The Long Winter is Over…

and the silence is broken!  Sorry for the lack of updates over the long, cold winter, but updating the website took a back seat to a personal loss.  My wonderful Uncle Mike (Michael H. Helberg) passed away in January after a long series of health battles.  Uncle Mike was one of a kind and lived his life to the fullest, leaving nothing left undone.  His generosity, thirst for knowledge, love of people and zest for life made him larger than life.  It was like someone sucked the air out of the room when he left us.  We all miss him greatly.

Mitch, Kyle and the dogs had a fantastic winter down in Clermont, Florida, made doubly wonderful by the fact that I was able to join them and bring my mare, Stone.  We have loved every minute of our time here.  We would like to sincerely thank Wayne and Sharon Gey for their friendship and hospitality.  We are blessed to know you and count you among our friends.

Stay tuned.  I will be posting a long list of brags starting with some hunt test accomplishments and continuing with our great showing at the 2015 Flat-coated Retriever Society of America’s National Specialty.

Early Christmas Presents at the IX Shows

Santa came to the IX center in Cleveland and he was very good to Gamekeepers!  Alex, CH Gamekeepers Big Red 1 SH, earned his CH plus his first GCH points – a 4 pt GCH Major.  Chick, CH Gamekeepers Boom Chicka Wow Wow JH, finished her CH.  Bode, Gamekeepers Double Black Diamond JH WCX, earned his second Major and Cal, GCH Gamekeepers Iron Man CD RA JH WCX, turned in two brilliant Novice B performances (198 1/2 and a 198).  What great way to end the year!

Thanks and an extra Merry Christmas to our fantastic owners and their fantastic dogs Linda and Rob O’Leary (Alex), Ray and Eloise Girt (Bode) and Deanna German and Ed Zawodny (Cal) and to our extraordinary handlers Bryana Pierce and John Benoit.

Chick and Bode Show Ring Success!





After their successful debut in the field this Fall, Chick and Bode are now tearing it up in the show ring.  Thanks to our good friend Bryana Pierce.  Chick has been “in the purple” every weekend she has been out and her brother Bode is not lagging far behind.   Maybe Santa will bring some new Champions for Christmas?

Chick is Gamekeepers Boom Chicka Wow Wow JH and Bode is Gamekeepers Double Black Diamond JH WCX.  Bode is owned by Ray and Eloise Girt and he is their first performance dog.  Chick and Bode are two years old and are out of Ruff, GCH Flatford Ruffles and Flourishes WC and Dazzle, CH Gamekeepers Black Diamond  CD MH WCX.

Montverde, FL Blind Workshop Now Open for Entries!

MitchOverThe Blind Workshop is coming to Florida in February and is now open for entries.  This workshop is being presented to help handlers succeed in training and running better blinds.  The focus of this workshop will be solely on blinds and will only utilize marks as influence for blinds.  During each of the three (3) days, working teams will perform various drills to improve lining, casting and handling on blinds.  In addition, multiple types of blinds will be run each day.  Blinds will be run that represent different levels of difficulty and each blind will be rated so that handlers may chart their progress during the seminar.

Complete details and registration information, as well as a listing of other programs being held throughout the year,  can be found in the premium on our Schedule of Upcoming Workshops and Seminars page.  We look forward to seeing you there!

4 Day Training Workshop – July 2-5, 2015

Bliss03TNLogSMWe have some exciting changes for the 4 day workshop this year. First, we are taking it on the road. This year the 4 day will be hosted by Clint and Sherie Catledge at the fabulous Bear Country Retrievers training grounds. If you have not been there, it is a must visit place for retriever trainers. It is truly a training mecca.

Second, we have updated the program to combine the “Best of Mitch” (drills, concept training and his ability to problem solve on the fly with you and your dog) with the best elements of his set up seminar. See premium for details. This is going to be a great program!

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THIS PROGRAM ALWAYS SELLS OUT IMMEDIATELY. Do not hesitate if you want a working spot. Auditors are encouraged and we are offering them the opportunity to participate in the set up discussion. In auditors will be designing the final set up on day 4.

New OTCH Flat-coat!



We are so incredibly proud to announce that Deb Zirwas and Rou earned their OTCH on November 1st.  This is Gamekeepers first OTCH dog and we couldn’t be more pleased!  Deb is a first time Flat-coat owner and she found the perfect teammate in Rou.  Their next adventure together is going to be completing her JH which is the next stop toward making Rou eligible for the FCRSA Hall of Fame.

Rou is U-UD OTCH Gamekeeper’s Up the Ante OM4 UDX4 RE GO AX MXJ NF WC ASCA CDX CGC VFCR1.  She is out of our breeding of Remie (CH Bear C’ntry Hob-B Reminiscent MH WCX)  to Ace (CH HR Amani’s Top Gun MH WCX).

Photo Credit – © 2014 American Kennel Club

New Grand Champion!

GCH Gamekeepers Prince Charming RN JH

GCH Gamekeepers Prince Charming RN JH

Prince Charming earned his Grand Championship with ease, winning his final point in Indiana on Sunday, Oct. 26th.  We are very thankful to Lisa Bettis and Ryan Wolfe for showing him to perfection and taking such great care of our boy.

Prince Charming is coming home to mature a bit more before returning to the show ring for a specials career.  He is going to spend this winter working on his Senior Hunter title.  We are so proud of him!

UPDATE – Hold the Dates!

Mitch has some exciting workshops and seminars in the planning stages for 2015.  Keep an eye out for program dates and locations.  Details and premium lists will be on our Upcoming Workshops and Seminars page as soon as they become available and are open for entry.  Looking forward to helping you achieve success in 2015!

The details and premium for our two day workshop in Blooming Prairie, MN are now posted.  Working spots are limited to 14.  Don’t miss out!

NSDTRC National Specialty

AKC/NSDTRC USA CH Honeyrun Patriot Games SH WCI

AKC/NSDTRC USA CH Honeyrun Patriot Games SH WCI

Last weekend was all about Tollers.  Mitch chaired the field events for the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club’s National Specialty.  The weather was perfect, the dog work great, and the judge’s fantastic.  Thank you to Melissa Savage who chaired the 2014 National, a herculean task we know! Thank you to our field judges Patty McCabe and Tom Manion (BRT), Ed Zawodny and Leslie Phillips (WC) and Joe Smithberger and Bob Bush (WCI/WCX)

No event of this size can go on without great workers.  Thanks to all who helped out, but a special shout out to Patty’s husband Rob for pitching in and to Beckie Swetlic for marshalling.  We would also like to thank Thunder Equipment for their generous donation and Presque Isle RC for the loan of their equipment.

Mitch’s own Toller, Hollywood, dusted himself off, put on his show clothes and got a placement in the 7-9 Veteran class.  Thank you to Bryana Pierce for making him look so good.  After the show, Hollywood went out and got down and dirty in the field and earned his WCI.

Brags from a Happy Seminar Student.

We just love hearing from our happy clients and students.  Thank you so much Marcie and continued success with your dogs!

A new MH, a new SH and a New JH!

A new MH, a new SH and a new JH!

“Hi Mitch,

Just wanted to share this season’s successes and thank you for your training program and valuable feedback during the 2 seminars I attended this year. Your program and feedback enabled me to refine my program and gave me some new drills to use that furthered and enhanced their progress.  Gidget just earned her SH in 3 weeks passing 4 tests in a row!  And, all 3 of my dogs completed the “Hunt Test Trifecta”, completing their titles in less than 4 months:

Bruiser, MH, Gidget, SH, Echo, JH

They were all owner bred, trained and handled!

Marcie Baer, MAc, LAc, CNC”