Highlight module


One of the greatest things to watch is a young, happy, flashy, accurate marking dog. The first step in training a young dog is gaining his confidence and being able to keep it. When the young dog does the work right, give him a “happy time” so that the next time he jumps out of the crate, he ...


One of the greatest things to watch is a young, happy, flashy, accurate marking dog. The first step in training a young dog is gaining his confidence and being able to keep it. When the young dog does the work right, give him a “happy time” so that the next time he jumps out of the crate, he will be raring to retrieve.

As I start with a young dog, I like to give him a few birds, but I would prefer to thoroughly force break him to retrieve before I make birds a regular occurrence. In most cases, this stops many problems from occurring, such as sloppy pick-up, poor bird handling, hardmouth, and besides, it frequently assures a clean delivery.

In my opinion, trainers of young dogs frequently put too much emphasis on doubles. I have had more success in always starting with a single and adding birds, up to triple, as the dog is successful on each test. Triples for a derby dog do not serve much purpose. The main objective with the young dog is to help him learn how to find that key bird, the memory bird, and if you can concentrate on this, you will survive more trials in good shape.

When you start the water work, remember that you want to have the dog charging out into the water. This is best accomplished on easy singles. When you start on the tougher water marks and when a bank is available for the dog to run, be sure to have enough help to prevent bank running. If you can block him the first time, he is less apt to try it again.

Here are a few handling tips that might be helpful. In training, don’t make a habit of waiting too long to call for a bird. After you think the dog has spotted the gun, call for a bird quickly. You are hoping that the dog will form the habit of paying attention as soon as you sit him down on the line, whether it be in training or a field trial. On the other hand, handlers should give a young dog time to think after he delivers the fist bird and before sending him for a second bird. Take the time to line the dog in the right direction before sending him on a retrieve, particularly the second bird.

Young dogs are great to work with, but always remember, whether your objective is field trial work or hunting, keep the young retriever happy so that he will do his best to please you.

Taken from “The Retriever”, Volume 1, Number 3, November 1969

News Articles

Print Email


Tennessee Dogs Dominate Trials

The Billings Gazette, Billings, Tennessee, September 8, 1968

“Jim Swan gets a critical eye from Judge Jere Bogrett of Riverton, Wyoming, during Saturday’s competition in the Montana Retriever Club Derby near Brown’s Lake. Four dogs handled by Swan dominated derby events.”



Texan Brings Trophies to Tennessee

Johnson City Press-Chronicle, Johnson City, Tennessee, September 22, 1968

“More than a century ago, Tennessee sent one of her finest outdoorsman, Davy Crockett, to Texas to bring distinction to that state. Early this year, Texas reciprocated by sending to Tennessee a fine young outdoorsman, Jim Swan, a 25-year-old sporting-dog trainer and handler, who this month brought distinction to Tennessee when he returned from a tour of retriever field trials with an arm-load of trophies.

Swan, who was born and reared in Amarillo, Texas, has been the trainer for Ripshin Kennel, near Jonesboro, since February. Early in August, Swan and Mayland Muse, one of the owners of the kennel, left Tennessee on an 8000-mile, seven-week tour of four western and Midwestern states. They left with seven Labrador Retrievers. They returned with the retrievers and 17 wins out of a possible 84, competing against 1000 retrievers in seven field trials.”



City Man Is Tops With Dogs

Sunday News-Globe, Amarillo, Texas, December 8, 1968

“Jim Swan, former Amarilloan, is making good as a trainer and is receiving national recognition for his work with the Labrador Retrievers. Lad Crowder’s Ranger recently won honors in national field trials.”



The Professionals

The El Paso Times, El Paso, Texas, February 11, 1973

“The leading Texas pros on the tour this year are Rufus Deskins, Floyd Hayes, Willard Higgs, Joe Schomer, and Jim Swan... In case you’re scratching your head with your putter trying to recall those names, let me tell you, they’re not professional golfers. These Texans are dog men. More specifically, they are retriever dog men. They make their living training and handling Labrador, Chesapeake and Golden Retrievers. These men are part of one of America’s most specialized sports, where the object is to determine which dog does the best job of picking a bird up in its mouth and returning it, unharmed, to its handler. Not so ridiculous when you consider other sports that involve knocking a ball into a hole with a club…”



Field Trial News, Professional Retriever Trainers Association

“Since the beginning of Retriever Field Trials, interest in this sport has continued to grow to tremendous proportions. It is not longer merely a “Gentlemen’s Sport”. It is a highly charged competitive game. Why does one partake in this game of field trialing? The obvious and simple answer to the question is that we are developing and improving the performance of the Retriever in the field…

Jim started training dogs as an assistant to Tom Sorenson in April of 1966. He later worked for Floyd Hayes. Each taught him a great deal about training and running a kennel. From Floyd’s, the Swans moved to East Tennessee to manage Ripshin Kennel.

Jim and his wife Marsha moved to the Dallas area in 1970 and started Swan Kennel. The retriever sport has been very good to the Swan’s. They have had their share of fine dogs, great owners and many friends from all over the United States and Australia. Jim was the first American Retriever Trainer to give a training seminar in Australia. He has qualified and run in numerous Open Nationals and has titled many field Champions.

Jim’s most memorable experience was at the Tallahassee Field Trial in 1968. He qualified for his first Open National and on the same weekend took all four places in the Derby with littermates. That had never been done before.

Jim is still training field dogs and hunting dogs, but he is no longer traveling.


Latest photo

  • dog_training_kennels_dog_trainer.jpg
  • dog_training_kennels_duck_retriever.jpg
  • dog_training_kennels_facility.jpg
  • dog_training_kennels_hunting_dog.jpg
  • dog_training_kennels_jim_swan.jpg
  • dog_training_kennels_jim_swan_lab.jpg
  • dog_training_kennels_lab_trainer.jpg
  • dog_training_kennels_sanger_texas.jpg
  • dog_training_kennels_shepard_lab.jpg
  • dog_training_kennels_swan.jpg
  • dog_training_kennels_swan_retriever.jpg
  • dog_training_kennels_trainer.jpg
  • dog_training_kennels_trainer_hunting_dog.jpg
  • dog_training_kennels_truck_kennel.jpg
  • dog_training_kennels_web-34.jpg
  • dog_training_kennel_retriever.jpg
  • hunting_dog_hunter.jpg
  • swan_kennel_training.jpg
  • swan_kennel_training_dog.jpg
  • swan_kennel_training_puppy.jpg