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What Our Students Say

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For Abby and me, to advance to the level we did over the intense learning over summer was a thrill. Your coaching and challenging setups forced me to attend to the details that made us a working team.


Even though I have trained dogs over my lifetime, competing successfully in field trials is another ball game. I had much to learn, and it was hard. I needed to learn how to get into the Red Zone and win. 


I did not know how to win.


This summer, especially the last several weeks made the difference. Your focus on me, having a dream of competing successfully in the GRCA National Golden Retriever Specialty, is forever appreciated. The details of managing our dogs to bring out their best and our teamwork paid off. It was a magical three days.


You taught me how to win. It was a mental breakthrough for me. It was the attention to details and how to manage them that made the difference. I never thought about watching what other handlers had done to consider my odds to come out better than they did on the test.


Trust. I gained trust in Abby; she trusted me to give her accurate information. Out of that we got confident together. She is so compliant; I trusted her to do what I asked — and she responded.

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Chuck Snavely

A friend suggested I take my dogs to a Pat Burns Elite Retrievers training camp. Best advice I’ve ever gotten. Pat adapts the training to the level of the individual handler and his dogs. There is a lot of focus on handler mechanics. Nothing gets by this guy. Pat has found his passion in life and is very generous to share his considerable experience and knowledge.


One thing I really like about the Day School format is the access to a variety of amazing training grounds. Not something I can duplicate in my area.


Training with Pat has been a valuable and rewarding experience for my dogs and myself. Thank you Pat!

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Stacy Rick

Continually striving to improve my handling & training, I utilized an invaluable & positive training experience.  The opportunity to day train with Pat Burns.  


During training setups Pat is continually observing, taking notes and giving constructive feedback on line manners, lining up your dog…correctly, push-pull effect, communication, appropriate corrections, etc. He provides recommendations and suggestions to benefit you and your dog.   Positives complimented and constructive support provided.  


The opportunity to have an influential person who can instinctively “read a dog” as Pat can is an advantageous tool for anyone.  Since training with Pat, my dog Ellie has earned an Open 2nd & 3rd & Amateur 2nd.


The art of dog training and handling is continually evolving and is more competitive than ever.  Develop with it, enhance your game and I absolutely recommend training with Pat.


Happy Training!

Stacy Rick & AFC Watermarks What You Mean To Me "Ellie"

John and Martha Russell
(2003 and 2014 National Amateur Champions)

Martha and I want thank you for your insights, instincts and instruction over many years. Your ability to make your points understood  and clear , is an ability that is unique to you. To prove that point,we quote you all the time.

Thank you again for all you have contributed to our lives.


Go team Burns!!!

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Betsy Broyd

As a relative newcomer to the sport of field trials, I have spent a significant amount of time attending Pat Burns’ Elite Retrievers workshops. I have learned so much about handling a dog from Pat, as he so willingly shares his breadth of knowledge and experience as a field trial handler at the highest level. However, it’s Pat’s ability to work with handlers of all levels that never ceases to amaze me. No question is “dumb,” no basic principle is too simplistic – in Pat’s workshops, all discussions have relevancy. In my own case, Pat always strikes a good balance between constructive criticism and affirmation, as he continues to challenge me to work harder on my handling skills. Having first attended a workshop as a rank beginner, I find myself five years later reaping the benefits from Pat’s commitment to always push me to become a better leader for my dogs.

John Dawber

Pat brings a unique skill set of knowledge and experience that allows him to evaluate both the handler and the dog. Then, he presents this in a manner that is non-confrontational and challenges both the handler and dog team. He will push both of you outside your comfort zones. 

Pat is a student of the retriever game with a vast knowledge of the history and the dogs that have made this game so great. He does not sit on his heals, always trying to be ahead of the curve and improve the product he puts out. He will use new products or ideas to try to give you an edge while staying true to the basic concepts that will help your team reach its highest potential. 

I participate in the Hunt Test game, and Pat has given me the confidence to know that when my dog and I are at a test, we will be able to compete at the highest level. Using Pat’s coaching, we have been able to qualify and pass numerous Master Nationals and Amateur Master Nationals, as well as the Canadian National Master. 

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Nancy White

A number of years ago I had the opportunity to work with Pat Burns when our Amateur group brought him to Montana to work with us during the summer. These sessions were invaluable to our group of Amateurs, none of whom were training regularly with a professional. In 2020, I have renewed that training relationship with Pat although in a different context. I was immediately reminded of the value Pat brings to my personal experience as a handler. Pat has the unique ability to focus on the finer points of my handling, those little things that make a big difference. He notices things and calls them to my attention, helping me step up game as an amateur who strives to maintain high standards in order to compete at the highest level.

Sylvia McClure

"I was fortunate enough to spend five days training with Pat Burns at the 2014 spring boot camp in Fenwick Michigan. Pat helped me tremendously handling at the end of a blind with his " Red Zone" philosophy.  The themes of his training setups on blinds and marks was an aspect I had not considered, and now consistently use. His knowledge and enthusiasm for the spot are contagious and his technique for helping you the handler is excellent.

He is a " Great" teacher of the game. Pat gave me homework assignments and checks in to see how I am doing. He works hard to get to know you and YOUR dog so he can give you the best information possible. I took away a great deal from his seminar and carried it with me to the 2014 National Amateur where my dog finished as a Finalist.  Thanks Pat!"

Dr. Greg Bell

Earlier this year I signed up to receive coaching from Pat and I have been very happy in the guidance and feedback that he has shared with me.  As a novice amateur who is training his own dog for Field Trial stakes, I found Pat to be quite helpful and instructive in his coaching sessions with me. As a teacher myself, I have appreciated Pat’s responsiveness to my questions, the time he invests in thoroughly reviewing the videos of my training sessions, and the genuine care he has in the development of my dog and in myself as a handler.

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