Archive for May, 2015

Memorial Day

A thankful Memorial Day to all veteransmemorial-day-dog  God Bless you!

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My Life With Dogs #13

Friends: I have decided to share with you My Life With Dogs. These Blogs taken from my book, 14000 Dogs Later, may be one page at a time, or more. I don’t want to dump too much on you at a time. I hope you enjoy. Feel free to make comments here, or on Face Book or Twitter. Best, John
This, by the way, is the continuation of my last entry.

     I had become hooked on training dogs and was a voracious consumer of all aspects of dog history and training; particularly studying the techniques of well-known dog trainers. That knowledge, along with what I had learned at Canine TV Trainers, led me to write my own manual, which I entitled the Famed Method of Dog Training.  And “no”, I did not plan “slipping a mickie” into every dog’s water pan prior to class. Rather, the name was my way of honoring Mr. Tuck for what he had taught me about animals, well beyond the induction of a hypnotic drug prior to a training session.
Since I worked eight-hour days for the military, by the time I made it to the pet shop in downtown Washington, fed animals and cleaned cages, it was usually dark by the time I started training. Fourteenth Street in downtown DC was mostly the center of the African/American commercial life in the city. Needing room that was not available in the shop, I used the streets at night to tame and train ocelots, cheetahs, dogs of all sizes, and fox. A fox would walk on a leash with me though he would be totally absorbed in his surroundings. Any movement from cars, passersby, or bikes, would pique his defensive mechanism and his hackles would stand and he would snarl through clinched teeth. By the way, it didn’t take me long in training a fox to learn the meaning of the anecdote that a coward will kill you to get out of a corner. If I cornered him in a storefront doorway, trying to pet him, he would rip the glove off my hand and even dive at my throat.
Anyone remaining on 14th Street when I trained animals at night promptly crossed to the other side. This practice began shortly after one of the first dogs I trained. As it happened I was working with an attack-trained Doberman Pinscher who Mr. Tuck had agreed to retrain and desensitize. The dog belonged to a local policeman, had been shot in a drug bust, and was being retired because of his injury. The policeman did not want the dog put down because he felt the dog had saved his life. He had heard of the work that Mr. Tuck had accomplished in the training of dogs and asked for help. I implored Mr. Tuck to let me work with Boomer and he finally agreed following my relentless pleadings.
I had been working with Boomer for about 45 minutes one evening when gunshots shattered storefront glass and burglar alarms screamed. Not knowing what to do, I froze…until Boomer started pulling me in the direction of the gunfire. He wasn’t in a hurry. Each step was measured and calculated. I couldn’t have held him back if I wanted; instead, like a dummy, I followed.Doberman (2)
Sirens began to blare and rubberneckers peeked from second-story windows as the burglar alarm seemed to grow in intensity.
Two men burst through the broken window of a jewelry store, skidded to a stop as flashing lights from police cars approached; they turned and ran straight towards Boomer and his bumbling handler. I don’t know where my voice came from, but I heard myself say, “Boomer, get ‘em.” I dropped the leash and he lunged at the criminals who were paying more attention to what was behind them instead of what was in front.
When the first guy saw Boomer he screamed and threw his gun at the dog. Boomer hit the second man, knocking him across the hood of a Volkswagen and into the path of the cop cars.
As quickly as it had started, it was over. I finished my training with Boomer and put him up for the night. As I left the shop two of the cops thanked me and people on the street waved at me. The next day I had a nickname…Demon Man, and I was never bothered by anyone when I trained animals on the streets of 14th and U.

New web site

Family and friends can learn about my books at http://www.jprestonsmith.com. ThanksNew Bog Back Cover

Dogs I Remember #6

Here is my most recent video of Dogs I Remember. I apologize that the sound is not better.  I hope you enjoy.  Go to this link: http://tinyurl.com/jwpoj3k

Larbrdor and kid (2)

The Kent State Massacre

Friends:

I use this blog to tell you about dogs.  Today, I am veering from that general topic to show you an interview that was posted on You Tube.

In 1970, yeah, 45 years ago and why would you care, right.  Anyway, in 1970 I witnessed the shooting of students on the campus of Kent State University, in Kent, Ohio.  It was one of those life-changing events…something I have rarely talked about.  Last week, a local news anchor asked to briefly talk with me about what had happened.  Interestingly, since then, many have asked to see what was broadcast.

Tim Irr, WSAZ-TV news anchor in Huntington, WV kindly posted his interview on You Tube.

My Life with Dogs #12

Friends: I have decided to share with you My Life With Dogs. These Blogs taken from my book, 14000 Dogs Later, may be one page at a time, or more. I don’t want to dump too much on you at a time. I hope you enjoy. Feel free to make comments here, or on Face Book or Twitter. Best, John

This, by the way, is the continuation of my last entry.

Two weeks later I sold the Mccaw to a DC cabbie who wanted an unusual attraction for his clients.
Mynah birds are a conundrum. They can speak, whistle, and find the smallest sunflower seed at the bottom of the food bowl. But they are loud, outspoken, and the dirtiest of all birds in that they sling food everywhere. (Note: Always teach birds to talk before teaching them to whistle. It they whistle first, it’s near impossible to get them to talk.)
A new book store was opening in DC and its proprietor asked if I could do something special for his ribbon cutting ceremony. I trained two Mynah birds to wolf-whistle anytime a female passed their cage in the new store. Two weeks later he returned the birds. He had not realized that the birds violated his franchise agreement. I took the birds back and the next day two sisters of the cloth came in the pet shop. They passed the Mynah cage and the birds wolf-whistled. They loved it. The birds had also whistled at them at the book store opening.

dog and monkey (2)
A DC doctor asked Mr. Tuck to get him a chimpanzee. Back then, in 1963, exotic pets were not difficult to bring into the United States. Mr. Tuck placed the order, and three months later the four-foot square wooden crate arrived at the airport. By the time we got the crate to the shop the chimp had been caged for 48 hours without food or water.
“He’s all yours,” Mr. Tuck told me.
We set the crate on a table. I removed one of the side panels and peered in…and there, scrunched as far back in the corner as he could get, was Hester, a fifty-pound chimp and a hell of a lot bigger than what we expected. I didn’t have a lot of experience with monkeys. As I said earlier, God never made one that didn’t bite at maturity. With this in mind I tried verbal enticement, food, and water to get Hester from one crate to another. He wouldn’t budge.
Finally, more out of desperation than good sense, I balled my hand into a fist and I reached for him. Ever so slowly my fist nervously entered his domain while I talked as soothingly as I could summon, all the while wondering if I were putting my hand in a meat grinder. When I touched his chest he grabbed my fist with both hands and put the whole thing in his mouth. I immediately realized this was not an act of aggression. If it had been he could have taken my hand off. Rather, he had been backed into a corner and was as scared as was I. I garnered the good sense not to panic. Instead, I bent down, stuck my head into the wooden crate, looked him in the eye, and continued to talk with him.
The stalemate was on…surprisingly, though, not for long.
Fifteen minutes later he released his hold on my fist, bounded from the crate and jumped into my arms. Hester and I became best buddies.
WIL: Taming and training of cats and monkeys is significantly different than that of dogs. Firmness is often called into play in the training of the canine species, whereby seldom is this successful with cats or monkeys.
To be continued…