Hunting has been a way of life for me since I was a young boy.
My dad had a Springer Spaniel and Golden Retriever for pheasant hunting. I witnessed many successful hunts that my dad and his friends had. This is when I became intrigued with hunting dogs. As a teenager, I purchased a dog for retrieving ducks in the river. I bought a book and had a mentor that was very experienced in the Retriever trials. Once my Lab passed on, I thought I would take a break from dogs.
That lasted 3 months. In 1995, my wife and I decided that it was time for another dog. Our neighbor introduced us to the English Cocker Spaniels. We checked out the litter, and instantly fell in love with Buster. He fit right in with our family and young children. I had fun training Buster to hunt upland game. He was a quick learner. I went to a hunt test when he was 6 months old and passed the Jr. Hunter both days. I had the opportunity to go watch a field trial in the area. To my surprise, as I watched the dogs perform, I realized that my Buster could do everything that the trial dogs were doing, except he was not steady. It took some time and learning how to keep a Spaniel steady! Once I was confident that Buster had the skills to participate in a field trial, I went to my first trial in Minnesota. We got to the 3rd series on the second day! Not bad for 2 rookies!
Later that year, we received our first placement ever! I was thrilled and so proud of what we had accomplished together!! It took another trial season, but I finished Buster and received a Field Champion on him, and finished 3rd in high points that year. I bought a 2nd Cocker named Chara and did the same thing with her! I bred Buster and Chara and had a litter of puppies and kept a female, Hanna. It did not take long before she was winning trials and I put a Field Champion on her. I bred her and kept 2 of her puppies, Timo and Nikki. They are both competing in trials and Timo just recently won his 2nd trial and is now a Field Champion! Timo and Nikki turned out to be such good dogs, that I did a repeat breeding with Hanna and kept another puppy, Sally. She will make her debut this Fall of 2012. Nikki just had a litter of pups and we kept yet another female, Bunzee. She is a liver and white just like my very first Cocker, Buster. I can only hope that she is as good as he was!
I am very passionate about Field Bred English Cocker Spaniels and love training them for hunting, field trials and hunt tests. I use old school traditional methods, positive reinforcement, along with firm correction but in a fair and consistent manner.