Jan 29th

Start to Finish Training - Wilborn Creek Kennels

By Jeffrey

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Fast approaching my 57th birthday, there is not very many things that will have me out of bed before 9:00. Spending time training and hunting Pointers is a sure bet that I will be up and moving before the sun comes up,
out here on the farm. 
What really excites me is starting a 7 week old pup  and watching it develop into a bird dog by its first hunting season. The last six hunting seasons,  I have trained a pup during its first year and hunted all of them their first hunting season. 
These pictures of Talon were taken around her first bithday prior to the Illinois Upland Season. She has been an awesome little pup to train and to watch develop over this past year. I am a dog trainer not a breeder. I purchase my pups from a kennel that has a proven track record for breeding dogs. Good breeding will make an average trainer look good. This pup's grandsire was 2007 Grand National Funseeker Rebel. 
It's been a great year here at Wilborn Creek Kennels. I am looking forward to this training season. I am still looking for a litter of pups to purchase a direct daughter from a Grand National bloodline.
Jan 24th

Were Getting It Done @ Wilborn Creek Kennels

By Jeffrey


After a long training season this past year, it's time to relax and enjoy the outdoors. For me its all about the dog work. I seldom carry a gun at these hunt clubs. This year I was excited to shoot a few birds over these pups I got from a Texas kennel. I wanted to purchase pups that had the best possible breeding, that I could afford for my training and breeding program for my kennel.
I have invested alot of time and money to set up a the kennel building and dog runs, the pups, launchers,e-collars and other equipment needed to train these pointers. My goal for my kennel is to develope new training methods
that will have a Pointer pup trained by its first birthday. We are getting closer each year. If the pup is a natural retriever, this helps shorten the training time considerably. The pups that does not retrieve naturally has been the challenge.
The reward for me is watching these pups develop into bird dogs and hunting their first season. I get a lot of pleasure at these hunt clubs and other hunters when I tell them these dogs are just a year old and this is their first season. 
Jan 9th

Ole Jeffrey and the pups!

By Jeffrey
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    Ole Jeffrey was carring the shotgun on this trip to Quail Country Hunt Club near Vandalia, Illinois. After starting a new job before opening day of the Illinois Upland Season my time to hunt has been very limited this fall. The hunt clubs offer me a chance to get my pups on birds. Sure we hunt the wild birds on the management ground, but I like to hunt the clubs, between trips to keep them on birds. I like to have pheasants put out for these pups. They just fly more like wild birds than the quail.

    We put out 4 birds for each pup. The first part of the season I like to use hobbles on their legs, so the birds can not run. This forces the pheasant to fly. The guys that run the club put the hobbles on for me when they net the birds in their pens. This takes the run out of the birds and keeps the crippled bird from spurring a young pup. This adds an element of control over  the birds . This is just an extention of my training. I also request the type of cover and I always want to be in the field in the morning to eliminate some of the bird, human and dog scent left behind from the previous day. 
    Mike my assistant trainer and I do not handle the birds and I do not like to go in the field when there planting birds. I do not want the pup to associate any of our scent in the area or with the birds when wer'e at the clubs. This is training, not hunting !  
    It's been an awesome year of training here at Wilborn Creek Kennels. Although starting a new job slowed down the wild bird hunting the clubs in Illinois usually stay open to March or April .
Jan 1st

The Pointer's are pointing! - Wilborn Creek Kennels

By Jeffrey



2011 was a good year here at Wilborn Creek Kennels. After being layed off most of the year from a job in the Kitchen Cabinet Business, this allowed me to train almost every day of 2011. I had purchased two pups last winter from a kennel in Texas. This was too good to be true.
As with most things, it all came to an end just prior to opening day of our Illinois Upland Season. I was offered a supervisor position at a printing company not far from my home. Hunting season would be limited to just the weekends this season.
The pups were taken to Sandy Run Hunt Club last weekend where both pups pointed three birds. Five birds were flushed,four birds were shot and one missed. I did not carry a gun during this hunt.
Monday we're heading to Quail Country Hunt Club with these pups. I am planning on doing the shooting carring my new Stoger's Over/Under  and Mike my  assistant trainer will be filming and taking pictures of this hunt.
Will finish the season on wild birds. Upland Season ends January 15 in the Illinois (south) zone. Not exactly the season I planned but we're making the best of what we been offered.
Dec 20th

Tune-up Your Pointer – Wilborn Creek Kennels

By Jeffrey

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Ole Copper had been in his kennel most of the summer waiting for November 5, opening day of the Illinois Upland Season. Like most of you I like to get my dogs tuned up for the upcoming season. If you train your dog using the "POWER STEERING"  technique this is just a simple matter of planting some birds, strapping on the two collars and heading to the field.
These pictures were taken a few weeks ago, in my training field prior to his 5th season opener. He was trained and hunting his first season just before his first birthday. He retrieved naturally his first season, but only delivered to hand half of the time. I forced fetched him after season was over. Although Copper is wearing the two collars, I seldom need to use them. The advantage of teaching the pups with this method is you can go back at anytime in the dogs life to correct any bad habits or re-enforce any commands. I formally train my pups in the yard kennel,here,heel whoa. I train the pup to turn on the word "HO" and I use their name to control range  using a bending technique. Once they are formally trained in the yard until they are 85% ,then I start avoidance training taking the commands to 98%. I also teach my pups to come to my voice at 7-8 weeks old in the small training field.With the whoa command, the voice command and the stimulation on the belly means the same thing. The stimulation on the belly becomes the comand to whoa. I use low level stimulation and increase the level if needed.

By using this technique you can stop the dog without using your voice to control the dog in the training field. The pup will not associate the stimulation with you. I get more positive results when using the e-collar to control the pup when introducing them to birds. I continue to use the voice command and the whoa command, think as the stimulation of the e-collar on the belly as a cue for the dog to whoa. The reason this works is that the only command that you  re-enforce on the belly is whoa. The neck collar you are giving several commands and reenforcing them all on the neck.  The command is the cue for here, kennel,heel re- enforced on the neck. How many times have you heard dog owners yelling "whoa" "whoa" and "whoa" to their dogs and their dogs just will not stop?I have also seen owners and trainers give the dog a cue by voice like whoop woop and then whoa. If I give my dogs a command "WHOA"  here at Wilborn Creek Kennels that means they better turn into a statue until I tap them on the head twice, to release them. This technique is for getting the pup started the Wilborn Creek Way. You can not take an older dog that has no foundation in this method and think this will work !  
Oct 29th

English Pointer with options.

By Jeffrey



We have emptied the pheasant and the quail flight pens yesterday preparing the dogs for the Illinois Upland Season. One johnie house full of young quail for the front training field and a few dozen pigeons still in the coop will be the only birds carried over the winter at Wilborn Creek Kennels this year.

This will be "Copper's" fourth hunting season, this fall. He is truely one of the best dogs I have ever trained or owned. He has been pointing quail since the first week at Wilborn Creek Kennels. He was the fourth pup I trained with my training program. He is the only pup the exceeded my expectations !
As you can see in the picture from yesterdays training "Mr. Copper" is wearing two e-collars, what I call running with power steering ! He has been trained to heel,kennel,here,and whoa in the yard work at around starting at 18 weeks. Once obedience training was around 85 % I start avoidance training with the e-collar.
Mike my assistant and I planted pheasants and quail in the training field yesterday to empty out the pens  and to prepare the dogs for the opening of the Illinois Upland Season. With my training method you can easily correct any problems by running the dogs with power steering. The dog  is taught the four commands and learns to avoid the stimulation of the e-collar by complying to the command when given. If the dog refuses low level stimulation comes on. The dog knows how to shut off the stimulation by complying to the command.
Copper has been kenneled for most of the year. We have been working him for a few weeks now on live birds. Yesterday was just one of those training days. He was excited to get out of his kennel. I attatched a lead to his collar and straped on the two e-collars. As we walked at heel he was pulling on the lead. I commanded heel and held down the button on the e-collar until he walked along side me at heel and stopped pulling. We reached the training field and I released him say "hunt em up". He found the bird in short order. I had both transmitters in my hands waiting to see what he was going to do. He was locked up. Mike walked past him and I was ready with the e-collars in case he broke. The pheasant in the DT launcher was making a lot of noise in the trap,and he did not even flinch.  If he had of broke point I would have hit the continuous stimulation button on e-collar on the belly until he stopped. No yelling Whoa, Whoa,Whoa ! The dog has been trained to hold point, if he breaks low levels stimulation comes on and the dog stops !  The stimulation has become a non-verbal command, sure I could have used a voice command but by using the e-collar the dog does not associate the correction coming directly  from me. 
I attatched a chech cord on his collar in case he broke on the flush. I triggered the remote and launched the bird. I steadied Copper, and commanded fetch. He did a good job marking the big rooster down. He ran out scooped the bird up and headed back with the bird. He was about 10 feet away and he dropped the bird. I immediatly turned on continuous low level stimulation he picked it up and delivered it to hand. The next bird we shot he delivered to hand with no problem. Because Copper was forced fetched with an e-collar, when the stimulation came on he picked the bird back up to shut off the stimulation. Why did he drop the bird? It really does not matter, the point is here I was prepared to make the correction without up setting the dog and move on. 
This training session went really well. Sure the dog made a few mistakes, but was corrected and we moved on. In the excitment or the heat of the moment I was able to control the situation without getting upset myself and by controling the dog with the e-collar I was able to correct the problem without the dog being upset.
In closing: in the past I have used two e-collars that were controlled by there own transmitter. This was quite a endevor making sure you had the right transmitter to control the right  e-collar. Both my e-collars were made the same so it was hard to know which transmitter you had unless you checked the label on the transmiter before you used it.
 I decided to purchase a new E-collar Unit that was made to run two dogs. This way I can put the black collar on the neck and the orange collar on the belly and control  both collars with one transmitter. The transmitter is a special two dog unit the has a orange button and a black button on the side to control each collar. It has a rheostate dial to control 127 levels of continuous or momontary stimulation. I have not seen a company offer or advertise an e-collar that was made to run a dog with a two collar set up using one transmitter to control each collar. How many times have you heard or 
or read about running a dog with POWER STEERING ? Make a mental note here, when your reading this, that ole  Jeffrey  on UUL, a trainer from Illinois, started using this techique in 2005 as part of his Pointer Training Program. Time will tell whether this becomes a cutting edge training training method. I am waiting to see if the the e-collar companies start an advertisng campaign running a dog with two collars !
Remember" FORD'S" first cars did not come off the assembly line with power steering. Power steering was added years later to make handling and controlling the vehicle easier on the driver. Back then you had a choice power steering or manual steering ?
The seeing eye dog program proved that old methods of training could be improved by 74% by replacing old training methods that were based on physical development and replacing them with new training methods that were based on mental development. This changed everything in training world! It's your choice how you train your dog. You can be sure my pointers will have power steering installed during there training, to make training go easier,faster and produce a dog that is a pleasure to hunt over !
Oct 22nd

Pointer's - Come With Power Steering !

By Jeffrey

Wilborn Creek Hollow Point aka "Hollow" at Wilborn Creek Training Facility

The work is about over for the year and the fun is about to begin as the Illinois Upland Hunting Season is about to begin in just a few weeks.  Hollow is starting to develope a little style when pointing. I have been ask several times this past month about running my dogs with two e-collars. I tell people that I refer to this as running the dog with what I call: Power Steering !

The pup has been through obedience training in the yard for kennel,heel,here,and whoa. I show the pup what each command means until they understand each command. I then start avoidance training in the yard.
This is done with an e-collar on low continous stimulation. The pup learns to avoid stimulation by preforming the command given. The stimulation on the neck for kennel,heel,here,and Ho. Ho is the command I use to teach the dog pattern work. The pup learns to turn on the command Ho. This is started on a long check cord in the training field and transferred to the e-collar. Whoa is taught on the goal post board and a whoa box. I made a special leather harness that is used in teaching whoa. The goal post board,the whoa box and the harness have replaced  the whoa post in my training program. The collar on the belly is only used for the whoa command. Avoidance training
when finished, will give you the contol needed in the training field. I do not allow my pups to chase gamebirds. They naturally point before 10 weeks old. I pull them off birds when the associate bird scent to the birds. This is the key to  knowing when to pull them off birds. I then start obedience training followed by avoidance training. 
Once obedience and avoidance training is finished you are ready to go back to the training field armed with the  control necessary to train the pup. I do not have to wait on the pup to staunch and learn that he can not catch birds.
I formally teach the pup point and hold point. Remember the pup naturally pointed and held point at around 10 weeks. When he started to break point we pulled him off birds. Why would you want to let the pup learn to chase and break point, only to have to break them of it latter. Most trainers would agree that it is easier to train a command than to break a behavior ! Now armed with the commands and the ability to contol the pup, you can formally teach the pup that you want.
The running the pup on POWER STEERING is just a continuation of the pups formal training. All the commands the pup has been taught can be reinforced in the field. The pup learns by showing the pup what you want and associating this with a command. By repetition of the command,it will become a behavior. By using the "POWER STEERING" technique your able to reinforce all the commands in the field  consistantly over a period of time, until they become a behavior.
This new rapaid very aggressive,fast paced training program is based on a pups mental development, not there physical developement as old methods were based. The pup is formally taught all commands in the yard, followed by avoidance training. The natural ability of the pup to find,point and hold gamebirds is never compromised by allowing the pup to chase birds, only to have to break them later as they get older. This takes far less time to train your pup in this manner than to allow the pup to chase birds until they learn they cant catch them, start flash pointing and can be staunched.     
Oct 15th

Saving the best for last !

By Jeffrey
I was driving through the country towards home when I saw a couple of birds out in the picked bean field. I was suprised when I slowed down that they were two pheasants,both roosters. I had been seeing small groups of birds on my farm this year while mowing and driving home yesterday a young rooster crossed the road and as we passed by, took flight and headed for cover.

Last spring, when driving to work I  was seeing several roosters displaying for hens in another sections of farm ground a long over grown railroad track.
 We have been seeing more birds here in Central Illinois the past several year.

Several articles have been written the past few years about the increase of pheasants numbers in Illinois due to the lack of young hunters coming into the sport and the benifits of farming practices going to no til methods of farming.
Personaly I do not care about the reasons why were seeing more birds, but I sure am enjoying the opportunity to chase these birds again as we did when we were much younger.
 I killed my last limit of wild pheasants in 1972. After hunting all morning with a friend without seeing any birds, I decided to eat lunch and hunt an area near my home. We lived on the edge off town, so I grabbed my gun and headed to a picked corn field that had a grass waterway winding through the middle, of most of this property. I walked along the back edge the border the management ground when two birds flushed several hundred yards in front of me. I continued in the direction of the flush and came to where the grass waterway started in the corner of the field and ran across the middle of the corn field. I was just starting into the grass when the first rooster flushed from the cover offering me a nice right to left crossing shot. The first shot dropped the bird from the sky. Finally after carrying  the double barrel 20 guage most of the day, I was able to pull the trigger on a Illinois Pheasant. I picked the bird up with my left hand and carried my gun in the other. I started walking accross the field along the grass waterway that led back to the road I would take back home. I was so satified with killing just this one bird, I did not even think about killing a second bird.Instead of putting the bird in my vest, I just carried it.I was so tired from walking all day, I just wanted to get back home. I was half way across the field when the second bird flushed offering me a close shot. I dropped the first bird and pulled the gun to  my shoulder and pulled the trigger on the flushing rooster. I would like to be able to tell you how, I pulled the gun  up to my shoulder , made a smooth swing,pulled the trigger and  had perfect followed through, but the truth is it all happened so fast the bird was falling before I regained my composier. 
37 years have past ! In the last 6 years after going back to my roots pheasant hunting, I have taken several limits of birds over my dogs in Illinois. I remember someone telling me life begins at 50. Who am I to argue.

This season looking to be a good one. Lots of birds close to home, 2 finished dogs to hunt and two pups one 60 weeks and the other 45 weeks that are finishing there force training ready for there first hunting season. As a bonus we have been locating new areas that hold quail the past few years. We try to get the dogs on these coveys and shoot a few birds on the first flush. We seldom try to relocate singles or small groups of birds from these coveys, leaving them for future hunts.

In our state, being able to see these birds numbers increasing and having the opportunity to shoot a few of these wild gamebirds over my Pointer's this fall, is an awesome gift from our maker. I had to wait fifty years for my life to begin, just to get to this point !  I think Illinois has got to be one of the last states to start there Upland Season, to be honest, I am jealous reading all your posts on UUL , I personally hope they saved the best for last,  this fall !  Now that I have reached senior citizen status and after starting my life at 50 a few years ago, I am now 55, soon to be 56, I feel I earned it,  you just dont know how many years a guy  at my age will have left ! If your around my age, you know what I mean, If your younger your time will come !  All kidding aside, have a great season from  jeffrey @ Wilborn Creek Kennels ! 
Oct 8th


By Jeffrey

Wilborn Creek Black Talon aka "TALON"

The determining factor to whether you need to force fetch is, will your pup retrieve a downed bird. If the pup will retrieve a bird to hand, you will probably will not be reading this blog.
There are some breeds that retrieve better than others. The English Pointers may not be the best choice for a retrieving breed. In my last six pointers 1 naturally retrieved downed birds the  first hunting season. Some were delivered to hand, some dropped a few feet away. 
There can be many reasons that you would want to consider force fetching a pup.They might not delivery to hand, they may not retrieve at all, they may not be willing to pick up a bird, and on one occasion a lab pup was brought to me because the owner throw a plastic dummy out for the pup to retrieve, and when the pup picked up the dummy one of his baby teeth cut his gum open and she refused to pick up another dummy. This was a high dollar lab pup that was started in the hunt to retrieve hunt tests and was to be used for waterfowl hunting.
Some folks may not care if there pup retrieves downed birds, as long as they can find and hold gamebirds for the owner. Its really a personal preferance. If my clients were happy, I was happy. 
As a trainer I want my dogs finished. I want my dog to heel into the field, start hunting on the hunt em up command, hunt close, some I train to run a criss-cross pattern and other learn to hunt on there own, stay in range, come in when called, find, point and hold the point until I release them to either relocate or fetch the bird. I want them steady to wing and shot. 
With that being said not all dogs are capable of everything listed above. As a trainer one must relize that if you over train a pup past it capabilities your dog may not be able to handle the pressure. A soft pup that is apprehensive may start out chasing gamebirds rather than point. If you put to much pressure on this pup to hold point, you could end up with a dog that blinks birds.
 That is the reason I am developing a new upland training program for my kennel. Old methods that were based on phyical development instead of  mental developement . The old methods were based on the best thinking at the time-(trible knowledge) that had been passed on through the generations. The foundation of my training program is based on the work of Dr J Paul Scott and his work for the Seeing Eye Dog Program .
The seeing eye dog, probably receives the most rigorous training program of any dog out there.They changed there training methods based on mental
 developement and  improved there training  program by 74 %.
This new way of thinking based on data from the Seeing Eye Dog Program is cutting edge when it comes to upland dogs, but is nothing new to the Retrieving Dog World. The  foundation of my upland training program has been developed based on the mental developement of how a dog learns. 
I have been working on my upland program for almost 6 years now. This past year I have shared video and insight on some of my work on UUL. My goal for my kennel of taking a pup from start to finish by the pups first hunting season. I was able to video almost all of my training sessions with two pups this year documenting their progress.
Because of this new way of thinking goes against all old traditional methods of training, it has become very controversial ! Dog people who have based there training and thinking on physical develope all this time, will defend there ideals without a doubt. Its has worked for them in the past and people in general just do not like change !
 For every action, remember there will be a reaction and the outcome  may not be what you want. This  follows along with the idea that its easier to train a command than to correct a behavior. A pup that is well bred may carry some great qualities but lack a few. Realize that sometimes it better to settle for what you have, than to force the issue and take a chance that the pup will be lost.
When it comes to force fetch training realize that there will be pups that will not benifit from the forced retrieve. I have a pup that will retrieve a dummy
in the yard all day long. I formally trained her on live birds on the force fetch table. She was one of the first pups to go throught my new training program.
When we shot birds over her for some reason she refused to pick up a bird. She would run to the bird and sit down. She was collar trained during the force fetch process but no way would she pick up the bird. When you put pressure on her she just folded up in a ball. I started back on the table with live pigeons and pheasants but she refused to retrieve downed birds in the field. We did not loose any birds, because she was always sitting by the downed bird. It was a real shame, to have a pup finished, even steady to wing and shot but refused to pick up a bird.Almost everything I tried seemed to have the oppsite outcome that I wanted. She was part of a pair that the littermate retrieved so I made the decision to be satified with the way she was.
The force retrieve when done correctly has no negitave effect on your pup. It will teach the pup once and for all that you're the boss. Your pup will be much easier to handle and it will help you in all aspects of your training. You will teach the pup to handle live birds and be able to correct problem before they happen in the field. It is the last step in my training program before going to the field work. After many years of teaching Labs to retrieve with the ear pinch, I now feel the toe pinch is far superior to the ear pinch, for several reasons. The pup will always turn towards the pressure. If you pinch the ear the pup will naturally turn towards the ear you are pinching. When pulling on the string for the toe pinch the pup will naturally move foward towards pressure on the toes. This makes it easier to place the force fetch dummy in the pups mouth when it opens to start the process. The second thing it is easier to control the amout of pressure because you have to only pull the string opposed to holding the ear and the collar. I used a shot gun shell wrapped in the ear while holding on the collar when I used the ear pinch. I designed a velcro wrap with a D-ring sewn in the middle and connect the rope to the D-ring. At the end of the rope is a powerball that will keep the rope from slipping through your hand when pressure is applied. Pictures on UUL in ( training tools video).
I met a trainer that used the ear pinch method for his dogs without transfering the dog to the e collar. He thought he did not have the experance with an e-collar to use one. If the dog refused to pick up the retrieve he would walk out to the pup and pinch the ear. The problem with this is the pup needs to be corrected with in a few seconds after a refusal. The e-collar is the only tool I know that can do this.
While we're talking about e-collars, I teach my pups the basic commands here, heel, kennel, whoa, ho and range. I never correct my pups with my hands. I teach my pup these commands by showing the pup what I want them to. I use several pieces of equipment to accomplish this. At the same time I am showing the pup what I expect, I am teaching the pup cues for each command. These cues stimulate the area the pup will eventually be stimulated by the e-collar. I teach obedience commands followed by avoidance training with the 
e-collar. All this is accomplished in the yard work. The equipment is used to teach a pup faster, without misinterpretation and limiting the pup ability to make a mistake.
For the first half of the pups first hunting season I run them  with what I refer to as:  "POWER STEERING". One e-collar on the neck and one e-collar on the belly. The pup has been collar conditioned for heel,here kennel, ho, fetch and for range with the e-collar on their neck. The pup has been collar conditioned for whoa with the collar on the belly. I seldom use either collar because the pup has been thoroughly trained in the yard and the field prior to his first season. I usually have my hunting partner shoot the birds while I focus on the pup. 
When tranfering from the toe pinch to the e-collar I use low continuous  stimulation. I command fetch, push the continuous button,pull the rope. When the pup takes the dummy release the pressure and release the stimulation. The pup already knows how to shut off the pressure of the toe pinch by taking the dummy on the fetch command. With reputition the pup will tranfer the toe pinch to the e-collar. When I start only using the e-collar I like to have the wrap still on the pup as a cue to make the process easier for the pup. The rope will get in your way, so I either take the rope off , using that wrap or have a second wrap. The pup will feel the same pressure of the wrap on it leg, but the rope will not get in your way.This will help the pup make the connection easier when you start using the e-collar without the toe pinch. 
The e-collar can now be used with the force fetch dummy. I start having the pup holding a plactic piece of pvc with duck tape aroud the middle so it wont slip while the pup is holding it, I use a canvas dummy,a knobby plastic dummy and a wooden buck that has the center dowel with 3-4 inch blocks on the ends so the pup can pick it up off the table. I then let the pup move up and down the table picking up the buck. When you go to live birds you will need to go back to the toe pinch. The pup will usually not take a bird the first time. The e-collar on low will not be enough force to make the pup take the bird. If you turn up the intensity on the e-collar you run the risk of upsetting the pup. The increase will interupt the pups consentration and cause panic. Much eaiser to go back to the toe pinch.
I go to a ground stake and a four foot check cord with a snap to start the pup retrieving on the ground with a forch fetch dummy. When thats going good I start the pup on a 12 ft check cord throwing the dummy first 2 feet then three feet and then four feet. I switch to dead birds,then locked wing pigeons until the pup is reliable. Then to the training field to shoot birds over the pup. When done correctly, the force fetch training can be a great training tool in your training program. It's not a cure all for all pups, just a training tool to add to your traing program.