Advanced Retriever Training with Bill Hillmann

Advanced Retriever Training with Bill Hillmann


Most retrievers heel beautifully at home and in training but seem to become unmanageable on the way to line during the excitement of competition. This chapter contains an outline on the way a dog SHOULD get from the holding blind to line.


Poison birds in a general sense seem to be a huge obstacle for most dogs. But, when properly schooled, poison birds are almost a tipoff as to the path to where the blind is. Consequently being truly skilled in dealing with poison birds is an enormous advantage and paves a way towards being very competent with the various types of poison birds.



A dog must go where he is looking. He must focus and continue to focus until he reaches his goal. He cannot be distracted or change his course based on what seems like a more likely prospect or an easier path. This section deals with that specific issue.


A good handler must be able to, in a quiet and skillful manner, get his dog to look exactly where he wants him to look. This must be done quietly and with finesse. When this skill is acquired and mastered the team is more able to watch difficult birds and give the dog a better chance at making a spectacular retrieve.



One of the key elements to good marking is to watch every bird fall. Few dogs excell at this. In this section we develop the skill on watching ALL birds, not just the flyer.


Included in this production are the following

  • In the Holding Blind

  • Triple as Singles

  • Triple

  • Reverse Creeping for Steadiness

  • Dealing with Short Flyers in Training

  • Channel Mark,  Presenting Casts

  • Channel Single with Long Entry

  • Whistle Stop Drill

  • Sitting on the Whistle at Long Range

  • Down the Shore Mark - Long

  • Two Down the Shore

  • Focus Drill - Up and Out

  • Crosswind Watermark

  • Literal Casting

  • Push and Pull

  • How a Birdboy is to help on Marks

  • When to Handle on Marks

  • Beginning Retired Mark - Channel

  • Beginning Retired Mark - Channel mark with Diversion

  • Beginning Long Retired

  • Going to Line Exercise

  • Walking Marks and Having Fun

  • Use of the Hand when Sending the Dog

  • Long Distance Force Drill

  • Playing Games to Have Fun

  • Heeling on two Sides

  • Over and Under Double

  • Using the Star Drill for Casting Practice

  • Inline Triple

  • No-Go Correction

  • Popping on a Mark

  • Hip Pocket Double

  • Short Retired Mark

  • Single Point Blinds (stage 1)

  • Single Point Blinds (stage 2)

  • Single Point Blinds (stage 3)

  • Single Poing Blinds (stage 4)

  • Mark Blind Combinations

  • Introduction to a Tuneup Drill

  • Handling Strategy

  • Introduction to Cold Blinds Discussion

  • Starting Cold Blinds

  • Bumper Gun

  • Things to Remember