I offer private training and consultation for individuals and their dogs tailored to meet the specific needs of owners and their dogs. These private sessions can be structured in a variety of ways depending on the needs and wishes of owners and trainers. I am in Thomasville, Georgia from November through the winter months where I train on a private wild quail plantation. My summer training facilities are in North Dakota where I train on wild pheasants, Hungarian partridge, and sharptails. Private training is offered at our facilities in Georgia and North Dakota. I will also travel to locations. Many times private training is scheduled by owners to coincide with a date and location where I am conducting a school. Private training may be formatted to properly introduce a young dog to birds and guns or an owner may want to have guidance on properly introducing a dog to the e-collar and low level stimulation, how to incorporate marker/clicker training into a program, or a more in-depth program incorporating bird work and field drills in order to fully develop the dog to an advanced level bird dog. Private training can be structured for a one day session or to develop a program on an ongoing basis for a period of time.
After 39 years of life, this is my first public endorsement ever. Not a movie. Not a restaurant. Nothing. My experience with George Hickox Bird Dogs, and George himself, is worth sharing with bird dog enthusiasts everywhere. Jess and I adopted Lucy two years ago. At the time of adoption, Lucy, a then 11 month old GSP, was living in suburban New Jersey. Unfortunately, Lucy was from a broken home and with a family who was unprepared for her. Further, she had received virtually zero training and zero socialization. Needless to say, the circumstances which led up to our adoption of Lucy were not textbook for creating a world class hunting companion: no training, no birds, no structure. What that does amount to, in most circles, is no chance. Until we met George. I attended one of George’s clinics with a dog that had no birds prior to the class, had never been shot over, and never dragged a check cord through the fields. The clinic gave me an understanding of how dogs learn and a program to follow when I returned home. In order to reach the level I desired with Lucy and myself I made the decision to enlist in George’s private training service and consultations to further my education, and Lucy’s. George trained me and Lucy in New Jersey at a hunt club for a week on pigeons and quail. We progressed in a way that was perfect for Lucy. Each dog is unique in their learning capabilities and we didn’t go any further until Lucy was absolutely ready. There is no cookie cutter approach. Moreover, George didn’t advance the two of us until he was sure I understood what we were doing. It was a perfect nurturing of me as a student. After the week in New Jersey, and the training sessions I was assigned to complete on my own over the next month (George was available by phone and email to answer any questions I had), Jess and I drove to North Dakota with Lucy. We spent a week of private one on one individualized instruction with George working Lucy on wild birds. That is where everything came together. Lucy developed a boldness, a desire to hunt, a confidence, and an intensity that never could have been achieved at home with access to limited birds and hunting grounds. As George says “A dog develops integrity and honesty running on wild birds in North Dakota.” And Lucy certainly did. She became a hunting dog that could find birds, hunt in control, point with style, and remain steady to the flush and shot. The experience in North Dakota is one I will remember for the rest of my life and where I really witnessed the transformation of Lucy. It was so transformative for both of us that we will be headed down to Thomasville, GA in the spring for more private training with George on wild quail. The combination of the school and one on one individualized training with George proved to be perfect. In fact, to the core of my being, I believe it was the only recipe for success. The school gave me the foundational principles to build on. The private training finished what Lucy and I had set out to accomplish and couldn’t do on our own – she’s an amazing companion AND a dog who can hunt wild birds anywhere. I’m now an owner and a trainer (well, we’re all a work in progress!) who has a clear, well-grounded understanding of what to do with Lucy for the rest of her days, as well as for future dogs I will own. There is no doubt that George and I will be training together with every future dog I own. What I learned from George, and am witness to its success, is that one should start with clicker training. To not incorporate marking the desired behavior and following with a positive reward to establish the desired behaviors into a training program is to refute how animals learn. Plain and simple. Further, while training in a way that is consistent with animal behavior, you will have a great time. It’s a blast! And your dog will develop an enthusiastic “loves to learn” attitude. So will you. In full disclosure, Lucy is my first hunting dog. At the same time, she is my first companion dog, working dog, “can’t wait to get in the truck and go for a ride” dog. And even though I have one point of reference for trainers, George, I fully endorse him, his training and his methodology. The proof is curled up in my lap as I write this. Lucy turned 3 on September 25th. In a short period of time with private training, she is rock solid on point, steady to wing and shot (I didn’t even know what that was until I met George!) AND has a stellar attitude. You will do yourself and your dog a tremendous service by working with George. I believe it so much I welcome speaking to you personally about my experience and what is possible for you. Please feel free to call me. Enjoy the journey. ~ Joe Pombriant (757) 650-1416