Craney Hill Kennel and Guide Service

English Springer Spaniel Sully Swims
August 23, 2015

Sully went for a swim today. It took a little extra work to get Sully to swim. Dudley stepped in to give the little fella some help. Sully then caught on that is is more fun for him if he jumps in the water and get's the tennis ball for himself. Dudley still had a fun workout this afternoon. 


Bird Hunting (2)
Christina's Photography (3)
Client Dogs (9)
Dog Training (23)
Event Results (12)
Field Trials (2)
Hunt Test (3)
Kennel News (15)
Trade Shows (1)
Wild Bird Hunting (7)


August 2015 (5)
March 2015 (2)
February 2015 (3)
December 2014 (2)
February 2014 (2)
December 2013 (1)
November 2013 (1)
September 2013 (1)
August 2013 (1)
June 2013 (1)
March 2013 (3)
February 2013 (7)
January 2013 (6)
December 2012 (3)
October 2012 (1)
May 2012 (3)
March 2012 (1)
February 2012 (5)
January 2012 (2)
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English Springer Spaniel Maddie Swims
August 23, 2015

Maddie went swimming for the first time today. Once she figured out how her legs work in the water we could not keep her out of the water. It was a hot day so swimming really felt good for the dogs. 
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Quail are in the Pen
August 21, 2015

It is getting to be late August so we have begun to stock the Johnny House with quail. They will remain in the pen for almost a week and then we will start flighting them a few at a time and let the puppies chase them. Within two weeks or so, we should be able to regularly run the puppies on the birds to gain experience. With five young puppies in development, it should be a lot of relaxing walks in the evenings this fall!
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Kermit Prepares to get Steadied
August 21, 2015

We got Kermit back this week to start to steady him to wing and shot. We are wrapping up our foundation drills with a few thrown pigeons before he gets to flush birds. Kermit has been with us a few times while his owner has gone out of town. It has worked very well for Kermit to be part of our Craney Hill Training Club since January 2015. He started as a very talented, albeit rebel, hunt test competitor. In eight months or so, Alan has turned his dog around by focusing on foundation work and effort. Kermit now responds very well to voice and whistle commands, is quartering the field, delivering bumpers and birds to hand, walking at heel and working on his pattern blinds and 3-handed casting. He should be steadied this month and will spend most of October in the grouse woods with [more...]
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February 12, 2014

Craney Hill Kennel gets many telephone calls from people that are looking for a hunting dog. Many times, I am told that they do not want one of those field trial dogs. Considering this strong statement, I cannot help but start to question the person’s reason for not wanting a field trial dog and the logic behind the reasons. The typical response is because the field trial dogs are to “hot” and difficult to control.

I find it amazing at how little this person must actually know about the field trial world. I really want to say “So that means you do not want a dog that hunts in range, does not chase missed birds and sits when the whistle is blown?” The truth is that the field trial community demands a level of control over their dogs that most people would crave. The reason that the [more...]
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November 27, 2013

This has become a very volatile issue over the years and anyone that speaks openly regarding e-collar training becomes an easy target. I do not mind sticking my neck out and I am confident in my e-collar knowledge regarding its proper use. However, you need to understand my stance on e-collars. Essentially, an e-collar is only one tool in our different from a lead, whistle or voice. We do not use it to teach the dog, we use it to instill a foundation. It is not best for a hard/stubborn is best for a soft/timid dog because it removes our hands from the dog.
If anyone wants to read how passionate I am about e-collars and the proper use of them, they can go to my website and read the electronics sections. [more...]
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September 6, 2013

Considering the extreme heat and humidity typical of the summer and fall (in the south), I believe it is important to discuss conditioning and the impact lack of conditioning can have on your dog. The first thing we need to settle is that NO dog can hunt all day. We hear this from people over and over. Fabricated Herculean tales of how their dog hunted all day and never missed a bird. In fact, it never slowed down!
Here is what I think: If your dog can hunt all day, then I do not want to hunt with your dog! There, I said it and I mean it. Let me explain and then you think about it.
Does a marathon runner have more energy in mile 24 as compared to the first mile of the race? Does a race horse have more energy at the end [more...]
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Expectations for a “BRITISH” Dog
August 21, 2013

We all have expectations to different degrees. Our expectations at Craney Hill Kennel are extremely high for our dogs. The theory is that if we set our standard to an almost unattainable level, when we fall short our dogs will still be very talented animals. I cannot express to you how difficult it is to keep a high standard. This is not because we are kennel blind…quite the opposite. It is hard to keep such a high standard because the standard of the public is so low that it becomes difficult to continually explain why you can or cannot do something.
Many people have a predisposed opinion of the way an English dog is. This could be body structure, personality or training method. Regarding structure, I think it is a mistake to think that an English dog looks like this or that. It is true that there [more...]
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Spaniel Training Puppy Walk With Holly 3-3-13
March 5, 2013

This is a video of another recent puppy walk. Holly is a 4-month old English Cocker spaniel that is busting cover in the woods looking for birds. In this video, you can see that she finds a couple of birds and is not intimidated by the briars and thorn bushes. Like all of our young dogs, this puppy walk puts Holly in an environment that allows her to learn to hunt. After all, isn't that the primary purpose of these dogs?

Do not be swayed by all of the people that insist on total control of their dogs. A hunting dog, spaniels included, need to be able to find birds first. Only significant exposure to birds and cover at a young age will secure these lessons for later in life. There are a lot of reasons that the "British" way of training and its implimentation of control at a young [more...]
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Spaniel Training - Puppy Walk With Throttle 3-3-13
March 5, 2013

This is a video of a recent puppy walk with Throttle. He is a 5-month old English Springer spaniel that is busting cover in the woods looking for birds. In this video, you can see that he finds a couple of birds and is not intimidated by the briars and thorn bushes. We take all of our young dogs on these puppy walks to put them in an environment that allows them to learn to hunt. After all, isn't that the primary purpose of these dogs?

Do not be swayed by all of the people that insist on total control of their dogs. A hunting dog, spaniels included, need to be able to find birds first. Only significant exposure to birds and cover at a young age will secure these lessons for later in life. There are a lot of reasons that the "British" way of training has merits. [more...]
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Spaniel Training Dudley's First Work on a Peg
March 3, 2013

This is an English Springer spaniel named Dudley. He is working a peg for the first time at 17-months of age. His mom (Lil) is showing him how it is done by doing the bulk of the work as Dudley learns to be patient and look up for the birds. The young dog on a lead is Dudley and the older dog is Lil. We expect Dudley to be as trustworthy as Lil by the end of the season. The video shows Dudley's quick advancement and we expect great things out of him in the future. This private shoot was at Riverview Hunting in Illinois (
For more information, contact us or Milt. Enjoy the video.
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Euro Shoot At Riverview Hunting
February 26, 2013

Here is the video of the private Euro Shoot at Riverview Hunting on February 23, 2013. It is combined with the public shoot on February 24, 2013. In this video, we are working Heidi during the private shoot and we are shooting during the public shoot. It is Heidi's second shoot by herself and she continues to improve each week. The video has some short clips of some of the other dogs and handlers as well. If you are looking for a fun shoot that is well done, or want to book an additional shoot, contact Milt at You can also see Christina's photos of the shoot in our Photo Gallery.
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***Bird Dog Training Camps***
February 20, 2013

We have four Bird Dog Training Camps during the year. They are created to maximize the specific needs of gun dogs based upon their current training level.

The objectives for our “Basic” bird dog camp are to set a strong foundation for your dog, which includes proper introduction and exposure to birds, proper gun introduction, basic obedience, hunting in control and basic retrieving. This camp has historically included puppies and young dogs, or experienced dogs that have become self-hunters and are hunting out of control/gun range. This camp is available from March through August and generally is for two or three months. The cost is $700 per month, plus bird and vet expenses.

The objective for our “Trained Retrieve” bird dog camp is to develop a reliable retrieve and a professional delivery. This is a very intense and structured "forced retrieve" camp for your dog. We will cure [more...]
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Heidi Works A Peg Solo For The First Time
February 17, 2013

This is a video of Heidi's first shoot at Riverview Hunting where she works a peg by herself. Previously, we were spaniel training with two dogs due to Heidi's youth and we used an older dog (Lil) with her. Heidi was forced to watch most of the action while Lil did all of the retrieving. It was training to assure that Heidi learns to sit while another dog is working. This week, Heidi had to deal with all of the gun commotion that is part of a well-run shoot. The group shot better than most (68%) and that meant a lot of retrieves. Heidi totaled over 30 retrieves! Although she was gassed both physically and mentally by the eighth and last brace, she did a great job for such a young dog. Still six more weeks of shoots so we expect Heidi to be well-polished by the end of this year! [more...]
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Working a Peg at Riverview Hunting
February 14, 2013

This is a quick video of our first shoot at Riverview Hunting. We are working two spaniels off of a peg for the first time. The young dog on a lead is Heidi and the older dog is Lil. We expect Heidi to be as trustworthy as Lil by the end of the season. It was difficult to video tape due to the high flying and very challenging birds presented to the shooters. This was the best shoot I have seen in the Midwest and Milt has big plans to expand the shoot to decerning shooters across the country that want challenging shooting at a venue that is reliable, stays on schedule and will cater to the needs of the travelling shooter; ladies and gentlemen. We will continue to add videos of the shoots throughout the season and keep you abreast of Milt's plans. For more information, [more...]
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Bird Dog Training Seminar
February 6, 2013

Our seminars are held at either our dog training facility in Cornell, Illinois, hunting preserves, or actual wild bird hunting environments. The utilization of dog training facilities and natural habitats allow participants to observe, first hand, the manner in which to configure fields and yard set-ups, while highlighting the importance of things like good cover, quartering strips, and agility equipment for flushing dog training.

This seminar is for you if you want to consistently have your dog hunt within range of the guns, learn to obey even with distractions, or get your dog to a level to pass hunt tests. If you want to stop yelling and correcting your dog, you need to take this seminar! Class size is limited so plan accordingly.

Next Seminar - April 20-21, 2013 - Cornell, IL


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Clicker Training a Spaniel Puppy For Hunting
February 5, 2013

In this video, we are showing early spaniel training to set a strong foundation for advanced spaniel training. You can very easily start your young spaniel on a positive course to develop its foundation for a lifetime of enjoyment. We cannot stress enough the importance of developing a foundation at a young age so your advanced spaniel training is easier in the future. Enjoy the video.
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English Springer Spaniel Training
January 29, 2013

In this video, we are showing the talents of Abbey, Alder and Throttle. Abbey and Alder are 6-months old english springer spaniels and are continuing their work with birds and retrieving. Throttle is only 4-months old and in the video, we are starting the gun introduction. We cannot stress enough the importance of getting young prospects into birds early. Enjoy the video.
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Are Dogs Smart?
October 29, 2012

The following video is an attempt by one of our Clients to prove to us that their dog is smart. Most everyone knows that we do not think that dogs are smart, but have an unquestioned ability to make associations with very few repetitions. It is a play on words, but a vital distinction so we do not complicate dog training. In any event, the video brings out two very important points.

The first is the ongoing attempt by our Clients to prove us wrong...she gets a below passing grade because she should know better.

The second is her recognition that she was proved wrong...a passing grade for self-recognition!

Good Job! Here is the video and thanks for the humor.

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Morning Prairie Walk
May 31, 2012

We have restarted our morning prairie walks. We used to due this quite a bit and got away from it for a while. I am glad we are going back to it. The dogs all get to run and exercise together, but I think the mental "cleansing" that we get is the real benefit! Two or three times each week, we take the dogs for a 90-minute walk on a 1,000-acre prairie that provides a diverse habitat for the dogs. They run in the prairie grasses, through treelines, over hills, in the woods and through the ditches. The walk is pretty much a free run with a few minor obedience rules mixed in for the older dogs. As you can tell, the dogs love the treats and the social atmosphere of the walk.[more...]
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Introduction to Birds and Retrieving
February 1, 2012

At Craney Hill Kennel, the first thing we start with our gun dog puppies is introduction to birds and retrieving. Retrieving is the easier of the two to start and studies have been done that show remarkable results in the ability of a dog to learn later in life when retrieving is started early. It also helps if your dog has basic retrieving completed so it is less of an effort to get the bird back from the dog. Trust me, if your dog retrieves a dummy, a ball, a sock or other item well, retrieving a bird the first time will go relatively well. However, the more birds your dog gets, the more it will want to keep it for itself.

Let’s start with an interesting study regarding the benefits of early retrieving. There was a [more...]

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Gun Dog Training 102
January 20, 2012

We have previously discussed a couple of canine characteristics. By now, you should understand that a dog is a pack animal and that it is a creature of habit. With this understanding, you are better positioned to effectively train your canine friend. Now we move on to place-orientation and association.

Place-orientation simply means that your correction or praise must occur in close proximity to the event that took place.

I believe that praise is straightforward and self-explanatory. Most people do not suffer from providing enough praise for their dog. What generally happens is that the praise is not provided at the correct time and the power of association (discussed later) is lost.

When we discuss corrections, open your mind so that you can think of corrections in a very simple manner. It is true that there are varying degrees of correction; however, there are not as many [more...]
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Gun Dog Training 101
January 19, 2012

It is interesting to me how most people go about trying to train a dog. With the amount of information that is readily available, it is easier than it once was. Maybe that is the reason we make it so difficult. When information was not easily accessible, one would typically rely upon knowledgeable friends, or should I say friends that thought they knew more than the new trainer, or the dog was sent out for “professional” training.
The problem with this course of action is that if you do not know how to train a dog then how do you recognize someone that does know how to train a dog? It is difficult to get the real information regarding a dog that you see. For example, many of the “trained” dogs we see at the English springer spaniel field trials are trained by someone other than the owner that [more...]
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