Training at Marble Mountain Kennels

Levels of Training

Marble Mountain Kennels offers basic "Super Citizen" training for young puppies, as well as basic obedience training for older puppies and older dogs. For hunters, we offer advanced training in waterfowling and upland hunting.

For dog owners interested in Marble Mountain Kennels' training programs, you can choose from the following four options:

  1. Our "Super Citizen Program" - A trained obedient companion dog (usually a 6-week program) - Scroll down to see details below.
  2. A started waterfowl Labrador Retriever (3-4 months) – Scroll down to see details below.
  3. A started upland hunting Labrador Retriever (3-4 months) – Scroll down to see details below.
  4. A more finished waterfowl and upland Labrador retrievers (4-7 months) – Scroll down to see details below.

TOTAL CARE for all dogs at MMK includes: boarding, feeding, exercising, socializing, training, worming and vaccinating. All of our MMK puppies (whether in training or not) receive complete puppy booster vaccines as needed. Any dog introduced into our kennel or into our MMK training program will be required to show proof of up-to-date vaccinations. They will also be wormed and treated for kennel cough, as needed, in order to ensure the safety of all dogs. During summer months, they will receive heartworm medication, as well.

LIMITED OPPORTUNITIES are available for training, so if an owner would like to have a dog enrolled he/she can contact MMK to see if there is room (pete@mmkennels.com). If there is room, a dog owner can reserve a spot in the training program by paying the first month of training in advance. All training costs are due in advance.

TRAINING PARTNERSHIP: MMK believes that a training process is a three-way partnership. The partners include the trainer (us), the dog and the owne/handler (you). For the dog to be a successfully trained hunting partner or home companion all three partners need to participate. Below are the spelled-out expectations of the trainer (us). If during the first month the trainer finds the dog incapable of receiving training at the pace listed below we will notify the owner and discuss other options. Not every dog is fully capable of learning all that you might want him to learn. We want to be successful and we want your dog to be successful. If we feel that your dog will not be a good candidate for advanced training we will let you know in the first week to month of his training so you don't spend money unneccesarily.

The owner/handler plays a very important role in training if it is going to be successful. The owner must be taught to use the correct cues to handle his/her newly trained canine partner. S/he should also keep some form of basic training in place to keep the dog sharp and limit regression. After the first six weeks, monthly meetings of all three partners should be considered a priority.

COSTS

Basic Obedience "Super Citizen" Program: $1,000 for 6 weeks (68 sessions or more)

Gun Dog Training: $900 per month (45 sessions or more)

"SUPER CITIZEN" BASIC TRAINING

Marble Mountain Kennels' "Super Citizen" program is specifically designed for young puppies and is approximately 6-8 weeks long. A graduate from this program will have learned the following commands:

  • Here/Come
  • Sit/Stay
  • Down/Stay (if the puppy is ready for these more challenging commands)
  • "Kennel" which means going into and remaining in a crate, on a mat or pillow, or onto or into any other designated location
  • Crate Training (ability to sit quietly in a crate or other confined area, which is a first step in housebreaking, but NOT completed housebreaking)
  • "Off" No jumping up
  • No biting or other negative habits or tendencies we may observe
  • No walking underfoot
  • Heel (on & off leash) - IF PUPPY/DOG IS AT LEAST 4 MONTHS OLD (We find that the "heel" command is too negative for pups younger than 4 months of age.)

"Super Citizen" training sometimes involves a group of puppies, so a client may need to wait a month or two for the proper timing.

Our "Super Citizen Program" is a six-week program of at least 68 5-10-minute sessions (or longer, as we may deem necessary), in which we teach puppies the basic commands of coming to both "here" with our voices and to a whistle. We teach them to "kennel" onto or into mats, crates, pillows, etc. We teach them to "sit," "sit/stay," and, if they're ready, we teach the "down" and "down/stay" commands. We teach puppies to keep from getting underfoot on walks and we teach them the "off" command, which is the command for not jumping up on people, whether they are standing, walking, kneeling or sitting. During the course of each puppy's training, if we observe any innate negative tendencies or bad habits, such as biting, chewing on pant legs, or gnawing on shoelaces, for example, we work to correct these negatives. Occasionally, depending on the time required, we work with puppies to overcome fears of going up and down stairs, walking across slatted decks or porches, crossing a bridge over a creek, or walking on slippery surfaces.

Finally, we teach "crate training." We teach a puppy to remain in a crate for several hours at a time with (hopefully) no accidents or whining and crying by the end of the six-week period. Crate training is a good precursor to housebreaking. Crate training gets puppies to a point where they should have no accidents in the crate so that you can take him outside to "go potty" aka "take a break" after his naptime. We do not allow puppies to have free range of our home during training, although we do have sessions of supervised playtime. This means puppies have no opportunity to have accidents in our house. Therefore, they are not truly potty trained by the end of the six-week training period. However, they will be ready for you to housebreak them when they return to your home.

We never expect 100% perfection from dogs we train, but we want to get dogs to about 70-80% obedience and compliance by the time they leave us. That means the owner/handler will need to keep up with their training. Watching these videos can come in handy for owners who might need training command refreshers and a reminder of what to expect from their dogs.

Many people leave their puppies with us right after adopting them so that we can put them directly into our "Super Citizen" basic obedience training program. It can certainbly be difficult for a new puppy owner to meet a puppy and then say goodbye to him for 6 weeks, but it's very easy on the pup, since he has already been with us since the day he was born. However, when you come to pick up your puppy, we show you how we have been training him and make sure you know and understand the commands before you leave. (We encourage you to shoot videos too, if possible.) Another advantage to putting your puppy in our "Super Citizen" program is that we also give them their next round of vaccinations free of charge, which saves you about $200 in veterinary bills.

One question we get a lot is: "How many puppies are you usually training at a time?" To answer that, it depends on what type of training and what time of year it is. We are usually training 4-8 puppies in our basic obedience program year-round. We are training anywhere from 2-10 dogs at a time in our advanced waterfowl and upland hunt training from spring through autumn (Our winters can get too cold and snowy to hunt train year-round.)

COST: The basic obedience "Super Citizen" program costs $1,000 for 6 weeks (68 sessions or more).

You can view a series of dog training video clips of Pete instructing handlers on

To view more puppy/dog training clips, please see our VIDEOS page.

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BASIC TRAINING &
ESSENTIALS OF WATERFOWLING

Marble Mountain Kennels' BASIC TRAINING & ESSENTIALS OF WATERFOWLING program is approximately 3-4 months long. The first weeks are spent with the above obedience introduction (. A graduate from this program will learn all the BASIC TRAINING commands plus skills such as:

  • Trained Retrieve (Force Fetch)
  • Proper Line manners & ignore decoys
  • Proper Delivery
  • Steadiness in blind
  • Introduction to gunfire
  • Retrieves from dog blind
  • Introduction to birds
  • Retrieves from boat
  • Extended land retrieves (70-100 yards)
  • Introduction to remote sit
  • Basic water retrieves (30-60 yards)
  • Introduction to handling
  • Basic double marks on land and water
  • Introduction to basic blind retrieves

A graduate should be a joy to have in the duck blind and handle basic retrieves easily. They should be able to pass an AKC Junior hunt test and should have a good foundation towards being a Senior Hunter.

The cost is $900/month or minimum of 45 sessions, plus minimal bird cost. Sometimes training can be accelerated (more sessions/day) to accommodate an owner’s desired schedule.

One question we get a lot is: "How many puppies are you usually training at a time?" To answer that, it depends on what type of training and what time of year it is. We are usually training 4-8 puppies in our basic obedience program year-round. We are training anywhere from 2-10 dogs at a time in our advanced waterfowl and upland hunt training from spring through autumn (Our winters can get too cold and snowy to hunt train year-round.)

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BASIC TRAINING &
ESSENTIALS OF UPLAND HUNTING

Marble Mountain Kennels BASIC TRAINING & ESSENTIALS OF UPLAND HUNTING program is approximately 3-4 months long. The first weeks are spent with the above obedience introduction. A graduate from this program will learn all the BASIC TRAINING commands plus skills such as:

  • Trained Retrieve (Force Fetch)
  • Proper hunting manner
  • Proper Delivery
  • Steadiness to wing & shot
  • Introduction to gunfire
  • Proper quartering
  • Introduction to birds (chukar, pheasant)
  • Multiple hunter quartering
  • Boldness on birds
  • Introduction to remote sit
  • Extended land retrieves (70-100 yards)
  • Introduction to handling
  • Basic double marks on land and water
  • Introduction to basic blind retrieves

A graduate should be an eager hunting partner in the field, should quarter & stay within gun range w/ encouragement, be steady to wing & shot and deliver to hand.

The cost is $900/ month or 45 sessions. Birds are an additional cost of approximately $200/ month during the 3rd-5th months. Sometimes training can be accelerated.

One question we get a lot is: "How many puppies are you usually training at a time?" To answer that, it depends on what type of training and what time of year it is. We are usually training 4-8 puppies in our basic obedience program year-round. We are training anywhere from 2-10 dogs at a time in our advanced waterfowl and upland hunt training from spring through autumn (Our winters can get too cold and snowy to hunt train year-round.)

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ESSENTIALS OF UPLAND HUNTING &
INTERMEDIATE WATERFOWLING


Marble Mountain Kennels ESSENTIALS OF UPLAND HUNTING & INTERMEDIATE WORK IN WATERFOWLING program is approximately 5-8 months long depending on the extent of training desired. The first months are spent with the above obedience, upland hunting & waterfowling introductions. A graduate from this program will learn all the BASIC TRAINING & ESSENTIALS OF WATERFOWLING AND UPLAND GAME (listed above)

Dogs will then move toward advanced waterfowling techniques such as:

  • Extended doubles in cover & water
  • Basic Remote Handling
  • Basic triples
  • Blinds from 50-75 yards
  • Extended triples
  • Re-directing of retrieve

A graduate should be an eager & well-mannered hunting partner in the field & duck blind with the foundation of advance handling needed for difficult retrieves and hunting competitions.

The cost is $900/ month or 45 sessions. Birds are an additional cost of approximately $200/ month during the 3rd-5th months. Sometimes training can be accelerated.

One question we get a lot is: "How many puppies are you usually training at a time?" To answer that, it depends on what type of training and what time of year it is. We are usually training 4-8 puppies in our basic obedience program year-round. We are training anywhere from 2-10 dogs at a time in our advanced waterfowl and upland hunt training from spring through autumn (Our winters can get too cold and snowy to hunt train year-round.)

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About Gun Dog Training

We like to train gun dogs at around 3-8 months old, depending on their developmental levels. By the time we complete their training, they will have been exposed to and should respond well to the following:

  • Solid basic obedience, including sit, stay, heel, come, mat, kennel, and good house manners
  • A good quartering pattern for upland hunting
  • The “Whoa” command with sharpened natural point
  • Steadiness to wing and shot
  • 20-50 birds shot over them
  • Good retrieve and delivery
  • Basic blind manners
  • Holding for and retrieving double marks in a duck hunting scenario

By the time your dog leaves us, s/he will have a basic sense of obedience to commands and have been exposed to many crucial aspects of hunting. They are considered "started" dogs, but they are not "finished," which means s/he will need further exposure and training to reach advanced proficiency as a first class hunting dog and household companion. It is our hope that we can make you aware of areas of strength and weakness in each dog, so there is little in the way of surprise. It is recommended that you, as the owner, come to us at least twice during your dog's training to learn commands and handling of your dog. Many clients do this about halfway through training and once again when they pick up thier dog.

Where Some of Our Dogs are Now

  • Our beautiful chocolate Lab, Lucky Lake of Marble Mountain "Lake" (in the above photo) is happily living his life as a hunting dog with his family in California.
  • Our dog Rifle is a bomb detection dog at the San Francisco Airport.
  • One of our yellow female dams is a fire detection dog in British Columbia, Canada.
  • We sold Amari to Archway Kennels in San Antonio, Texas. Her puppies are now doing bomb detection work.
  • We sold our dog Cooper to the military, where he is now doing IED (land mine) detection work.
  • Click on the link to view photos and comments about some of our past started gun dogs: started dog owners’ comments.