Statics show that it costs $16,400 to raise an average sized dog to reach age 11.

Can you even calculate what it costs to raise a dog for competition? Nobody even wants to know the answer to that question. So wouldn’t it make sense to do the best job possible in the process of training a dog for competition? Yet in my experience many dogs are trained in a haphazard way. There is no plan, no procedure, no way of calculating results other than by a hit and miss process.

The solution is what can be called role modeling. Role modeling is when you pick someone who is getting the results you want, and then you duplicate exactly what they do, in order to get the same results they get.

Some examples of role modeling are, for instance, a friend of yours saves $12,000 per year by putting $250 per week in the bank. You like those results, and you say “Look at the end of the year this guy has twelve thousand bucks. Man, I’m going to do that too.” So you start to save money except you put in $100 per week. At the end of the year he’s got $12,000 and you’ve got $5,200. You didn’t do a good job of role modeling.

Lance Armstrong rides his bike 6 hours a day, does 2 hours at the gym, and doesn’t drink. You want to win like Lance but you ride the bike 2 hrs a day, workout at the gym for 30 min a day, and drink two martinis before dinner and eat a big steak, and top it off with a piece of apple pie. Lance wins 7 Tour de France’s and you don’t make the team.

Role modeling is training precisely the way the person trained from which you want to get the same result. So you can’t take one technique from one trainer and another technique from another trainer, another technique from a third trainer, put them all together and hope to have the same result that you want. You can’t use cookies to train a dog to “fetch” and use maximum e-collar pressure to make him “sit.” You have to have a program that is coherent, one that blends together all the aspects of training. You can’t expect to get good results with a haphazard program modeled after a variety of people that do not necessarily meet the criteria that you are interested in. If you follow one program 70% of the way, you might get 70% of the results that they are getting.

So, in training retrievers, if your hero is Rex Carr or D. L. Walters or any other person, even your neighbor, and you want the same results that they have, do exactly what they do.