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Kevin Cheff, The Retriever Coach

People who know me have come to expect in-depth knowledge, great communication skills, an abundance of patience and a passion for teaching.


I've spent 27+ years in the field training retrievers and handlers, both professionally and as an amateur for field trials and hunt tests. I've put Hunting Retriever Champion titles, Field Champion titles and National Retriever Champion titles on dogs. Still, one of my favorite places to be is in the duck blind with a great dog.


I believe that in order to train a retriever, you need to know more than just how to do it. You need to know why you're doing it. Only then will you know when to do what's required. Only then can you become a competent trainer. I know no greater joy than sharing those things with you through my teaching, whether it's one-on-one, at my workshops or in my online digital material.


Kevin was born in Toronto Canada, raised in Northern Ontario and now lives in St Petersburg, Florida. 

He got his first retriever in 1996, HRCH RK’s Benjamin Mackenzie QAA; and he immediately fell in love with the sport. Fortunate enough to have great mentors from the start, he learned the basics of retriever training and competed successfully in hunt tests and minor stakes in field trials.

In 1999 he met accomplished and respected professional field trial trainer Jamie Balesdent. Shortly after, Kevin went to work as Jamie’s assistant at Nilak Kennels where he completed his apprenticeship. In 2002 Kevin started his own training operation, Flint River Retrievers. His winters were spent in Boston, Georgia and summers in Iron Bridge, Ontario.

Kevin’s 27 years in the sport have led him to train some amazing retrievers. His resume includes having trained and or handled 6 Canadian National Champions, multiple US and Canadian National Finalists, plus many field champions and dogs that cumulatively have 1,000’s of all-age points. GRHRCH Dippomarsh Towing The Line; CNFC CNAFC FC AFC L&L’s Just A Gigolo; CNAFC FC CFC L&L’s Black Tie Affair; CNAFC AFC Limey’s Maksim Of Dogleg; CNFC The Wheeler Dealer; CNFC CAFC Flint River’s Fifty Shades Of Blue; FC AFC B Bumble; FC AFC 3R’s Mister Cross Your T’s; FC AFC CFC CAFC Justin Time Zoe’s Nine-One-One; FC AFC CFC Alexis Pursuit Of Perfection and FC AFC CFC Sally’s South Paw to name a few.

Kevin has always loved sharing his knowledge, experience & passion for retriever training. In 2015 he decided to refocus his career path from training retrievers to instructing people in the art and science of training and handling their own personal dogs. Teaching others is his gift. His superb ability to communicate, his patience, his knack for quickly reading a dog & handler make him the right person to be The Retriever Coach.

Thank you for trusting me to help you & your dog become the successful team you want to be. I’m truly looking forward to working with you.

Sincerely, Kevin