Wildrose specializes in producing classic English Labrador hunting and adventure companions...The Gentleman's Gundog...a dog of duality prepared to go anywhere, any time for any type of wingshooting or outside adventure. These are dogs that truly complement the families' sporting lifestyle.

The Wildrose training processes are designed to create a positive, productive relationship between the gundog and the handler by establishing clear expectations for the retriever's calm behavior and performance, as well as, a strong bond between the two. Our balanced methods (The Wildrose Way) utilize positive habit formation to entrench essential behaviors such as ease of handle, gamefinding ability and compatibility.

We customize our training curriculum to meet the specific developmental needs of each dog while keeping the owner's expectations in mind.

"Training the Wildrose Way" and "Training the Upland Gundog" DVDs allow you to see "The Wildrose Way" come alive in an interactive way through numerous lessons and digital diagrams. Order at

Orvis Double Barrel Podcast - The Wildrose Way

The First Hunts
Traning Your Gun Dog Part 1: The Puppy
Training your gun Dog Part 2: The First Six Months
Training your Gun Dog Part 3

Training Programs

  • Waterfowl Retrievers
  • Upland Flushing and Retrieving
  • Driven Shooting Retrievers
  • Adventure Dogs
  • Shed Hunters
  • Large Game Recovery (tracking)
  • Pointer/Retriever Combinations
  • Strike Dogs/Wagon Dogs
  • Therapy Companions
  • Canine Good Citizen Certification

  • Comments about Wildrose Training

    "Many sporting dog trainers use shock collars and whips. Stewart's methods prefer simple, positive reinforcement, sternly delivered direction with a crisp 'good' or 'no.'" Monte Burke, Forbes

    "The secret to success of Wildrose is there is no secret. It's simply the willingness to do things the right way every time and to do them with passion and intention or not at all." Alex McDaniel, Oxford Magazine

    "The Wildrose Way is the right way when it comes to training gundogs." Wade Bourne, Host of The World of Ducks on Ducks Unlimited TV and outdoor writer.

    "It is unusual for one pro trainer to excel in both pointing and flushing/retrieving dog training. Mike has accomplished that as well." John C. Gosselin, Publisher, The Upland Almanac.

    "The Wildrose Way teaches dog owners how to systematically build on retrievers' natural instincts through gentle, positive reinforcement with no more fear for the dog or frustration for the owner." John W. Newman, President of Ducks Unlimited.

    "...a training regime perfectly suited to canine instincts and capabilities as they relate to the hunter's needs afield." Christopher Camuto, Grey's Sporting Journal.

    "Wildrose takes a holistic view of dog training that's valuable to any handler, whether you want a waterdog, upland dog, or adventure dog." Grayson Schaffer, Senior Editor, Outside Magazine.

    "He (Stewart) works to produce focused, obedient hunting dogs that will fulfill their owners' goals including retrieving waterfowl, finding upland birds, going fly-fishing or canoeing or camping or simply relaxing with the family at home." Charles Fergus, Shooting Sportsman.

    "What makes Wildrose different is the training...he relies solely on positive reinforcement, using stern verbal directions (like "good" and "no") and nonverbal, noncontact cues, like standing completely still until a misbehaving dog calms down." Monte Burke, Forbes Life

    "Mike Stewart has turned the world of gundog training upside down." Donovan Webster, Garden & Gun Magazine

    "Instead, Stewart (Wildrose) chooses to focus on positive reinforcement, gentle repetition, and imprinting what he calls "essential behaviors" to the point of habit formation. The result... a well-behaved gun dog; and, perhaps more important, one that stays well-behaved for a lifetime." Chad Love, Covey Rise Magazine

    Basic (6-month program)

    Wildrose starters are accepted into this program between 7 and 8 months old. The training emphasizes all essential gundog skills including obedience, steady/honor, delivery, lining on memories, handling (hand signals), hunting cover and marking. Dogs are exposed to various hunting terrain and environments (both land and water) and a variety of birds including pigeon, quail, chukar, duck and pheasant. For the pup of average ability and temperament you can expect a quiet, responsive, obedient, reliable retriever who is steady to shot, proficient in single and double retrieves as well as handling and hunting in varied environments. A gundog ready for their first hunts.

    Other Basic Course options include:
    Adventure Dog - The client may select from 14 different skills sets specific to their family's lifestyle. The training builds upon the core behaviors and fundamental skills of the game dog, and then expands into specific activities relevant to the outside adventurer including camping, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, trail assistance, etc.

    Shed Hunters - Trained in the same manner as the upland flushing- retriever, the dog is hunting for antlers rather than feathered game. All fundamental skills of the hunter are developed...obedience, steadiness, gunfire introduction, retrieving, quartering and hunting cover.

    Game Recovery - Commonly known as blood trailing for wounded game, the focus is on developing the dog's natural hunting instincts, applying appropriate controls such as desensitizing the dog to chasing game, gunfire and distractions, then enhancing the dog's independent nature to track while limiting the dog's prey drive, the tendency to chase.

    AKC Canine Good Citizen Training - Wildrose offers AKC Canine Good Citizen training and certification for dogs and their owners. The CGC program is designed to teach responsible dog handling for owners and to train dogs to become reliable, well-behaved members of families and communities. Dog/handler teams must pass all ten items of the test under the supervision of one of our evaluators. Upon completion, a certificate is awarded by the American Kennel Club in recognition of the achievement. Training may be achieved while the Wildrose dog is enrolled in one of our training programs at the Oxford facility. Evaluation testing may also be arranged by appointment or occasionally offered during an onsite workshop.

    Obedience Course - Designed specifically for the Wildrose companion dog, this one to two month course conditions the youngster in basic obedience commands: heel, here, sit, stay, remote recall, as well as other essential behaviors including down, load, kennel, tying out and place training. This is considered to be the basic "good citizen" course designed to make your dog a socialized, well-mannered part of your family.


    These curriculums build upon the foundations established in the basic program. Training may be focused on either upland gundog or waterfowl retriever skills. This process may begin after one hunting season exposure. Waterfowl retrievers will be exposed to lining extensions, multiple memories, handling on water and in cover, steadiness refinement, permanent and cold unseens, tracking runners, and diversions (gunfire/birds). Upland gundog (quail, pheasant) training is available which will include steady to flush, tracking runners, marking on walk-ups, quartering, and working with pointing gundogs. Dogs are trained in the most realistic of conditions at our various facilities to match the clients' needs afield.

    Pre-Season Tune Up (1 to 2 months)

    The tune-up curriculum is for Wildrose Started or Finished Retrievers in need of pre-season conditioning, refinement of particular skills or addressing minor problems. Training may be focused on either upland or waterfowl retriever skills. Refresher work includes obedience in field conditions, memories, steadiness, multiple marks, lining, precision handling, unseens, and bird work. Dogs will be exposed to extensive gunfire and birds with the option to train in different areas of the country at Wildrose training facilities including Mississippi Delta, Arkansas, Idaho and Colorado.

    Strike-Back: Upland Gundog Combination

    Training for the Wildrose Labrador to work simultaneously with the client's own pointing dog. The training emphasizes the criteria outlined in the upland gundog course plus both dogs are fielded together in realistic hunting environments:
    *Wagon Dog    *Backing the Pointer    *Steady to Flush    *Striking a Flush

    Advanced Retriever Training for Wingshooting

    World-Class Gundog Development in Teton Valley, ID, on an extensive driven shooting estate that will allow a participant's dog to experience enormous gamebird exposure daily. Each retriever will encounter diverse, rugged terrain, massive gunfire exposure and unmatched opportunities for pheasant and partridge recovery. Operated by Wildrose trainer(s) June through November annually.

    Therapy Service Companion Training

    Wildrose has expanded its service dog training component to include therapy dog development, The Wildrose Way. A Wildrose Lab may be trained in dual tracks for therapy services in combination with one of our other sporting dog training options. Please see the January/February 2017 edition of the Wildrose Journal for complete details.

    See the Wildrose Kennels Training Photo Gallery

    Scheduling Training