Dick McKenney has been training dogs since 1949: .
By the age of ten, Dick had built a dog cart and trained his Irish Setter to assist him on his newspaper collection route by pulling the cart full of papers, and also later when he was fourteen to deliver newspapers.
As a young man, Dick sought opportunities to continue his involvement with dogs. He worked as a kennel boy for Starkrest Kennels for many years and went to the dog shows as a water boy. He also took care of the dogs at the show sites and in the hotels where they stayed.
Dick began showing dogs in conformation and obedience while still finding time for field trials. He then began his career as a professional handler and during his forty years on the dog show circuit finished champions in every group with numerous Group placements and Best in Shows. Dick retired from professional handling in 1995.
For about 50 years, Dick has held training classes. His training class has included all categories of dogs from family mixed breed pets, to top show dogs, to police and drug enforcement dogs. His training primarily includes handling, obedience tracking and carting
Marcella has been training dogs since she met Dick in Germany in 1964:
Dick was drafted into the Army in 1963 and shipped to Germany where he gave seminars at German Dog Clubs for building confidence in problem dogs.
He met Marcella while he was there and brought her back to the States with him when he returned in 1965. Dick trained and showed dogs, while Marcella trained dogs and took care of the kennels.
Comments regarding the First Annual Handling Seminar presented by Dick McKenny May 21/22, 2005
The weekend of May 20th to the 22nd provided an incredible experience that Douce, Spencer and I were delighted to share with 7 briarders, 13 briards and 2 remarkable individuals, Dick and Marcella McKenney. When it comes to dogs, there is very little, if anything, the McKenneys have not seen or done. During the course of 48 hours, Dick instilled us with some of the knowledge he has garnered during his 50 some years of handling and training dogs. He packed every waking minute with information and I'm sure we have barely scratched the surface. Mixed among the volumes of handling tips and techniques was Marcella's ever gracious hospitality.
We learned so much that it is difficult to summarize. Among the many topics covered were making and using bait, traveling with your dogs, choosing show leads, holding your lead, stacking a dog, moving around a ring, showing your dog to the judge, knowing the judge's procedure and keeping your dog on the top of his game. We also learned a lot about attitude and presence in the ring.
I will be doing a lot of review and practice in an effort to master the techniques Dick taught us so that it becomes second nature, Watch out world, her we come!
The main idea that I got from taking Dick's handling seminar is that we should always show our dog like we are extremely proud of it! Don't look like "Nancy Novice" out there! A least try to look like a Pro! Never quit on your dog! Your goal is to get that first place ribbon...nothing else counts!
I didn't think there was any way that we could possibly fill up two whole days with information about conformation handling. How very wrong I was! Four things that Dick really emphasized about handling are: 1) read the standard; 2) read the standard; 3) read the standard; and 4) ALWAYS protect your dog! I was totally overwhelmed with the amount of information that Dick imparted and this was the "Novice Seminar"! I can't wait to return for Part II!
There has been some 30 plus years since I showed Teddy to his Champonship, and from that time on Mimi has shown all our dogs in the breed ring. Richard and Marcella McKenny's training methods and classes were way above any expectation that I had harbored. Whether you're young or old at this dog show game--if you want the best teacher, then attend this class. Your thoughts will be "why didn't somebody tell me about this before!"
In 1979 and 1980 I took Obedience lessons from Dick and Ray took Conformation lessons. In 1981, according to Canine Chronicle, "Vinegar" was ranked #8 all-round Rottweiler in the country. Dick had a lot to do with that because not only did he instruct us, but he also handled him in conformation at many shows that we could not attend. Vinegar had the following titles: Champion in US and Canada, CD in US and Canada, CDX in USA and Tracking Dog in US.. Thanks for the enormous pride in our dog, Dick.