“We decided a number of years ago to assist individuals, like Dave Bale, who desire to get into the dog training business by offering a full-service apprenticeship program. Not many make it through the three-month apprenticeship as the days are long and the daily work can be very physical. The very hot and humid weather of the south poses its own set of challenges.

We learned two things about Dave very quickly: the first was his interest in learning, and the second was his strong work ethic. As a former college coach and human performance professor, we observed that his ability to develop a critical eye of a dog’s behavior was natural for him. His questions demonstrated an advanced understanding of our training. As a result, we were able to move Dave into the drills and with small tweaks here and there he was quickly becoming a trainer. He did not back down from any task, assigned or not.

We had three seminars on our home site while he was here and he treated each client and their dogs with the utmost respect. You could tell he was a “teacher” in how he helped the owners learn the training techniques and what to look for in their dog’s behavior or actions.

Dave and I talked on numerous occasions about the similarities between training dogs and coaching college athletes. Because of his background, I assigned him a dog we were going to send home early and asked Dave to help it become more obedient and retrieve in two weeks. The owners, Susanna, and I were very impressed with how the dog performed in both areas. He took on the task in only his 5th week and figured it out with little direction from us.

Dave assisted me with a seminar in Stayton, Oregon, and the attendees were very receptive to his assistance and attentive when he interjected comments during the teaching. In fact, two of the attendees asked him to train their puppies that fall.

Susanna and I strongly support Dave Bale as an upland dog trainer and have certified him as a Huntsmith trainer. Please feel free to contact us should you have any questions.”

Ronnie Smith

Dave was a joy to work with. I had no experience with bird hunting, much less bird dog training, yet his training regimen prepared both me and my dog for the upcoming season, allowing me to hunt independently with success as soon as we completed the program.

He was consistent and flexible with my dogs needs and temperament while providing a gradual, proven training method to prepare my dog for hunting both alone as well as with others. My busy schedule at home/work didn’t allow for much in-home training yet his regimen alone fully prepared us for the first season.

During the first season, my dog needed almost no correction as Dave had trained her so well, it went exactly as I imagined hunting over a pointer would be: effortless, fun adventure, finding birds and knocking them down. The team work, obedience, and bird manners were amazing and I owe all of it to Dave’s great program and training. He is a top-notch professional.

To better understand the methodology during the training program, I highly recommend you buy Ronnie Smith’s “Training Bird Dogs” as that helps you get on the same page as Dave and your dog. This at-home, read-along was very helpful as a new hunter/handler. As a novice, I would have made many mistakes despite Ronnie’s great book, but Dave’s implementation will have you 100% hunt-ready by opening day and between the book and Dave, all your questions will be answered.

As a bonus, my kids really enjoyed some of the obedience and yard work Dave took my dog through, actively participating in my dogs training and obedience that, of course, transferred to her family-dog behaviors. Dave was a pleasure to work with and if you want to spend years hunting over a dog with great bird manners, look no further as you won’t find better value for training and preparing your gun dog.


bird dog on point
bird dog on point

I’ve been working with Dave for the past two seasons with my two English pointers. The overall experience and outcome has been fantastic. I’ve learned so much working with Dave and I love his approach to both training and teaching (dogs and humans!). What has made the experience with Side by Side Upland Dog Training truly special is both Dave and Shelia are amazing human beings.

Having tried the “traditional” approach of handing your dog to a pro trainer for 2-3 months I can say without hesitation that Dave’s approach of working with you every step of the way is far superior. While my dogs are still young and developing they both handle better than any dogs I’ve had in my 30+ years of upland hunting and are very well mannered at home. Both dogs have now had success finding wild chukar, huns, sharptails, blue grouse, pheasant and three species of quail.

Thank you Side by Side Upland Dog Training!

Mark V.

My husband and I are fairly new to upland bird hunting but have always hunted ducks and geese. We always dreamed of having an upland bird dog but never thought it would be a reality because of the cost, time,and effort that goes into it. Dave made our dream a reality! We had a sit down and discussed our concerns and desired outcome and Dave far exceeded any possible expectations. I never felt foolish asking certain questions because Dave is a true teacher at heart. His experience as an educator really shines as I’ve seen him work with men, women, children, and dogs. He really caters to his audience and is so personable and respectful of his clients and their dogs.

When we first met Dave, we asked him to train us to train our dog, and that is exactly what he did. He taught us so much about dogs, birds, hunting, and life in general. We have all the tools to feel confident moving forward with our new 4 legged hunting companion. We feel so blessed to have worked with Dave, Sheila, and all the wonderful people and dogs with Side by Side Upland Dog Training. We cannot thank you enough and we look forward to working with you again in the future!

Cole, Stacey, and Kimber


We would highly recommend Dave with Side by Side Upland Dog Training. We loved the fact that he was local which meant we could train with our dog Blaze and have him home at night. We never had any conflicts with training times/dates as Dave worked around our schedule and during the winter months when daylight was shorter we could drop off for the day.
The daily bird contact we felt was beneficial for Blaze and when our GSP had a minor setback Dave consulted Ronnie Smith, his mentor from OK, on how best to handle the issue. Dave set up a plan, worked with our dog for several weeks on basics before reintroducing him to the birds. You could tell Dave has a background as an educator and coach as he viewed each dog as it’s own and understood that sometimes even the best athletes have, “not so great days.”

Jim & Kristen Culpepper

Fall 2018 / Winter 2019

Dave trained our new GSP pup Whizzbang over the Fall and Winter of 2018-2019 and I must recommend Dave very highly if you are looking for a hunting companion.

His knowledge of both the needs and behavior of the Hunter and The Dog (both need attention) are exceptional.

It has been over a month now since Whizz graduated and he still asks to go to Dave’s each morning.

Dave not only trained Whizz but he also trained me and advanced my knowledge of hunting and expanded my patience with Whizz.
I am very impressed with the variety of training ground Dave has access to and the flexibility to deliver Whizz after training was a bonus that made this effort just that much easier.

Pam and I very much appreciate Dave and Shelia working with Whizz, and me, and letting us be a part of their extended family.

Jay & Pam Hansen

Fall 2018 / Winter 2019

“Dave Bale is a master at applying The Silent Command System. He has built a wealth of knowledge on training dogs having trained and owned accomplished hunting dogs and through the investment, he has made in becoming a certified trainer with Ronnie Smith. Dave’s career as a successful basketball coach marries exceptionally well with his dog training skills to make him a top trainer. I highly recommend Dave to anyone interested in helping make their dog a better hunter and companion, from a pup just learning the ropes to experienced hunting dogs. He can bring out the best in your dog.”

Doug Vaday

It has been long in coming but I wanted to say how pleased I have been to have found Dave to help me train my lab, Gillie. I have been very impressed with the training regimen and the goals we have worked on for my dog. Dave’s patience and attention to my specific needs and intended style of hunting have been very welcome. As someone who needs to work to pay the mortgage, it has been very beneficial to have a flexible training schedule to meet my training needs. I think with most hunters their dog is a family dog as well so the fact that the dog gets to stay at home is a big plus and aids in the socialization of the dog. Dave’s training methods are simple and straight forward so even I can replicate them in my personal training sessions. I think it is important to highlight how valuable it is to have my dog trained on birds during every session. My dog loves to go to training with Dave and I couldn’t be happier with the results. I have to admit that sometimes I am a little jealous of the relationship he has with my dog. She is always happy to see him and looks forward to training sessions. Dave has done a wonderful job building his business and yet has maintained the personal level of attention that most hunter/dog relationships require to meet their desired goals. If his other clients have half the experience that my dog and I have had working with Dave, then I think they would be very happy.

Thank you, Dave, for your abilities and vision to help in shaping my hunter/dog relationship for many successful hunting trips to come!

Michael Morrison

“I met Dave Bale in the spring of 2016 just after Ruby, my Black Lab puppy, arrived. As a local business owner, I knew finding consistent time to personally train Ruby would be difficult. I also was not interested in sending her away for one to three months of training. The benefits I have found in working with Dave include the following:

  • He works with my schedule.
  • Ruby is home every evening.
  • Dave helps with transportation, if needed.
  • I can train with Dave and Ruby as often as I’m able.
  • Daily bird contact is part of the training.

Dave’s teaching skills are evident in how he handles the dogs and instructs me as an owner in the training system. He finished training Ruby in 2016, but I have continued her weekly training sessions to keep her fit and on top of her game.

I am glad I checked Dave out two years ago and highly recommend his services to those who want to have a highly skilled hunting companion.”

Cory Redding

“Dave is an outstanding bird dog trainer and a pleasure to work with.  I highly recommend Dave, especially for those wishing to be closely involved with their dog’s training (and who enjoy being trained along with their dog!).”

Steve Knudsen

We brought two young GSPs to Dave for Foundation through Advanced training; it was a fun, educational and intense season! Coming from Portland several times per week was a significant commitment, but being able to train and participate with Dave and our dogs was invaluable. As a former basketball coach, Dave was truly patient and consistent, tailoring the training to each of our dog’s skill, hunting style and personality. We look forward to joining him again on alumni days!

Danielle Nelson & Joe Tucker

Sinjin and Ingo

MacKenna pointing

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Being completely new to upland birds, and to hunting, finding Dave genuinely changed our lives. Dave trained our pup Ghillie, but he also trained us. Sometimes, when he’d give us clear, gentle cues in the field, we’d know we were being trained. Other times, I’d look back after a month and realize Dave had been inching me along toward a goal without me even realizing it. After a few months of spending 3-4 hours per week with Dave, I looked up and we were suddenly hunters. It was remarkable to witness the changes in our pup and in ourselves.

Our pup Ghillie went from a rambunctious pup with infinite energy to a driven hunter with a strong understanding of her role and our expectations of her both in and out of the field. I would hope that any upland dog trainer we considered could have gotten her there. But me—no other dog trainer could have gotten me there. I went from a woman who had always wanted to hunt to a person who is confident and comfortable going out to the woods alone with only my dog, my shotgun, and my trusty Garmin for company. In just a single summer. It seemed so impossible, but Dave made that for me. If we had sent Ghillie away to one of those other trainers, we’d have wound up with a pup we didn’t know what to do with—not to mention all of the snuggles we’d have missed out on! He taught all three of us, and there is no replacement for that.

We started off with a consultation when Ghillie was born. Dave gave us guidance about what to do (and what not to do) from the moment she came home to the moment our training began. He told us to call him at any time with any question, big or small. We banged on pots while she ate, played hide and seek with a frozen bird Dave gave us, and taught her to sit even though Dave told us it would make life harder later (sorry, Dave!!!). When she was a bit older, Dave invited us down to his property to give Ghillie some time with live birds and answer more of our many questions. All of this was offered on his own time. Within hours of knowing him, he became our hunting mentor and someone we both look up to immensely.

When we started our 60 official days of training, we were all clueless about how to hunt. If you work with Dave, which you absolutely should, ask him about our first day with Ghillie on the Wonder Lead sometime. To say it was a rough first day of training is putting it very lightly. He later told me he thought I wouldn’t be back after that first day. But we did come back, day after day, and I could not be more grateful we did. Dave adapted to everything Ghillie threw at him with ease, all while teaching us and supporting us and caring about us as full people. He was flexible with scheduling, communicative, committed, reliable, and kind.

Dave, thank you for everything you have done for us and our pup. There aren’t words sufficient to describe our gratitude. We are so grateful and so lucky to have you in our lives.

With love,

MacKenna, Julius, and Ghillie

“When my wife and I first contacted Dave Bale to ask about training our German Shorthaired Pointer it was a last ditch effort to save our dream of having an upland game hunting dog. We are so thankful we reached out to Dave. Not only did he help turn our dog from a pet/couch potato into a hunting dog, he also taught my wife and me how to be successful hunting dog owners.

Before taking any payment from us, Dave set up a meeting to see if our dog Abby was hunting material. After working a bit with Abby, Dave then sat us down to go over his program. He spoke in a straight forward manner about what it would take to make Abby a hunting dog. We decided to move forward with the program, and have never regretted it.

Dave was so patient with Abby and us in the training process. Abby quickly developed from a dog that wouldn’t even get into the dog box, to pointing and backing other dog’s points. The obedience training along with daily bird contact was the perfect combination. My wife and I also learned so much from Dave, which was one of the best aspects of his training program. Abby loved coming to see Dave, which made everything so fun.

It was definitely a commitment attending 60 training sessions, but Dave was always willing to work with our schedules and communicated each week or even daily on best times to come.

We would highly recommend Dave to anyone interested in making the most out of their hunting dog.”

Scott and Kathy Rainey (2021)

Abby pointing with Keoni honoring

“Dave was recommended to me by a NAVDHA member and two years ago I called him explaining that I did not want my dog to be trained but rather be taught how to train a dog for upland. Without missing a beat or judging my journey up to that point, Dave welcomed my dog and I into his camp within the hour of that conversation.

My dog showed no signs of being able to perform as a gun dog, in fact the first evaluation day she didn’t smell or indicate one bird that he had planted. I went home defeated and frustrated but Dave said he believed if I gave him 5 days we could get her interested. After that 5 days she was a bird maniac and now I am hunting behind a dog that points, honors and retrieves bird to hand.

As an aspiring dog trainer I learned one key trait from Dave that I had not seen up to that point in working with other trainers, unbounded patience. Dave taught me countless things and still does each day I’m out working with him but he shows and teaches patience with each dog no matter the amount of difficulty in that present circumstance.

Without a doubt I recommend Side by Side Upland for your upland dog training. I have the utmost confidence in this program and the dogs that go through it. There is no operation I have found in my dog training endeavors that operate at this level of consistency and efficiency.”

Jeremy Shearer

“When Jesse said he wanted to put our new puppy through upland bird dog training, I had the typical reservations. How expensive will it be? Will the new pup be gone for months at a time? Will we be able to keep up with the training/commands at home? etc etc. After our first meeting with Dave and Shelia, my concerns disappeared. I can unequivocally say that training with Dave at Side by Side Upland was worth every penny, and every minute of our time.

Dave worked with our schedule. We live 40 miles away, so he allowed me to drop Pearl, our 6 month-old Brittany, off before work in the morning and pick her up in the afternoon. He would give me a full report at the end of the day, including things to work on at home. When Jesse had evenings or weekends off he would go down to Salem and learn how to work with Pearl in the field. By being so accommodating, Dave finished Pearl’s training (sessions 2, 3 & 4) in just over 14 weeks. When she started regressing around week 10/11, Dave stayed consistent and diligently eliminated variables to see what the issue was. He understands that every dog is different, and by taking the time to understand Pearl’s individual situation, he was able to correct her problem in just a few weeks, while still exposing her to birds every single session. Added bonus: she would get obedience training when the weather was bad. I’ve always loved my dog, but Dave made me actually like her.

If you are on the fence about calling Dave, please allow me to burn that fence down for you. Call him. You (and your dog) will be glad you did.”

Thanks again!

Rachel, Jesse & Pearl

I have hunted upland game birds for years with a flusher and I always seemed to follow friends who hunted with pointers. I knew my next dog was going to be a pointer. I began a search for the right dog and in February of 2017 I ended up with a Wirehair Pointing Griffon. I thought I would train her myself but after researching different methods, I came to realize that I did not have the know-how, the training apparatus, nor the time to properly train her. Quite frankly I had no idea where to start with her!

Dave Bale with Side X Side Training was referred to me by a mutual friend. Dave explained each stage of his training process in detail. At this point, I really began to understand my need for a professional to train my dog or else I would end up with a mediocre hunter, at best. We began the training shortly after meeting when she was 6 months old.

Hunting season started when my dog was only 8 months old and I took her. After each trip I followed up with training sessions, sharing with Dave any shortcomings she exhibited in real field experience. Dave would work on these while continuing forward with her training. By the end of her first season, Dave had trained an exceptional hunter, with discipline and control. He loves working with the dogs and it shows. My dog currently has graduated through three training levels and is working on the fourth.

One of the standout things about having Dave train my dog was his willingness to allow me to be present and participate during the session and he educated me on what he was doing each step of the way. I was allowed and encouraged to work with my dog as well. It was a real partnership.

Without Dave’s expertise, I really believe I would have a great pet and a mediocre hunter. I cannot recommend Dave highly enough to anyone who wants an exceptional training experience and an expert hunting dog.

Todd Gescher

“There were a couple of things that were really important to me and my wife when we were looking for a trainer for our Pointer pup, Red Bean. The first was my wife and I were not going to like having her gone for three months, so having Dave in the area was a major factor in our decision. The second was being able to be walking and learning along with the dog every day. This allowed the transfer to be as seamless as it could be. Dave’s adjustable scheduling made it really easy for a business owner like myself to fit Red Bean’s training days and times into my schedule. The four places Dave was using during our training kept Red Bean “hunting” rather than remembering where the birds were placed.

Another aspect of Side by Side Upland Dog Training was the Alumni event Dave puts on for dogs who have graduated from the program. You would manage/hunt your dog with 2 or 3 other owners. Dave was there to answer questions and I know it was very beneficial for both my dog and me.”

Ken Van Horn

I am very pleased that my Brittany pup and I found Dave Bale, and decided that we both needed to be trained. I wasn’t sure if my dog had what it took to develop into a hunter, or myself either, but found out we did!

Dave is very knowledgeable and patient and I highly recommend him for training. You won’t have any regrets!

Gene Baty

Gene and Bingo

“I am very pleased with the quality of training and service provided by Dave. He was very knowledgeable when it came to training my dog and I was really happy with the end result. On top of being a professional in the field Dave was incredibly flexible in working with me. I own a small construction business in town which makes it tough for me to find time. Dave was always willing to work with me and went above and beyond to accommodate my busy schedule. He never had a problem with other family members dropping off the dog and built great relationships with all of us. I would highly recommend Side by Side Upland Dog Training to anyone looking for a true professional and great person overall.”

Edward Shokha