Sam's Story


 

Like Pat I always get asked how I got started into dogs and training, truthfully my story pretty much consists of random events and good luck.

When I was still living In Belgium, both sides of the family utilized working dogs as part of their everyday life. My father was a Kennel Master for the Belgian Defence Force. It was rare for someone on his side of the family not to serve in the Military and as you can guess some made a career within the working dog stream.

My mothers side of the family have always been into gun dogs and traditional hunting. That still continues on to this day and they have always used the good old German Pointer.

So you could say that dogs run through my families bloodline. So as my family immigrated to Australia in late 80’s I had left the mecca for the some of the best trainers and dogs ever produced.

It wasn’t until my mid 20’s that I really got started in training. The first dog I bought was a German Shepherd called Jack, having no real idea what I was doing I was fighting to get as much information as I could, I joined a couple of local clubs but it wasn’t until my father started training me that my experience began to grow.

As my knowledge gradually grew, so did my desire to put that knowledge into practice. It was at that stage I also realised that I had taken Jack as far as his genetics would let me, and in order for me to move forward I have to find the dog that would allow me to move on to the next level.

It was during this time that I became a dog handler for the Military and received my first Military Working Dog, a Belgian Malinois from Schwarchund Kennels called, Uri.

As I was happy with Uri, I then Spoke to Danny Jagodic from Schwarchund Malinois and purchased another dog named Xantos. I was also fortunate to train with Danny during this time. Over my time I had numerous dogs that came from Danny’s kennels.

I had expected to find all the answers I was looking for through the Military, but to my dismay I found the depth of knowledge within the Military very shallow, including that most of the handler’s considered dog training more of a Job than a passion. As a result I booked a ticket to Europe. I started first off in Belgium and I was extremely lucky to train with Germain Paulwes at his club and attend numerous NVBK competitions, from there I visited various Policing agencies including many different clubs and breeders

I then travelled all the way to the Netherlands where I was fortunate enough to train with Willem Gepken at his KNPV club, it was also during this time that I got to see my first KNPV trial. I was able to train with Jelmer Reep, Kay Odin and Krijn Van Urk, who taught me a lot about young dog development. I was also very lucky to visit the Amsterdam Police Dog Kennels.

K9 Dog Training

After returning to Australia and getting back to work, I went through a little depression with the dogs, I missed Belgium, the Netherlands and all of my family who still live there. But the main reason was that I knew that I was missing out on so much in terms of building forward momentum in my K9 education.

During the next couple of months I was lucky enough to receive Kukay’s Aras KNPV PH1 from Danny and at a later date I was able to acquire Schwarchund Landres. A phenomenal female. It was at this Point that I met my now good friend George Kontos and his legendary Malinois, Sniper, who was the last of the old Dutch/Belgian bloodlines. I began to spend a lot of time training with George, we had very similar concepts on working dogs and worked extremely well together and as a result we conducted numerous trips from Sydney to Melbourne and vice versa . After much research and guidance from our European counter parts we decided to Breed Landres to Sniper. We had extremely good success with that litter. I also returned back to Europe with George for training.

So every two years, work permitting I return back to Belgium and the Netherlands and I have been lucky every time to make new friends and see some spectacular dogs. I’ve now seen a couple of KNPV championships, I’ve also seen various NVBK championships, Mondio Ring competitions and was lucky enough to train in these various programs, whilst being guided by some fantastic mentors.

On my most recent trip I was very fortunate to meet some fantastic individuals and their dogs, people like Corneke and Gijs Bergwerff and their rock star Lion, Andryana Cokic and her international superstar Goliatt, Marcel Aalders and the spectacular Branco, Henk Verbeek with his super quality and highly impressive dogs, one of which I now own (Jack), Jean Lobbinger and the famous Anthrax. Also I have to thank Chris Race in the US for allowing me to use Manni in my breeding program.

I can’t forget the local talent here in Australia like Vendo Vincent, Trevor Williams, Zac Hughes, Justin Bott, Cheyne Cole Mathew Blades and Adam Neild for always supporting the cause and the numerous hours in training. There are many more people to name but I’d be here until Christmas.

I guess I better mention Pat Stuart, It’s been an extreme pleasure working with him, his enthusiasm and ability is second to none.

That’s one thing people need to realise when they start training, you will meet people from all walks of life who no matter their backgrounds will help you on your journey to become a better owner and help you build an unbeatable relationship with your dog(s). At the end of the day we are all one big pack, some of us just take a different a route to get to the den.

So for me dog training and even just spending time with my dogs is an addiction. I live and breathe it every day and look for better ways to improve myself, I talk to everyone and deal with as many trainers as I can, regardless of their background or experience.

At the end of the day, the training is not the important part for me when I work the dogs. That’s a bi-product of my passion and dedication, the main reason for my love of spending time with dogs is that every minute I spend time with them, the world disappears, all my trials and tribulations no longer exist. For that moment in time nothing else exists but me and my best friend and dog GWEN, her dedication, her loyalty and her love cannot be replicated.

For I know that should I ever hit my lowest point, no matter how deep it is or how dark, that my little Meerkat will be there by my side and for her I am her world and for that I owe her everything.

So in short, welcome to the Pack.

Dog Training K9 

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