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Spendthrift Kennels II

American Kennel Club

American Chesapeake Club



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what i do about training Chesapeake bay retrievers

I train Chesapeake bay retrievers

      Are you considering adding a dog to your family? You should know that the more knowledge you have and the more thought you put into your decision, the greater the chances that you will be happy with your decision.  A session prior to obtaining your dog will educate you about what is truly involved in pet ownership, answer any questions you may have (or show you which ones to ask!), and show you what to look for in a quality animal.

picture of girl getting kissed
A good choice! Spendthrift Levi Bull and friend.


      The e-collar can be a wonderful tool when used by an educated trainer. In the hands of the ignorant, it becomes an instrument of torture; there isn’t a faster way to ruin a dog than to use a shock collar without knowing what you are doing. I can help you decide whether you truly need one and are capable of using it correctly, and can help you select the proper model for your situation.

      My hounds, Vernon and Louie, would have been impossible to call back while hunting if not for your long standing dedication and knowledge of the hunting dog’s mindset, and infinite patience with me as their handler. They are the only two in the pack that will come when called, thanks to electronic collar training done correctly. I just laugh when the rest of the guys spend hours chasing their dogs at the end of the day.
Tom Booth
Scottsville, NY

      All programs begin with an evaluation of dog and owner that is one and a half to two hours long. I get a history of both, administer some tests, and begin educating the owner about canine behavior and learning. I render an opinion on what will be necessary to achieve the owner’s goals, explain my training methods, and answer the owner’s questions. The owner can then decide whether he/she wants to pursue training with me; if so, we set up a time for a weekly private lesson which is approximately one hour long. Owners receive written instructions for “homework” to do between lessons, and I can be reached via phone or email during the week to answer any questions that crop up between lessons. Lesson times are available most weekdays and evenings and on Saturdays.
      I place a great deal of emphasis on educating the owner; the dog, after all, already knows how to be a dog, but the owner has to learn to be a trainer. I teach the theory behind the method so that owners can ultimately train any dog to do whatever they wish. I do private lessons rather than classes because it's very difficult to teach a dog in the highly distracting class environment, and the class environment can be disastrous for the timid or aggressive dog. In the private venue I can tailor the program to suit the individual owner/dog team’s learning style and aptitude. The following programs are available to all breeds, including mixed breeds:

Puppy Training: can and should begin as early as 7 weeks, when trainability is at its peak. This program can be oriented toward pet or competitive obedience, personal or competitive hunting dog, tracking, or conformation showing.

Picture of Maya      Picture of thunder a 6 weeks
Spendthrift In The Wind,                          Thunder at 6 Weeks
water entry at 4 months                                                           


picture of diver     cirrus with a duck
Dave Young and Spendthrift                    Cirrus at 3 months            
Diver at 5 months old                                                                   


picture of benji
Spendthrift Benjamin owned by Terry Sullivan
     Being an avid waterfowler and father of twins, I need a good eye to match me with the correct puppy, one that would fit right into my lifestyle. Owning a business with limited time, I need the help of a great trainer to guide me quickly and correctly. I need to have the knowledge to bring me and my puppy together so that we have a good time at home and afield. Sue's eye and method is rewarding for me and my dog. It is a very quick and gentle process. Sue has matched me with my last two dogs. Using Sue's training methods has made training my puppy a very enjoyable time for both myself and my dogs.
Terry Sullivan
Rochester, NY


Pet Obedience: Dogs of all ages require training; it is totally unnatural for a dog to live without rules for polite behavior. This program will show you how to give your dog desirable behaviors to substitute for his normal but undesirable ones, and deal with any problem behaviors such as aggression that your older dog has acquired.

Picture of Great Danes
JR Booth with Juno and Sheala
      Dear Sue, Thank you so much for all you have done for us and our “family”. Coming to you made all our dogs great companions and wonderful citizens. Our two great Danes, Sheala and Juno, as you know have wonderful temperaments, but their size could have made it challenging to take them out into the world with us. Because of your patience with us and understanding with them, I do not hesitate to take them everywhere I go. The training you give the clients enables them to give clear commands so the dogs can understand what we are asking – it truly makes for a genuine partnership. We would never go to anyone but you! Thank you for everything.
JR Booth
Scottsville, NY


The Resch's with Greta and Nitro
      We found out about Spendthrift Kennels from our vet. It was the best thing we could have done. The training involves understanding about dogs’ critical development periods, how and why dogs learn, training using positive reinforcement, and much more. The lessons are one-on-one. The lessons are individualized for the owner and dog (I had no experience, my husband some). Sue gives constructive criticism in each lesson and provides written information sheets with each lesson. Sue is an excellent trainer with much knowledge and experience. She has a great sense of humor and the lessons are also fun. Our dogs have become much better citizens!! We strongly recommend Sue Keroack!
Cheryl and Jeff Resch
Caledonia, NY


picture of  Matt Keroack with chessie
Trainer in the making
Matt Keroack and Cirrus


Advanced/Competition Obedience: some owners discover that they greatly enjoy working with their dogs, and desire to go beyond basic pet training. Some people will do advanced training just for personal pleasure and to achieve off-lead control of their dogs, and some will decide to give AKC obedience trials a try. My program prepares both owner and dog for the ring, since both will be under judgment as a team. The advanced program will also prepare the dog for the AKC CGC test.

Mix bred competition
Team Obedience; Sue and Thunder second from left.


tina and lady Byng
Tina Stevens and UD-CDX Spendthrift Lady Byng,
       I have known and trained with Sue for nearly twenty years, beginning with my first Labrador retriever Sabre. Sue’s unique talents and knowledge of dog behavior and training led us to many amazing achievements, most notably Utility Dog titles in three registries, and being one of the first dog-handler teams in the entire country to earn the coveted Utility Dog Excellent title.
      Training with Sue is not simply showing up for a lesson each week. It is a commitment on your part to become a partner with your dog in whatever you do, and always putting the welfare of the dog at the forefront.
      Many people have approached me at shows and trials asking me whom I worked with, and I was always proud to answer with Sue’s name. They would almost always follow up with, “Now, I want a happy, upbeat dog like yours”.
Tina Stevens
Mumford, NY


Picture of golden jump
Judy Meagher's Gemma


Conformation Showing: this program prepares the owner to show his/her purebred dog in AKC breed competition. It is advisable to either purchase a show quality pup from a reliable breeder, or to have your older dog evaluated to determine that it is within the breed conformation standard before beginning this program.

Picture of storm in the Ring
CH Spendthrft Thunderstorm SHR, WC,WDD


Spaniel Gaiting
Darla Davis's Lucy
      I just wanted to let anyone interested in doing any type of dog training know that their best resource is Sue Keroack of Spendthrift Kennels, and this is the reason why:
      I have been training with Sue Keroack for five years, doing obedience, field training, and conformation. At first I tried what a lot of pet owners do, reading and trying to train my dogs by myself. I had noticed a neighbor doing some obedience with her golden retriever, and started talking about the trainer that she had been using with wonderful results. So feeling defeated in my methods I soon called Sue and made an appointment to start some training. I soon found out that I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT I DIDN’T KNOW!!! Sue trained me to train my English springer spaniels and I found that Sue’s one-on-one training got me the results that I was looking for in just a few weeks. Sue’s trained eye can see that with different dogs there are different ways of getting results. Not every dog is the same and dogs have many different types of temperaments. I have found that after training four different dogs with her Sue can pick up on the slightest difficulties that I would have never seen myself. Sue made me responsible and accountable for my dog’s progress. Many other trainers just want to get through the lesson (most times in a group), and collect the money, you don’t get that special one-on-one treatment that Sue offers. That brings me to my next point, the cost of the lessons is substantially less than everyone else out there.
      I am afraid that this best kept secret in Mumford NY will get out and I won’t be able to get an appointment with any future dogs.
Darla Davis
Le Roy, NY


Tracking: this program prepares the dog/owner team for AKC tracking tests. Both dog and owner should be reasonably fit, and you will need a helper and access to land for training.

pic of cammie
Tina Stevens and Cammie
     Just a note to let you know that one of your past students has blossomed into a titled mutt! Snoopy received his TD in August and we are working on the TDX. He absolutely loves to put that harness on and takes off when you tell him “go find it”! I want to thank you for being very instrumental in this whole process. Without your help in the beginning to get Snoopy on track, we never would have made it this far. You helped us see that he definitely was worth the time and training!
Thank you.
Nancy Fritsh
Rochester, NY


Personal Hunting Dog/Hunt Test Program: many folks have no idea of what a finished hunting dog is, or how valuable it is in the field, or what is involved in training one. This program is designed to prepare any of the sporting breeds for a career as a hunter, and/or participation in AKC or NAHRA hunt tests. Participation in hunt tests is a natural extension of your training, and is a good way to keep your dog fit and his training sharp in the off season. 
      Owners are advised that this program requires the biggest time commitment and the most equipment of any that I teach. In addition to weekly lessons, my hunting dog clients get together for a group session on Sunday mornings. Clients find these sessions very beneficial; they have all the help they need to work on specific problems, have the opportunity to see dogs in different stages of training, and enjoy the camaraderie of folks with similar goals.
      This is some of the most rewarding training you can do with your dog, as my methods aim to produce a true partnership between dog and owner in the pursuit of an activity that both love.

Windy and tom
Tom Frew and Sue's Windy


setter hunting
Augie Tantalo and Maggie
Hi Sue, Maggie wanted you to know that fetch, here, sit, hold and out really work. Thanks to a great teacher, thinking of you in some of our most enjoyable times.
Augie Tantalo
Henrietta, NY


picture of a white chessie
Spendthrift Storm's Legacy and Luke owned by Tom Frew
      I met Susan Keroack eleven years ago. I had purchased, on a whim, a male Labrador. I broke every rule on puppy selection, I’ve since learned from Susan. I bought a dog with poor hunting genetics and even worse medical issues. Susan took an ignorant trainer and a dog with no natural ability and molded us into a team that never failed a hunt test and retrieved a ton of ducks over the years. That dog, Luke, has since retired.
      One summer, after Luke had successfully titled, Sue asked me if I wanted to work with one of her young Chessies. I considered this an honor. Sue thought enough of my developing skills to entrust me with one of her young dogs. Through that experience and the skills I learned from Sue, in six short weeks we developed her Chessie Windy into a titled dog. I have since purchased and bred Chesapeakes from Sue’s kennel. The thrill of the hunt was never as exciting and rewarding as it is now with a well trained, well behaved dog that loves to please. Without the patience, knowledge and skills of Susan Keroack I would have never enjoyed this level of performance as a trainer. I have Sue to thank for bringing me as a dog trainer to this level of performance.
Tom Frew
Le Roy, NY


      To Susan Keroack, who, when a very naïve student brought an eight week old show bred English cocker spaniel to her and said “I want to make her a Junior Hunter”, refrained from saying “Get yourself a REAL hunting dog”, and instead said “Let’s see what she does with this pigeon”.
Thank you!!
Patti Simmons
Honeoye, NY


Sunday training group
Sunday Training Group


Many Thanks to Jeff Frew for his stunning photographs