Blackwater Retrievers - Trainer

Bill Eckett



Bill was introduced to retriever training through his Lacrosse coach in High School in Upstate New York. He began as a bird thrower for his coach and at the Central New York Retriever Club trials. Although an avid hunter, it was not until age 17 that he acquired his first Labrador. He his first field trial as a handler, he entered his dog in the junior puppy stake and won first place. The hook was set.

After high school and college he went to work at a shooting preserve in Upstate New York. He realized he needed to know more about retriever training and went to work for Jim Swan, a noted retriever trainer in the Dallas, Texas area in 1980. While at Jim's, Bill was introduced to the proper development of young dogs and the techniques of using the electric collar in training. In 1983 Bill was offered a job working for the legendary D.L. Walters in La Cygne, Kansas. D.L. had retired from the road but was still active in training. Through Ann and D.L.'s guidance and encouragement, he was able to advance in his skills as an all age trainer and handler. The last year at Walters Kennels Bill won the 1987 National US Open at age 27.

Bill now trains the all age dogs and competes on the field trial circuit representing Blackwater Retrievers, which he and Becky established in 1987. He works with his truck and oversees the training flow of all the dogs at Blackwater. He has worked with numerous people that have gone on with successful careers in Retriever training and handling. He has conducted seminars in the States covering training and handling techniques and he has given seminars in Italy and Australia for retriever training and handling.