EP 24: Adventures with Fly Fishing Setters in Kalispell, Montana

Rob Breeding with Doll and Jade 1 Bird Shy of a Wyoming Chukar Limit

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • Knowing when you’ve done enough dog training and letting your dog’s natural abilities and genetics do the rest
  • How living with and connecting with your dog/s is important for them and you
  • Your emotions when training is felt by your dog/s and can connect them to a training or life situation in a positive or a negative way
  • The importance of being calm and accepting when dog training
  • You can put a dog in a boat but you can’t make her flyfish

Welcome to another episode of Free Range Dogs

In this episode, Web speaks with a longtime friend, Rob Breeding, about English setters, dog training, and fly fishing. Rob is a lifelong journalist and journalism professor, who currently teaches at the University of Nebraska in Kearney, NE.

This conversation begins with stories about English setters and flyfishing. Web spent a day of fishing with Rob and his dog, Doll, in a boat on the Shoshone River in Wyoming a few years ago. This is an unusual scenario for a bird hunting dog, although Web found it completely enjoyable.  As it turns out, setters are not natural swimmers, and it wasn’t until Doll was older that she could sit still long enough to enjoy a day of fly fishing. 

Moving on from flyfishing, the discussion turned to bird hunting and dog training. Rob speaks about the 3 English setters he has shared his life with Jack, Doll, and Jade. Jack has passed away and Rob is writing a memoir about Jack’s last hunt.  Doll, who is now 13, is retired from hunting and living a life of leisure. Jade is the youngest.

Rob talks about training his dogs, and how his attitudes and methods changed as time went on.  They talk about how self-confidence on your part when training your dog is essential, as your dog will respect that and pay attention. Living with your dogs and being connected is also essential, as your dog/s will want to please you and will understand you on a multitude of levels.

Lastly, they talk about, as one becomes older and more experienced, one can be less anxious and worried about your dog and learn to trust him.  You learn what needs to be taught explicitly and what can be allowed to evolve naturally. The importance of being calm and relaxed and joyful when spending time with your dog- it benefits both of you.


Rob Breeding and his dogs Jack, Doll, and Jade



Professor of Journalism and Journalist

The University of Nebraska, Kearney, Nebraska  68847

Writes weekly column “Out of Bounds” for Flathead Beacon in Kalispell, Montana

Currently writing a memoir about Jack, his first English Setter