Reviews and Recommendations of Dog Training Equipment,Training Books & Videos


This section of Von Meistern is devoted to recommendations of products: hunting gear, training gear, books, training videos, organizations, and whatever else comes to mind having to do with hunting upland game and pointing dogs. All recommended products have been thoroughly used and tested by me. No one has paid me to recommend the following:

Electronic Collars:

The Tri-tronics Sport Upland G3 combo is a reliable and effective electronic-collar with a beeper unit. It has 10 Stimulation levels, with a nick and a 10 second (max) button. Up to 3 dogs can be connected to the transmitter. The switch to change which dog is getting stimulus is not easily bumped out-of-place. Some Tri-Tronics models use a toggle switch which could be bumped, and you stimulate the wrong dog by accident.

I have used this unit for many years. It has proven to be reliable and very easy to use. The 10 stimulation levels have proven to be more than adequate. The highest levels are probably to high for most dogs, however. The EXP receiver is rechargeable, while the transmitter and beeper are battery-powered. The battery in the beeper lasts a surprisingly long time.

The current beeper is a small compact unit, that can be remotely turned silent. It has 8 settings with different sound combinations. Personally I don’t like listening to a beeper, it is annoying, and pheasants can get spooked by the noise. Having a remote-controlled beeper unit is a real plus, you can use it when necessary and turn it off the rest of the time.

Garmin purchased Tri-tronics and  replaced  the Sport Upland G3. Garmin’s unit is called the Delta Upland. It has an all new transmitter and receiver, but uses the Tri-Tronics beeper unit. One of the features that really intrigues me is that the receiver has a bark limiter built-in.  I purchased a Delta Upland and an extra reciever.  I like the Delta Upland even better,  the transmitter is   smaller and rechargeable, with smaller rechargeable receiver units.  the transmitter is very easy to use, except if your have real heavy gloves on, then some of the buttons are hard to push.  We also own two Garmin Bark Limiters.
The Garmin Bark Limiter is a quality product. I have two Tri-tronics bark collars and two Garmin Bark Limiters. The Tri-tronics units work well, but the design and durability of the Garmin units is superior. I had a couple of other brands in the past and they were vastly inferior to either the Tri-tronics or the Garmin.

The reason we have bark collars is neighborhood activity tends to set the pack to barking. The bark collars are necessary to be a good neighbor.

The reason I like the Garmin unit so much better than the Tri-tronics model has two factors. One the Garmin Bark Limiter is much more resistant to being chewed on by another dog. If you have several dogs and they are in a pack, at some point someone will chew on the unit. The Tri-Tronics units when chewed on were no longer waterproof. One of the Garmins only had scratches on the body when it was tested by dog teeth. You can see from the picture of the Garmin it was chewed on pretty hard.

The second reason is the ease of changing the settings, and checking the battery charge. It couldn’t get any easier due to the way the Garmin unit is designed

Regular Dog Collars:

Hands down the best, longest lasting dog collar on the market is the Dura-Lon brand. has custom order collars available. The custom order collars have five hardware configurations, with twelve different colors to pick from. One inch or 3/4 inch widths as well as a choice of a brass nameplate or a stainless steel nameplate. I recommend the stainless steel nameplate with the machine stamp rivets.

The collar is very chew resistant, and will last for years. If it gets dirty some dish soap and a scrubber will clean it right up. The stainless steel nameplate holds up to serious wear and tear.

If you need a plain but durable replacement 3/4 inch collar for a bark collar, Cabelas has a line of collars perfect for the job. The stock bark collar strap isn’t chew resistant. Cabelas line of collars are made of material similar to the Dura-Lon brand. This means that they are chew resistant. These collars will last a very long time. They also come in many bright collars, and can be cut to fit. I use the bright red color on the bark unit and they are a lot easier to find when not being used.

Leads and Check Cords:

Mendota Hi-Viz yellow super check cord is a great check cord. Why is it great? Durable, easy to see, doesn’t collect sticky weed seeds, doesn’t fray, doesn’t tangle, and it floats. What more can you ask for?

I also like the Mendota Hi-Viz yellow slip lead for basically the same reasons, except they aren’t designed to float. They do allow you to get a lead on your dog fast.

Bird Launchers and Dummy Launchers:

We have two DT-Systems remote bird launchers. One for pheasant and duck, and one for pigeon and quail. Both are remote-controlled and have a beeper to help you find them in the weeds. We have used both extensively. You can run up to 16 launchers with one remote.

They are really handy to have for live bird training. I used to have a manual launcher and more often than not, the thing refused to release the bird. Or the dog got tangled up in the line used to pull the release.

The Pheasant sized launcher could use a stronger servo to release the lock on the launcher. The larger launcher has a bigger bar to pull free. Another thing that could use some improvement is the manual control on the receiver to reset it for the next launch. Resetting the receiver for the next launch can get frustrating. A reset button on the transmitter would be ideal. The easier to work the equipment the less frustration, the better the training will go.

Over all I think the DT-Systems remote bird launchers are a quality product that could be even better with a couple of tweaks.

The DT Super Pro dummy launcher is another handy training tool. It is well made and ours has had hundreds of firings. Rango especially loves to retrieve launched dummies. Dummies come in two colors, bright red and white. Dogs don’t see red well, red is used for human sight. Easier for us to see. I can confidently say, do not use red when firing over water. Dogs have a hard time picking up red dummies in dark water. White works better.

The dummies themselves are the weak link with this product. Be prepared, the soft dummies will fail you at some point. The more powerful the blank ammo you use, the sooner the dummies will fail. CCI blank ammo comes in three power levels: Green (light), yellow (medium), and Red (heavy).

The small dummies travel farther and with less recoil than the larger dummies. I stick with the small dummies, they also seem to hold up a little better than the larger ones. There are some hard dummies on the market that resemble birds. I have not used any of those due to their cost. Someday I will have to break down and buy one of the hard dummies, so I can try it out.

This section is dedicated to  Training  Media, and dog stories that I found compelling .


Training Books:


There are dozens and dozens of dog training books that have been published over the years.   I have owned quite a few of them.  I have two major criteria in judging a book on dog training.  One, is it simple to carry out the training methods.  The second is, are the training methods humane and effective.  

If the training method takes three hands, involve complex rope setups, or a lot of other equipment, I’m not interested.   I have found the more complex the method, the more likely something will go wrong.  Things seem to go wrong plenty even when things are kept simple.   

The first book that I’m going to recommend is: The Ultimate Guide to Bird Dog Training by Jerome B. Robinson.   I like this book because it covers a lot of topics.   It gives you alternative ways of teaching your dog.  And most of the methods covered are simple to carry out.  It is written for the novice but a more experienced person could find it useful as well.  The only  problem I have with the book is one page where a nasty spike collar is shown. It is recommended  to break a stubborn dog from breaking at the flush and shot.   The particular collar shown would be more at home on a gladiator.  Otherwise it is a very useful and interesting book.

The second book that I found interesting is: Training the Versatile Hunting Dog by Chuck Johnson. It was the first book that I  found that dealt with training on both land and water.  It also has a section on tracking training.  It’s too bad the pictures are in black and white.  The author lives in Montana and the black and white pictures don’t do the landscape justice.  It is a comprehensive look at training the versatile type of pointing dog.  

Another book geared to training the versatile type of pointer is: How to Have the Best Trained Gun Dog by Joan Bailey.   Joan uses  German training techniques to train without the use of electronics.   I like her book because it is a no-nonsense approach to teaching fundamentals.  The training methods in this book were developed by people who devoted their lives to the training of versatile dogs.  


Training Videos:


I am only going to recommend two training videos.   The sad fact is a lot of training videos  aren’t very good.   The two I’m going to recommend are very good.  The first is: Great Beginnings by George Hickox.   You get your moneys worth with this video.   It is 52 minutes long without much fluff to waste your time.   Fairly comprehensive and well done.  Easy for a beginner to understand.    

The second training video is Whoa, Dog. Whoa!  by Mark Payton, Sr.  It only covers the topic of Whoa training and  does it superbly.  It is well worth the money.   Mark has a video out now that covers Force Fetch Training that is also very good.  


Great Dog Stories:


Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog by Ted Kerasote.    What a fabulous story about a man and a dog that was found wandering around the desert.  Highly recommended;  it is well written,  entertaining, interesting,  and it will pull on your heart-strings.  A must read for anyone who truly loves dogs.

Champion Dog: Prince Tom by Jean Clute and Tom Fritz.   This is an amazing story of a fortuitous decision to get a dog from humble origins.  Prince Tom  turned out to be an amazing champion. It is well worth the time spent reading it.  The book has been around since the fifty’s,  but it can still be found.