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SALTILLO, MISS. (WCBI) – Many North Mississippians are enjoying the first days of hunting season. And for many outdoor enthusiasts, a hunting dog will be a key part of their sport. But that requires having a well-trained animal at their side. WCBI’s Allie Martin reports introduces us to a local pastor who also has a knack for training those special four-legged friends.  Most every weekday,Barton Ramsey brings several British labs to this Saltillo field.

“We train dogs for hunting, water fowl, duck, goose, upland hunting pheasants, grouse, obedience training for gun dog breeds,” Ramsey said.

The 26-year-old husband and dad began training dogs several years ago. Last year, he turned his hobby into Southern Oak Kennels.  He concentrates on gun dog breeds and says since each dog is different, he doesn’t have a cookie cutter approach when it comes to training.  On this day, he’s training dogs for duck hunting. Ramsey uses a bumper, which represents the bird, and it is either shot out of a special launcher.  For each dog, Ramsey uses a combination of commands with whistles.

“One whistle means sit, multiple blasts mean to return, then there’s a trick to teach your dog to stay in that area and hunt for where the bird is,” he explained.

As an associate pastor for the Church at Trace Crossing, Ramsey says he sees parallels and differences between dogs and humans.

“There’s a lot to be learned about submissiveness and the desire to rebel we have. A lot of looking out and seeing God’s creation in all of this and seeing how God has hard wired us, how we’re different than dogs. A dog does what it has to do to survive, but we are beings of worship and so we have choice, reason,” Ramsey said.

As this training session ends, Ramsey prepares for a new day, realizing he is privileged to practice his passion.

“I get to see all sorts of beautiful things, it’s very enjoyable,” he said.


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