Archive for July, 2015

My Life With Dogs #17

“Friends: I don’t know if you have been reading my blogs about My Life With Dogs…or if you might be “jumping in” with this being your first exposure. If so, WELCOME, you are hitting the right time as this is where I begin to talk about my training technique, known as The Famed Method of Dog Training.
As you read along you will quickly come to realize that I am of the old school in training dogs. Or maybe, if you have been to any training schools in the past five years, reading my method will be ‘new’ to you. I’ll talk about the differences later, but for now, again, welcome! If you have time, reading my former blogs will bring you up to date.
The basis of my training method falls into five categories, or lessons…you’re just one chapter away from the first. Thanks for reading.” John

Have you seen this picture? A person is walking their dog on the street. The dog is at the end of the lead lunging like a plow-horse tilling the south forty or a Husky mushing at the Iditarod. His breathing is raspy as the choker digs into his throat. The dog knows his master is back there somewhere because he can feel him restraining his freedom. It is the dog who decides where this “walk” is headed.

Meanwhile, the master, who planned taking a leisurely stroll in the park, is gasping for air, his arms are nothing but an extension of the leash, he is literally being dragged along, and if you dare get close enough, you can hear him desperately whispering, over and over, “whoa, boy, whoa, boy, whoa, boy!” It is not, I assure you, a moment of bonding between the two.
This scenario leads to the next training exercise: getting control and the attention of your dog.

By the way: Pulling or lunging on lead, and a dog’s insatiable desire to run away, is simply a response to his instinct for freedom. Most dogs have a natural impulse to flee any type of enclosure, whether it’s a fence, leash, or garage.

I can whistle pretty loud. Loud enough that even the dogs stop acting up…at least momentarily.
“When is obedience needed?’’ I query. There are no takers. Everyone sees Tagore sitting at my side, not the least interested in all the crazies surrounding him.

“During time of distraction.” I answer my own question. golden (2)

I give him a simple hand signal meaning that he should stay in place and I walk away from him. I walk directly towards the “hardened case” that will be my attention getter and ask the owner for permission to take the leash. I ask the dog’s name.
I move back toward the center of the yard, but not too close to Tagore.

Meanwhile, Dodger, a 75-pound male Rottweiler figures he’ll play havoc with me. He lunges, runs in circles, tries to wrap me in his leash, and barks incessantly.

“In order for me to teach you anything, I have to have your attention. Conversely, in order for you to teach your dog anything, you’ve got to have his.” I give that a second to sink in. “Obviously,” I say, “I’ve got your attention because you’re wondering what I’m going to do to get Dodger’s attention. Right?”

     Everyone nods.

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My Life With Dogs #16

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.
ALERT…ALERT…ALERT
Note: There has come upon us a new day in the sport or activity of training dogs. Where baiting dogs used to be reserved for the conformation ring…today it has taken over the obedience ring as well. In a future blog I will proffer to you my opinions of using treats as opposed to the forced method of training…and I will extend my discussion far beyond the enclosue of an obedience ring or a walk in the park…I will talk with you about the training methods of guard, attack, protection, seeing eye, scent, rescue and much more. In the meantime, no matter your choice of training, please attempt to appreciate the following.

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” Roger Caras

     Following my military stint I returned to West Virginia where my old dog, Chad, became my sidekick as if I had never left home. My concentration on training dogs slid into the background while I finished my undergraduate degree at Marshall University and found Emma Sue Kincaid who reluctantly agreed to marry me. (The previous two girls had both said absolutely not!) We got married and laid plans for working in Northeastern Ohio.

I received a call from Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio, interviewed, and became Associate Sales Manager of Sales Publications. Emma Sue and I rented an apartment in Canton while she found a position in the Canton South School system teaching in Special Education. Chad was our constant companion, a steadying force in our new life, and we took him to the city park every night for ball throwing and long walks.dog training and obedience_r (2)

It was there we met Stephanie and Jeff Martin, who owned a beautiful Doberman Pincher puppy…we were hooked. They introduced us to Mollie and Joe Israel who owed a Dobbie champion named Omar. Within a month we had our own Doberman pup that we named Tagore…and all of a sudden I found myself back in the groove of training dogs. While I was training Tagore I also helped Steph and Jeff with their pup. We’d meet at the city park each night after work and before long strangers started appearing with their pups and all of a sudden I was teaching classes again.

In mid-1969 I received a call from Kent State University from Jim Turner. He wanted to interview me for a position as Associate Director of Radio-TV Information. I liked the opportunity, left Goodyear, and Emma Sue and I moved to Hartville, a small Amish farming community on Route 43 halfway between the university where I would work and Canton South, where Emma Sue worked.

Our eleven acres was surrounded by big-time farmers. On one side was Jo Bixler, who later became my first daughter’s godfather. He farmed 400 acres with the most modern equipment. Across the road was the Amish bishop, Mr. Byler, who had ten daughters. Those girls could sling a 60-pound bale of hay further than any man. My Byler tilled and planted with beautiful Belgian workhorses. Two diverse farmers, with equally diverse farming equipment…yet when the corn was high both fields looked lush and plentiful.

I remember telling Emma Sue my dog training days would probably be over, after all who would drive 15 miles from Kent or Canton, or 20 miles from Akron to attend classes on a small farm in Hartville. But I gave it a shot anyway. I ran an advertisement in papers in Hartville, Canton, and Kent.

We had an acre of flat land as a front yard and every inch of it was filled with cars, people and dogs on our first night of class. I had learned from previous travesties to keep all dogs at least ten feet apart and I personally announced this as each individual exited their car while Emma Sue handled signups.

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.
ALERT…ALERT…ALERT
Note: There has come upon us a new day in the sport or activity of training dogs. Where baiting dogs used to be reserved for the conformation ring…today it has taken over the obedience ring as well. In a future blog I will proffer to you my opinions of using treats as opposed to the forced method of training…and I will extend my discussion far beyond the enclosue of an obedience ring or a walk in the park…I will talk with you about the training methods of guard, attack, protection, seeing eye, scent, rescue and much more. In the meantime, not matter your choice of training, please attempt to appreciate the following.
“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” Roger Caras

F
ollowing my military stint I returned to West Virginia where my old dog, Chad, became my sidekick as if I had never left home. My concentration on training dogs slid into the background while I finished my undergraduate degree at Marshall University and found Emma Sue Kincaid who reluctantly agreed to marry me. (The previous two girls had both said absolutely not!) We got married and laid plans for working in Northeastern Ohio.
I received a call from Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio, interviewed, and became Associate Sales Manager of Sales Publications. Emma Sue and I rented an apartment in Canton while she found a position in the Canton South School system teaching in Special Education. Chad was our constant companion, a steadying force in our new life, and we took him to the city park every night for ball throwing and long walks.
It was there we met Stephanie and Jeff Martin, who owned a beautiful Doberman Pincher puppy…we were hooked. They introduced us to Mollie and Joe Israel who owed a Dobbie champion named Omar. Within a month we had our own Doberman pup that we named Tagore…and all of a sudden I found myself back in the groove of training dogs. While I was training Tagore I also helped Steph and Jeff with their pup. We’d meet at the city park each night after work and before long strangers started appearing with their pups and all of a sudden I was teaching classes again.
In mid-1969 I received a call from Kent State University from Jim Turner. He wanted to interview me for a position as Associate Director of Radio-TV Information. I liked the opportunity, left Goodyear, and Emma Sue and I moved to Hartville, a small Amish farming community on Route 43 halfway between the university where I would work and Canton South, where Emma Sue worked.
Our eleven acres was surrounded by big-time farmers. On one side was Jo Bixler, who later became my first daughter’s godfather. He farmed 400 acres with the most modern equipment. Across the road was the Amish bishop, Mr. Byler, who had ten daughters. Those girls could sling a 60-pound bale of hay further than any man. My Byler tilled and planted with beautiful Belgian workhorses. Two diverse farmers, with equally diverse farming equipment…yet when the corn was high both fields looked lush and plentiful.
I remember telling Emma Sue my dog training days would probably be over, after all who would drive 15 miles from Kent or Canton, or 20 miles from Akron to attend classes on a small farm in Hartville. But I gave it a shot anyway. I ran an advertisement in papers in Hartville, Canton, and Kent.
We had an acre of flat land as a front yard and every inch of it was filled with cars, people and dogs on our first night of class. I had learned from previous travesties to keep all dogs at least ten feet apart and I personally announced this as each individual exited their car while Emma Sue handled signups. I had also learned that having people’s attention is absolutely critical on the first night of training. So while everyone stood around feigning control of their dog, I looked for the most rowdy mutt in the bunch. There’s always plenty to choose from; pulling at the leash, lunging at other people and dogs, incessant barking. I’d pick the most hardened case…that dog would d be my unsuspecting attention-getter.

I had also learned that having people’s attention is absolutely critical on the first night of training. So while everyone stood around feigning control of their dog, I looked for the most rowdy mutt in the bunch. There’s always plenty to choose from; pulling at the leash, lunging at other people and dogs, incessant barking. I’d pick the most hardened case…that dog would be my unsuspecting attention-getter.

SPECIAL ALERT!!!

The following was sent to me from a friend who lifted it from an unknown public website. I see this way too often. It happens way too often. Each of us needs to be on the lookout for this situation in the parking lot of everywhere we shop. CALL THE POLICE AND DON’T BE AFRAID TO ACT!!!

Notice:

     It takes only minutes for a pet left in a vehicle on a warm day to succumb to heatstroke and suffocation. Most people don’t realize how hot it can get in a parked car on a balmy day. However, on a 78-degree day, temperatures in a car parked in the shade can exceed 90 degrees — and hit a scorching 160 degrees if parked in the sun!
Even when the outside air temperature is in the 60s, temperatures inside some vehicles can reach the danger zone on bright, sunny days. So many experts recommend not leaving pets or children in parked cars even for short periods if the temperature is in the 60s or higher.
Rolling down a window or parking in the shade doesn’t guarantee protection either, since temperatures can still climb into the danger zone. And if the window is rolled down sufficiently, the pet can escape. Plus if a passer-by claims he or she was bitten through the car window, the pet owner will be liable.
What about leaving the dog in the car with the air-conditioning running? Many people do this, but tragedy can strike — and it has. For example, in 2003, a police dog in Texas died after the air-conditioning in the patrol car shut down and began blowing hot air. The air system’s compressor kicked off because the engine got too hot. Many cars, including modern models with computerized functions, are prone to the same problem. In August 2004, a North Carolina couple lost two of their beloved dogs, and nearly lost their third dogs, as result of a similar failure. They had left bowls of water and ice in the car, and the air-conditioning on, during their shopping trip of less than 30 minutes.Larbrdor and kid (2)
     Animals are not able to sweat like humans do. Dogs cool themselves by panting and by sweating through their paws. If they have only overheated air to breathe, animals can collapse, suffer brain damage and possibly die of heatstroke. Just 15 minutes can be enough for an animal’s body temperature to climb from a normal 102.5 to deadly levels that will damage the nervous and cardiovascular systems, often leaving the animal comatose, dehydrated and at risk of permanent impairment or death.

Note from John:  Friends,  Imagine…YOU may be called upon to save a life in an overheated car.  It could be a dog, or, it could be a child!  At certain times in life, we are called upon to be our brother’s keeper.  Likewise, at certain times in life we are called upon to be the keeper of our brother’s dog!

My Life With Dogs #15

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

“They are our mirrors.” Edward Tuck

dog training and obedience_rFor the next couple of years, until May of 1966 when I returned to civilian life, national events and dog training consumed my life.

I met President Kennedy before he left for Texas where he was shot and killed. Following his funeral where I managed the press corps just above the burial site, I trained dogs.

On Thanksgiving Day following the Presidential Funeral I was assigned as the Information Specialist at the cemetery. Jackie Kennedy decided to visit the site before having dinner with her family. It was a rainy and muddy day. She decided to walk around the burial site and view it with the city of DC as a backdrop. While secret service agents made way through the crowd I took her arm so that she would not slip and fall. I expressed my sympathy. Later that day I trained dogs.

The same scenario is true following my military involvement as an Information Specialist for the inauguration of President Lyndon Johnson, and the State Funerals for General MacArthur and President Herbert Hoover…following each I trained dogs.

In May of 1966 I left the Army and Washington and returned to Huntington, West Virginia. The night before Mom and Dad picked me up I had a final dinner with Mr. Tuck and Carol. It was bitter-sweet. We had surf and turf on the Potomac, reveled in times past, and promised to keep in touch. After that night I never talked with them again. I cannot write a book about my life with dogs without admitting that none of it would have happened without Mr. Tuck and Carol. They were two of the incredible people in my life. They were gentle, they loved animals, they ran a small business, and they cared deeply for their friends. I was young, away from home, and they became my family.

Although Fame Tame worked on all animals, I remember asking Mr. Tuck why he chose to work mostly with dogs. It took me years to understand his answer. “They are our mirrors,” he had said.

I strongly suspect as I write this memoir that both my friends have passed away. But, if there is a doggie heaven, I hope to join Mr. Tuck and Carol there at some time in the distant future…along with their many four-footed seraphs.

What I’ve Learned:  Fond memories of the past are fond because our friends made them that way.