Northern Illinois Hunting Dog Training – Bull Valley Retrievers

Northern Illinois Hunting Dog Training – Bull Valley Retrievers

Weather it’s Upland Training or Waterfowl Training – Trust Northern Illinois Hunting Dog Training at Bull Valley Retrievers

Hunting Dog Training at Bull Valley Retrievers has been in full speed for over 20 years. Their Northern Illinois Hunting dog training programs are tailored to fit just about any schedule or budget, while providing successful results! Keeping in mind that all dogs are not created equal, BVR will provide a program that will give your dog the highest chance of success at being the best he can be!

One on One Sessions

One on One sessions are designed to teach you and your dog the steps needed to progress. These sessions are approximately one hour and are held either weekly or bi-weekly at the handlers and trainers agreed upon session schedule. The number of sessions is dependent on how much the handler puts into working with the dog and the level of training the handler is expecting out of the dog.  

 Board and Train

This is a program that BVR will do the training. Typically an entry level, started hunting dog program will last 4 months and consists of the following:

  • Obedience / Manners
  • Conditioned Retrieve / Force Fetch
  • Collar conditioning
  • Intro to Gun Fire
  • Steady
  • Deliver to hand
  • Singles – maybe doubles on Land and Water


If it’s one on one training for your Hunting Dog Training or if you prefer a Board and Train option, contact Bull Valley Retrievers for complete information and availability. It is highly recommended that you book One on One Training a couple weeks in advance and Board and Train should be reserved several months in advance. As a limited number of dogs are accepted for Board and Train and spots fill very quickly.

Hunter Dunbar – Outdoor Writer


Introduction to Gun Fire and Preventing Gun Shyness

Introduction to Gun Fire and Preventing Gun Shyness

Introduction to Gun Fire and Preventing Gun Shyness

Gun shyness in dogs is a top concern among hunters.  In most instances, the problem is directly related to introducing gunfire in the wrong way.  

Hunters should take a progressive approach when conditioning their dogs to loud noises.  Wait until your dog is 8 months of age or older. Your dog should be mature, confident, marking well, and fired up about retrieving.

To begin, start with a .22 blank, popper, or a #209 primer.  Place the popper in your training bag, and pull the trigger as you throw a bumper. Your dog will be more interested in the bumper than the pop, and will become easily conditioned to the sound.  Over time, move closer to your dog during this exercise.


When you are confident that your dog is comfortable with the sound of the pop, move on to retrieving drills with a .410 shotgun.  This type of gunfire is ideal, because it is not too loud for these initial encounters.  Enlist the help of a friend, and have him or her stand at a distance from you and your dog.  This person will toss a bumper in the air, and then fire the gun.  Again, your dog should be more interested in the flying bumper than the sound of the gun, and conditioning should be easy at this point.  Enthusiasm and positive praise from you or the handler is also important.

When introducing your dog to gunfire, be progressive in your approach and make haste slowly.  Being conservative throughout this process is far better than delaying your training – and possibly your hunt – while you overcome gun-shyness.  

Joe Scarpy – Bull Valley Retrievers