Dedicated to Training Field Trial Champion Spaniels and Handlers
Our mission at Coldwater Gun Dogs is to produce and train top quality gentlemen's shooting dogs. We put a focus on coaching amateur Spaniel field trial competitors to help them achieve their goals. Over a lifetime we have developed our training methods to bring the best out of Spaniels and handlers for field trials. We produce dogs that have the genetics to be successful in the field trial and hunting environment, with off switches that make them a pleasure to live with. All dogs in our breeding program have all the prerequisite tests for health to ensure they are sound in the field and home for years of companionship pleasure.
I have been active in running dogs competitively for over 30 years. At Coldwater, we have had numerous dogs place in National Championships. Dogs I have trained and handled have won 4 National Championships (3 Canadian National Opens and 1 US National Amateur). Dogs trained and ran at Coldwater have won the prestigious High Point Field Trial Award 7 times and the North American High Point Dog Award twice. We have trained and handled one dog that has won the North American High Point Cocker Award. Over the years, I’ve been active as a judge, donating time to judge over 100 field trials. It has been an honor to have been elected to judge 5 Nationals in Canada and the United States.
Today, we focus on the Amateur competitor and develop their ability to train and handle Spaniels at the national level. Our progression-based training methodology has been developed over the years to facilitate the end goal of developing a better dog and a better handler. By providing support to our clients in the form of coaching, we help them to achieve their goals. My background in adult education and the use of technology for at-distance support of educational programs made this aspect of our services a natural fit.
I began my interest in dogs and field trials with Labradors, a pursuit that I continue with our own dogs on a limited basis. The training of field trial Labradors is a highly demanding discipline and I gain a great deal of personal pleasure and training insight in pursuing it.
I have a waterfowl outfitters license in Saskatchewan, the province of my birth, and own an outfitting operation in the Saskatoon area. I am an avid hunter and fully believe in the joy of taking a well-trained dog to the field for a day’s hunt.
Spaniel Training Program
Over the years, we have developed a program for training Spaniels that allows us to maximize the abilities of each dog. We take a conceptual approach to training. In short, we look at each element of the skills a dog needs and use drills and concepts to ensure we develop and strengthen those skills along a progression path to a finished field trial dog. We adjust the progression path for each dog to develop the necessary skills rather than staying married to one path or method. Spaniels are an eclectic group of temperaments. The strength of our program is our experience, skills and abilities to recognize inflection points in training so that we can make adjustments to the program according to the needs of the individual dog.
Spaniel Handler/Trainer Coaching Program
Training the trainer is just as important as training the dog. We extend every effort to all our clients to train them to understand and participate in the training of their dog. We provide time and effort to develop people as trainers and handlers. We offer some services on a remote basis as coaches to support individuals interested in training and handling their dog. This program is designed as a coaching program.
From mid-April to November, we live and train dogs at our shooting preserve located outside of Woodstock, Ontario. We then head to our kennel and facilities in Kansas so we can continue development of dogs in the best environment year-round. The grounds we own and have access to are developed for the training of hunting dogs. We have fields planted with mixed cover suitable for flushing dogs and retriever work. They are surveyed and managed for control of mean seeds. In Ontario, we have a technical pond for young dog development. Both locations have an ample supply of birds and our own bird pens. We have invested in ensuring that dogs at Coldwater are housed in comfortable, clean kennels with proper feeding and care.
We are a small kennel, dedicated to the quality production of Spaniels and Labradors. Our Spaniel breeding program has resulted in the breeding of Field Trial Champions and one National Field Trial Champion. FTCH AFTCH Belwind Willie, one of our stud dogs, won the prestigious High Point Sire Award in 2020 and has sired 3 High Point Dogs. We prove out our bitches through competition, health testing and temperament. Breeding is only undertaken when we are looking for dogs for ourselves and dogs to train for our clients. We currently have several proven quality Spaniel bitches and a couple of young Labrador females. The Labrador bitches are proceeding with their field trial careers to earn their credentials that would make them worthy of the sires we would select for them.
Every year, we hold back several prospects from our breedings and begin the process of training them. We believe this gives us the best opportunity to evaluate our breeding and training programs. As these dogs progress, many become available for purchase simply because we simply can’t keep them all. These dogs are not washouts; rather they are just the opposite - they are dogs that have everything needed to become a field champion. For 2022, we will take a limited number of new client’s requests for started dogs.
We conduct live seminars for training and handling of field trial Spaniels that are based on the techniques we have developed and acquired over more than 30 years. The seminars use a mix of live situations and video to focus on building the individual trainer’s skills so that they can train and handle their own dog. We have found that people learn best when they witness dogs learning to perform a task and can see how to approach correcting a behavior to get the desired behavior. More is learned in seeing the approach taken to a dog not performing and the adjustments taken by the trainer, than watching a dog run perfectly. The latter is the end goal - we need to see that to understand high levels of performance - but the true gold is understanding the path to that high level. Seminars are split into:
Walnut Grove Training seminars – from puppies to basics, transition, to advanced field and drill along with parallel development of bird work and game seeking.
Kokshetau Field trial handling seminars - introduction to handling, first casts, minimally assertive approach, up wind control, planters and their effect, managing winds, interference, the rule book, polish and performance.
We have written a manuscript for training dogs and trainers. It accompanies the videos found on the training page and provides background information and in depth insight into the drills and methods we use at Coldwater. It is currently available to those who have participated in one of our training seminars. We are taking the feedback from those seminars and from folks we have worked with remotely and will incorporate it into our evolved product. It will be available for full release early in 2021.