Puppy classes, Canine Good Citizen, obedience classes, rally, agility...
The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is an energetic intelligent breed. They show up with a wide range of natural activity levels. Some are on the calm side, at least indoors; others always busy.
None, however, will be happy, healthy and a good pet if all they do is sit and look at the refrigerator. Or bark continuously, or chew up your stuff.
Even if you've no desire to show, compete, or earn titles, training creates a strong relationship with your dog, increases respect on both sides and gives you tools to manage its behavior in a positive happy way.
With adequate training, a toller can get the regular off leash exercise it needs (in a safe area); a fun experience for dogs and owners both. You'll find it pleasant to include your well socialized dog at the kids' soccer days and on hikes & camping.
Many toller owners find that their puppy is one of the smartest in the class, so they decide to continue & find all they and their toller can do.
Colorado has training centers and experts everywhere along the Front Range (and other areas surely).
Two good places in the Denver area I'm personally familiar with are:
Blue Springs n Katydid Dog Training Center and
The City of Aurora Parks and Recreation Department
Retriever events & clubs...
The UKC Hunting Retriever Club HRC consists of local clubs in the US and Canada. There are several of these in Colorado holding realistic hunting tests, with training days each spring and summer. They offer multiple levels of achievement including the Started Hunting Retriever title (SHR) which is attainable for beginners and loads of fun.
AKC Retriever Clubs work to hold AKC hunt tests, field trials or both. They also have training days & are a large presence everywhere in the US. Here are two on the Front Range:
Colorado Foothills Retriever Club
Pikes Peak Retriever Club
To train a hunting dog...
The toller is loaded with natural ability, especially for finding birds, and once they learn to retrieve, never want to stop! At Quill we love to introduce puppies to retrieving and birds, and figure out what their talent & aptitude seems to be.
HOWEVER! Natural instinct does not a hunting companion make! (Shakespeare)
We recommend investing in retriever training lessons & finding a group setting to help develop your retriever. Believe this; you won't be sorry!
It took some years to get started but now that I'm in the loop of retriever training, Dave enjoys hunting with the dogs a thousand times more. Whether your aim is hunting companion, practicing regularly with a training group, or going beyond into formal retriever games, here are two excellent local resources to help you start with your pup:
Rug-ged Retrievers (Colorado Springs) and
Sandy Whicker (email for contact info) at Sky Hi Golden Retrievers (Wellington)
But the best thing about retriever training is...
training with other toller owners & turning all the dogs loose together for a massive chaotic romp in the field & ponds!