It was June of 1981. My father and I decided to go and watch that year’s National Amateur Retriever Championship, at Bong Recreation Area in Southern Wisconsin. I was 19 years old and had just run my first field trial that spring. After watching the event for a couple of days, there were 2 handlers that profoundly stood out. They were Judy Aycock and Delma Hazzard. I told myself that day; “I don’t know were they learned to handle, but I am going there!” Delma ended up winning that national with Dude’s Double or Nothin’ (Doc).
Fast forward 3 years. I finally made it there - the home of Rex Carr. I had visited the summer before, but this year I was on a quest. The quest started at the 1984 National Amateur in Stowe, Vermont. I was lucky enough to help Rex prepare for that National. Delma and Judy were part of that year’s team, along with Betty Schrader and Leslie Karnes. I got to sit next to Rex when he coached Judy and NAFC FC Trumarc’s Zip Code to the win. I was hooked!
I followed Rex back to California and that is where I learned how to do basics. What better place to learn basics, than where it originated. Later that fall, I was fortunate to join Mike Lardy at Handjem Kennels to continue my education. That first winter season working with Mike we had 12 dogs in my first basic’s group. 7 of those dogs went on to achieve their field championships.
My current basic’s program has continued to evolve over the past forty years. It has been shaped by those original trainers as well as my own interpretation. This basic’s program was integral in my success at Esprit Kennels from the late 80’s through 2006, where we made over 50+ Field Champions.
I am just as passionate today as I was back then when it comes to a solid foundation. Without a doubt, the success of these great dogs are directly related to having “Bombproof Basics”
I am excited to announce that I will be launching a digital course later this fall named “Bombproof Basics”. This course follows 3 dogs throughout their entire basics program. It has taken over a year to film. The videos will show the bad days as well as the breakthrough ones. This is reality TV at its best. These are not seasoned dogs demonstrating the steps. It will feel like you are standing alongside me during the 4 to 5 months it took to complete their basic’s journey.
Be on the lookout for more highlights of the course.