I just want to let you know that I’ve changed my mind about something important. This is a bit of a spiel, but trust me there is a good point.
Paul Michaels – Dog Trainer.
Most of my close followers will know that I am a huge fan of New Zealand Heading Dogs. And I still am. That’s not the thing that I have changed my mind about.
Mathew Johnstone with his lovely heading dog and a nice red hind.
What has changed is my view on some of the other breeds that have copped a bad wrap over the years. You know the ones. German Shorthaired Pointers, Wire-haired Pointers, Vizslas and stuff like that. They have been labeled super high energy, slow maturing, hard to train, and even just “a little bit crazy.”
I have somewhat agreed with this at times, and I have spoken about it in some of my videos.
Other people say. “Na mate, it’s all down to the training. Any dog can be good if you train it right.”
I agree with this too, but it definitely helps to pick the right dog, right from the start.
I will tell you this though. I have worked, one on one with literally hundreds of dogs over the last 2 years to help people to train their own Big Game Indicating Dogs, or Deer Dogs.
When I first started 2 years ago, everyone I first started working with was starting from absolute scratch. Some people had picked up a few tips from here or there and everyone had a mate that said.
“Oh na mate, do it this way, or do it that way!!!”
Bits and pieces, tips and opinions are a dime a dozen and always easy to find. Especially online!
But no one I have ever worked with or spoken to ever had any real solid plan or idea on how they were actually going to raise and train their dog perfectly from start to finish and 95% of people were only coming to me after everything turn to custard.
The one on one sessions were only fixing the problem once it had occurred.
They worked great for that though.
People could come to me and tell me everything that had gone wrong, and I would work with them for 2 hours showing them how to use a longline properly, and how to get on top of all of the issues they were having around home, with their dogs barking in the kennel, or digging holes, or jumping up on everyone, or simply not listening while going for a walk, or pulling on the lead. You know, all that day to day stuff. Everyone’s dog had at least one annoying habit to fix. Most had several!
Then we’d throw all of the hunting training on top of that and way you go. You’re training a Big Game Indicating Dog, or a Deer Dog.
But it worked.
Chris Borland did some one on sessions with his Wire-haired Pointer cross in the early days of Real Dog Training and Big Game Indicating Dogs. His dog turned out great with the correct training.
The one on one sessions worked. Then I’d go home and spend hours writing custom reports and training programs. Because I bombarded people with so much information during the 2 hour one on one sessions that people were a bit stunned by the end of them.
So I had to develop a system for recording all of that information so people could go over it again later and check things off.
Some people came back for the occasional one hour follow up session as well, and some people traveled as far as 6 hours drive in the north island of New Zealand, and other people came all the way from the south island.
So what’s the big deal right?
Why not just keep pumping out the one on one sessions and help everyone to fix their dogs?
The problem is exactly that. It is fixing dogs.
Not training them.
Our mission statement at Real Dog Training and Big Game Indicating Dogs to:
“Help as many people as possible to train the best dogs possible”
It is not to:
“Help as many people as possible to fix their dogs once everything has gone wrong.”
And I’ll tell you what.
This was not a revelation to me. I knew these one on one sessions were only ever fixing problems after they had become problems in the first place and I knew that well before I even started doing them.
That is why I started making The Deer Dog Training Blueprint as soon as I could. I started making that thing before I was ready and before I even should have started making it!
I had no business making The Deer Dog Training Blueprint when I did. I had no money, no time, no camera gear and even the whole idea of filming the training of one dog over a 12 month period and selling the videos as we went to pay for it was a crazy idea.
What if something happened to the dog?
You’d be surprised how many dogs run into serious health problems in their first year. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.
What if we get half way through this thing and we have hundreds of people following the system and something happens to our dog?! We’d be stuffed and everyone would be left in the lurch!
What if our dog turned out to be hopeless? What if I couldn’t really train any dog to walk slow and close right in front of me and take me to deer perfectly every time and to be the perfect pet and good around home and not gun shy and steady and calm and just plain perfect?
It had to be perfect! I was the big dog trainer and I was making a video series about it and I was selling it AS I MADE IT!
It didn’t make sense if you thought about it for too long, but instinctually – I knew I had to make it.
I knew how to raise and train a dog properly and I knew there were a lot of people that wanted to do it the way I was doing it.
I was sick of seeing all the stress and drama people were going through when everything turned to custard for them with their dogs.
I could never keep up just doing one on one sessions.
I knew the only way to do it was to film the whole thing, right from the start to the finish, and I knew I had to make it available strait away and advertise the hell out of it.
Every day, week and month that went by without a solid system for people to follow to raise and train their dogs properly meant a whole new wave of people with dogs that they weren’t really happy with that I would be flat out doing one on one sessions with trying to fix.
More dogs with more issues. More dogs that people had to own for over 10 years and some people just strait up didn’t even like the dogs they had to live with! But it was their dog now and they were stuck with it for over a decade!
A lot of hunters had dogs that they had originally got to have as a deer dog, but they dreaded taking them hunting! AND! They still really wanted a deer dog but they didn’t want 2 dogs. Especially if the second one turned out anything like the first!
I had to make The Deer Dog Training Blueprint Straight Away!
So what did I do?
I threw the hat over the fence!
I burnt the boats!
I sent out emails to the top 3 hunting magazines in New Zealand and told them to place ads in their magazines saying that “The Deer Dog Training Blueprint, a step by step, monthly video course with everything you need to know to train your own deer dog from start to finish would be out in February”, which at the time was about 8 weeks away.
Then just to make sure, I put it right at the top of the home page of our website, and on our Facebook page, AND! – I started telling everyone I could (including customers, friends and family) That:
I WAS MAKING THE DEER DOG TRAINING BLUEPRINT!!!
Ok, so from here on out, for almost 2 years, sleep was merely optional!
At times it was impossible!
I was already flat out building and running Real Dog Training as a business, I had less than no money. (I was in bad debt) I had pretty much no staff. (I couldn’t afford it) And I was flat out running deer dog boot camps out of my house and doing one on one sessions to pay the bills.
But, I had thrown the hat over the fence and burnt the boats.
I had to do it now!
It all came back to that mission statement.
“Help as many people as possible to train the best dogs possible.”
With one on one sessions I could only help one person at a time.
With videos I could help an infinite number of people all at the same time and it was cheaper and easier and better for everyone and it didn’t matter where in the world those people were.
It was a win–win for everyone.
We were doing it!
But I couldn’t do it alone.
First I enlisted the help of a good mate Nick. Who by the way, I met as client through a one on one session. Nick is pretty dam handy with filming and editing and has all the gear. He agreed to come on board with the blueprint so we were away.
Nick Walker – The Deer Dog Training Blueprint wouldn’t exist today without this guy.
Next I needed a dog – Or more specifically a puppy.
That popped up just up the road from my place. The perfect little heading dog pup!
Print, the day we got him home and started filming The Deer Dog training Blueprint.
Next thing I knew we were filming!
I was up all night writing script and working everything out. I found an internet guru guy and we started working out how we were going to sell it. This was a huge mess all in it’s self, with uploading, linking, websites, pricing and advertising.
I’m telling you if our hats weren’t on the other side of that fence, or if we still had boats to climb back onto and sail back home we would have and the blueprint still wouldn’t exist today almost 2 years later.
I’ll also tell you, it wasn’t always pretty and it definitely wasn’t easy but we just kept going.
We had no choice!
I pretty much worked on the blueprint at night. I was flat out all day working with boot camp dogs, one on one sessions, and getting my one staff member trained up and going.
We did the filming for the blueprint when Nick could make it down from Aulkland which was a 2 hours drive when the traffic was good!
Then Nick would go home and edit like mad at night and during his time off (he has a full time job too!) and I would literally stay up all night writing on the website, writing script for the blueprint, writing training programs from one on ones, paying bills and doing admin work.
Eventually, on the last day of February after weeks of madness! The first part of The Deer Dog Training Blueprint was finished!
It took hours to upload on our crappy internet connection and then the upload failed just before midnight! So we missed our deadline and got part one of The Deer Dog Training Blueprint on the first of march!
A day late!
We had made it though!
It had almost killed us, but we had made it!
WE STILL HAD 11 TO GO!!!
So many crazy things happened over the next year.
The blueprint was taking so much more work and filming than I had anticipated, and I knew by the end of part 1 that it was going to be way too hard for Nick to travel down from Aulkland every time I needed to film something.
I wanted to film everything I did with Print, the first time I did it, so people could see how everything really worked. I didn’t want it to be all scripted and practiced. We had to show the real thing as well.
And I knew that with how mad everything was with everything else going on, that squeezing all of the filming into 3 or 4 massive days a month was going to make the project near on impossible.
It just wasn’t going to work.
One morning I knew I had to move onto the next phase of training with Print and I knew I had to film it strait away.
I gave my 18 year old assistant Lauren a camera, showed her how to use it in about 10 seconds flat, grabbed Print, our pup, a small microphone I already had and we headed out into the paddock and we filmed for about 15 minutes.
That night, I stayed up all night watching video editing tutorials on (YouTube) and pulled the footage that Lauren had filmed that day into iMovie and started working with it. The footage was fine. It was totally usable. Lauren was a natural on the camera and that was it.
We were filming and editing the blueprint fulltime, whenever we wanted.
Lauren out filming with Print. Lauren was a natural on the camera right from the start and ended up filming 80 – 90% of The Deer Dog Training Blueprint.
Nick still helped out with a few things here and there and I had IT guys doing other work, but for the most part, Lauren and I would do the filming whenever I was ready to do something new with Print, and we filmed all our updates and Progress shots along the way. We squeezed this in between one on one sessions, training boot camp dogs and running a new business.
I wrote script and training programs and planned and edited all night.
Like I said, sleep was completely optional.
I worked an average of 16 hours a day 7 days a week for over a year. At one stage I remember having my first day off after 14 months.
I went fishing.
So what about these damn Vizslas and Wirehairs and German Shorthaired Pointers and the thing that I have changed my mind about that I started all this off with?
Well, by the time part 3 or 4 of the blueprint was out I started doing one on one sessions with people that were following the blueprint and the difference was night and day.
People already had stop, go, and turn commands on their dogs and they had sorted their kennelling out. They had control of their dogs out in public. They were only coming to me to ask questions and check in on a couple of minor things before they went hunting
It was a huge change!
By the time part 8 of the blueprint was out, one on one sessions had slowed right down. This suited me just fine, as we were selling just enough copies of the blueprint at that stage to almost cover the cost. People were using the blueprint and getting better results than they were by doing one on one sessions, and I started writing and editing during the day, which gave me time to sleep at night!
Then a guy came along one day with an 8 month old Deutsch Drahthaar, German Wire Haired Pointer. The guys name was Ben and he had followed The Deer Dog Training Blueprint to the T.
And his dog was perfect!
He was right up there with my dog Print!
He had all of his range and stop go and turn set up. He had done all of his kenneling right from the start. He’d done all of his obstacle work and introduction to water, introduction to gunfire, steadiness to gunfire, stop to the shot, all his scent work, tracking work, wind work, introduction to cattle, busy public places, people, kids, house training, everything!
This guy had followed the blueprint down to the word.
He had just decided to follow it, and stick to it.
His mates were giving him grief about it. Mainly joking, but they definitely didn’t quite get why he was going to all this trouble just to train a dog.
Anyway, Ben had driven about 5 hours to do a one on one to check in and to ask if I thought he was ready to go hunting. Even though the blueprint was still a good couple of parts away from being finished, I thought he almost was.
We went over everything Ben would have to do before going hunting during the one on one session. Which wasn’t much. He just had to polish a couple of things and check a few things off, but he was more or less good to go.
I’ll tell you the crazy thing about that session though.
IT WAS THAT BLOODY DOG!
Now I’m used to having well trained dogs myself, but I was not used to people turning up to their first one on one session with a well trained dog!
It was a real shock to the system!
Ben’s dog was so cool and calm, and happy and controlled. And this was a Deutsch Drahthaar!!!
A lot of top dog handlers will tell you that they are “expert territory!”
That “you really need to know what you are doing with one of them!”
Ben’s Deutsch-Drahthaar with it’s first couple of deer. He completed his first hunts perfectly and Ben has shot a lot more deer over him since he took these photos. This dog was hunting perfectly and pointing steadily from 8 months old, after being trained with The Deer Dog Training Blueprint. If you know how to read dogs, you can see in these photos how happy and calm this dog really is.
Well I’ll tell you what.
I’m slowly becoming more and more aware of something to do with different breeds of dogs and the way they are trained.
Again, this has been after a lifetime of living and working with all kinds of hunting breeds over my whole life.
I was born owning a Labrador, and I had my first German Shorthaired Pointer when I was 10.
But what I am about to tell you didn’t really start truly showing it’s self, until I started working with hundreds of dogs, one on one, and then I actually made the blueprint, and hundreds of people started training hundreds of dogs, of all breeds, properly, right from a pup.
It’s not that different breeds of dogs are harder to train than others.
What it is, is that some breeds of dogs will really, REALLY! make you pay if you don’t train them properly. And all of the breeds that cop a bad rap from time to time like Vizslas and GSP’s and GWP’s and definitely Deutsch Drahthaar’s are among those breeds.
If you get a highly driven, high energy hunting dog, and you don’t kennel it, and you don’t train it, and you just “wing it”, chances are, that, that dog is not going to be enjoyable, or useful, to have around.
There is actually a very high chance that it will be an absolute nightmare!
A beautiful Hungarian Vizsla. This girl can either be a dream or a nightmare. It all comes down to the way it is handled, raised, and trained.
I have seen it many times, first hand, to the point where people are upset and crying.
I have seen dogs going crazy, being rehomed, and even put down!
However, if you train, and raise any dog correctly right from the start, they are actually good as gold!
So anyway, that is the big thing that I have changed my mind about.
It really is all in the training and German Shorthaired Pointers, Wirehaired Pointers and Vizslas aren’t that bad after all.
You just have to train them properly!
Simoious Caesar trained his German Shorthaired Pointer properly using the deer dog training blueprint.
Another thing I have realized is making The Deer Dog Training Blueprint was one hell of a job, and looking back I don’t know how it all worked out.
It is all finished now though and it turned out bloody well. Print is a top dog and testimonials and success stories of people successfully training all kinds of dogs are flooding in.
Print all grown up and working well. He is an awesome dog to have around.
I actually took the one on one sessions off the website the other day.
I’m not even doing them anymore. Not for now anyway.
I think I might try and slow things down for a month or two.
It’s been a big couple of years.