EP 19: On Becoming a Dog Trainer in Patagonia, AZ

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • What it takes to be a bird dog (hunting dog) trainer
  • Dog packs and what that means to any dog owner
  • The essentialness of living with and connecting with your dogs
  • How easy it is to accidentally make basic dog training mistakes
  • Choosing the best dog breed to fit your needs and lifestyle

Welcome to another episode of Free Range Dogs

In this episode, Web talks with Kelly Kirby, owner of LunaRita Outfitters in Patagonia, AZ, about all things dog.  Kelly is a professional dog trainer and hunting guide. As this is something Web and Kelly have in common, they have much to talk about.

Both Kelly and Web talk about their formative years and how they developed their passion and skills in dog training. They learned through trial and error, from mentors, and from books. Mentioned were:  How to Help Gun Dogs Train Themselves, Taking Advantage of Early Conditioned Learning by author Dr. Joan Bailey;  Best Way to Train Your Gun Dog: The Delmar Smith Method by author Bill Tarrant; and Bond of Passion:  Living with and Training your Hunting Dog by Web Parton. Kelly talks about the importance of using effective psychological strategies such as operant conditioning when dog training.

They talk about how important it is to understand dog culture and to be able to “read” a dog during training and also within the context of daily life. This comes from years of experience and exposure to a multitude of dogs in a variety of situations.  Understanding the hierarchy of dog packs and the status of the alpha dog helps in training and in living with dogs as pets.

Having experience working with a variety of dog breeds, they describe the importance of choosing the correct breed to meet your lifestyle needs. Things to consider are where you live, the size of your backyard (if you have one), time available to spend with your dog, opportunities to exercise your dog, and how frequently you will be able to get out and hunt when getting a hunting dog.

Web and Kelly talk about the “seasons” of dog training and bird hunting and guiding and how the two intertwine and inform each other. Whether you are looking to have your dog trained for bird hunting, or you would like to schedule a guided hunt or both, Kelly Kirby and LunaRitaOutfitters is a great choice. As mentioned in the podcast, Patagonia, AZ, is located in the heart of Mearns quail country which is a top destination for quail hunters.


Kelly Kirby

LunaRita Outfitters

2408 AZ Highway 82

Patagonia, AZ 85624

520-235-9095 or 520-600-8795

www.lunaritaoutfitters.com:  dog training, guided hunts


LunaRitaOutfitters on Facebook and Instagram