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Fred Rayl, Training

Summer Training on the Prairies

First I would like to say to those of you who have sent dogs north to the prairies and felt you did not get your money’s worth, I am sorry you feel that way. If you sent them with a reputable trainer, I am sure there was a good explanation. Dogs are not always what we wish they could be. Most of the trainers work hard and do the best they can with the dogs that are sent with them.

The most important reasons for sending your dog to the prairies are:

1. When he returns from a summer on the prairies, you should have a good idea of what his potential is. It will save you time and money in the long run. Owners sometimes keep dogs for months, maybe years spending thousands of dollars before they are sure of what they have.

2. The experience a dog gets on the prairies is worth every penny. What they can learn there in a week will take much longer to learn almost anywhere else in the country.

3. Problems in dogs are a lot easier to recognize and deal with on the prairies. Because you can see them most of the time, a dog’s mistakes can be corrected and they will not develop bad habits that can not be fixed.

4. Days are long. Birds are big, easy to smell and will hold for young dogs. Weather is cool and the terrain is open. This means your dog gets worked more often in better conditions in a place where he can be seen most of the time. You will find out what he is made of. It is not a guessing game are the prairies.

5. Conditioning is easy to maintain once you have a dog in shape…and that will make your dog more fun and competitive for the fall trials.

6. The difference in dogs that have spent their summers up north on wild birds since puppyhood and those that  have not had this advantage are like daylight and dark. A good trainer can tell the first few times one is turned lose if they have been “there” before. And the ones that have are a lot easier to train.

I hope this explains why it is important for you to send your dog north. Find a trustworthy trainer with a good reputation and one that will fit your training or your trialing program. Most are good and honest and train bird dogs on the prairies because that’s what they love to do. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions!


Please check Fred’s bio on the Contributor’s page for contact info.



Running Dog


Strideaway is an online publication founded in 2008. We are dedicated to promoting the great sport of American pointing dog field trials, in particular American Field sanctioned trials for pointers and setters. Our objective is to present the voices and ideas of experienced trainers, handlers, breeders and other knowledgeable participants and enthusiasts from the past to the present — amateurs and professionals alike. Whether All-Age or Shooting Dog, Horseback or Walking Trials, we place particular emphasis on wild bird field trials and the dogs that compete in them. We present richly illustrated articles and stories, podcast interviews and other types of media on a regular basis with the hope of providing an ever expanding, searchable archive of information relevant to pointing dog field trials.Read article

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