By Christopher Long
My name is Christopher Long. I just turned 13 in August 2009. My dog’s name is Muddy River Uncle Buck, or as I call him Bucky, and he just turned 3 on tax day 2009. Bucky is an English Springer Spaniel that came to live with me and my family when he was about a year old.
My dad and I met Emil and Debbie Salmons at the club that we shoot at and it was through them that Bucky came to live with us. Emil and Debbie always encouraged us to train with them. Emil and Debbie were, and are still the reason, that Bucky started running in hunt tests, and I continue to learn about dog training.
We started training with Bucky in April 2009 and were all surprised at some of the things he was able to do in the field, at that time. In May 2009, I ran Bucky in his first junior level hunt test at the West Allis Kennel Club. That weekend Bucky and I qualified both days. On the second day of this event I saw a different side of Bucky. Bucky a dog that used to chase butterflies, was so intense, I will never forget that. Bucky tore up the field that day.
We continued to train Bucky throughout the summer. Our training schedule was Tuesdays morning with Debbie doing general obedience and yard work, to Thursday nights, Saturday mornings, and Sunday mornings in the field. After West Allis we steadied Bucky up. You see Bucky would sit on the flush, but he would break on the shot. We lucked out, because it seemed like it only took a night and a couple of corrections and Bucky became steady.
In June 2009, Bucky and I earned a Working Dog Title at Bong Recreation Center/State Park through a club that my family and I joined called WESSA (Wisconsin English Springer Spaniel Association).
In July 2009, I ran Bucky at the Rock River Kennels in Beaver Dam. It was on this weekend that Bucky and I earned legs three and four for Bucky’s Junior Hunter Title.
During the Summer of 2010, Bucky and I, earned a Working Dog Excellent Title at Bong Recreation Center/ State Park through WESSA.
In May of 2010, through September of 2010 Bucky and I completed legs one through four of the Senior Hunt Test and obtained our Senior Hunter Title. This was the eighth leg in a row that Bucky and I qualified. Bucky and I tried the first leg in the Masters and did not receive a qualifying score on that attempt. This was the first time that we did not qualify. Even though we did not qualify, I was not mad at Bucky or the judges. I just realize that more is expected of Bucky and I in the Masters. This non-qualifying score reminds me that Bucky and I have to practice harder.
My goal still remains to take Bucky from the first leg of his Junior Hunter Title to the final leg of the Master Hunter.
I am proud of my accomplishments that I have made through Bucky. It seems that all Bucky wants to do is make me happy. I have met a lot of very nice people along the way that have helped me with my training. To name a few and most important are my Mom and Dad, Emil and Debbie, Tom and Paula, Jack, Julian, Dave, Tom, Jeff, Jesse, and Jaylee.