From The Field – Training The Wildrose Way

jackMeet Wildrose Jack. He is a serious, focused dog. He is our family’s catalyst, our gun dog, our retriever, our teacher and our well-behaved family companion. He is athletic, steady, reliable and obedient. He lives to “work”and that work may be retrieving or flushing in the field, accompanying our family in social situations, left behind guarding the house, or as a companion on any big adventure or small, daily outing. Jack is a motivator, a friendly reminder to get up off the couch and DO something, even if it is just a bicycle ride on the city bike trail or a run in the neighborhood or a walk in the park.


He is steady at the gun or dummy launcher and will retrieve anything we can shoot or throw or launch in any terrain or any body of water in any season.

And, oh yes, did I mention his especially zealous “work” involving water.


He is equally sure of himself in the field as in the pond, brackish stream, river, lake or ocean. He will remain calm in any boat, will swim to get on the closest Jet Ski or paddle board or kayak if he is left on the bank.

He loves the beach as much as his family and will retrieve his “bumper” or a tennis ball as long as anyone will throw it for him. He will do this from dawn to dusk; I don’t know if he thinks is “fun” or “work” as they seem to be one and the same for him. (We should all be so lucky to not know any difference between the two).

He adapted to retrieving in the ocean during his first two or three retrieves. He learned to triangulate the current carrying the bumper, his angle of entry into the water, depth of water (swim or walk) in order to reach the bumper. He learned how to body surf back to shore by letting the waves carry him. He learned the hard way to avoid swallowing salt water.  He kept us active at the beach, we had to “take turns” running and playing with Jack as he would never stop bringing the dummy or ball back and dropping it on the nearest sunbather.

We made his retrieves harder and harder, two at a time; bumper and tennis ball and he enjoyed this extension of his work/fun. He was able to watch the tennis ball placed and the bumper thrown and then retrieve them successively.

He would sacrifice himself and never stop as long as we were out on the beach; for his own health, we used his “place” to give him a rest and feed him some clean water.

Now I am sure that anyone with a Wildrose lab can recount similar marvelous tales of “their” lab’s abilities. Somehow, I had made my deposit and received one of the two black males from the cross of Ben and Molly about four years ago. I was last to put down my deposit and lucky me ended up with Jack; an all around phenomenal dog. I expect his brother is the same.   The incredible ability of my lab and probably any Wildrose lab is their transcendent ability to transfer their steady temperament, desire to serve, and native intelligence to whatever task we ask of him, wherever we take him, whomever is in a public or social situation. He has been through basic obedience and basic field work and basic adventure dog training. He is focused, determined and relentless at work and at play. Makes no matter to Jack if it is work or play; he is the identically consistent and reliable dog in any situation.

Not only is this article a tribute to my Wildrose lab, but is additionally a tribute to the versatility of these marvelous dogs. His ease of transition from field to fun, his ability to apply basic principles to any situation and his inability to discern between work and fun has been a constant source of delight and joy to our family. Perhaps this is the genius of the “Wildrose Way,” the deliberate breeding, careful kennel selection, positive, logical training to reliably produce a versatile companion in the field and in the home and in any public situation and on any adventure. My Jack today is a product of careful past, present and future, Wildrose stock. I am grateful to have this dog in my life at this point in time carrying that transcendent, transferable native intelligence.

Sue Jane Volarich

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