Attention Gundogs and Companion Dogs

by Danielle Drewrey

What does your gundog do during the “off season”? Well the truth is, there doesn’t have to be an “off season.” Too often gundogs and companion dogs are just that, either gundogs or companion canines. Wildrose would like to point out that your gundog or companion dogs can also become an Adventure Dog, a dog “prepared to go anywhere!” This is what we refer to as dogs of duality, a canine cross-trained for a variety of outside skills, activities and situations.


Benefits of an Adventure Dog and the Wildrose Adventure Dog certification program:

– Earning titles of recognition for achievement

Improving navigational skills and agility

Preparing for any situation: confidence, agility, problem solving

– Building a healthy and trusting relationship between person and dog

– Enjoying a wider variety of outdoor activities with your canine

– Keeping your dog in tip-top physical and mental condition

Meet the trainer…image2

My name is Danielle Drewrey and I am the Wildrose Obedience trainer and Adventure Dog coordinator. I thought I would introduce myself to let you in on how I got involved in this exciting program. My journey began with Wildrose in early 2012. With my background in animal care giving, I joined the medical team at Wildrose. I enjoyed my job immensely with the medical team, but knew there was something more I wanted to do. I expressed to Mike my desire to become a trainer and I began working sparingly with him and the other trainers while continuing my work in the medical building. Soon thereafter, I was transferred from the medical team to the training staff and started work as an apprentice with a focus on the obedience and entry level skills. After inquiring about the Adventure Dog program, I quickly realized that this program was tailored to me and my pup’s lifestyle perfectly. It didn’t take long for me to realize either, that this was the perfect chance to make a career out of doing something I am so passionate about and help people build an additional bond with their companion along with living a healthy lifestyle. Mike realized my passion as well, and soon turned the program over to me to give it a complete “revamp” and with support of an amazing Wildrose family like you, I am ready to take this program to the next level and Adventure On!

image3The Adventure Dog (AD) program

The AD program was developed by Mike Stewart in 2007 for the active outdoor enthusiast. Mike observed a large amount of dogs that he met on hiking trails, fishing, boating and during other outside activities without the proper skills and behaviors necessary for a compatible sporting canine companion. It also became quite evident that many of the handlers of these dogs lacked appropriate skills and knowledge to control, develop or engage their dogs. The Adventure Dog Certification program is designed to be a self-guided checklist that is completed between the handler and canine as a team. In addition to the current adventure training program offered at Wildrose, a workshop format to become certified in different skills was added this year for the convenience of participants. In a workshop setting, the AD teams learn how to properly complete skills in realistic field conditions and achieve certification for each merit completed.



Wildrose Kennels offers a 3-4 month AD training program for Wildrose dogs at our training facilities. Mirroring the gundog program, each enrollee will be placed with the AD trainer and will be taught all of the basic skills to become a properly-mannered and successful companion for outside activity. The dog will learn basic obedience, trail behaviors, and retrieving skills in addition to any other specific adventure skill sets requested by the owner. There are 14 different skills to choose from. Upon completion of basic AD training program, your dog will have the fundamental behaviors and skills to complete most AD task and earn merits toward the 3 major certifications (ratings) listed below in the “How to Become a Certified Adventure Dog” section. At this point we return your basic trained companion back to you so you can start your adventures together and complete the required skills to become a certified AD team.

How to become a Certified Adventure Dog:

1. Have an eligible dog                                                                                                                  

– Before attempting any physically demanding activities, your dog should be close to full grown and healthy

-Any breed of dog is able to participate in the Adventure Dog program

2. Master basic obedience

-Follow along with Mike Stewarts Sporting Dog and Retriever Training: The Wildrose Way Book

-Watch the Wildrose Way Retriever Training DVD

-Have the trainers at Wildrose Kennels build the foundational skills for obedience and adventure

3. Purchase the Adventure Dog packet at 

-Packet includes: program instruction and a list of merits and sub skills corresponding with each merit

-Certification Patches (Required # of Merits Completed)

Trail Rated (5 merits completed)

Adventure Dog Certified (9 merits completed)

Master Trekker (12-14 merits completed)

4. Complete sub-skills to earn merits

Merits include: Hiking, Watercraft, All Terrain Vehicle, Motor Vehicle Travel, Tracking, Camping, Mountain Biking, Fishing, Snow Trekking, Hunting Sports/Retrieving, Trail Assistance, Public Access, Equestrian and Aircraft.

-Send in videos of each sub-skill being completed. We will document your progress as requirements for each merit are completed

-Attend a workshop

The Rules

* In order to receive Trail Rated, Adventure Dog Certified or Master Trekker ratings, skills have to be performed by handler and dog as a team. The dog is registered with the program, not the handler(s)

* Your dog must be grown to maturity to complete certain skill sets. Know your dog’s limits.

* A Wildrose trainer must sign off on skill sets attempted.

* Follow all of our adventures on Facebook, Twitter (Wildrose Kennels), and Instagram (@wildrosekennels)

*Live your passion!

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1 Response to Attention Gundogs and Companion Dogs

  1. David Padbury says:

    Good Morning Danielle. Please would you be so kind as to let me know more about Adventure Dog Training. Does the training package have all the necessary detail to get a dog through a programme. We run a Special Needs School {14 students} here in South Africa, and I would like to try and develop this programme as part of the curriculum for the school. I also run a Gundog Training Group, and it would be great to get people interested.
    Is there a DVD on the programme.
    Kind Regards,

    David Padbury

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