Training a man’s best friend

Jordan Ogle, emergency management major from Morrilton, with his dog Drake after Drake recieved a champion ribbon. Ogle owns a dog training business in his backyard, "River Valley Retrievers," with its proceeds going toward his college education.

Echo, Macy, Nyla, Drake, Smoke, Zoey and Cowboy might sound like normal dog names, but not to Jordan Ogle, an emergency management major from Morrilton. Ogle is a professional dog trainer and has been training champion dogs since he was 14-years-old.

It all started when he was in high school and went hunting with a friend who had a hunting dog for duck hunting. At that time, not only did he fall in love with duck hunting but also with the passion of having a furry friend in the woods.

Not long after his hunting trip, Ogle purchased his very own dog, a Labrador named Drake. He worked day and night to get Drake to his full potential, but he still needed advice from someone who had more experience. He got in contact with a dog training company called “Good Dog Kennels,” located in Bigelow. He was able to learn what dog training was all about. He learned what each command meant and finally understood that some dogs weren’t going to cooperate and were just plain stubborn.

After learning all the good tricks about dog training, he started training Drake. He worked every day getting Drake ready for competitions and the upcoming hunting season. It was within six months that Ogle reached his goals with Drake and was ready to take him to his first competition.

Drake won his first competition and became Ogles’s first trained champion and set high expectations for the next dog that came into Ogles’s hands.

Drake, left, and Bear, right, take a
moment to relax and pose after a full day of
training. The first program is the obedience program. Under the obedience program, the dog learns the standard training commands: sit, stay, no, mark, go, back, leave, load and how to fetch.

Having Drake well trained, Ogle decided to start his own dog training business in his own backyard— “River Valley Retrievers.” He built a kennel big enough to hold nine dogs at one time. The word got around that he could train a champion dog and clients came barking. Ogle didn’t want too many dogs the first go around, so he started with two to three dogs the first two years. “It ended up going smoothly and the owners ended up very impressed with their trained dog,” Ogle said.

“When I got the first few dogs under my belt, I started getting a system together. I started adding more dogs each time and finally worked my way up to nine dogs and had a full kennel. It was awesome knowing I was only a teenager at the time and people were wanting me to train their dogs,” Ogle said.

With keeping a steady nine dogs in his kennel, he came up with a set of different programs that a client could choose from.

The first program is the obedience program. Under the obedience program, the dog learns the standard training commands: sit, stay, no, mark, go, back, leave, load and how to fetch. Most of those commands are common for everyday dog training, but for hunting dogs, there are key words to get the dog to retrieve.

‘Mark’ would be the command when you want the dog to locate what you want it to retrieve, and then give the ‘Go’ command for it to start the retrieving process. ‘Back’ would then be used to tell the dog to go further away in the water to retrieve a duck that it might not have been able to mark. ‘Leave’ is when the retrieve was successful and the dog needs to bring the object back to the commander and leave it. ‘Load’ is another command where the dog is told to load into its dog box or simply in the back of a truck or ATV.

Next is the gun dog program. This program was when the client solely wants the dog trained for hunting. The dog is taught how to retrieve in various ways and is trained for duck hunting purposes. There was one dog who wouldn’t go near water. It was a female yellow Labrador named Macey. A dog having a fear for water is doomed if it doesn’t lose the fear because a duck hunting dog, it is in the water 90 percent of the time. It was hard at first for Ogle to get the dog to cooperate with the water. Ogle trained Macey for a while before any progress was made. After three months, Macey was more like a fish than a dog. Ogle knew that if he could get a dog that once hated water to become comfortable with it, he could train a dog no matter the obstacles the dog had.

“You have to go about training some dogs totally different than others. Some dogs cannot handle stress and need the more lovable approach while others are all about business, like Drake. I make sure that each dog can work together,” Ogle said. “It’s not a big deal for me to have three dogs out retrieving different things. I use Drake to help be a mentor to the other dogs. He knows what is going to happen, and it is almost like he helps them if they have a problem.”

Lastly, the shed dog program trains dogs for a more uncommon type of retrieving called shed hunting. Shed hunting dogs are trained to find antlers from animals that have shed them in the previous months. You train the dog the exact same way you would the dog retrieving a duck. However, you throw a set of horns in the field, make sure the dog gets the scent of the horns and teach him the same commands. Eventually, the dog will be able to go wherever you take it and fetch up a shed from various animals, such as: deer, moose, caribou and elk.

The last few years Olge hasn’t had the time to train any dogs due to being a full-time student at Arkansas Tech University. However, he will be starting back soon. May 9, he will receive nine Labradors to start training for the upcoming hunting seasons. “I am excited to get back into doing this hobby that I love. I have missed it so much,” Ogle said.

Echo, a dog in training

Ogle has saved his money from dog training since he first started. His college education is being paid for by his dog training business. “River Valley Retrievers has been the only constancies I have ever had. I have always had it to fall back on, and I always look forward to my next call from a client,” Ogle said.

Ogle is also an active tournament fisherman. He fished in high school and is now the president of the Arkansas Tech Fishing Club. “I have been very fortunate to rely on my dog training to provide income for me to do what I love. Fishing is not a cheap sport and having the extra money helps tremendously. I recently just bought a loaded, brand new 2016 Phoenix bass boat with my extra dog training money. I am very thankful for everything that I have had the chance to do, and I love getting the opportunity to train dogs,” Ogle said.

Being a dog lover, it is sad knowing that your furry best friend won’t here for forever. Hunting dogs have a rough life running and chasing after all the animals they want. “Drake is eight years old, and I already have a plan for when Drake gets older. It is hard to think about, but I want to get another yellow male Labrador, just like Drake and have him not to take Drake’s place but to help fill that void from when he gets too old to be my hunting buddy. I do not want there to be an empty place if something does happen to Drake. I love him and I know I’ll be distraught if something does happen to my best friend,” Ogle said.

Ogle wants to keep training dogs for as long as he can. He will focus on training more in the summer and fall seasons, and he hopes that each year he trains a new champion dog and gains another furry friend.