Andrew Cain is one step closer to turning a lifelong passion training dogs into his day job.
The Duckett Mill Road resident is aiming to start a business breeding and training duck-hunting dogs under the banner of Duck Eye Kennel.
Cain trains Irish and British Labradors — smaller breeds than the iconic American version — for his own duck hunting. And for the past few years he has done some freelance dog training outside of his work for Central Georgia Electric Membership Corporation, a rural power company.
Now, he’s working through the Hall County planning process to open the kennel along Duckett Mill Road in the center of a 10-acre farm.
Cain is proposing to build a new structure in the area to house 10 kennels that would be 200 square feet each. The kennels would have two sections, one indoors and one outdoors separated by a door that would allow Cain to let the dogs into the outdoor section during the day and close them inside at night. He said it would be a state-of-the-art facility for dog training.
On Monday, the Hall County Planning Commission approved Cain’s request to rezone his property from agricultural-residential III to planned commercial development. The request has to go to the Hall County Board of Commissioners for final approval.
If his request is approved, he would start construction immediately.
In the meantime, Cain said he wants to take his decades of experience and start a new business.
“I’m 62 and I’ve been around dogs my complete life — hunting dogs, bird dogs, pointers, those type dogs — but I’ve been involved with Labradors the past two years,” Cain said.
The business won’t board dogs — it’s not a “pet resort,” he said — but would breed a couple of litters of Labradors a year that would be trained on the property and sold to bird hunters.
Dogs would be trained to be familiar with gunfire using .22-caliber pistols firing blanks, which are about as loud as a .22 short round, Cain told the Planning Commission.
The dogs are also being trained to not bark. They’ll wear electronic bark collars that will give the dogs a small shock — enough to be irritating but not painful — to discourage the behavior.
“You wouldn’t want a dog in your blind barking, so we train them not to bark,” Cain said.
But the pride of bird dog trainers is in a dog’s steadiness, its ability to ignore distraction amid the rustling of hunters, gunfire and the flight and call of birds to follow directions.
“Hunting is just natural for them. It’s just obedience. Training and the steadiness of the dog (matters). The retrieve is in their blood,” Cain said, noting that Labrador puppies will retrieve with little to no instruction.
He’s opted for Irish and British varieties because of their intelligence, he said.
Dogs would be born on the property and then sent as puppies to their new owners. They would be pets as well as working dogs, Cain noted, and growing up in their new home gets them used to the owner.
When the dog is old enough, they would be sent back to Duck Eye Kennel for their hunting training.