It seems most folks have an interesting introduction to working dogs… some born into the dogs and the work, others tripping into them somewhere along their path. Dave started with an Australian Cattledog pulled from a shelter in California back in 1998. From there a couple years were spent in ASCA and finally finding Border Collies and the USBCHA in 2006.
At one point or another Dave has worked with almost every top handler and trainer in North America. Lessons, clinics, a lot of analysis, and study. Studying videos became a weekly ritual at one point in an attempt to better understand both dogs and livestock. Dave was also very fortunate to have a few extremely generous individuals mentor and guide him along his path.
In 2009 Dave and Cap, a son of Peter Gonnett’s Moss, first qualified for the USBCHA National Nursery Finals and began running Open. Doing well and placing very high at tough western trials such as Big Willow, Dirt Blowing, and Heppner. Cap taught Dave quite a bit about forward dogs and the advantages of a willing partner.
2012 brought Tip. Son of another great dog, Suzie Applegate’s Buzz. A bit shy on confidence but carrying buckets of try, Tip has become a once in a lifetime dog allowing Tip and Dave to evolve into a wonderful team. They were 9th in the 2012 National Nursery Finals, 5th in the 2013 Region 1 Championship Double Lift, and have placed well in the Double Lift Championship rounds at the 2014 USBCHA National Finals, 2015, 2017, 2018 Meeker Classic, 2015 Soldier Hollow Classic and the 2016 and 2018 Bluegrass Classic. Tip also won the preliminary round of 141 dogs at Meeker in 2014, the semi-final round at Meeker in 2017, and was selected to the team that represented the United States at the World Championship in the Netherlands in July, 2017.
Beyond their success on the trial field, Tip has helped Dave better understand and evolve his training methods towards a basic concept: If a dog isn’t doing what you want then he probably doesn’t understand what you want.
2016 is when Wyatt arrived. A very forward dog with lots of eye and more intensity than all of our other dogs combined. Training often devolved into a test of wills but they eventually came to terms and learned from each other. Enough so that Wyatt and Dave were selected to compete on the 2023 U.S. team heading to Northern Ireland for the World Championships.
With evolving tools to help dogs and handlers better understand the subtleties of communication, Dave’s students are seeing significant progress both at home and on the trial field. We are all looking for that thoughtful dog with the workmanlike attitude… Dave can help you get there.