My Life with Dogs #14

My Life with Dogs #14

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.

Interestingly, by the time I left DC in 1966, 14th Street had become a rough area where folks from various nationalities lived. It was an area shunned by politicians, where the crime rate soared, and visitors and tourists were warned to avoid. Then, Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, and within three days many buildings were burned to the ground, 12 people were dead, over a 1,000 were injured and 6,000 were arrested…1,200 buildings had been burned including 900 stores…one of which was Canine TV Trainers.

In April of 1964, with Mr. Tuck’s permission, I began instructing Saturday morning dog training classes in the Pentagon Parking Lot across the Potomac in Virginia. At the time I was dating the daughter of a single-star Army general who: Was vehemently opposed to his daughter spending time with a lowly Specialist Fourth Class; had an Irish Setter he dearly loved but weighed 95 pounds and terrified the neighborhood kids; and as a friend of Mr. Tuck was told that I might be the only person on the planet that could keep his dog from the gas chamber.

Yes, I was in the Army. Yes, I still worked part-time for Mr. Tuck. No, I could not foresee the coming events that would impact my world forever. Remember, I was young (22 years old); stupid (I left Wheeling College and enlisted for three years in the Army where KP duty started at 4:30…in the morning!), and dating a General’s daughter (I was invincible).
My first class was pandemonium times seven. Ten had signed up. Thirty-three showed up, plus my girl friend’s dad with his overly aggressive Setter. I had never seen him in civvies. Believe it or not he looked meaner than when he wore the star.

People were crowding my table, signing up, signing the disclaimer, buying chokers and leads, and asking all the questions I planned answering in the first five minutes of instruction.

Enter the General with his lunging Setter, neither of whom liked the idea of waiting in line. While he blurted questions, the Setter sniffed the rear portion of a roly-poly bulldog…and the fight was on. Over went my table of change, chokers, and sign-in sheets. Roly-poly’s friend and house-mate, a black Lab, took offense to the size discrepancy of the combatants, and entered the fray, while his master, a timid man weighing less that the Setter, screamed and jumped back, releasing the leash as if he had been shocked by 240 watts of setter
A tall man, holding a Rat Terrier that looked exactly like him, stood stock-still in the middle of the skirmish, while twin-sisters holding litter-mate Yorkies, screamed as if their hair was afire.
All the while, everyone else stood around, blankly watching the goings-on, probably wondering if they could get their $30 bucks back or whether this was to be expected at the beginning of each weekly class.
I grabbed the collar of the Setter, kneed the lunging Black Lab who took the occasion to get in one more shot, and whistled loud enough to get everyone’s attention. “Spread out in a large circle with at least three feet between you and the next dog!”

Order restored, the first Famed Method of Dog Training classes began.

WHAT I’VE LEARNED: Regarding dog training classes:
Many people think paying the class fee guarantees a trained dog. Not so. If you don’t put in the time, come graduation night your dog will make a fool of you.
“I don’t need to train my dog daily; I’ll just wait until the day before class and put in extra time.” Wrong. Dogs learn by conditioning. Doing the same thing over and over…each day.
Most oft-used excuse, “How can I expect my dog to be obedient when he is so distracted?” Answer: Generally, obedience is only needed during time of distraction. Either train your dog properly, or get a cat.

One response to this post.

  1. Hello John, it is so nice to feel your Love for Animals as the heart of your Blog, which is amazing! When one writes from the heart the story becomes emotional and contagious. Animals are wonderful Beings which fill our soul with True Joy and as such are to be respected and cherished with all of the affection that a person can have within. The trait of loving Animals was given to each one of us at birth for free. It is sad to know that many spend their entire lives hiding this so beautiful and fulfilling Trait, but the ones who can bring it out will live their lives experiencing the most wonderful feeling one can ever have which is the Love of an Animal. “Our lives would be unfilled without Animals as they help us with our solitude, teach us how to smile and to love also unconditionally”~Sam Dias for PAWS http://pawspetfoundatio.org
    Take care dear John.


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