It's challenging to detail all of the accomplishments my GSP and I have enjoyed over the last 5 years since that first introduction to Gene & Ute. My need seemed simple enough, "I wanted a bird dog that would hunt" unfortunately, what I had was a bird dog who wouldn't hunt...that is until I met Gene.
Upon acquiring my first GSP, Jake, taking him out to the desert to train it was obvious he had an affinity for rabbits. In an effort to break Jake of the "chasing habit" as well as to put him through snake avoidance training, I began searching the internet for advice. The internet is how I initially came across Blankenburg Kennel. After exchanging e-mails on training tips and trying to apply them I took Gene up on his invitation to bring Jake to a training site in Northern Arizona so he could see my dog in action. Gene was working many dogs that day but, went out his way to talk with me and understand my needs. What he witnessed from Jake was: watching him take off with birds on the ground, going on point (sort of) and abruptly turning around to head towards the truck jumping back into his kennel. Gene instantly recognized I had a major problem and was not sure if Jake could be corrected. At that moment, I felt I had let Jake down and failed as a hopeful owner of a true hunting dog. I was over my head but the damage was done, either by me or just the fact that the basics were not instilled at the crucial puppy stage. Shortly after Jake's demonstration, we drove back to Gene & Ute's place where he openly explained what I was up against. That was the turning point, the day I made one of the best decisions as a bird dog owner, the decision to leave Jake at Blankenburg Kennel.
From that point forward I dedicated myself to meet Gene every weekend for several months to watch and work with my dog. Over time, Jake began to improve as he went through the equivalent of ”boot camp", where they break you down and build you back up for the desired outcome (i.e. starting from scratch by letting Jake play and naturally have interest in birds). During this time I observed first hand the incredible display of training ability, true act of professionalism and pride Gene has for his passion -- training dogs. Gene & Ute offered Jake the structure, environment, training and safety necessary for him to learn and grow. Over the years I have seen many dogs that Gene & Ute have trained; none have seemed as difficult as Jake. A true testimony of Gene's dedication to his profession and invaluable hands on learning experience gained by me as a handler.
Jake is now 6 years old, is doing great and has turned into a true "hunting machine". Not only is he a good hunter he also thoroughly enjoys doing it 24x7, no matter if its in the desert, field training or in our backyard. There's more work to do with Jake, Gene is there to offer his support and guidance which I'm certain no other trainer can offer. Even today Jake knows when Gene is watching and I see Jake wants to make Gene proud, no doubt this is due to the mutual respect as well as the relationship Gene has created with Jake. You must have faith in your dog, never lose that faith and Gene will reinforce the following message: "your dog will succeed as long as you correctly introduce him to the environment, have the ability to dedicate yourself and allow a professional to do what's required".