Oak Hill Kennel was founded in 1971 by John Dahl. Originally from Minnesota by way of North Dakota, John is a lifetime hunter who carves his own decoys and trains his own dogs-both to a high standard. People familiar with John's dogs clamored for him to train theirs, and he decided to do so. Having lived in the area previously, John selected the Sandhills of North Carolina for its excellent year-round climate. With $7000 saved from his last teaching job in Maine, John bought a seven-acre property, cleared it using a Swedish saw, and built the kennel building, mixing mortar with water carried from Nick's Creek, which flows at the bottom of the hill.
In 1977 John won his first Open All-Age, beating 104 other competitors with his own Lab bitch Jade. He had further success, training a number of field champions, Dual champions, and state gun dog champions. His dogs were well schooled and always stylish and enthusiastic. Always a teacher, John helped others who were learning to train and handle retrievers, including Ed Forry, who was John's assistant, and Pat Nolan, both successful field trial pros, as well as a number of accomplished amateurs.
Amy married John and joined Oak Hill in 1996. A former college chemistry teacher, Amy found teaching retrievers more appealing. Retrievers love retrieving a lot more than college students love chemistry, and not being worried about grades, they can focus on learning their job.
Amy has trained and shown in obedience and conformation, and has been studying training techniques outside the usual scope of retriever work, including various uses of positive reinforcement and behavioral problem solving. She is always working to incorporate these methods into her training, helping dogs learn faster and better, building confidence and minimizing confusion.
In 1998 we bought 25 acres near Vass, North Carolina and began developing it as a training grounds. Later we built a house and kennel at the Vass site and completed our move in 2006. We now have excellent training-land, water, terrain, cover-on site and can do much of our training without taking the dogs on the road.
Currently John trains the advanced dogs and Amy trains the young dogs. We have a number of gun dog clients and a handful of hunt test and field trial dogs. We favor a moderate field trial schedule-12-18 events a year with plenty of training-over an intense one. We specialize in creative problem solving, adapting our training to suit the goals of each owner and the temperament and ability of each dog.
We are members of :
PRTA - the Professional Retriever Trainers' Association
ACC - the American Chesapeake Club
GRCA - the Golden Retriever Club of America
and of course Ducks Unlimited.
Please email us or call (910) 245-2603 to discuss your training needs.
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