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Arkansas is home to people who have taken their opportunities, passions and interests and turned them into amazing stories of success. Chris Yielding is one example. He is what some might consider a “good ol’ boy” living the dream here in Arkansas surrounded by a loving family, living on a family farm and doing what he loves.
By day, Yielding fulfills his calling as a high school social studies teacher at Cabot High School. In the afternoon, he coaches the high school track and cross country teams.
But when he goes home, Yielding moves from one calling to another passionate venture: owner of Backwater Cypress Retrievers where he trains dogs to be excellent retrievers.
Here in Arkansas, duck hunting is a big deal. The state is host to The Wings Over the Prairie Festival, the largest outdoor expo in the Mid-South promoting the sport of duck hunting. This weeklong event draws in thousands of people for their love of the sport. To be a successful duck hunter, you must have a trusty retriever as your sidekick.
That’s where Yielding and his business can be of service.
Yielding has been training Labs for years. His love for dogs shines through with his instruction and in how the dogs perform under his guidance. The dogs that he trains learn obedience and a love for retrieving.
More than 20 years ago, Yielding trained his first personal dog for duck hunting on his grandpa’s 400-acre farm in Cabot. Charlies Yielding, “Pawpaw” to young Chris, was a dairy farmer.
Growing up, Chris Yielding lived a quarter-mile down the road from that farm where he spent countless hours as a kid romping around the property and shelling pecans with his grandparents.
Fast forward to the present.
Yielding has a piece of that farm and a claim to 180 acres where he grew up fishing, hunting and spending time with Pawpaw. He has been training dogs on the property for the past four years, using the dairy barn he converted into a professional dog kennel. The facility is complete with ceiling fans and everything needed for the business of training dogs.
He trains six days a week, building each session on the previous one as he works to build up the dogs’ skills. It is common for him to get up in the morning and start training at 4:15, before grabbing his whistle and heading off to school to teach and coach students.
When he comes home, Yielding grabs his children and heads back to the pond for more work with the canines in his charge.
The majority of the dogs he works with are Labs, but he has also successfully trained other breeds including Boykin brother spaniels, and poodle pointers.
Although he specifically works with dogs for retrieving, obedience training is naturally a part of that. His customers can choose to what level they want their dog taken: whether it be a started level with steadiness, singles and doubles, or finished level with long blinds and hand signals.
The majority of his customers prefer their animals to be trained to the started level, which means the animals has all the basic obedience training and can retrieve to hand.
Yielding wants to also make sure the dogs are proficient in blind work, whistle stops and hand signals before the dog is returned to the owner.
Dogs typically come to Yielding at five months old. To build trust, he starts them on fun retrieves. From that point, the animals work their way up into more technical training.
A dog takes approximately three to four months to make it successfully through the first phase. That seems like a long time to be away from your pet, but Yielding allows owners to visit.
The business has really grown by word of mouth from all his pleased customers. People from all over Arkansas seek him to professionally train their dogs.
This business isn’t just a one-man show. Yielding’s three children love to be involved and help him on retriever sessions at the pond. They also feed the animals during chow time.
The Yielding children are learning dedication, loyalty and hard work while training some of the best dogs in the state: all while having fun and spending time together.
Yielding has created the ultimate job for his situation where he has incorporated hunting, fishing, family and sports. This good ol’ Arkansas boy has certainly taken what he had to work with, blended his passions and interests and created an excellent opportunity.
Click Here to visit the Backwater Cypress Retrievers website.
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