We’ve analyzed all available reviews for this breeder and summarized our findings below for your convenience!
Don Smith with Meglyn Retrievers is a highly experienced and caring trainer for hunting and retrieving dogs. He has a large indoor facility for training during the winter months and realistic outdoor training grounds.
Don takes the time to educate and guide potential clients on what to look for when getting a puppy and offers valuable advice. Customers appreciate the accommodating nature of Don, allowing regular visits and providing updates during the training process.
He offers obedience training, as well as AKC Junior Hunt Title training, which has proven successful for many dogs. Don's force-fetch training method helps dogs develop a soft mouth for birds and proper mouth control.
Many clients have witnessed their dogs passing all tests on the first try and excelling in hunting activities. Don's close proximity to clients' homes is a great advantage, making it convenient and comfortable for clients to leave their dogs with him.
Meglyn Retrievers also offers drop-in conformation classes for flexibility. However, one negative review highlights a lack of communication and dissatisfaction with the handling instructions provided.
Overall, Don's passion for dogs and quality training make Meglyn Retrievers a recommended choice for customers looking for a professional trainer.
Meglyn Retrievers Reviews
We’ve compiled a list of the most helpful reviews for this breeder below. We’ve included both positive and negative (if applicable) reviews to give you a better idea of the type of breeder you’re considering.
Don Smith with Meglyn Retrievers is an outstanding trainer for hunting and retrieving dogs. Our dog is a black lab and she has transformed into a well-trained and well-behaved hunting dog. Don began working with her when she was 6 months old. He first starts by teaching and enforcing basic obedience skills with the dogs. Sit and heel are paramount. For Don, when he teaches sit, that means that the dog is to sit until told otherwise. There is no “stay” command.
Following the obedience training, Don completed ecollar conditioning and force-fetch methods, which teaches the dogs to have a soft mouth for birds as well as to release upon command. We were very pleased to see our Benelli (Nelli) progress through force fetch training at a remarkable pace- she loved it! From the results I’ve seen with our dog, this technique works well and teaches the dogs proper mouth control in comparison with other methods.
We’ve had Don train and title our dog, Nelli, through Junior Hunter. It takes 4 “passes” to get titled, 2 land and 2 water retrieve events. Nelli passed all 4 tests on the first try. During her first run, all other dogs in the competition trained from other handlers were unable to retrieve the bird, and Nelli was the first and only dog to retrieve the bird during that run. It was a joy to watch her get titled and it’s been great hunting with her since. We’ve taken her pheasant, dove and duck hunting and she seems to love dove hunting the most. There’s nothing like seeing Nelli smiling with a mouth full of feathers! It is clear that Nelli dreams of all the ducks she will retrieve this season.
We were incredibly blessed to find Don to train Nelli. The way we found Don was quite serendipitous, as he does not live far from us. Don has client dogs that travel from far distances to receive his training, and he is a mere 20-minute drive from our house. This has worked very well, as we travel frequently for work and Don is always more than happy to care for Nelli for us in our absence. Nelli loves going to “Uncle Don’s” house for brief training refreshers. This is such a comfort to us, as we are hesitant to leave Nelli with any boarding facility. The genuine love that Don has for our Nelli is an extension of our love.
We would strongly recommend Meglyn Retrievers to anyone looking for a quality trainer at a reasonable price. In addition to his standard month-by-month training setup where the dog stays with him, Don also offers owner-handled training. This seems best for tune-ups and working/reinforcing a specific item. If you want quality training in a reasonable time frame, it’s best to let him have the dog for 4-6 months and fully immerse the dog in the training experience.
Celia L Ruckel
Love the availability of drop in conformation classes as I am frequently out of town and don’t want to pay for an 8 week class I can’t always make. They are very knowledgeable and helpful.
The bottom line up front is that Don is a great trainer who really cares about the dogs he trains. He may look like an old timer, but don’t let that fool you he has a heart of gold for these animals. Our two year old Field Golden Retriever, Henry, just completed his AKC Junior Hunt Title thanks to his work. In addition the obedience training Henry received has paid dividends and I almost never have to keep him on a lead (only an e-collar). I would not hesitate to recommend Don to anyone looking for a professional trainer who is going to treat your dog properly.
Let’s start in the beginning. Several years ago I decided I wanted to get a Field Golden that I could take hunting. But I was a newbie and did not know the first thing about them. I saw Don’s info online and gave him a call. He talked for 40 minutes and gave me a lot of insight, he also invited me and my wife out to see his training grounds. We came out and he spent over four hours showing us his large indoor facility which he uses a lot during the winter months. And he walked us around his outdoor training grounds where he has mechanical bird slings and a very realistic training area. He also took the time to sit down and explain what to look for when getting a puppy and what his training would include. He even brought out a couple dogs he was training to do a couple runs and show us first hand. After that visit we were sold that Don would be our trainer, now we just needed to find our pup.. After looking around for a while we found a breeder that we liked and Don took a look at the pedigree and medical paperwork and really put our minds at ease before we made the purchase.
At six months old we dropped Henry off for four long months. It was pretty hard on me and my wife to not have our puppy for that long. But Don was very accommodating and would even humor my wife’s request for “Pupdate” photos and videos. We also came by almost every weekend to play with him which really helped. When we got him back he was the same goofy dog except he was thoroughly obedience trained and could complete marked retrieves in his sleep.
After about six months we decided we wanted to try and get him his Junior Hunt Title so we dropped him back off for another two months of training. During that time he passed two of the four Junior runs he did (so he still needed two more). Don even took him Pheasant hunting a couple times which was pretty awesome. We took him back for a few more months and I decided I wanted to run him myself for his last two runs. I had never run a dog at a Hunt Test and was a little nervous. But Don let me come over and practice on his land which helped put me at ease. Henry of course did great and finished off his Title! Unfortunately I have been overseas for most of the last two seasons but I have no doubt Henry will do great when I get him out to hunt.
I worked with this man for the better part of a year or should I say blindly fed this man money, ask him for handling instructions repeatedly which he refused to give saying that it wasn’t quite ready and “how many dogs have you trained?” I wish I would have gone with another trainer but I was duped by his nice building and thoughts that him being a judge had some sort of bearing on his worthiness… The most narcissistic and insulting man I have ever met in my life. Feel free to private message me with any questions.