| At Fox River Kennels, we strive to breed confident, well-adjusted, aggressive hunting partners, as
well as superior family companions. All of our breeding dogs have superb dispositions with exceptional
personalities. We breed and raise most of our own dogs. Each puppy we keep stands out from the rest of
the litter. We raise the pup in our house, where family socializing and obedience training begins. At 12
weeks, we begin advanced field or retriever training. Over the next year, if the dog stands out, we hunt
them as much as possible and make plans for incorporation into our breeding program at 2 1/2 years. By
that time, the dog is not only a member of the family but a proven hunting companion. Our puppies are
given the best possible environment to grow up in. They are socialized as much as possible. They get all
of their shots on time and are wormed as needed. The dewclaws are removed and guarantees are
provided as requested. We will train the dog for you or give you tips on training for the life of your dog.
We do not compete in hunt tests or field trials. We are avid hunters that want a dog to perform for us
in the field. What good does it do for a waterfowl hunter to blow a whistle and wave his arm at a dog 100
yards away in a marsh with 10 foot high cattails? They cannot hear each other much less see each other.
The dog just needs to know that you shot, you told him to retrieve in a certain direction, and he better not
come back until he finds the bird. Then you tell him, "good boy," and do it again! That is the game! We
do not tell stories about how good a dog was in a training situation such as field trials. We tell stories
about real hunting successes. Here is one of my first and favorite examples.
I remember taking a girlfriend duck hunting one time back in college. She was not hunting; I just
talked her into coming along. I wanted her to get a chance to see what I was doing every morning, and
every evening, 7 days a week, for two months, in the freezing cold. I also wanted her to understand why
my buddy Jason and I had these labs. My plan was to shoot at least one duck and have one of the dogs
retrieve it for us. She then would see what having the dogs was all about.
We set up in the lake with our backs to a huge 500-acre marsh. I wasn't having any luck. There just
were not any birds flying. It was a sunny, warm day. I would not have been able to talk her into coming
otherwise. Not the best duck hunting conditions but worth a try.
Finally, a little blue wing came screaming in low from the lake. It came straight at us over the decoys,
and like a fighter plane taking off, shot straight up and over our heads. I took one shot straight up, almost
tipping over. That silly duck shot down at an angle like an injured jet. It went at least 200 yards behind us
before crashing into this marsh with thick 8-12 foot high cattails.
After I got over how impressed I was at my shot, I said to the girl, "Did you see that?" She said, "Did I
see what?" Well, since she did not see it and it was so far back in the marsh I was absolutely certain my
entire journey was going to be a failure. I said, "I knocked it down but it is a way back in there. There is no
way the dogs or I will ever find it." But like always, I sent the dogs, Jack and Max, after it. "Go get it," I said,
"and don't come back without it." I was laughing at myself for saying that! They were not going to find it.
I started to become upset. I had sent the dogs out and they were going to fail. My big plan was going to
look like a boring waste of time to this girl. Max stayed out for about 15 minutes and gave up. Not bad for
a first year hunter who ended up being the best dog I have ever had. But jack was in his second year and
was also special. We already knew it, but we were still learning how good he would become. About 25
minutes went by. I figured maybe he had gone back to the boat landing and went home. All of a sudden I
heard Jack coming back through the marsh. He was breathing funny, from what I could hear, as he
tromped through the thick, mucky cattails. When his head appeared out of the marsh, he had that little
blue wing by the butt. The bird's head was raised looking straight at us. If he had let go I think it would
have dove or tried to fly away but he brought it right to me.
An absolutely unbelievable retrieve in anyone's eyes, I thought to myself. At that time, it was probably
the best I had ever seen. This was history in the making for a young dog trainer. Would you like to know
what I did then? I looked over at that young woman and said astonishingly, "Now that's what it is all about.
Can you believe that?" She said, "Can I believe what? This is really getting boring and I am getting really
cold!" Well, I tried!
In my eyes, a field trial dog would not have found that bird. Jack knew it was out there somewhere.
His will, determination, and trust in us made him keep looking. He did not need a whistle, special hand
signals (although I do use them), or my eyes to help him find it. He was a true hunting dog by nature. My
hunting partners and the people I sell dogs to understand this little story. I hope you do also.
Sincerely, and thanks for checking out the website,
Owner * Trainer * Breeder
|Our Mission (And a Little Story)
|Jason + Jack