“In my veterinary practice, I occasionally see dogs with significant behavioral issues. After I met Sonny, my first opportunity to refer a behavior case to him was in the form of a “meat grinder” Cocker Spaniel named Trucker. Trucker was impossible to touch much less examine in my clinic. He was also a problem at the groomer’s and even at home with his owners.
I finally convinced Trucker’s owner to seek help at Hay Creek Kennel when I learned that her grandchildren were coming to live with her. Sonny worked with Trucker and his owner over two separate weeks last spring and summer.
I recently saw Trucker for the first time since Trucker and his owner were rehabilitated by Sonny. The transformation was amazing! I can say, without question, that Trucker is literally the calmest, most well behaved and well adjusted Cocker Spaniel in my practice. I was able to examine him with no problem and do anything I wanted to do without an untoward reaction on his part. In fact, he was happy to be on the exam table.
There is no doubt in my mind or the owner’s that Sonny saved Trucker’s life. His approach works!”
Thomas R. Bruning, DVM
County Center Animal Hospital
Marathon , WI
What an experience! I arrived in Minneapolis and headed off to Hay Creek Kennel not knowing what I would encounter.
Sonny had been recommended by two guys who are at the top of the bird dog world, Allen Dunbar from Grouse Feather Mark Kennels and Rick Smith the son of the famous bird dog trainer Delmar Smith and teacher of the Silent Command System.
I was not disappointed and the experience surpassed my expectations.
Upon arrival we spent two days working with a variety of dogs at different stages in their foundation training. Sonny believes training the dog is just one part of the equation and a significant amount of time needs to be spent with the handler. By the end of the second day, I was getting the hang of it. I had a better understanding of dog psychology. I watched dogs signal their readiness to perform and accept Sonny or the handler as the alpha dog. I observed dogs sulking and pouting and having to come to terms with who was in charge. This was all done without shouting or emotions. The sense of calm at the kennel was amazing. I knew I was at the right place.
Just learning how to be a better dog handler was well worth the trip. What really made the trip a spectacular experience was the opportunity to see what these dogs could do over grouse. I never expected to kill a lot of woodcock or grouse, but I wanted to work with my dog and others in the woods. Again, Sonny did not disappoint. We killed a few grouse over some beautiful dog work and I learned how to handle, not just my dog in a real hunting situation, but other dogs as well. The spots we hunted had lots of grouse and woodcock. We were in the woods for only a total of six hours and had more than forty flushes. I won’t see that many birds all season in Virginia.
When I returned to Virginia with my dog I really had a chance to see how great a job Sonny had done. The dog listens better to the family members and handles better in the field. Now, I have a dog that is a wonderful family member and a great hunting companion.
I look forward to working with you next year and spending quality time with a person who knows how to get the best out of dogs and people.
The Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts had a great time at Hay Creek Kennel this past weekend. Sonny, Shannon, Breana & Tyler again opened their home and family to others wanting to learn about all the great things that working with bird dogs can teach. When Sonny says, “Make yourself at home” he is one of the few that really means it.
The boys were able to share in the excitement of dog training. Every time Sonny would ask who would like to go next, every hand went up. Some of our Scouts were a little afraid of dogs, but after a chance to handle a dog they grew in confidence; you could really see it in their disposition and smiles. They love handling the pigeons, especially learning how to put them to sleep.
The Piekarzs also opened their kennel up to allow the Scouts to learn shotgun safety and trap shooting. We had a NRA Certified Range Officer present gun safety and proceeded to shoot over 300 clay pigeons. The boys were grinning ear to ear.
The Scouts worked on the Cooking Merit Badge, Camping Merit Badge, Dog Training Merit Badge and the Shotgun Merit Badge. We accomplished much in the two days at Hay Creek Kennel.
Unexpectedly the Scouts completed a requirement for the First Class Rank by completing a winter camp out. We woke up to 27 degrees on Sunday morning. Burrr! The sun soon warmed us up and we carried on making breakfast and packing up to leave.
Sonny & Shannon, to you we send a heartfelt and sincere thank you! You always seem to make time for the things that are important. Sonny, you may have said it best, “these boys are the future”. I will take it one step further. They are our future! What they learn from experiences like this one will help to determine the character of the men they become. I hope we can make this an ongoing relationship; Hay Creek Kennel and the Boy Scouts of America.
God Bless you all,
|“WOW! What a difference! She is so much fun to walk now. We are out at least 3 times a day for a good 45 minute to hour walk/run and rarely has she tried to knock me over. When she did try, she got a correction that was equal to her push and that did it! She has accepted her outdoor kennel without problems and the kids are loving being able to play with her and not worrying about being run over. Everyone has been good about following through most of the time with correction and expectations. Lucy is settling in too, with much less nervous energy behavior than before. She’s gotten the hang of retrieving the Frisbee and walks back after each throw with her head high and strutting with her prize.””We can’t thank you enough for all the work you’ve done with her.”|
“In many ways, Sonny Piekarz is like you and me. An avid bird hunter, he liked nothing more than spending time in the grouse woods accompanied by good friends and great dogs. A self-trainer of his own dogs, he wished that his daily job afforded him more free time to spend with his companions.”
“Seasons came and went as did some exceptional dogs. He competed in trials and other competitive formats but his true affinity was training. He was able to get that little bit out of a dog that others struggle so hard to – or in the end, simply could not. He is gifted that way.”
“At the encouragement of his wife and many friends he committed himself to the realization that life was too short not to chase his dreams; he knew he had a gift but wondered if others would appreciate it.”
“Hay Creek Kennel is a family owned and operated facility founded on strong family ties and values, the support of friends and genuine respect and love for dogs. Tremendous pride is devoted to the training of these special animals and it is matched in the quality and commitment to the kennel and exceptional training grounds that are found here. This property and the people working here exemplify bird dog training at its highest level.”
“This trainer and his associates formed their training foundation on the vast and sound resource base that is the result of multiple methods and techniques that consistently treat and train dogs as pack animals. This group has attended a multitude of seminars to sharpen their existing skills and become exposed to new disciplines and theories. Currently, they are active in the Smith Internship Program.”
“Sonny Piekarz is living his dream. Confident and secure in his abilities as well as his assistants, he is capable of achieving measurable results utilizing low pressure, high energy and positive reinforcement that instill confidence in both the dog and its owner.”
“I encourage you to apply his methods in your training. More so than that, I request that you take the opportunity to watch him, his wife Shannon and their girls practice their craft at this wonderful facility – Hay Creek Kennel. I assure you that you will never forget it or see training look so simple and easy. I am happy to have met him.”
|“As a newcomer to the sport I have learned so much from you and watching you work with dogs. The training method you use and the Huntsmith seminars have taught me so much; I wouldn’t even be close to where I am at with either of my dogs if it wasn’t for you and your program. I know that sometimes my questions and wanting to have the “perfect” dog can get frustrating, but you handle it with much patience and respect. I admire those qualities. You do amazing things with a wide range of breeds and types of personalities in dogs, a true sign of a master at his craft.””Your generosity in letting me just come and work dogs over the summer and learn from you was so beneficial to my learning process, and my dogs got a lot out of it too. It was awesome to watch your family-run operation and how everyone pitches in to do their part.”-Derrick Kunsman
Blackhawk Gun Dogs, LLC