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Fred and Alex first met Ken in 1987. Fred had a spaniel before this that on one side of the pedigree came from Kenís breeding. "I wanted a pup from him and to meet him in person," Fred explains. Sometimes people click from the beginning - they did, and a friendship formed from that meeting.

"Without a doubt, Ken has had the most influence on me as a trainer - with his help and confidence in me. It kept me going in the first couple years after going professional. With his passing, the loss of him as a mentor and, of most importance, a great friend is truly missed. He was the first person I thanked in my thoughts, moments after winning the Cocker Championship."

"Another big influence on me has been Jerry Cacchio, who I met in 1993, and, as with Ken, we became friends, and in the beginning days built my confidence in myself as a trainer. I can only hope that the two of them and Alex will always be proud of the way I conduct myself as a professional," Fred comments.
Fred Bradley with Ken Roebuck in Yorkshire, England, grouse hunting.

Just as the relationships with his three most beloved friends "clicked" from the very beginning, it did with Merlin. Once Upon a Time, Fred saw a little yellow cocker in someoneís vehicle and thought, "Iíd just love to train this dog." That dog was none other than the magical Merlin.

Get a load of what went on in Maine at the 2002 National Cocker Championship in magical Merlin and Fredís "Field of Dreams"...

1st Series: Staying with "his bird"

Fred began his trial with the soon-to-be 2002 NFC, Creignant Mordred, a.k.a. Merlin wanting Fred as "the center of his universe" and performing at a minimum of 110% to aspire to his National Field Champion Title and Guns Dog Award! Merlin had a nice find, he flushed the pheasant which flew about 40 yards over big pine trees. The gunners shot the bird, and Fred sent Merlin, who proves his trained ability to stay with "his bird" even though three birds came up as he was on his line to the fall. Merlin hupped at each encounter and kept focused on "his bird". The second bird was a "trap" in heavy cover which allowed the spaniel to demonstrate his "tender mouth".

2nd Series

Endless energy and blind retrieves are what Fred and Merlin showed the Judge. Their "cut-above average" ability to find birds resulted in five nice finds and two retrieves; one in which they show off the completeness of their training by retrieving totally "blind". Fred gave the dog a "line" (this is when a handler brings a dog back to his side, uses his hand along side the dogs face and sends the dog by motioning his hand forward toward the fall) and only needing two commands to complete the retrieve. Fred smoothly gave Merlin a "line", allowed the dog to get close to the area,

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