Where do I start……let’s go back about a year and a half. I was a rookie bird dog owner with a 7 month old big running English Setter pup. Luckily for me and Lady I was coming to the realization that I needed professional help. That’s when I was referred to Gene at Blankenburg Kennel. After a long phone conversation I went up to meet Gene and have him evaluate my pup.
I ended up bringing the pup back up and leaving it for the “puppy training”. I was determined to be as big a part of the training as was possible so I made the drive to Chino every weekend. One thing worth mentioning is weekends at Blankenburg Kennel. Gene invites people to come up and work their dogs. The camaraderie of like minded people with similar interests I believe is a big part of the experience. Experienced owners with broke dogs go into the training field with less experienced owners and dogs and work their dogs together. This really keeps the new owners motivated and helps keep the broke dogs tuned up as well. Everyone there wants to see every dog succeed and it truly is like a big family. One of my first weekends up I was invited to go into the training field with a GSP named Jake and his owner Mark. I was very impressed and I knew right then what my goal was for my pup.
Gene talks about tailoring the training to your dog. I know first hand this is not just talk. No “cookie cutter” training program here. We were one week into the puppy training and Gene was making adjustments to the training to make it better address the needs of my dog. In fact, Lady needed control and she needed it bad. So Gene quickly moved into putting some control on her and getting her to handle. I would ask, when is she going to be doing this or that and the answer was always the same……when she is ready. In this day and age his honesty is refreshing. He didn’t make empty promises. He simply worked at her pace and I saw constant improvement.
Gene got her thru the puppy training, got her so she handled for me in the field and got her steady to wing, shot and fall. I had a dog I could hunt with but she had zero interest in retrieving.
I decided to have Gene force break her to retrieve. I saw the difference with my own eyes and I still can’t believe it! He took a dog with no desire to retrieve and now to see her go after a retrieve you would never guess she started with no interest in it at all.
Throughout this entire process Gene encouraged me to be as involved as possible. He was training me at the same time and I know training Lady was the easy part!
I think the hardest part of hiring a trainer is often admitting that you need help and then finding one you can trust and truly putting all your trust in them. Gene is someone I put all my trust in and I can’t tell you how glad I am that I did. He truly has a gift for training dogs and always puts the dog’s well being first. He loves what he does and the dogs love him. He has molded Lady and I into a team and given us both the tools we need to get the job done in the field.
It would be a terrible injustice not to mention “the other half” of Blankenburg Kennel, Gene’s wife Ute. It’s very hard to drive away and leave your pet in someone else’s care. It doesn’t take long talking to Ute to realize your pet will most certainly be taken good care of while at Blankenburg. She has a huge heart and she loves these dogs like her own and takes the responsibility of their care very seriously. I truly believe a person who cares more about dogs and their health and happiness does not exist.
Together Gene and Ute form a team that I believe is very hard to beat.
If you think you might need the help of a professional trainer, do yourself and your dog a favor and give Gene a call. You will be embarking on a most rewarding journey and you’ll be glad you did.
Thank you Gene and Ute.
Mark E and Lady