My first Golden Retriever was SR. Rubens Magic Princess CD,SH,WCX, CGC – “Magic”. She came to our family as a pet for my son Ruben in April, 1990. Little did I know how “Magic” would change my life.
Since I had no idea how to train a dog I enlisted the help of local dog trainer, Sheila Grant. It was through Sheila I learned how to teach “Magic” how to behave in the house, and basic obedience, at 14 months old “Magic” and I had completed her CD title.
Soon after I joined the NORCAL Golden Retriever Club and attended their Picnic Trial event with “Magic”. I remember meeting at Jones Lake and after signing in I was told to go to puppy group since my dog had never had birds. “Magic” was the biggest puppy in group. Joan Marsh was in charge of the group that day. Joan was an old hand in the field training game having been in Field Trials with her own goldens for some time. Joan warned me that “Magic” may decide she didn’t like birds, in particular, with the late start introducing them. Joan threw a pigeon for “Magic” and she dashed out, sniffed it, picked up and was about to leave until I called her to Come. Good thing she had the recall from obedience or we may never have got her back. That day “Magic” broke my finger by pulling so hard on her leash to get all the other dogs birds. Joan was very encouraging about training “Magic” for field work and that’s where this all began.
After working with Joan I decided I wanted to train “Magic” for Hunt Tests. I loved the joy I saw in “Magic” when she ran in the field. It is that joy that I see with dogs in the field that keeps me in this sport. There’s something very exciting about watching these dogs do what they were bred for. My first Field trainer was Charlie Kingman. Training at the After Bay in Oroville, I remember meeting Alice Woodyard and being very impressed with her huge bird ring. She told me this was a Master Hunter bird ring. I told her one day I would like one of those. Charlie taught me a lot about reading my dog. We trained without an e-collar, never force fetched “Magic” as she always delivered to hand, and despite me, “Magic” accomplished her NAHRA SR,JH,SH,WC,and WCX all by age three. I loved that journey with “Magic”. I used Tom Quinns book “The Working Retriever” a lot to help me teach “Magic” how to handle. We had so much fun. We never did get through Master. After finding out “Magic” was dysplastic I determined the cost to her body to attain the title was not worth it. Instead “Magic” became a great pheasant dog and also taught my ex-husband and I all about hunting upland game.
Along the journey I met many knowledgable people who helped me and shared their ideas about the field. I got SR Jetoca Magicgold Air Wings CD,JH,WCX “Button” in September, 1990. I asked my friend Julie Cairns for help in choosing the right pedigree for my foundation bitch. I loved this breed of dog and wanted to do it right. I wanted a pedigree with hip, and eye clearances several generations back, I wanted a a conformationally correct dog that could do it all. “Button” was so different from “Magic”. She was much softer and sensitive although she did love birds. I worked with Charlie when “Button” was a pup. “Button” and Charlie taught me how to work with a more sensitive dog. I force fetched her with Charlie’s guidance and we finished our JH in four out of four. Our CD in three out of four. “Button” did love obedience, and we showed in the breed ring several times with placements.
When I decided to breed “Button” to Wraith’s Duncan MH*** OS it was to enhance the field ability and drive in the offspring. I kept a male out of that litter. Magicgolds California Cotton SH,WCX “Frisco”. He was a lot of dog. When Charlie Kingman came to look at him he said you’re used to driving a station wagon, this dog is a Corvette. Unfortunately, I was not aware of all the training needed to get a Corvette to titles. Another life lesson was about to take place. “Frisco” was a challenge for me. I learned more about working with high drive, hard headed dogs through him than you can even imagine.
Eight months after the litter was placed I got a call from the people who had “Casey” Magicgold Rockets O’Cotton JH,WC. They told me due to family illness they could no longer keep her. I immediately offered to buy her back. She was pick bitch out of the litter. However, when she came back she was not trained at all and was obviously not well cared for. It took a while to figure out what was best for “Casey”. Carol Bygdnes offered to help me and took her to train for field. It didn’t work out to well and “Casey” eventually came back.
A divorce and life change for me made the dog training take a backseat while I sorted through things for a while. It was hard with 4 dogs, a house, and a full time job to devote time to more training. However, my dogs were my sanity throughout this turbulent time in my life. As things settled down I was able to finish some titles on “Frisco” and “Casey” although I know they could have gone further I couldn’t do it at that time in my life. I found comfort in my furry friends and titles didn’t matter as much as the wonderful companions I had with me.
I decided to breed “Casey” to a really nice male CH.Weststar’s Robin Goodfellow CDX,TD, SH “Robbie”. Only two puppies came out of this breeding. A male “Sam” (Who lives in Morgan Hill with his wondeful family), and a female I kept, Magicgold Ziggy Darkstar SH,WCX “Ziggy”.. Pro Dennis Hayre helped me teach “Ziggy” and “Frisco” how to handle. Which was what helped us to attain the SH titles. I appreciated his patience with us all as we were all a little old in tooth at the time. However, we learned a lot and have continued to apply these methods to my current dogs in the field.
My three goldens (all Ziggy daughters) active in field are home bred. “Blaze” is a Master Hunter and has JAMMED in her first All Breed Qualifying Stake she ran. “Keltie” is a Master Hunter and has JAMMED in an All Breed Qualifying Stake and a Derby. . “Gabby” is a Master Hunter title, and Qualified to run in the Master National in 2009. “Gabby” has received two JAM’s for the two Derby’s she ran, she also received a JAM in Qualifying. That’s pretty exciting for me! I consider them family members and companions first. However, they do love the field work and each has a unique personality that requires me to understand what motivates them and how to train them with that in mind.
In December, 2004 I chose to make a Business of helping other Amateurs to train their dogs for hunt tests and working certificates. Using the same techniques as I have been taught either by trainers I have worked with, or by training my own dogs, and reading the dog. I love to watch the dogs develop in the field along with their owners. To me this is the part of the journey that needs to be enjoyed by both the dog and the owner.
I am an active member of several Breed and Retriever Clubs. Serving as Hunt Test Secretary, Stake Marshal, Committee Member. I believe we all play an important role in keeping this sport alive. By joining Clubs who support the sport and actively participating in helping, we do our part to continue seeing the dogs have tests to enter in, and enjoy the chance to revel in our dogs performances.
I am a Member of:
Golden Retriever Club Of America – Serving as Western Regional WC/WCX Chairperson since 1992 through 2009.
NorCal Golden Retriever Club – Served as Field V.P. 2007 and 2008.
Sacramento Valley Retriever Club –
Sagehens Retriever Club –
California Retriever Training Association –
For more information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org