"Training Philosophy"

French Creek Labradors specializes in producing " Classic Hunting Retrievers" for the avid Waterfowl or Upland Bird Hunter. Our proven methods are uniquely developed and enforced  specifically for the ultimate in a controlled retriever in the home or field. The "French Creek Standard" is a result of a program that is constantly evolving. I feel that if you talk to a trainer that is training his dogs this year, the same as he did last year and ten years before they are doing a disservice to themselves and the dogs they train. Our program instills a solid foundation of the principals of obedience that will apply universally in any social or field setting presented. We are constantly looking for better techniques and instill some very "innovative" methods that other trainers would never accept or try. The Retriever training game while flush with very educated and dynamic people is still very much a tight group that trains "one way" alot of times without even looking or asking "WHY?" Why is a question I am constantly asking, in turn it makes me a better trainer. Does everything we try work? Absolutely not, but if I am not looking for better, less stressful, more positive and efficient means of training my Labradors then quite frankly I should go work at Wal Mart! Why? is usually followed by, because that  is how I was taught, thats how my dad,grandfather and on and on trained. Listen I drive a Chevy pick up, never drove a Ford. Know Why? because my dad and my grandfather drove Chevys. Do I believe that I could not get around in a Ford? No, but I'm stuck in my thinking of Chevy is it!

When it comes to my Labradors I always ask Why? Followed immediately by "what about if we did this?" So while we have not re invented the wheel (our foundation of obedience is the most important part of our system) we have thought "out of the box" for techniques and solutions that are not used. From our "bird cannon" going off all day to desensitize our dogs to gunfire, to our use of black mats as targets/sit commands for our dogs (a place that they are never corrected)  our NON FORCE FETCH delivery program. My methods are a little different each year, I like to think in this case different equals "BETTER"! Better for you, me and most importantly the dogs!

The French Creek Standard,NEVER includes the use of E-Collars, heeling sticks, force fetch or any other "FORCE" training device or method. Our innovative conditioned retrieve program uses the Labradors  natural tenancies to carrie items. We introduce the "hold" command to the dog in a very relaxed informal setting. Instead of the traditional "force fetch" in which the dog has to turn off a negative stimulus  "ie aggressive ear pinches using collars ,keys,shotgun hulls and other devices. Or the traditional "toe hitch". We follow a program designed at our kennel. The  philosophy of reinforcing with a "positive" when the dog has the object in the mouth.This method (and im sure the field trial guys are all coming unglued reading this now) literally takes any and all stress away from that part of the training. One only has to visit the kennel or follow our videos on Facebook to see that ALL of our dogs from young 10 month old started dogs to our 24 month old advanced dogs are running mark, memories and blinds with emboldened enthusiasm they are taught to become problem solvers and with that ability they become confident retrievers in ALL situations whether home or field.Our program is never one of submission or dominance rather one of ALWAYS being fair and consistent with what is expected of our labs.

Though hard to convey this theory in the American Retriever scene today, with the breeding of the dynamic field trial Labradors and their  hard driving incredible attitudes. This type of "selective breeding  has produced dogs that for the average hunter are uncontrollable and frustrating to train. I am not bemoaning the dynamic ability of the "field trial" labs and handler/trainers at all! What they do and the animals they produce is amazing. Mine is not a mentality of OURS is better than YOURS, my mentality is one of getting positive results in dogs that will handle any hunting situation you will encounter and be a joy in the home.

French Creek Labradors realized the value of the selective breeding for hunting and family traits that. The thought of having to "force fetch" a retriever is not even on my radar.


As an avid hunter myself the "French Creek Standard" just made more sense. French Creeks training and breeding methods create a positive relationship between dog and handler. With the dog having a clear understanding of what's expected of him at all times not just when he's "plugged in" to his collar.

When fully trained you will have a hunting partner that  understands and responds to verbal,whistle and hand signals. All done because he has been fairly treated, never corrected without FULLY understanding why and knowing that he has been given the education to make choices and is rewarded for his efforts. Nothing makes me smile more in the field than when a young dog makes a wrong move and I issue a warning growl or NO Command, they stop and process the information and then re engage with me. As the proceed with the correct solution to the presented problem, you can see their whole body change to one of confidence, excitement and more importantly a dog that has been taught EMPOWERMENT not SUBMISSION!! 

As a hunter this curriculum was developed to give you the ultimate hunting and conservation tool, a ....