The 504 acre historic farm was founded by one of the first wagon trains to cross the plains and settle adjacent to the Missouri River. Located 21 miles south of the Bismarck airport, Glencoe Farms and the Kennel (GF&K) is a special place. It’s our commitment to preserve the native habitat and train the worlds finest hunting English Cockers. To these ends, we’ve planted 21,000 trees, placed over 200 acres in CRP grasslands, planted over 50 acres of food plots, raised thousands of pheasants and managed to train 39 (9/2011) English Cocker Field Trial Champions (having bred 12 of those).
While we are proud of GF&K, don’t make the mistake of thinking these accomplishments come without commitments of time, effort and disappointments. Living on the plains we’ve learned simple pleasures and hard work. We believe these same principles develop good dogs, one at a time. That, and a great sense of humor! The key to fine hunting dogs is breeding, training and selectivity.
We have developed a theory about breeding which revolves around the principle of only breeding dogs we’ve trained. Based on British tradition, this simple cornerstone, often overlooked, gives us the opportunity to evaluate natural talents, bidability, and genetic interaction. Simply stated, when you work with the dogs on a daily basis, you begin to notice good ones from bad, quick learners from slow, bidable rather than dishonest ones. We do have a high degree of “wash-outs” which are suitable for the average hunter and others that go to “pet homes”.
While we grant most Cocker breeders agree with the above principle, the fact is they probably only have 2 or 3 Cockers in their kennel. Therefore, their measure of excellence is limited, especially if they do not compete in Field Trials. The neophyte to the Cocker Breed should be warned that many of the articles published in Sporting Magazines feature people that have not trained Cockers or have even attended a Field Trial. Further, with the addition of AKC Licensed Hunt Tests granting non-competitive titles to spaniels has dimensionally clouded an already complicated issue. If you are interested in a hunting Cocker, you must ignore all Hunt Test Titles and get a Cocker from Field Trial lines.
To this end, we encourage prospective clients and current training clients to visit us. While you are at GF&K, we will familiarize you with handling your dog, how to use a whistle, what you can expect your dog to do and how to train at home. We are clean (suitable for wives) and pretty much make you work all day long. Only the dogs get luxury accommodations.
Our indoor kennel is approximately 3,000 square feet containing 18 runs which are used at night and in inclement weather. Outdoors, we have eight exercise pens of approximately 25 yards by 25 yards, 2 additional exercise pens of approximately 25 by 50 yards and two concrete runs at least 12 x 35. The dogs do not stay in their indoor kennel runs often featured at other training facilities and only taken out for their daily training. In the morning, we take all of the dogs to the outdoor runs (weather permitting) in groups of 4 to 6. While they are in the outdoor runs, they are allowed to run, dig and play at will. In other words, to act and respond like dogs were meant to do in nature.
The first thing we do in the morning is to take our dogs on what we call “The Morning Walk. We try to include every dog in the kennel and sometimes have as many as 35 dogs along with us. The first half hour of the walk the dogs are allowed to run at will so long as they stay with the group. We then initiate some obedience work as we return. The walk always lasts over an hour and often will be as long as 2 hours or more. We are not sure if this releases their tension, or ours, but they seem to know the difference between training times and just plain fun.The dogs are then returned to the pens to loaf for the remainder of the day except when they are being trained.
Feeding at GF&K is also different from most other kennels. We don’t put a bowl of food into their run, but feed from a trough, in a community. Often we spend over two hours feeding and playing with the dogs. This is a very special, private time at the kennels and we don’t encourage visitors during feeding times. The dogs need love and attention and this is when we give each dog a little special time.
Once a month, a vet from Missouri Valley Veterinary Clinic visits our kennel and does a check up on the dogs. Each dog is given protection from Heart Worm (Ivomec), Ticks (Frontline), shots updated, ears and teeth checked and general health evaluated. If our dogs are to travel, we evaluate inoculations for Lyme Disease. Before we will accept your dog for training, we do require all shots, including Kennel Cough, are current and records made available to us from a qualified vet. Included in your charges for training will be a $40.00 per month for Veterinary Services.
If you train field dogs, you soon find you need to raise training birds. Our training birds include pheasant, quail, chukkar, partridge and pigeons. We currently have a 30,000 egg incubator, a 30 x 60 brooder barn for pheasant, a 90 x 40 barn for pheasants and two 45,000 foot flight pens for pheasants. We have three quail release pens that house over 100 birds each. Chukkar are purchased and housed in two separate quarters. Currently, we raise over 75 pigeons in two separate facilities. Fortunately, the grouse are wild as well as rabbits, turkey, ducks and geese. We hunt Cockers on all of the above, except turkey.
North Dakota is known as farm land, but we have an area of approximately 20 acres that is heavily wooded. We also have several areas of varied crop land bordered by trees. The Glencoe Creek, which runs through our land is a gentle to very steep natural terrain offering another challenging hunting opportunity for us to train within. Finally, the Glencoe Hills, similar to grouse areas found in Scotland, give us several thousand acres of natural brush, small trees and glens. All in all, the dogs are exposed to many varied hunting scenarios in any given day.
We believe in various routine training “games” for long retrieves, marking game, hand signals, multiple birds, and honoring (allowing another dog to retrieve the bird). While some of these exercises are used primarily for field trial events, we believe they are of benefit to the general hunter. They also are used to create a general diversity in our training routine which we believe benefit the personality of a Cocker. Please see our Training Tips.
As is a general run down of the activities at GF&K, we ask you to refer to our statistics or results for the dogs trained by our kennel. In addition, we are proud to state we received the Emmons County Conservation Award for 2000 in North Dakota. This conservation award acknowledges the outstanding farm which has demonstrated exemplary efforts to preserve wildlife habitat and conservation practices. During the awards ceremony, it was noted that our efforts surpassed our closest competitor by over 10 times.