Jeremy Criscoe is a pro trainer from Florida’s Blue Cypress Kennel, and is a fourth-generation dog trainer. To train world-class hunting dogs and meet his client’s expectations he relies on a series of benchmarks that begin when owners first pick up their pup. “I work with them to set goals, expectations and then formulate a training platform so they can reach those marks,” he says. “If I know that the dog will be used as a gun dog, a house dog, or a field trial dog, I customize a module to train a dog to their liking. I’ll review my expectations of the owners in weekly and monthly increments that run from the time they pick up their pup until the day they drop him off for training. For retrievers between 8 and 14 weeks, I like clients to focus on crate training, housebreaking, sitting, walking on a lead, and fetching. For pointing dogs, I want them to focus on recall, heeling, housebreaking and crate training. I need to know if they want a dog steady to wing, shot or broke all the way through. During that time, I like clients to come by the kennel so we can introduce their dog to kennel life. That regular exposure keeps the dog from going into shock from the dramatic change from a house dog to a working dog. We get aligned as a team and everyone, and especially the dogs, are on the same page.” Take his advice and try to set realistic, achievable goals for you and your dogs.