by: Richard A. Wolters

From the producers of “Water Dog,” “Gun Dog,” & “Family Dog,” comes a simple & time proven training technique that transforms your dog into an advanced hunting retriever using the electric collar. Features master trainer Tony Hartnett. Step-by-step, detailed instructions. DVD, 85 min.

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The newest 85 min DVD from Joseph Middleton and MasterMind Entertainment, Inc., featuring master trainer Tony Hartnett.

“Top Dog” establishes a new plateau for training advanced water and field retrievers. Showing the proven and safest way to use today’s electronic collar, this video takes retriever training to new heights with master trainer Tony Hartnett. This is the first video that shows you in graphic detail how to properly use today’s electronic collar.

Chuck Petrie, Executive Editor of Ducks Unlimited Magazine exclaims,”‘Top Dog’ is the best video I’ve seen on the proper use of the electronic collars!” It will show you how your dog can acheive 350 yard precision blind retrievers maintaing a straight line littered with obstacles, cross winds and slopped banks. With “Top Dog”, your retriever can accomplish difficult multiple mark retrieves. This top quality, exciting video begins where “Water Dog” left off! Using our proven methods, you can have the ultimate weapon in hunt trials, field trials and in the duck blind. “Top Dog” is a must for every serious retriever lover.

“‘Top Dog’ is an easy to follow guide for the do-it-yourself retriever trainer. It’s also the best video I’ve ever seen on the proper use of electronic collars. This sequel biulds on training techinques espoused in ‘Water Dog’ and ‘Game Dog,’ instructing the trainer how to strengthen a retriever’s lessons learned from those videos with reinforcement training using electronic stimulation. Correctly applied, these lessons will, as the video claims, elevate the well-traind retriever to the status of top dog!!” –Chuck Petrie, Executive Editor of Ducks Unlimited Magazine

“A video Intro to E-Collar Training. This latest Mastermind production expands on the video library of dog training instruction using the methods of Richard A. Wolters. As the next step in a dog’s continuing education, ‘Top Dog’ picks up where the basic commands of “sit,” “heel,” and “here” left off in ‘Water Dog’ and ‘Gun Dog.’

The entire series provides time-tested tips to help make the dog owned by a 9 to 5 regular Joe a capable, working animal without the expense of a year’s boarding. ‘Top Dog’ teaches its lessons with the use of an aid many novices are afraid of the electric collar. Professional trainer Tony Hartnett provides the how, when, where an why of e-collar reinforcement, reinforcement being the keyword. Hartnett repeatedly points out the e-collar is a reinforcement to commands the dog already has been trained to do. It is not punishment and it isn’t effective unless the dog already knows what’s expected of him. Through reinforcement of the e-collar, Hartnett demonstrates advanced force-fetching and the commands of “back,” the remote “sit,” and over and angled-back directionals.

This tape does admit that there’s pain involved in such training. But it’s also clear that minimal stimulation is used to get the job done – no yelping, writhing dogs as so many fear.

It’s easy for viewers to see how the building blocks of good training stack up to produce a biddable and happy working animal. And in case you’re wondering what a finished dog should be, the long water-blind in the opening footage is the perfect example of what quality training can do to make your dog a Top Dog.”
–Jennifer L.S. Pearsall The American Hunter Magazine, September, 2000

Richard A. Wolters
, more than anyone else, is the man who preserved the traditions of dog training. And, in his unique way, he raised the sport of upland and waterfowl hunting to new levels of popularity. In times when we are rapidly losing our heritage and traditions, Richard A. Wolters has helped us to keep one of our long time treasures, having the well mannered Family and Sporting Dog in our homes and for our favorite activities and pastimes.

In doing this, Richard touched a lot of people through their mutual passion; their dogs. He accomplished this by studying animal behaviorists by working with his own dogs. After many refinements, he felt satisfied with his techniques for training retrievers for the average hunter. At that time, over thirty years ago, Richard wrote the revolutionary book, Water Dog. This book has become the “bible” of the average hunter, which shows him how to quickly turn his dog into a skilled retriever. And, Water Dog is still the standard from which retrievers are trained.

Richard wrote many other books based on the same, proven training methods. He also demonstrated his techniques over the years in this country and throughout Europe. He became a symbol representing the serious, dedicated dog trainer. Manufacturers of sporting products courted him to promote their wares, names such as Orvis, Iams, Beretta, Trebark and Barbour, to name a few. Richard would spend hours talking to a dog owner who had read his books but was having trouble mastering one training area. He loved the whole sport and was loved back.

To further preserve the hunting retriever, Richard Wolters founded the North American Hunting Retriever Association, NAHRA, This is a national organization that tracks and certifies the ancestry of its registered dogs. Now, the hunter knows when he is buying a puppy that has built in hunting instincts. NAHRA is a very active and expanding organization to this day. Thanks to Richard, it helps us preserve our past and keep it with us.

For the family dog, Richard banished the old wives’ tale that you could not train a dog until he is one year old and that you should leave your dog to live in a doghouse in the back yard. The 1963 classic book, “Family Dog”, was a turning point that made the dog a well-behaved member of the household.

In 1961, Richard wrote his first training book, Gun Dog for pointing dogs and it continues to sell more copies every year. Mr. Wolters wrote his last training book in 1985 entitled Game Dog. It is for both upland and water fowl hunting. Game Dog, like his other books, has become a classic. Since then, Richard lived a full life promoting his passion, the well trained dog and his/her place in our society and in our homes and lives. In October 1993, Richard unfortunately had heart failure and passed on, leaving many of his friends in grief and also in anger because he left us so early.

However, to perpetuate his spirit and his teachings and continue to preserve our traditions, Olive Wolters, his widow, and Joseph Middleton, his longtime friend, have made the video versions of Game Dog, Gun Dog, Water Dog and Family Dog. These one-hour, top quality videos are step by step guides to rapidly transform a seven-week-old puppy into a well-trained and loving animal.

Richard Wolters’ books have sold over one million copies over the past thirty-seven years and have helped millions of dog lovers train their dogs. His books continue to sell more every year. They are passed down through generations of family and friends. His legacy lives on through his classic books and now through his easy-to-follow videos.

We owe Richard Wolters a great debt of gratitude because he has not only attained the very rare achievement of continuing his dreams after his death but he has allowed us to preserve our valued traditions and heritage and carry them into our future.

The death of friend and client unexpectedly gave birth to Joseph Middleton’s new career.

Today, Middleton is carrying on the legacy of the late Richard A. Wolters, the author of a series of best-selling books on how to train dogs. The Washington Post had hailed him as “the guru of American trainers.” His books have sold hundreds of thousands of copies since the first, “Gun Dog,” was published in 1961.

Middleton has translated Wolters’ dog-training techniques into a new medium: video. The company he and his wife Leslie formed with Wolters’ widow, Olive Wolters, released the first of its instructional videos in December 1994 and rang up more than $200,000 in sales last year. Middleton, a financial consultant, became a video mogul after being name co-executor of Wolters’ estate. That was in the fall of 1993, when Wolters died of a heart attack – at the age of 72 – while flying solo in an ultralight aircraft.

Middleton, who had developed a father-son relationship with Wolters after managing his investments for years, discovered that Wolters had never sold the video rights to books such as “Water Dog,” “Gun Dog,” “Game Dog,” and “Family Dog.” That got the undivided attention of the 50-year-old Middleton, who had enjoyed success with a six-year career in the film industry before he switched gears and began a career on Wall Street.

He edited, wrote and/or produced a handful of films in his film days, including writing the story for “Just Before Dawn,” a 1981 flick starring George Kennedy.

That experience was disillusioning. “They basically … watered down the villain and destroyed the story, I thought,” Middleton said.

So, in 1981, Middleton, a Georgia native with a business degree from Georgia Tech, signed on at Merrill Lynch in New York, where he was trained as a financial consultant managing assets for clients. Within six years, Middleton was managing more than $50 million in assets.

“It didn’t have the passion of the movie business, but it had the stability,” Middleton said. “And I saw the rewards of helping people out, which I didn’t get in the movie business.”

In the back of his mind, he toyed with the idea of getting back into the movie business, but never got around to it instead, in 1990, when he and his wife, Leslie, grew weary of New York, he joined PaineWebber in Raleigh.

One of the clients whose portfolio he took with him from the Big Apple to North Carolina was Wolters. “He sort of adopted me,” Middleton said. “We became friends.”

Still, Middleton didn’t know Wolters had named him co-executor of his estate until after Wolters died.

“It was very flattering that he trusted me that much,” Middleton said. “Usually, that goes strictly to family members.”

When Middleton discovered that the estate owned the video rights to all of Wolters’ books, he persuaded Wolters’ widow to join him in forming Mid-Carolina Media Inc. Middleton is president, Olive Wolters is vice president and Leslie Middleton is secretary/treasury. On a day-to-day basis, Leslie Middleton “basically runs the company,” said Middleton, who has remained a financial consultant and moonlights at Mid-Carolina Media.

Olive Wolters said that when Middleton approached her about forming the company, she concluded that, “yes, I think my husband would like this. It would spread the message that he tried to say with his books.”

As far as the project’s money making potential, Olive Wolters “looked at it as a possibility, not a sure thing…. But if Joseph was interested in going into business, that was fine.”

Middleton and Olive Wolters each invested $25,000 to produce the first video, “Game Dog.”

“Believe it or not” $50,000 is the amount usually spent on a video like this,” Middleton said. “My creative juices started flowing and I wanted to do it the right way.”

Drawing on his film background, Middleton – who is a dog lover but isn’t a hunter – commissioned a screenplay and hired a production crew to tape the video on the St. James Plantation outside Richmond in October 1994. Middleton produced and marketed it over the next six months.

One problem Middleton faced was not being able to feature Wolters himself, a well-known personality in the hunting world, in the videos. But Middleton got around that obstacle by recruiting a dog trainer, rather than a professional actor, to appear in the videos.

After interviewing several prospects, Middleton chose trainer Charlie Jurney, from Charlotte, N.C. and a Wolters disciple.

“Game Dog” was released just before Christmas 1994, and garnered excelent reviews. Sales of the first video, mostly via direct mail and catalogs, were strong enough to justify making a second video, “Gun Dog,” which was released in October – and which Middleton and Olive Wolters both think is significantly better than the first.

Since then, “Water Dog”, “Family Dog”and “Top Dog”, which was completed in December of 1999, have been produced and have become popular and highly acclaimed videos. The Middletons have guided these videos to become far and away the best selling videos of their kind in three years. They occupy a unique niche of successful producers, marketers and distributors of dog training videos.

Their videos are now reviewed in the major magazines and newspapers across the country. Many dog breeders, professional dog trainers and veterinarians are recommending their videos, which are based upon time proven techniques. Humane Societies and animal shelters are promoting these tapes to help slow the numbers of untrained dogs being deposited there because their owners did not know how to train them. And with “Top Dog”, dog owners can take their canines to advanced levels of training even easier with the proper use of the electronic collar.

Joseph & Leslie Middleton are convinced that, with the dog’s popularity on the rise and the American public’s growing acceptance of instructional videos, this is just the beginning. They envision their videos being perennial best sellers – just like Richard’s books.

Mid Carolina Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved


ISBN: 0-MCM-00095-0
Publish Date: 01-15-2003


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