The art of teaching obedience is overlooked by many dog owners and sportsmen, resulting in an unsatisfactory relationships and missed opportunities for years of pleasure.

Few will disagree that there is nothing more disturbing than an unruly dog that refuses the commands – “ here,” “ sit” and “heel.” Such disobedience often results in injury or death to a dog and confounds the peacefulness of a day afield.

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SANFORD — To the average passerby, the rubble pile at Briggs Excavating looks like no more than what it is: a huge stack of concrete and rebar, remnants of road projects past. To a group of dog trainers, though, it’s a shining opportunity. It looks just like a building that’s been destroyed, and it’s the perfect spot to put search dogs through their paces.

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Bill Hillmann demonstrates how to get a retriever excited at a recent training seminar in Pender County. Hillmann says one of the keys to success with a dog is making the learning process fun.

JIM LASLEY

His favorite word is “practice.” Without it, he asks, where would the professional golfer or basketball player be?

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