When my new Boykin Spaniel pup (Pigeon) came along, I wanted to focus her training primarily on upland hunting which I have discovered somewhat later in life. A friend referred me to Todd Agnew at Craney Hill, and the pup and I drove to Mitchell, Georgia planning to begin training immediately. What actually transpired was nothing like I anticipated. Through Todd’s direction, I began to learn that many of my notions of training run contrary to what I hoped to achieve, especially regarding pressure and how the dog perceives it.Through his thoughtful process of training me to train Pigeon,we have methodically laid a foundation that frequently surprises me with how it builds successive steps and skills one upon the other while preserving the enthusiasm and style that make hunting with a flushing dog so much fun. He works us through the inevitable bumps in the road, and continues to raise my standards through better understanding of both training and handling.
At the end of the day it is always obvious that his first priority is the dog, and that he truly wants me to be successful with my dog. We are now having a fun and successful first season. If Todd could only improve my shooting, Pigeon would be a happier dog.
Carl Bundy, NC
If you want to train a Spaniel from A-Z then Craney Hill is the place for you. Starting with a puppy fresh from the litter on through the endless stages of maturity, Todd and Christina will show the way. In the case of my busy dog life, there is much communication with Georgia (a 15 hour drive): questions, listening, pushing and working on solutions to changing issues. They are also my cheerleading squad on trial days! Training my own dogs has completely changed the relentless training routine at home.
The end results, be it shooting grouse or running trials, have gotten better and better. The experience has been nothing short of remarkable.
Betsey Battistoni, Millbrook, NY
I was fortunate enough to connect with Todd when my young english springer spaniel pup Lincoln was just 5 months old. My stated goal was to have a “good hunting dog”. To me, that meant a dog that knew how to find and retrieve birds and listened to commands well enough to avoid being a difficult hunting partner.
What we have accomplished since then and the amount of information I have learned thru untold hours of training and conversation with Todd goes way beyond anything I could have imagined. The level of personal commitment he has made to the development of both me and my dog has been astounding.
If you want to truly understand the foundation of your dog’s training, use that information to build a strong bond with your dog, and then apply all of those things to become a better handler, whether for hunting or field trials (or both), then Todd’s program is for you.
Scott McKillip, GA
It is amazing what a difference three days made in my relationship with my english springer spaniel. Todd Agnew is a no nonsense insightful trainer of both dogs and handlers. For someone serious about hunting or field trials, or just a dog who makes the hunting experience a pleasure, there is no one better.
An added plus, is Christina Power-Agnew's professional photography documenting the seminar experience. The training, camaraderie and new friends made are priceless.
Joan & Minnie
Todd has developed a comprehensive philosophy for spaniel training into which each stage of his program fits perfectly. And I found it remarkable that Todd could cover each stage of training and development in a three day clinic.
Personally, I learned that I need to slow down during my own training sessions and in the progression of my training so that I can focus more on developing the right type of relationship with my dog. Within the first week or two after applying some of what I learned at the clinic, I started to see great results.
Patrick & Keller
To anyone considering Todd Agnew and Craney Hill Kennel as a place to buy or train a Spaniel, I give my resounding endorsement. Todd will make your priorities his priority and return to you a more skilled and disciplined hunter.
Art Fields, Charlotte, NC
I could not be happier with my purchase of my english springer spaniel Riley from Craney Hill Kennel. It is easy to see the value a top trainer creates. As a finished dog, Riley has demonstrated exceptional drive and extraordinary competence in the field. He is indeed a pro. Moreover, Todd’s efforts in my training and Riley’s transition have made the process a pleasure.
Todd and Christina you have my strongest endorsement.
Earl, Mansfield, GA
Todd’s methods for spaniel training get results. My English Cocker Spaniel, Kermit, has spent time with Todd to get some key parts of his training completed. The rest of his training was done (and is still being done) by me. Todd, has been “with me” every step of the way, offering advice and suggesting things to work on at home. The result so far is a very good hunting dog, a Master Level hunt test achiever, and a contender in cocker spaniel field trials. Hopefully, we will soon get some placements and qualify for the National Championship. I believe that we will. On top of all that, Kermit is an excellent family dog and sleeps on the bed every night. Could not be happier with Todd and Christina for the training and support we have received.
I want to emphasize this fantastic experience can be far better described as a grouse “training” camp than solely a grouse camp. While still delivering on all the fine attributes of the latter, such as beautiful grouse habitat and often mischievous camaraderie, there was a focus on training. The value of a solid day of hunting wild birds with Indie while Todd observed was extraordinary. Todd gave me great insight on how to work her as a gun dog versus a hunt test participant. Often the changes he suggested were more about my actions than hers – not unexpected given she was trained by Todd and I was not!
In the end Indie and I had a great time and came away with training goals for next year. We also made a few new friends that we hope to hunt with soon. If you’re lucky enough to get a spot next year – take it.
Richard Lindsay - Boston