We would like to thank you for the wonderful Smartwork videos they have been a BIG help for me and my daughter/handler, Katherine (age 11), to follow while training our female chocolate lab! We will be taking our first Seasoned and Senior Hunt Tests this Spring!! We have already titled in Junior and Started Tests. Wish us luck!! I'll send pictures of the event and our ribbons!
Many people have asked me why I don't handle the dog myself during the Hunt Tests and I tell them if the dog is trained right anyone should be able to handle the dog.
Please keep smiling and hold your head up, by producing these videos you have not only created a wonderful pet but an excellent hunting companion that the family enjoys!
Thank you!!! We look forward to meeting you one day!
Michael and Katherine F. TN.
My name is N. D. I've recently been elected the new president of our local HRC club in Douglas, WY (Laramie Peak HRC). I'm relatively new to dog training (4 years) and I've accumulated an enormous library of training materials in that time. While my skills are still lacking, I'm hoping that I'm at least slowly but surely learning from my studies. I want to thank you for putting out your Smartwork series of books and videos. While a lot of the information may be the same or similar to other folks' training methods, your ideas are easier for me to understand. I guess it's like certain authors who are easy to read and others who are dull and boring and hard to comprehend. I thoroughly enjoy your materials, while I've had to force myself to sit through other resources over the past few years. So, again, my dogs and I thank you for your efforts to communicate your training ideas to us common folk.
I have a question / favor to ask of you. In preparation for our upcoming hunt test this summer, I'm trying to organize items for our raffle fundraiser. We are a very small club, but I know some of our other members are also using your methods in their training techniques with their dogs. It dawned on me that some of your materials would be a great item to give away at our raffle. My question to you is whether or not you ever offer any discounts of any kind for clubs in similar positions. I'm not asking for any handouts or free-bees. I'm just trying to make the most of our funds in organizing this and thought I'd go directly to the source. If you don't do things like this, I fully understand. Especially with the state of the economy today. But, if you do, would you send me some sort of price for your entire DVD lineup, which I believe is 11 videos? If we can't fit the entire set into our budget, I'd at least like to do a Basics package. And, please let me know what the best way to order these would be. I've pieced my personal collection together from one supplier or another, but I'm just as happy to order them from your website directly if you'd prefer. Either way, please let me know. Thanks for your time in reading this and I look forward to hearing from you. Take care and good luck with a great upcoming summer of training / trialing / testing.
Thanks for the advice, I followed your advice and it cleaned things up in a couple of sessions. I am amazed at the reaction you get from the dog with this program, they know what to do to turn of the pressure. Their understanding is amazing, which makes them more willing. I appreciate your help and I am sure I will have another question for you soon.
For anyone considering Evan's material, my dog is a retrieving testament that it works. A year ago I didn't know my you-know-what from my other you-know-what. I was using Waterdog and was even on here arguing its case. I finally came to my senses and started using Smartwork in February last year. Started from the beginning. By October I had managed to put a SH on a show dog, and we should get the MH this year. The fact that a guy who's never trained a dog before can get a show dog to this level in less than a year should tell you all you need to know about Smartwork!! SH-TX * UPDATE: At left is the dog referred to with his final Master Qualifying score. Topform's B-2 Spirit MH "Jet"
We have used the "ow" method on our last 3 pups, all very high flyers, with great success. The word means nothing, whatever you use startle the pup when he first starts to bite. Timing has to be good.
On what program to use my 2 cents is.....pick the program that gives you the most understandable and complete information that you can follow.
Who has the best record in the world is meaningless, I think Lardy would win that one. I have read almost all of them and they all have nuggets to learn from in them.
Evan has a gift of communicating both written and verbal with people that in my opinion makes his program stand out. They are the most complete, covering more issues that may crop up that you need help with. They have more detail, diagrams and drills to help teach the trainer. So, I don't care who has the best track record, I'm looking for the one I get the most out of to help me progress my dogs. So far that has been Smartwork.
This is not a paid referral, just my opinion.
Thanks Evan for all your feedback and support. Due in part to your excellent Smartwork program I have titled my bitch today. I have reviewed my training program over the years and incorporated many of Evans drills. My bitch is talented but very complex and Smartwork has really helped me out and given me a different perspective. It is much more satisfying to do it yourself rather than be a chequebook trainer. I hope you get a kick Evan out of seeing the fruits of your Smartwork program here is a picture of Retrieving Trial CH Featherhunt Justlikegabby.
You might have both Patton’s Saber and Abbey running in nationals this year. It is a very good testament to the quality of Smartwork that amateur trainers can succeed at very high levels by following your program. i know how much my dogs have benefited from your knowledge. You’re an absolute legend! Thanks mate!!! Cheers, peter
PB ~ Australia
[Indeed we did, Peter! Thanks so much for your friendship, and for all your hard work! Evan]
I was sorry to read and see you felt the need to post your performance record and training bio....however found it immensely interesting; hopefully one day I can help the dog's achieve some of the trained successes you were able to, in such limited trialing.
For what it's worth, I've read and watched about everything there is to see in retriever training, and have worked with/for a couple of "the greats" - you're information is so excellently laid out and informative - I recommend it to anyone and everyone looking for material.
Thanks for the teaching, and work you’ve shared in your books and videos....I hope you are enjoying much business success in it all.
With very best regards,
Wow. Switching to your product was probably the smartest move I've made in my training thus far.
I now see all of the mistakes I made when force fetching my dog. I especially appreciate your emphasis on reading the dog's facial expression as it relates to the amount of pressure you are applying. I went WAY too light on the ear pinch. Before, I actually started with the toe hitch, she understood that, and then went to the ground to ear pinch, and she fetched on command... but she wasn't doing it to avoid pressure, she was doing it because I told her to and she wanted to. She has sooooo much desire to have that bumper in her mouth that it takes a little more pressure than I once thought necessary to show her that the objective is to 'turn off the pressure'. If any novice trainers are faced with a similar circumstance where they are trying to decide which training method to use, don't hesitate to send them my way for some first hand experience.
Thanks again Evan,
My personal performance record for those interested
My personal record
Over a 30+ year span of time, beginning in 1976 to date
My first two dogs, Barbie (named by my daughters!) and Jigger, each ran fewer than twenty trials in their careers. Both of these dogs were Qualified All-Age, and both were extensively hunted. I was an amateur trainer/handler during that time. I trained about 3 days per week with D.L. Walters for about 3 of those years.
Then, I was away from trials for about ten years, during which time I was an assistant trainer to John Hahn – a professional trainer, who taught me Carr-method Basics. A few years later, I started training gun dogs part time, and eventually acquired a handful of field trial clients who recognized the quality of my work – especially with young dogs.
My wife and I soon loaded up our dogs and headed for Escalon, CA to train with the late Rex Carr. Upon return, I ran a regular schedule of field trials with my client’s dogs over about a 3-½ year span. The following record was amassed over that period of time.
While my field trial prospects were developing, I had one dog to run in a few local trials that won two Qualifyings, and Jammed an Amateur. We opted to retire her because she was dysplastic, and was also because she a very weak cold water dog. But she was also one of the first titled Master Hunter dogs in the early days of AKC Hunt Tests.
When I began running the trial dogs I had developed we began immediately to place those dogs in licensed Derbies.
Star got a 2nd at 13 months – ending up with 17 points, and being QAA while still a Derby dog.
Lucy won her first Derby at 12 months – ending her Derby career with 49 points (national #3), going on to become an FC-AFC, two-time Double Header winner and a National Amateur finalist through the efforts of several subsequent trainers. I trained and handled her to her first Open placement; a 3rd.
Bart had 8 Derby points and was QAA by age 13 months – ending his Derby career with 19 points. He regularly placed in both Derby and Qualifying at the same trials. After taking an Open 2nd at 26 months of age, we sold him to a client of Bill Eckett’s, and he also became an FC-AFC, as well as being sire to FC-AFC’s.
Faye gained 14 Derby points and won a Qualifying while she was still a Derby dog.
Wrinko (a Golden) had 11 Derby points. I also made him QAA with a Qualifying 2nd at Memphis.
Others that placed, but did not make the Derby list that year included:
Bubba (a littermate to Star) had 9 points, including a win. Also a Qualifying win as a Derby dog.
Shots had 8 points, including a win Other client dogs
Doc, a dog with All-Age points, but that had not been successfully through even one first series in over a year, and was placed with me for only two weeks to prepare to run in the Open at St. Louis for his owner. He had been entered, but the owner was not able to attend. I took 4th with him and sent him home.
****, a Labrador female whose name I no longer recall, was nicely bred (Harley) and had been trained by her owner. She had never placed in a trial, and her owner wanted her to be QAA prior to breeding her. In less than a month she took a Qualifying 2nd while I was running early spring trials in the Southeast.
Chaos (AFC Winsom Cargo’s Chaos) is my personal favorite story from my brief FT pro career. My friend Lanse Brown approached me at a spring trial in South Carolina. The Open was beginning, and he said, “Evan, I have a dog I’d like you to look at. I’ve ruined her”. One of the greatest qualities about Lanse is that he has always taken ownership of his errors. You don’t have to wait for the FT rumor machine to inform you about something he’s done because he’ll be the first to tell you. That’s just one of the reasons why I love Lanse.
He went on to tell me how he had browbeaten her. He said she had been as wonderful and stylish as any dog you’ll see, but that he had taken the joy out of her work to the extent that she no longer wanted to even retrieve. He had held her out of trials for a year, presumably hoping that absence might make her heart grow fonder of the work, or that perhaps she may just forget the bad parts of it.
The first series was starting - a walk-up Quad with a flyer as the go bird. He asked me to come and watch her, and give him whatever I could as an assessment, and an opinion on whether or not I could help her. She went for the flyer…and then she remembered, apparently. She didn’t go for any more birds.
He asked me if I thought I could help her. My best recollection of my reply was, “Based on what I’ve seen, and upon what you’ve told me about her, I don’t know. But if I take her, I want her for a year. And I don’t want to see you until I call you because we both know you’re the problem. If I have her for a reasonable amount of time, and I don’t think she will make it, I’ll call you and send her home. That’s the best I can do.”
It was ugly for a long time. I took some opportunities to check her out both in training, and by running her as test dog in trials here and there. A lot of other trainers thought I was crazy for wasting my time with her because she looked so awful. I spent about two months running her on puppy marks, and suspended any blind work for a while. I took special care never to con her. She had been there, and done that.
Nearly a year later, our local club hosted the PRTA trial on the weekend following our regular licensed trial, at which Lanse judged the Open. The week between the two was the first time Lanse had seen or handled her in that period of time. He entered her in the Amateur at the PRTA trial, along with his other two dogs that he had subsequently placed with me. The results of that trial are as follows.
Chaos: Amateur 1st
Louise: Amateur 4th
Ivana: Qualifying 3rd
As gifts from a grateful friend and client, all three trophies have hung on my office wall since then, and continue to occupy that space.
I do not now, nor have I ever claimed to be a field trial hero. I chose my family over a career as a field trial pro. I was at a point at which I had to either buy a bigger truck, and some grounds, or go back to college and be there for my family. I chose the latter.
I’ve been accused by some, who are ignorant of my work with dogs, of being an Internet “Wanna be” who had accomplished nothing. Others, for whatever reasons, have asserted that I’ve “run field trials for over thirty years in pursuit of titles”. They have demonstrated their ignorance in so doing.
Since 1992 I’ve run dogs in fewer than a dozen trials – mostly as a favor to a friend. But it’s somehow important for certain individuals to attempt to make an apparent side-by-side comparison; me vs. their favorite field trial pro, so they make these baseless accusations, firmly implying that I have no ability to train dogs at an All-Age level, or that I’m pretending to be (Insert the pro’s name).
Not only am I aware of my abilities as a trainer, but also that I have a gift to teach. I welcome anyone to choose for himself or herself what method of training to follow. I also welcome all scrutiny, both of my ability to train, as well as to teach. I continue to be amazed at the handful of tiny minds that now and then crawl out from under their rocks, distorting the truth about me in order to exalt their favorite trainer. That’s their choice, and they serve more merely to confess their own ignorance than to establish any constructive truths. But I have found that if your idea or position on something has real merit, it will stand on its own without need to run someone else down. I continue to maintain that posture.
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