Purina Pro Plan Brings Expert Bird Dog Advice to 2019 National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic

  • 2/4/2019 10:10:11 AM
7b844e50-6f61-4847-beb3-3227297a29af Bird dog owners and enthusiasts will be front and center at the Bird Dog Bonanza Stage during the 2019 National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic, February 22 to 24 at the Schaumburg Convention Center in Schaumburg, Illinois. Brought to you by Purina Pro Plan brand dog food and SportDOG Brand, the Bird Dog Bonanza Stage will feature the country’s most elite bird dog trainers and other experts throughout the weekend. 

The speakers will share their tips, tricks and advice on a variety of topics during half-hour bird dog seminars, a departure from the previously hourlong seminars. They’ll also be available for one-on-one time following the seminars in the Purina Pro Plan and SportDOG booths. While you’re there, be sure to also pick up a 6-ounce sample bag of Purina Pro Plan SPORT Performance 30/20 Formula.

“The revamped half-hour format allows us to address specific training and veterinary topics beneficial for attendees wanting to maximize their time and the experts’ experience,” says Purina Director of Sporting Dog Programs and professional dog trainer Karl Gunzer. “We also wanted to give folks more individual time with the experts to address their specific issues.” 

Among this year’s bird dog expert speakers are:


With more than 40 years’ experience, Tom Dokken is the owner of Dokken’s Oak Ridge Kennels, the largest gun dog training kennel in the upper half of the United States, and Dokken Dog Supply, based in Northfield, Minnesota. He is the inventor of the DeadFowl Trainer, author of Retriever Training: The Complete Guide to Developing Your Hunting Dog, leading innovator in shed antler hunting with dogs, and president of the North American Shed Hunting Dog Association (NASHDA).


The only five-time NASHDA World Champion, Josh Miller operates River Stone Kennels in New Richmond, Wisconsin, with his wife, Whitney, where they breed and train gun dogs for hunting, field trials and hunt tests. Besides giving training seminars across the country, as well as being interviewed and featured on the Outdoor Channel, Josh also is a product training specialist for the SportDOG pro team.

DUSTIN BABLER, DVM, Animal Hospital of Woodstock

Dr. Dustin Babler earned his Bachelor of Science in Animal Sciences and Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Illinois before joining the practicing team at the Animal Hospital of Woodstock in Woodstock, Illinois, where he particularly focuses on ultrasound, cardiology and surgery. When Dr. Babler isn’t working or traveling on mission trips abroad, he enjoys spending his free time outdoors, whether hunting, fishing, camping, running or hiking with his dogs “Dierks” and “Cali.” 

RICK SMITH, Huntsmith

Continuing the Smith family tradition, Rick Smith presents seminars across the country. A Brittany Field Trial Hall of Fame member, he has handled dogs to win three National Open Brittany Championships, seven U.S. Open Brittany Championships, six International Brittany Championships, and more than 100 Open Brittany All-Age stakes.

RONNIE SMITH, Ronnie Smith Kennels

Passionate about bird dogs, Ronnie Smith and his wife, Susanna Love, run Ronnie Smith Kennels in northeastern Oklahoma where they breed and train bird dogs for the public and run a trainer certification program. He also travels the country giving training seminars and has guided hunts on wild birds in Texas for 38 years.


Karl Gunzer is the Director of Purina’s Sporting Dog Program with more than 25 years’ experience working with dogs and people who share a passion for the outdoors. Karl’s team sponsors and attends more than 300 sporting dog events and championships every year and manages Purina’s relationships with conservation organizations, including Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. 

BOB WEST, Purina

Having led the development of Purina’s Sporting Dog Program for nearly 30 years, Bob West also has been a longtime contributor to Pheasants Forever Journal, Pheasants Forever TV, Cabela’s TV, and Gun Dog magazine. He continues to serve on the board of the Bird Dog Foundation. A competitor himself, Bob has put 80 titles on sporting dogs, and since retirement, has begun competing in the open field trial retriever segment.

Nestlé Purina PetCare is a national sponsor of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, as well as an annual presenter of the Bird Dog Bonanza Stage, while Purina Pro Plan is the official dog food brand for “The Habitat Organization.”