While some trainers don’t want their hunt test dogs or field trial retrievers spending time with their owners hunting pheasants, chukar, blue grouse, or waterfowl and messing up all the good training work they’ve done, Lonny Taylor sees it differently. “My philosophy is that all the dogs I train are going to be gun dogs, and 95% of them can have some level of success at the hunt test game. To me, all well-trained gun dogs should be good hunt test dogs. I want their owners to take the dogs hunting. It’s what they live for. They thrive on it. If they learn a few bad habits in the field, fine, I’ll tune them up when I get them back after hunting season.

“In the offseason, that gun dog has a chance to continue his work and keep his skills sharp in a hunt test program where he’s tested against an AKC standard.”

Some trainers have a “one method fits all” approach, and use harsh training methods to try to achieve success. If you’ve ever tried to handle a dog that’s been “fried” by a heavy-handed trainer, you know what we mean. “Dogs have different personalities, and what works with one dog may not work with another,” Lonny Taylor says. “Softer dogs won’t take the kind of punishment that some of the tougher field trial dogs can take,” Lonny maintains. “I like to bring a dog to its maximum potential and find a way into his mind.”

Trophies, cups, and ribbons earned by Dave Alvarez with his dog WindyProfessional hunting guide and dog broker Dave Alvarez particularly likes Lonny’s training methods. “People naturally have trepidation about turning their seven-month-old puppy that has bonded with their kids over to a professional trainer,” Dave says. “But that pup is in safe hands with Lonny.”

Dave likes Lonny’s even-tempered approach to training. “One thing I like more than anything about Lonny’s methods is that he does not get mad at dogs. He’s light-handed and he’s patient. He makes quick decisions without losing his head, and the dogs benefit as a result.”

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