Cemeteries: The Perfect Suburban Training Grounds For Your Dog

Last week in my blog post on solo training I solicited comments on what you'd like to read more of, and info on solo training, plus "creative uses of land available in a neighborhood" for training were two answers. I have previously written about my own never-ending search for training grounds, noting that I've been kicked off golf courses, soccer fields, and mall parking lots. But there's one place I haven't tried.

I have to admit that for sheer creepy training creativity I can't touch my friend from Ducks Unlimited, James Card. Like all gundog owners who live and work in large metro areas, James is always on the hunt for new training grounds. This January when he and his dog Radar drove out for a late-season pheasant hunt, he told me about a great new training spot he discovered. It was quiet, spacious, empty and training didn't seem to bother the residents.

I'm talking, of course, about a cemetery. The country cemetery James found was usually void of the living, and even had some great brushy hedge rows for working his pup in cover. Creepy? Yes. Brilliant? Yes. Most cemeteries are fenced, receive very little traffic, especially on weekdays and early mornings, have large open areas perfect for yard work and drills and you can find them just about anywhere.

Now granted, there are probably some caveats to training in a cemetery. First, make sure it's legal, or at least make sure there aren't any specific rules against it. Second, think solitude. You wouldn't want to train on say, Memorial Day, or during funerals or whenever anyone else was there. Using bumper launchers, wingers, starter pistols or incessant yells or whistle blasts should be avoided. Using headstones to set up your blinds is probably a no-no. And for sure you'd want to leave any random bones your dog may happen to bring back to you. But if you do it in a respectful manner and when no one else was around, pick up after yourself and your dog, a local cemetery may just turn out to be an underground training hit.