The Wisconsin River Chapter was founded to help new and experienced members train their hunting dogs with the aid of a group. Training is our primary club function and activity. Hunters and non-hunters are welcome to train with WRC.
Types of Training
These are the types of training we work on in the Wisconsin River Chapter:
Field work includes (but is not limited to) bird and gunfire introductions for puppies and new dogs; developing independence and range; pointing; steadiness to wing, shot, and fall (WSF); marked retrieves; honoring points and retrieves; and obedience.
Water work includes swimming; developing independence and search (duck search); steadiness by a blind; marked retrieves, blind retrieves, honoring retrieves, and obedience.
Obedience means developing respect, cooperation, and manners between the dog and handler. It is more than just obeying commands: it is the overarching attitudes of both the dog and handler towards working together. You need to have a correct foundation in obedience to succeed in the field and on the water (though they can be worked on in conjunction with one another).
Important training Day information
- Scheduled Training Days can be found on the calendar.
- WRC Membership: $30 per year (this is in addition to the NAVHDA International membership fee) (Membership Form)
- Collar Fee: $3 per handler per training day
- Typical cost of birds: Chukar are usually around $9 per bird but cost varies depending on where we get them.
- The Mazomanie Dog Training Area is occasionally reserved by groups (like ours) for training and testing. Before heading out to train, check the latest Mazomanie Grounds Calendar for Dog Events to make sure the grounds are not reserved.
- Be sure your dog's vaccinations are current.
We hold 6-7 training days per year from March through September (see Calendar). We also hold 1-2 “obedience only” training days earlier in the year.
Training days are important events to:
- Meet new people with an interest in dogs;
- Observe different breeds of dogs (and breed lines) in a working setting;
- Audit training of many dogs and people at a wide range of levels, from beginner to advanced;
- Work with and receive feedback from people outside of your regular training group.
Sample Training Day Schedule
- 7:45 AM: Members arrive at Mazomanie Grounds to pay for and collect training birds, receive field assignments, listen to brief announcements, air out dogs, and grab a cup of coffee if needed (limited supplies! Bring your own cup).
- 8:00 AM – Noon: Field work at Training Grounds.
- Around noon: Break for lunch at Grounds pavilion for 45 minutes to an hour. Lunchtime seminar if scheduled.
- After lunch: Finish field work if needed. Some members depart for other obligations after lunch.
- After lunch – 4:30: Caravan to Route 78 Pond for water work.
- Around 4:30: Return to training grounds to clean up and return equipment to trailer.
- Keep dogs in a crate or on a tie-out until it is your turn to run.
- No barking or excessive whining. If you need help quieting your dog, please ask.
- Respect others’ space. Please ask before allowing your dog to approach another dog.
- Use the grounds with respect: Pick up after yourself and your dog. This includes picking up poop around the pavilion, picking up empty shotgun shells in the fields, and properly disposing of expired training birds. If you see garbage anywhere throughout the grounds, be a good steward and pick it up.
Group Weeknight Training
Most progress in training occurs in the time between scheduled training days. Many of our members form small groups to train their dogs on weeknights and weekends as schedules allow, often towards a common goal (e.g. members who want to NA or UT test their dogs will train together).
If you are interested in joining a small training group, talk with Training Director Jacob Zeuske (or network with other members) to find times that work for you.
We use public field and water training facilities on the Mazomanie Wildlife Area's Dog Training Grounds on Cty Y, 5 miles north of Mazomanie.
- Take Hwy 14 west to Mazomanie. Turn right/north onto Hwy Y in Mazomanie.
- Travel 4 miles north on Y to DNR training grounds on the left (west).
From the north:
- Take I 39/90/94 south to Hwy 60.
- Turn right (west) onto Hwy 60 towards Sauk City. Turn left (south) onto Hwy 78.
- Travel about 3 miles and turn right (west) on Hwy Y. Travel about 5 miles on Hwy Y to the DNR training grounds on the right (west)
Other Training Information
Dog Training License
The WI Department of Natural Resources requires all persons training with captive game to possess a Dog Training License. This 3-year license must be in your possession when training on days other than the WRC monthly training days. The Chapter has a permit to cover members on training day. Captive birds sanctioned by the DNR for training include (check with the DNR for the official listing):
- Mallard Duck
- Hungarian Partridge
- Red-Legged Partridge (similar to Chukar)
The Dog Training Application (Form 9400-167) can be downloaded from the WI DNR site.
EQUIPMENT FOR YOU
- Blaze orange hat
- Blaze orange vest or shirt - a lightweight vest is useful for carrying much of your training equipment to the field
- Break open shotgun – break open style is a NAVHDA requirement for safety reasons.
- Ammunition – if you are not bringing a gun, be courteous to those who gun for you and provide them with the ammunition used to train your dog.
- Rain gear and rubber boots
- Bug spray - the mosquitoes at the Mazomanie training grounds can be extremely bad at times.
- Money to pay for your birds and contribute to the lunch.
EQUIPMENT FOR YOUR DOG
- Collar with ID tags
- Leash – please keep your dog under control at all times.
- Tie-out or crate – a way to contain your dog while you are not directly with him. Remember, in the warmer months, you will not be able to leave your dog in the car unless you have containment that allows you to keep all the doors and windows open.
- Bird cage – this can be anything from a homemade cage to a commercial bird crate. A $10 cat crate from Farm & Fleet works well. You need birds to train a bird dog, and a container to keep your birds in a humane manner.
- Bird bag to carry birds into the field. The chapter has nice bird bags available for sale.
- Long check cord – a rope will do nicely, but remember to wear gloves to prevent rope burns.
- Drag string for the duck drag is very handy, but often forgotten item.
- Water bottles for your dog. Carry water into the field for your dog. It not only cools them down in the heat, but it giving them water gives them a chance to settle down and regroup if running too hard or fast. Most handlers use old plastic water or soda bottles.