About Kingsbridge Flat-Coated Retrievers

About Kathleen Sauter Stevens

Kathleen has been training and showing dogs since she got her first pet Chow Chow, Wah Hu’s Little Rascal Buckwheat, in 1983.  Since then she has owned and trained a total of ten dogs:  Chow Chow, Golden Retriever, six Flat-Coated Retrievers, and two Papillions.  She trains and shows in tracking, nosework, obedience, rally obedience, agility, hunting and conformation.


 She is a member of the Flat-Coated Retriever Society of America, the Flat-Coated Retriever Club Of Illinois, Capitol Canine Training Club and Capitol Canine Dog Sports of Springfield, IL.

As a member of CCTC, a not-for-profit organization, Kathleen volunteers to teach dog training classes to the community.  She has helped countless owner/canine teams in the Springfield area.  She is an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Evaluator and as such may administer the S.T.A.R. Puppy, Canine Good Citizen, Community Canine and Urban Canine programs, and the Trick Dog Program.

As a breeder, she is certified by Good Dog and Avidog, and is a member of Better Bred.  She adheres to the Flat-Coated Retriever Society of America Code of Ethics.  

Positive Trainer

Kathleen is a “cross over trainer” meaning she began dog training using the traditional “jerk and pull” method of the time with a chain collar and corrections.  However, she has since “crossed-over” to using more positive training methods.  She believes in these fundamental concepts as part of her training program:

  1. Training should be fun and is about building a pleasant relationship with your dog.
  2. Every interaction with your dog is a training session.
  3. Dogs repeat behaviors that are rewarding and avoid behaviors that are not.
  4. Dogs learn if communication is clear and consistent.
  5. Think in terms of what you want your dog to do rather than what you do not want him to do.
  6. What a dog learns first is what he learns best.
  7. Dogs need regular physical and mental stimulation to be good companions.
  8. Make your dog work for rewards.

Why train your dog?

Your dog will be with you for many years.  No one will love your dog the way you love your dog, and no one will even like your dog if it doesn’t have some basic manners.  Dogs aren’t born understanding the human world and the rules of your household.  You must teach them.  They need to learn to be around other dogs, people and places.  They need to understand basic cues like come, sit and down.  Training your dog will help you develop a relationship of trust, understanding and loyalty with your dog.

Why compete with or show your dog?

While training your dog is fun, entering a trial, test or show gives you something to train for.  It sets a goal and gives focus and purpose to your training.  It gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your dog’s abilities in front of an audience.  It provides feedback on the “holes” in your training.  You feel a sense of accomplishment and pride.

Competitors may be found on a continuum from highly competitive who seek the highest scores and best times, at the other end where earning a passing score is the satisfaction sought, or somewhere the middle.  There is a place for all of them at a trial, test or show.

Flat-Coated Retriever Code Of Ethics

I agree to abide by the Constitutions and Bylaws of the Flat-Coated Retriever Society of America (FCRSA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC).  I further agree to promote the objectives of the FCRSA by: (1) if I choose to breed, breeding Flat-Coated Retrievers that possess soundness, temperament, natural ability, and personality as reflected in the breed standard, and doing all possible to advance and promote the perfection of these qualities; (2) should I choose to compete in competitive venues, doing all in my power to protect and advance the interest of the breed through my sportsmanlike competition in all areas; (3) following the rules of the AKC; and (4) agreeing to adhere to the FCRSA Code of Ethics.

Avidog Associate Breeder

What does being an Avidog Associate Breeder mean?  It means I’m a responsible breeder who raises pups to be as healthy and stable as possible, and committed to:

  • Continuing education;
  • Choosing dog parents carefully;
  • Taking good care of dog mom;
  • Nurturing baby puppies;
  • Creating stimulating puppy environments and well planned socialization and development; and
  • Carefully matching each puppy to its new home.