Ruby made it to Texas for her 4 months of pro training. I struggled for quite a while with sending her at a younger age (4 months on Christmas) but I've read both sides of the argument and the trainer seemed to be very straightforward with why it's a great idea to start them young as well.
Matt Johnson (DuckWater Retreivers) is the trainer and he seems like a very solid choice. I got the reference from the boards here so thanks for that. He had a great year last year and from what I was able to gather has a great reputation in the business. It's not easy to leave your dog with a guy whom you barely know and then on top of that give him a big fat check and trust that he will do the job but I felt in my gut that he was the right choice and a man of his word. After meeting him in person it was obvious he loves what he does and is good at it.
I will plan a trip to Texas in a couple of months to work with him for a few days but most of our time together will be sometime in May when he brings her back. In the meantime I will talk to him about what I should/could be doing to prepare. Looking at joining a local club to help continue the training.
The timeline seems perfect. January - May in Texas, May - October MN continued training, October OPENER - dead ducks and happy retriever
Will update with pics and progress as we go along here....