We attended the November 2014 “From Puppy to Working Dog” seminar in New Orleans, Louisiana, flying in from north Texas. The seminar was well-worth the travel in that it provided us with an entirely new, fresh approach to developing a puppy from a very young age. The seminar was professional in every way, from the information presented to the smallest details (food and beverages, downloads of what we’d learned, a group photo afterwards, a certificate of attendance, etc.).
My husband and I are relatively new to working dog training/competition, but are lifelong equestrians. In all those years, we've seen many horse trainers come and go. In over 40 years, we know only one trainer who is what we regard as a quiet, "thinking” trainer -- the kinds of trainer who genuinely enjoys the process of training/interaction with the animal and is not merely focused on the “end product.” This trainer has enough finesse to want to produce not just a top-level performer, but a top-level performer who loves it's work. He is the rare trainer who will quietly stop in the midst of trouble reaching a goal and just think -- about how tobring the animal to the goal and not push him to it.
Dick Staal is clearly one of those rare “thinking” trainers. Since discovering and embracing the world of working dogs not all that long ago, we have already encountered too many "trainers" full of bravado and training schemes and schedules -- but who lack the finesse and inclination to stop and think their way through their training. In a world of trainers who seem to be dedicated to “their way” and who are resistant to unfamiliar approaches to training, it was a breath of fresh air to observe Dick and learn about his approach to training a precise and happy working dog.
His “start at the end” approach was so sensible and obvious, all of us at the seminar experienced that “Of course! Why didn’t I ever think of that?” moment. To be convinced of just how logical and effective Dick’s training approach is, all one must do is observe his PUPPIES during his training sessions. These very young dogs are snappy, happy participants in the lovely dance Dick has perfected.
If you are considering attending one of Dick Staal’s seminars, book that trip. You won’t regret it. We are already working to arrange our second.