Summer training is in full swing and the dog are doing great!

Bruce ran the West Allis test in late July and three dogs under the age of two passed the Master test.  What a great accomplishment!  Way to go!!

Master Nationals are in Roseburg, Oregon this fall and the cutoff for qualifying is July 31st.  Bruce and his crew are working to qualify client dogs in advance of this deadline and make sure the dogs are rock solid in their skills before the big event!
















Retriever News 'Ask the Pro...' Article on Bruce Halverson

Link to Bruce's article in Retriever News, "Training Retrievers for Field Trials and Hunting Tests"

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Comments from Clients

"The dogs he started have become FC-AFC titled and qualified for nine National Championships..."  John Stracka

"No one works harder or smarter than Bruce. No one!"  Brian Campbell

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Bruce Halverson
Cell: 608-332-4891
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Retriever Club Member

Member of Madison Retriever Club in WI and Tallokas Retriever Club in GA.



Crosswinds training specializes in basics through advanced field trial training for all types of retrievers, including Labs, Goldens, Chesapeakes, Flat Coats, Tollers and other retrieving breeds.  Bruce routinely has both show-bred and field-bred retrievers in his training program, as well as British and American lines of retrievers.  All dogs are trained as individuals, regardless of breed or coat color.  Training emphasizes clear communication with the dogs, solid foundation training that follows a proven step-by-step process, fairness, and controlled line manners.  And, the dogs have great attitudes!

Obedience training is also available for all breeds and mixed breeds.




The ideal candidate is well socialized and starts at Crosswinds at around 6-8 months of age for a solid foundation of basics training, though dogs older than 6 months also thrive in the program.  Solid basics are essential to future success, whether you are seeking the next FC-AFC or a fabulous hunting dog.  This includes:

  • Obedience, force fetch, collar conditioning
  • Swim-by
  • Pattern blinds
  • Drills
  • Marking - white coats used
  • Retired guns - white coats used
  • Dogs are given live flyers
  • Bird boys throw ducks, not mechanical launchers so help can be given when dogs need it
  • Many singles are thrown from multiple stations and distances are varied
  • Repetition is very important, and corrections are given carefully and after the dog has learned
  • Being fair the dog is essential

No corners are cut and dogs do not progress until they are ready.  Building confidence is critical in young dogs.  Drills are worked into the training program and customized to each dog, including the no-no drill, water tune-up drills, A-B-C others.  Dogs are moved around each day of the week to different training properties and waters so they generalize their learning.  As they advance, more factors (wind, water, terrain, cover, diversion) are introduced and they learn to fight them.   Blind skills continue to build both on land and water.

It is difficult to estimate how long it will take for your dog to progress because all dogs learn at a different pace.  It is most important that your dog learns the concepts, builds a solid foundation, is challenged, and has a good attitude.   He/she will be ready when he/she demonstrates competency and confidence.

As the dogs advance and put concepts together for field trials and hunt tests, advanced training includes:

  • Many singles off of multiple guns continue to be used most days
  • Multiple marks on some days to practice putting it all together and to build memory
  • Interrupted marks with blinds
  • Poison birds and diversion birds
  • Continue to fight the factors on marks and blinds
  • Daily marking routine is mixed up: long, short; out of order flyers; short retired; long retired; tighter marks as the dog gains confidence; increased distances as the dog demonstrated success.
  • Customized drills for each dog and drills to maintain confidence
  • Plenty of birds and flyers are used, and flyers out of the picture
  • Flyers are used as a reward as long as the dog is steady
  • Bird boys are used to throw, not launchers
  • If dogs have difficulty, the task is simplified or help is given
  • At all times, the dog must have a good attitude

When dogs have a solid foundation and are confident, they are ready to run the Derby or Qualifying stakes, at the Master Hunter level, or start a career as highly trained hunting dog.  Many retrievers trained at Crosswinds have gone on to gain their AFC-FC.

High quality training necessitates individual attention and bird boys.  All training is done by Bruce Halverson, not assistants.  As a result, Crosswind Retrievers limits the number of dogs it takes into training at any one time.  Sometimes there is a waiting list.  If you are interested in retriever training, the winter training trip to Georgia or sending a dog to Master Nationals, please contact Bruce Halverson to discuss a training program and availability.


Basic Gun Dog

This is a 30 day program for waterfowl or upland hunting and will teach your retriever some off-leash control, learning to retrieve single marks, learning to out to the bird and bring it back to your hand, exposure to live birds and ducks, intro to gunshot, force fetch, collar conditioning, intro to water, heeling, sitting, and coming to the whistle.  Your dog will be ready for pheasant or duck hunting season!  This is for dogs 6 months or older.

Advanced Gun Dog

This for the dog owner who wants a more finished retriever for hunting, including a dog that can mark multiple birds and run blind retrieves (take hand signals).  Dogs will be worked on water and land, shown decoys, blinds, boats, and other hunting scenarios.  Obedience continues to be part of this training and the dog will be steady, heel, sit and respond to whistle commands.   Many aspects of advanced gun dog training are similar to trial training (see list of skills/drills above).  A training program is designed for each dog and is in 30-day increments depending on the level of training the owner wants for his/her dog.     This will bring out your dog's highest potential.


All breeds of dogs can be their best with 4 weeks of basic obedience.  Dogs will learn commands such as sit, heel, here, no, off, quiet, and walking on a loose leash.  Your dog can be a good citizen around friends and family!  


Bruce can schedule an appointment with you and your dog for a one-on-one lesson to solve an issue you are having.  He also offers day training for retrievers.  Call or email Bruce for details.

Curious to know more? Read about Bruce Halverson's field training and how he consistently produces dogs successful trial dogs by clicking HERE to view his article in Field Trial News.


Trial Dog Training- Basics/Transition $800/month, plus birds
Trial Dog Training- Advanced $800/month, plus birds
Gun Dog Training - $800/ month, plus birds
Obedience Dog Training- $750/mo
Problem Solving/Lessons- inquire


Handling fees for AKC trials $75 per event.
Entry fees for trials billed at cost, unless owner enters dog on Entry Express.
Transportation for trials billed each month.
Birds vary based on market rates and are billed at Crosswind Retrievers' cost.
Heartworm preventative and Frontline Plus provided to dogs each month and billed at cost.

Trips to the vet and veterinary charges billed as incurred for each dog.

Winter trip fees are prorated among all participating dogs.