planted a couple quail so he could show us how Bristol worked in the field. She is very energetic and fast, but she responded well to all his commands, ranged MUCH closer than before the training, and didn't miss either of the birds. When she got a whiff, she snapped into a point and held it. Phil eventually kicked up the bird and shot it, then Bristol went to get it. She did find it and retrived it to hand. We were very excited to see the transformation in our girl. During her training, Bristol had a total of 46 birds (all quail) shot over her.

Before we left, Phil and Jane gave us some wonderful momentos to bring home, including a list of all her commands and the desired reaction, a portfolio of all the photos they had taken while Bristol was in training (those displayed here on this page and more) as well as a couple whistles (the same kind that was used during Bristol's training) and a couple ball caps with Pea Ridge Llewellin Kennels logo embroidered on them. SUPER COOL!!!

Bristol's training is now done and she's finally HOME! She's back in Iowa just in time for the 2006 pheasant season! LOOK OUT BIRDIES, HERE SHE COMES!



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