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2019 Plans

Dog Family:

Over the years, I have selectively placed certain dogs in their new “retirement” home. Most of these placements have been very successful, the dogs have done well and the new owners have been delighted.

The last dog I placed went to  home on the east coast and died.  I had three different explanations of what happened, none of which I ever found credible.  It’s painful to think about the situation and I feel totally responsible for what happened to a dog that I bred.

It is hard to find an English Cocker puppy from a reputable breeder.  It is even harder to find an older English Cocker from a reputable breeder.  We have decided we will no longer place our middle aged dogs.

Training and Competitions:

In 2019, I expect to finish Crosby’s Canadian UD (Utility Dog) obedience title and possibly his American CDX (Companion Dog Excellent) obedience title. He is now 9 years, but is healthy and in good physical shape.  Crosby will be retired from competition and breeding in 2019.

I expect his daughter Adele (aka Devil Dellie) to complete her Canadian PCD (Pre Companion Dog) obedience title, her RN (Rally Novice) and CD (Companion Dog) titles by the end of 2019. She may possibly accompany her dad Crosby to the US.  She has already been started in Open training.

Diana will stay with us as our last “household” dog but will train towards her PCD and RN titles. Both Paula and Whitney will have their current obedience training “upgraded”.

In 2019, I’ll be more selective which trials I attend. There are venues with no air conditioning in the summer, inadequate crating space or distractions with other events such as conformation.  There are excellent judges and not so excellent judges.  There are well run and organized trials and others that are disorganized.  When you start taking 2 dogs to a weekend of obedience trials, at a cost of $30 to $35 per dog, per class, with gas and 412/407 tolls, it gets expensive.  I’m finding the driving I do getting harder as I (and the vehicles) get older.

More importantly, the day that training dogs stops being “fun” is the day I walk away from obedience and training.

The Property:

This property has over 47 acres, an in ground pool and a number of outbuildings.  It requires considerable maintenance and attention, requiring more effort every year as we get older.  2019 will be the year of painting the exterior cedar siding and the wood window frames, replacing parging on the foundation, and digging up part of the front perennial garden.  We also will continue “The Big Dig” to work on the septic system.

We’ve decided to sell our beloved Airstream trailer.  We’ve had lots of fun with it, but we no longer go to conformation shows.  Time to pass it on to a new owner.


New Obedience Title!

So proud of “Devil Dellie”, aka Adele, aka Carfrae Crossroads, who completed her PCD (Pre Companion Dog) obedience title at the Belleville KC obedience trials today. Her first trial of the year, good experience for her in a challenging venue. The little unattended boy who bopped Dellie on the back right before she entered the ring rattled her for a moment but she recovered nicely.

Dellie will be spayed in April, after which she will compete in Rally Novice Obedience this spring/early summer and in Novice Obedience this fall.


TUX was euthanized February 5, 2019.  He was the very best dog I ever bred and definitely one of a kind.  The house is very quiet without him and we miss him greatly.

Website Changes

I’ve made a few changes to this website recently:

  1. Added a new book and DVD to the page “Favourite Books and Training Videos”.  Check out Susan Garrett’s material; I use some of her tactics when dealing with “Devil Dellie” (aka Adele).
  2. Modified the page “Finding An English Cocker” to reflect some of the technical issues currently affecting  the ECSCA website.
  3. Added a new page for “Benny”.  I will be looking for a serious, bona fide performance home for Benny this spring.
  4. Completed a new page for “Thoughts on Dog Training”.
  5. Added back the page “Fun Photographs” and updated some content.


Update on TUX-January 2019

TUX continues with his medication and goes for regularly scheduled blood work, evaluation and tweaking of his meds.  I’ve starting using the chart feature in Excel to see the overall trend lines of his readings.  🙂 He loves the vet techs and doctors at the rehab facility, drags me into the clinic, wiggles away and knows where every container of freeze dried liver is kept in the clinic.

He seems to be feeling better and has resorted to some of his pre sickness “whirling” activities, in anticipation of his meals. He has cleverly trained me that cheese slices and/or peanut butter for his pills just won’t do; he simply has to have his pills in local Black Angus beef liver.

He likely will have to be on medication for the rest of his life, but we are enjoying what time we have left with him.

2018, What a Year!

2018 has been a year of “ups and downs” and some incredible challenges.


Tux sustained an injury to his C6/C7 vertebrae just before New Years.  We have no idea how this happened.  His condition worsened over New Years and he was hospitalized in a Vet Emerge Clinic for 1 day.  We then transferred him to our veterinarians in Colborne January 2, whom I credit with saving his life.  With a lot of sleepless nights, daily telephone consults, varying medication routines and round the clock attention from us, he survived and then started rehabilitation with a local specialist in early March.  He was doing incredibly well and was gradually being weaned off his various medications until he suffered a relapse and complications in August.

He has improved but is back on his anti inflammatory meds which have a side effect of potentially compromising his immune system.  I’m glad we have TUX still with us and I treasure every day with him, but looking after him has taken considerable resources, financially, emotionally and energy wise.

If we had known what this year held for TUX and us, we might have euthanized him in January. But as Billy Wilder, the great American film director once said “Hindsight is always twenty-twenty”.  We do the best we can.


This property was initially developed by a local dentist in ’83.  We are the third owners, the second owners losing it via a power of sale.  Little was done to the property by the second owners, indeed there was deliberate damage done inside.  Thankfully the dentist who built the house and various outbuildings spared no expense.

But things do wear out and this year we had to replace the well pump, dig up several feet of concrete around the pool and reroute water, in an effort to stop a daily leak of a 100 gallons, all because of a failed $27 pool jet fitting.  We are on a well and are subject to precipitation to replenish our water.  We have had to truck in water once this autumn; so far nothing as bad as autumn 2016.

The latest autumn project has been digging up, by hand, parts of the dog yard, in an effort to locate our septic tank.  Working off a copy of a septic permit dated in 1983 is no guarantee that the tank will be in the location specified in the permit, as we have found.  The “Big Dig” is temporarily on hold, until spring 2019.

We love the property but as we ourselves get older we know that likely in the next ten years, we will sell it.


I was very fortunate back in the mid 80’s to “luck in” to obedience classes taught be an established obedience club in the GTA.  We were accepted for membership, helped set up equipment (including scrubbing ring mats) for the club’s annual trials, ring stewarded and taught classes.  These days, I take private lessons for about an hour to an hour and a half with one of Canada’s top obedience competitors, every 4 to 8 weeks.  My round trip drive is about 5 or 6 hours, across the top of Toronto.

I have a fenced 50 x 50 outdoor training ring complete with PVC jumps which is partially shaded by a large, old ash tree in the summer.  The ring has a bit of a slope to it, so it drains well after rain.  We have a 25 x 40 heated shed which I use in winter, a 40 x 60 gravel area between the house and shed which I occasionally use in late autumn/early spring and I have a lead on a building where I may be able to rent mat time in winter.

Challenges this year have been infectious diseases (4 spring outbreaks of canine influenza in Ontario including our county and 1 outbreak again this autumn, kennel cough this autumn in Belleville/Cobourg areas) which have led me not to attend matches or trials in those areas.  The other challenge has been the weather, including extreme heat in July/August that lead me to train Crosby and/or Dellie by 9 AM and the unusual snowfall in early November that had me working as much as possible outside, as long as the footing was safe for the dogs working over jumps.

Crosby had one obedience trial in December, and is now on break until January.   We’re enjoying our time off taking long walks in our fields; thankfully snow and ice have not yet seriously arrived.

Dellie, Diana, Paula and Whit will do some training over late December/New Years.  I already know what matches and trials I’m gong to in early 2019. 🙂

New CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) Titles

The CKC Board of Directors and their advisory councils have been busy!

Effective July 1, 2018, a new event “sprinter” was effective.  Go to this link to read more about it:”-Launches-at-CKC

Effective January 1, 2019, scent detection matches and trials results can be used for CKC titles.  Go to this link to read more about scent detection:

I have put both American and Canadian Tracking Dog titles on our dogs in the past and we have beautiful tracking fields 50 feet from our front door,  but given the state of my arthritis these days, I’m curious about this event.

Effective January 1, 2019, certified therapy dogs can be eligible for CKC titles.  The CKC has approved six organizations across Canada for therapy dog training.  Go to this link for more information:</a


The Importance of Puppy Socialization

One of my old alma maters is the University of Guelph.  I came across this article in  the more recent issue of Portico, the alumni magazine.  Two OVC (Ontario Veterinary College) professors, aided by a post doctoral student, conducted research in the importance of puppy socialization, including puppy classes.

I have retired from breeding, but for years I followed Pat Hastings “Rule of 7’s” for socialization before puppies went to their new homes and I also offered training subsidies for puppy socialization classes.

Here is the link to the article:


Canine Influenza-AGAIN

In the first half of 2018, there were several outbreaks of canine influenza throughout Ontario.  These outbreaks were attributed to the importation of dogs from Asia by rescue associations.  This variety of influenza is common in Asia, our domestic dogs have not been exposed to it. Outbreaks were located in (1) Windsor, Essex County, (2)Muskoka (Orillia, Bracebridge, Gravenhurst), (3) Grimsby and (4) Northumberland County.

Sadly, another outbreak of canine influenza was reported in the Muskoka area in mid October.

There is a vaccine available for this influenza and is administered in two doses.  Contact your veterinarian to discuss whether you are in high risk area, travel with your dogs, attend training classes, go to shows etc. and need to vaccinate your dogs.

Two of our current competitive dogs have been vaccinated, however we do have a dog at home who is in compromised health.  There is a slight risk, that I or one of the dogs could “bring home” something from a show that could affect the dog at home.

This is a very fluid, constantly changing situation.  To keep up to date, I check daily with the Worms and Germs Blog from the Ontario Veterinary College:


TUX was critically ill in early September and we seriously contemplated euthanasia.  However, TUX is a “tough dude” and with exceptional veterinary care, fought to keep living.

However, he is back on Prednisone, which compromises his immune system.

We are cautiously optimistic that he may have turned a corner health wise,  but we’re not out of the woods yet.