Two-day retriever training seminar near Cape teaches canines and humans alike

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Eighteen people and their dogs attended a two-day seminar this weekend near Cape Girardeau.

Sponsored by Mike and Janel Pind, owners of Pindwood Kennel of Cape Girardeau, the Bill Hillmann Training Seminar for field trial and hunting retriever dogs attracted participants from Texas, Iowa, Mississippi, Indiana and Missouri. Most arrived Friday and will stay until Monday morning. Their dogs were nearly all black, yellow or chocolate Labrador retrievers.

Hillmann owns Hawkeye Labradors in Caldwell, Texas. Since 1980, Hillmann has trained more high point-winning derby dogs than anyone else, Mike Pind said.

A Hillmann-trained Labrador won the 2008 Purina award for the high point-winning amateur dog. Hillmann has a DVD and two books in print on his training methods.

At one point in the seminar, dog owners and handlers put their animals through their routines as Hillmann watched.

"Say 'sit' more firmly and quickly, don't drag the word out," Hillmann told a young woman working with her dog at the seminar Saturday.

To a man with a younger, high-spirited dog, Hillman instructed him not to "take the spirit out of the dog too quickly, gradually draw it out."

"The training process is the same for field and hunting dogs," Hillmann said. He stressed starting with the basics in teaching the dogs.

Hillmann touted Mike Pind's ability as a trainer. "Mike has 30 years' experience in dog training and hunt tests; his Pindwood Kennel specializes in the training of Labrador retrievers," Hillmann said.

Pind said he and his wife's Pindwood Kennel offers retriever training, obedience training and boarding for all breeds.

Saturday's training session was followed by a catered dinner. The seminar continues today from 8 a.m. to noon.

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