Now it was on to our HR title but this proved to be tough for me being that I had never trained to this level before. So I tried doing what worked for me before and sent Johnyy to trainers that ran HRC tests. But for some unknown reason after spending over a thousand dollars we were not much closer to a HR title. I think Johnyy was ready but even though I went to these trainers every weekend or every other weekend I had not learned enough to handle a dog. Finally and I am not sure why I bought every DVD and book that Evan Graham published, followed his methods exactly and we then earned our HR title. Even though I have had success with Graham's methods, Larry (I still keep in close touch with Jan and Larry Hinchman) tells me that Bill Hillman has better methods.
Well I had my LBD for about six months, I had trained one gun dog, but I wanted to train my LBD to a much higher level. So I searched for the best seminar I could find and that was Rick Smith of Huntsmith, only eight hours away (I was starting to learn that quality involved a lot of driving). I used Rick's methods and had a great little quail and pheasant hunter. As she got older I wanted another female so I again called Larry and got on his wait list. While waiting Larry called me and said he had a male for me if I wanted it, I said yes and that begins my story of HR J&L's Johnyy CGC! Now I wanted to do everything perfect with Johnyy so I went to the Huntsmith puppy training seminar (10 hours away) and Rick's beginning Gun Dog Seminar (again). I was off to a good start with Johnyy but I wanted more training but my local HRC group only had about 4 training days a year which was just not going to be enough so I went to the Intermediate Huntsmith seminar (6 hours away) with Ronnie Smith. I was so impressed with Ronnie's method of training I left my beloved little Johnyy with him for three months of training. Ronnie will not let the dog owners come for the first month of training so for months two and three I drove out to Ronnie's place every other weekend (six hours away) so that Ronnie could teach me how to handle Johnyy. When he came home he was an extremely talented hunter and quite a Gentleman too. We went right out and got four ribbons and our first title.
The year was 1998 and my Golden Retriever of 14 years passed away. I wanted a smaller dog, that would not shed as much, that would hunt and had that great personality of a Golden. Well, that was a tall order and it took me a year of searching before I became aware of Boykins and I just knew this was the breed for me. So I looked for the closest breeder to me and that turned out to be J&L Boykin Spaniels in Northwest Wisconsin, only 10 hours away from me. I called and talked to Larry Hinchman. I was impressed with what he said and asked to be put on his wait list. He told me to "Go research Boykins and call me back when you are finished", I guess I was expecting this type of statement because I started to tell Larry all I knew about LBDs (Little Brown Dogs) and he was impressed with what I knew and he told me "You are now officially on my wait list. I then went to watch his dogs every chance I got and I went up to his place and see his home, dogs and His lovely Wife, Jan, Driving 10 hours to their home. This took me about six months to drive to see them at hunts tests and their home. About six months later my phone rang and it was Larry telling me my little girl was just born, I know I danced a little jig right there. I later learned that Jan and Larry only had one female in all of that year, I was happy.
This shows my commitment to continuing education. I go far beyond what most breeders do. As you look to myself and other breeders ask them if they pursue continuing education.
I was more happy getting the first ever SHR title in my life with Johnyy than anything I did in my life including being in the Marine Corps, being a CPA or graduating on the Deans List at Northeastern Illinois University
Around this time I was 10 years away to full retirement and knew I wanted to live on a training facility in a warmer climate than Northern Illinois with my LBDs. The year after year tax seasons, 12 hours a day, seven days a week were draining me. So I sold most of what I owned, including my very successful North Shore Chicago Certified Public Accounting firm and moved to Southern Illinois. And that is the start of John's Boykins. I then trained Johnyy and Jazzy to their titles. I was now where I wanted to be in the world, an amatuer trainer and handler. I am now training two dogs to run for titles in the spring.
Me at 17 years old!