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Faith to Grow On...

Here on the farm, it's easy to get caught up in lots of work. There's always something to do, some project to work on, and a task to check off the to-do list. But every evening, Shaun and I stop what we are doing, grab a cup of coffee, and sit in the rockers on the back porch. There are days this view just takes our breath away. The hills, the valley, the trees, the birds, the wildlife, the beautiful colors splashed across the sky as the sun sets, it's clear to see God's glory on display. 

We are a family of faith, believing in Jesus Christ as our Savior. We are every day people with a goal to glorify God in all we do. When we aren't on the farm with our dogs, serving with our brothers and sisters in Christ at Highland Hills Baptist Church, you can find us working on projects for Lifeword and our BMAA Missions Department. Want to know more? Check out these great organizations we support through our Baptist Missionary Association. 


I love writing and sharing stories, and Lifeword Ministries gave me a unique opportunity to be a blog writer for them. I was shocked and humbled, to say the least, that the Lord would want someone like me, a nobody, to share His name through my story. I've served as a Board Member with them as they make decisions about ministry efforts in the future, and now have joined their amazing team to make Jesus Christ's name known to the ends of the earth. If you are a hunter or fisherman, you might also enjoy a new show Shaun has been working on for social media. He shares his love for the outdoors and the Lord in a fun way on "Outdoors with Shaun Merrell". A new show comes out on the 1st and the 15th of every month.

We love what this organization is able to accomplish and choose to financially support this ministry with every litter born. We would love for you to learn more about this organization that uses multiple media outlets to share the gospel across the globe in more than 130 languages in 123 countries. Check out what Lifeword is doing and pray about financially supporting them as well.

Mission World TV

Mission World Magazine has been around for a long time, sharing with readers the struggles, stories, and praises from our missionaries throughout the world. In 2020, seeing the need for reaching people through new media outlets, Mission World TV was launched. We now produce a monthly show highlighting a missionary to share their story through social media. We'd love for you to check out the monthly videos. As you watch and read, let the Lord speak to your heart about supporting missions and those that are in the field, sharing the name and hope of Jesus Christ to a lost world.


Check out our blog of things that happen on the farm, daily life applications of the scriptures, and ways that we can all have faith to grow on. 

  • Yalanda Merrell

How do I get my puppy to listen to me? How do I get my puppy to walk on a lead without pulling me? I need help potty training my puppy!

If you've been asking these questions, I promise, you aren't alone! We are here to help!

Do you know about our Tailored to You training program? At Wildcat Hollow Retrievers, we have a couple of options to fit your timeline and needs. This unique program helps to make the transition from our house to yours a little easier. Through 6 or 10 weeks of training, puppies are introduced to a variety of experiences, environments and activities that are tailored to your lifestyle. They receive basic commands like sit, stay, down and hold, as well as learning their name and eye contact. Our puppies are also introduced to loud noises. Golden Retrievers especially can be timid if not introduced to loud noises at an early age.

Here are some noises that we work to introduce to our puppies through our training:

- vacuum - cats meowing - dogs barking

- door bell - city noises (cars honking) - airplanes/helicopters

- car or truck - construction - fireworks

- knocking - garbage disposal - gunshots

- babies crying - people talking - & MORE

Early introduction is key to getting your puppy desensitized to noises they might hear on a daily basis wherever you live. We also work on crate comfort. This is getting the puppy comfortable with the crate at night. They will begin to feel like this is their safe place and won't mind being in the crate when needed. Our goal is to minimize accidents in the crate at night by the time they come home to you. We also work on establishing the location for using the bathroom. We use one word commands like "Outside" or "Bathroom". As we work with the puppy throughout the training program, they are rewarded for doing their business in the proper place.

They won't be completely house broken, of course, because that takes them being familiar with the layout of your home. But they will catch on pretty quickly as you continue your routine and commands of the foundation that's already been laid. Before beginning the training, we will go through a questionnaire with you to determine several things, one of which is what your normal routine is like and then we do our best to mimic that routine.

This is just the tip of the iceberg with what we offer in our Tailored to You program. We'd love for you to read more about it. In an effort to give the best quality of attention to our training puppies, we do have limited spots available. We are booking spots for our upcoming Fall/Winter litters and our Spring litters as well.

With limited spots for this program, we understand that our puppy families may still be in need of training help at home. That's why we partner with Baxter & Bella. This organization offers tons of helpful videos and tips to help you with stopping bad habits, potty training, commands and more! They have one on one help and coaching groups as well. There is something for everyone. And you're one time fee guarantees you for a lifetime of access to their resources!

Because you've visited our site, we want to offer you a 25% discount for their services too. If you're interested in checking out more, follow this link and use the code WILDCAT.

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

You are getting up all hours of the night, every time you hear a whimper, and letting little Fido out of the crate to go to the bathroom. It's freezing cold, you're in your robe and slippers with one eye half open, and he's sniffing the ground looking for something interesting. After 15 minutes, and a great deal of coaxing from your aggravated and sleepy self, he returns with a stick, and never went to the bathroom.

When will this end??

It won't if you keep doing it his way. So, what's the alternative, you ask?

Here are some helpful tips to make sure You are the trainer and Fido is the student.

Tip #1 - Train the puppy on YOUR schedule, not the other way around.

When it's time for bed, Fido goes in his kennel, you go to bed. When it's time to get up in the morning, you let Fido out to the bathroom, using one word commands such as "bathroom" or "outside". When Fido does his business, reward him with positive words of affirmation and say those words again - outside and bathroom. He will start to make the proper associations.

As you start crate training, you are likely to have a few accidents in the kennel. That's ok, he's learning. Make extra time in the morning for cleaning the kennel, and the puppy if needed. Routines are important to establish early in training.

If he cries at night, as harsh as it may sound, let him cry. He will lay down eventually.

Tip #2 - Use a sound machine or radio

Your puppy wants your love and attention and if he hears people voices, he will want to be in the center of it. When you put them in the crate, turn on some noise for them to drown out anything else they might hear. This could be a radio or even a sound machine. This actually helps with neurological stimulation as well.

"You may need to put a crate in a quiet part of the house so he won’t be distracted by the hustle and bustle that may be going on during naptime." – AKC staff

Tip #3 - Timing is Everything

What time you feed and offer water to your puppy is very important. Just as important as what time you take it up. If you leave it out all the time, you'll see more accidents in the house as you try to potty train.

Let him eat and drink as much as he wants and when he walks away, take it up. Take him out to the bathroom soon after he eats. If you play throughout the day, he will want water, so make that available during your play time, just make sure to take him out afterwards. Feed early in the evening and take water up no later than 6:00 pm. Make sure he's had plenty of time to go to the bathroom before bed. This will help cut down on nighttime crate accidents.

Tip #4 - Treats count as food

Treats are a great option and our dogs love their TLC biscuits, but treats are calories and part of their daily intake. Don't be surprised if Fido needs to go to the bathroom during the day because he's been training with some treats. Many will use their food as treats and that's fine too as you train.

Tip #5 - Get help with training from Baxter & Bella

Sometimes training can feel a bit overwhelming. You've researched and researched and you've got so much, you aren't sure where to even begin. Baxter & Bella make it easy for you! This online puppy school has tons of How To videos, Step by Step lessons, printable charts and checklists and even one on one professional help! You can join an online coaching group to learn tips from others that are also starting out with a new puppy!

Interested? You can save 25% by using our code WILDCAT when you join! It's a one-time fee for a lifetime of access!

Make Training Fun!

Your puppy is learning just like you are. They can see, hear and feel your frustrations. Be patient and have fun with them! Even if they do chew up your favorite pair of shoes... that's a whole other training topic.

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  • Yalanda Merrell

Updated: Nov 18, 2021

Don't you just wish you could communicate with your furry friends sometimes? Of course, we can share all of the "I love you's" and "be a good boy while mommy is gone" but what would your dog say to you if he or she could?

Beautiful English Cream Golden Retriever, father to beautiful golden retriever puppies
Maverick - English Cream Golden Retriever

As I'm sitting here writing this, my English Cream Golden Retriever is literally sitting on my feet. I read recently it means they are taking ownership of you, they are claiming you as their owner. Good to know since I am the one who feeds him, takes him for long walks, endures his antics as he hunts for raisins (deer poop), picks the cockleburs out of his fur and lets him snuggle up in the bed with me after dad has gone to work. Golden Retrievers are definitely the best snuggle buddies.

But what else could he be saying? Those big puppy dog eyes looking back at me seem like they could hold some deep, mysterious thoughts. Or maybe they are just dreaming of the next biscuit from TLC or chasing a bird through the fall leaves.

There are some pretty clear indicators of simple things our dogs are trying to tell us. My English labradors and golden retrievers typically have a "tail-tail" sign of when they need to go to the bathroom, when they want their dinner, or begging you for a piece of that fried chicken on a Sunday afternoon.

Here's a great article from the Canine Journal with a guide to your dog's body language! I found several of these things super helpful in explaining a few things about my English Labs and English Cream Golden Retriever's behavior.

Ultimately, you should know that if your dog could talk, he/she would probably tell you how much they love you, how they think you're wonderful, and they are here for you any time you need them. That's why they call them "man's best friend", right? No matter what happens, your dog is always there to hold when you need to cry, to offer up a listening ear with no judgment and loves you unconditionally.

There is only one other that offers such love, but on an even deeper level - Jesus Christ. The offer to come to Jesus is always open. His arms are stretched wide and waiting to welcome you in, just as you are. Many people get it confused and think they have to clean up their messy lives before they can come to Jesus, but He is the one that does the cleaning up. Anything we do in and of ourselves just stays messy. Only through His redemptive worked can we be made new. Check out 2 Corinthians 5:17.

So, while you're pondering about what's going through the mind of that dog of yours, take a second to think about what God says about you. As much love as you have for your beloved Labrador retriever puppy, don't you think our Heavenly Father has more for you?

English Labrador retriever Puppy for sale from Wildcat Hollow Retrievers, Champion Pedigree
Boys in Bow Ties - English lab puppy

Perhaps we should be contemplating what the Lord wants to tell us. Open up the Word today and discover what God wants to share with you.

Click here to download the Bible app:

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