There’s a lot of great hunting opportunities in Wisconsin, which can make finding a top hunting dog trainer that much more of a challenge. Top Trainer Dr. Jeff Martin told us that despite hunting in many other states, Wisconsin remains his favorite place to hunt. No matter if you are looking to compete with your hunting dog or just score a delicious roasted duck for dinner, the following top bird dog trainers in Wisconsin can help you accomplish all that and more.
1. Carli Ferron at Northwoods Training Kennel
Location: Holcombe, Wisconsin
“Our mission here at NTK is to produce gun dogs that are of sound mind, natural ability, compliance, intelligence, trainability, high game finding ability, and proper conformation to be physically sound as well.”
The dog-loving team at Northwoods Training Kennel works with dogs near and far to Wisconsin, including dogs all the way from Canada. Their vast clientele shows their level of commitment to training top notch dogs for obedience, upland, waterfowl, and antler tracking. They also offer custom training programs that involve your chosen combination of skills.
Northwoods Training Kennel stops at nothing to provide a superior training experience. They recommend starting pups between 8 and 16 weeks in their Started Dog Program. More advanced upland training, waterfowl, tracking, obedience, force fetch and their Antler Program are geared for dogs 5 to 6 months and older.
Here’s what real clients are saying about Northwoods Training Kennel:
“Immediately after purchasing Shadow in March 2014, I enrolled him into the Started Dog Program at Northwoods Training Kennel with the goal of having him ready for waterfowl and upland hunting by fall… This past fall, Shadow and I went on numerous hunting adventures to include: waterfowl hunting from a boat and blind, grouse and pheasant hunting… I am certain that I would have not seen any birds if it was not for Shadow’s field work. For Shadow’s first season, I am proud to report that he was 100% successful in all his retrievals.” –Ken Peterka http://www.northwoodstrainingkennel.com/testimonials.html
“Carli is excellent with dogs and a great person to deal with! I had her take my pup for socialization and an introduction to birds and guns. You could immediately tell the difference in the dogs attitude and confidence after spending a few weeks with her. Carli is quick to respond to communication and sent some awesome pictures during the training process. Definitely recommend sending your dog to her!” –Adam Maier https://www.facebook.com/NorthwoodsTrainingKennel/
2. Dr. Jeff Martin at Stoney Brook Outfitters
Location: Rapids, Wisconsin
Stoney Brook Outfitters is made up of dogs that are passionate about their jobs and people that are passionate about guiding dogs to their greatest potential. Thirty years ago, Dr. Jeff Martin attended a Delmar Smith Seminar with their first dog, Gunner, and has continued working with the Smith family and the Silent Command System ever since. Twenty-five years ago, Jeff began training dogs for other people and has not looked back since.
Jeff's wife of 35 years, Ruthie was (and remains) the original dog lover in the family. She passionately provides behind the scenes work—from feeding dog treats to making sure phone calls get answered and clients are up to date on their dogs.
Ruthie was kind enough to chat with us, during which time she shared, “Throughout the 25 years we've been at this, a lot has changed but one thing that hasn't is our passion to see dogs reach their potential whether that is the setter in the grouse woods, the retriever in the duck blind or the cow dog working the pasture.”
Jeff spends about 75 days a year in the prairies of central Wisconsin and relocates to the Wisconsin woods for the fall. He has guided quail, grouse and pheasant hunts in multiple states but his favorite place to hunt is still Wisconsin. The Martin's own English Setters and Pointers, however they have trained Golden Retrievers, German Wirehairs and every breed in between.
Here’s what real clients are saying about Stoney Brook Outfitters:
“Dr. Jeff is the best. My husband I have 2 wonderful pointing dogs that Jeff has trained.” –Mary Jensen https://www.facebook.com/pg/StoneyBrookOutfitters/reviews/?ref=page_internal
"Maicie had her first game bird shot over her, a woodcock. She tracked it down and retrieved it dropping it my feet when I couldn't find it. She's officially a bird dog at only one year old thanks to good breeding and great training by Stoney Brook Outfitters. Thanks Jeff." -Jeff from Wisconsin
"On Saturday my husband and I made the long awaited drive to pick up our puppy. We were absolutely amazed by the home & property, but most of all the dogs! All so well behaved, and so clearly intelligent. Quincy, being 8 weeks old, has already amazed me with his behavior! The training he had already received before we got him was such an awesome bonus. A huge thank you to Liz Martin for being so helpful and all of the advice we were given before we left for home. We are so excited to enjoy the next many years with our hunting dog! We really couldn't be happier with our handsome pup!" -Jillian from Michigan
3. Bruce Halverson at Crosswind Retrievers
Location: Brooklyn, Wisconsin (Madison area)
Bruce Halverson is incredibly passionate about dogs, even after so many years of spending 6-7 days a week training and taking care of them. This devoted dog trainer doesn’t take the weekends off; he is that focused on training solid Master Hunters and Qualified All-Age retrievers. His track record speaks for itself with many of his retrievers successfully competing at the MH level and/or winning at the QAA level. An equally impressive number of dogs have gone on to achieve FC-AFC titles.
Bruce recommends starting dogs at 6-8 months (or older) with a solid foundation of basic training before moving into basic gun dog training. Crosswinds works with a variety of dogs including Goldens, Chesapeakes, Flat Coats, Tollers, Labs and other retrieving breeds. Bruce enjoys working with both field-bred and show-bred retrievers, and is comfortable working with British and American lines of retrievers. No two training programs are the same, as each dog is trained as an individual.
Here’s what real clients are saying about Crosswind Retrievers:
“Bruce has started and maintained several dogs for us in the past ten years. They have always been treated and trained properly. We have been pleased to support Crosswind's development and growth over the years in both Wisconsin and Georgia. Bruce has taken our dogs to five Master Nationals and the dogs he started have become FC-AFC titled and qualified for nine National Championships, either Open or Amateur.” -John Stracka http://www.crosswindretrievers.com/testimonials/
“We have taken our three dogs to Crosswind Retrievers for obedience training and are very happy with the outcome. Bruce did a wonderful job with our dogs and he was always willing to listen to our concerns. Thank you Bruce. Jeff, Kim, Samie and Miranda (and Moka, Harper and Zoey)!!” –Kim Stenson Ortman https://www.facebook.com/pg/xwindretrievers/reviews/?ref=page_internal
Don’t see your favorite Wisconsin hunting dog trainer on our list?
You can still submit your favorite bird dog trainer in the comments section below. If the trainer you nominate meets our qualifications, we are more than happy to add them to our Alpha list of Top Trainers.