Ricky Elston is a life long outdoorsman raised south of New Orleans in St. Bernard Parish. A long time duck hunter and competition caller, Ricky wanted a dog to pick up his downed birds and bought his first Labrador at the age of 17. He immediately became fascinated with dog training and spent every spare minute training for duck hunting, hunt test, and field trial competitions, was a member of several retriever clubs and an AKC field trial judge.
In 2009, Ricky was contracted to train dogs for a new explosive detection canine program for the United States Marine Corps. It was a fast paced environment in which he was responsible for the training of countless canine teams both stateside and in Afghanistan. He was also involved in other research and development projects for the U.S. military.
After three Afghanistan deployments and traveling all across the U.S., he decided to come back home in 2015 and get back to the life he left behind and opened Southern Tide Kennels.