Archive for the ‘Delusions with my Dog’ Category

“Properly trained, a Human Being can be a Dog’s Best Friend”.

I ended my last post with these words.  I’m not sure where I heard them, or if by some miracle, profundity struck me, and I just wrote them.  But they got me thinking again. (That’s TWICE this year!!)

If you visit Facebook dog based pages, the hundreds of canine blogs in the webisphere, the countless chat rooms, or the hundreds of websites from breeders, handlers, competititors, self-appointed experts, behaviorists, academics, and other Know-it-all’s, you only learn one, single, truth.  Human Beings love to fight about the most inane topics.  It’s Feeding, Training Methods, Breeding, Spaying/neutering, AKC Standards, veterinary treatment, behavior modification technique, psychological make-up of the dog, intelligence in dogs, cynopraxic methods, clickers, operant conditioning, choke chains, halties, harnesses, and the list grows and pulsates…

So in keeping with that set of variables, I had a conversation with my German Shepherds this last Friday night over grilled sirloins and a generous pitcher of “Red Skyy at Night” A Boozers Delight (Which is a delightful mix of Skyy vodka, Organic Lemonade, Strawberry Juice, and Canada Dry ginger Ale.)

Hans, my male German Shepherd, was the first to broach the subject of how to bring all of dogdom (Dogs AND Humans) to harmony and a state of unity.  “Take every human that holds any certificate of completion, diploma, certification, or otherwise claims to be a professional “Dog-Trainer”, and put them all in 4 or 5 of the giant sports stadiums together.”  He was just getting rolling.

“Put those people in the front rows so that they get the full impact of this gathering…Then, put everybody that claims to be a dog expert by experience alone,  in the rows behind them.  We ought to be pretty well into the 85 or 90,000 attendance at this point.  Those stadiums will be getting pretty full…Next, invite everybody else that owns a dog, and fill the stadiums with them.”  Hans had thought this through.

“Then, we’ll invite a single dog, chosen at random from dogs everywhere, to the speakers podium in the center of each stadium.  He or she doesn’t need to be highly trained, a special breed, a working dog, a show dog, or a homeless mutt.  Know why?  Because even the most humble dog knows more about what a dog needs and wants, than any “educated Dog Expert”.  Pass the green beans please…Intrigued by this plan, I simply passed the beans and leaned towards my big, black, dog.

Holly, our female, interrupted, “And make sure the concessions have GOOD hot dogs!”

“Thank you, Holly.  Good Idea, I’ll make a note…”  Hans is a detail oriented administrator.  “But we digress…”

“The chosen dogs will begin  a speech that has been in development since man first invited the dog to the comfort of his campfire.  It begins this way: 

  “Humans!  Behaviorists! Trainers! Peddlers of psychobabble Canine studies!  Clicker-twits!  Koehler Kreeps!  Lend your ear to the dogs!!!  Finally, we have transcended the divide between us!  Finally we can communicate with YOU!!!  Whether or not you listen and learn, is dependant on you, but I ask nonetheless!  Leave behind this thing you call “Ego”!  It alone has kept us apart for millennia!    Never before have you asked the dog what we want!  What we need!  What we Know I looked down as Hans continued and noticed that the pitcher of booze was very low.  Had I drank it all?  That would at least explain why this delusion was happening.

“You write books upon books about dogs, and our behavior, and yet never has a dog been given the opportunity to speak on our behalf, or even his own!  That time has now come!  In the interest of making sure that our message is unadulterated and clear, the dogs have taken control of your World Wide Web, which is filled with foolishness from every so-called trainer and his third cousin!”  Hans was sounding apocalyptic by this time.

“The time has come to announce that from this point on, we of the canine persuasion, will be fitting all of you humans with Shock Collars!  We will be Clicking in your faces every 2 minutes!”  I interrupted the Black German Shepherd with a question.

“How are you dogs going to use a Clicker?  None of you have thumbs!” I reasoned.

“Stop interrupting, I’m building momentum.  We’ll figure it out as we go…” Hans replied confidently.

“My apologies…” I offered.

“You name will appear on our list of those with the lowest shock settings for your collar.” Hans looked sympathetically at me, but resigned to what was best for all mankind, and the dogs they had been training.

“In a few short months, most of you will have found a way to truly understand that the dog was given to you for your own good!  That dogs were meant to be by your side!  You will stop putting your ego ahead of truth, your learned opinion behind.  From this point on, trainers and behaviorists that support their opinions from the hiding place of a “Phd”, will discover that these letters now stand for, “Piss here doggie”!

“Then will begin the greatest era of history for all canines!  A  time when humans will stop fighting over things they barely understand.  Soon, balance will be restored to the way it was long ago, when dog and man lived in peace!”  Hans had worked up a lather by now.  He stopped and looked at me, furtively.

“What?” I asked.

“That’s as far as I’m going to go…There’s lots more that we have planned for you…but it’s best kept quiet for now.  You’re not ready…Not ready to return to the past when we worked together.  There is much yet for you to forget, unlearn, and transform in your mind.  Science holds no sway, and physical tools are of no value in the relationship between Man and Dog.” 

So There…” chimed in Holly.

“When Trained Properly, Humans Will Once Again Earn, from the Dog this time…the title of ‘Best Friends’…We have much to do.  The Natural Way must be restored”

 

I poured the remaining Skyy down the sink, as the dogs watched.  “What is IN that stuff??”

 

 

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“German Shepherd Adventures” was first published on the ubiquitous Facebook.  As my posts became longer, and more photo-centric, I moved into the wonderful world of WordPress.  I love my online home here, and I am ever so thankful that this well-run, and easy to use site exists.  WordPress you are THE BEST!!!

Recently, as Facebook has become more of a mind to make as much cash as possible, or gather as much  information about its users as possible, they are making it more and more difficult to publicize and share my blog there.  At times, I have received messages from FB stating that I am writing SPAM, and will be prevented from posting for as much as 15 days at a time.  I do NOT sell anything on “German Shepherd Adventures”, I do not espouse political or religious views, but rather, I write a very positive blog that most dog lovers seem to enjoy.  Why “German Shepherd Adventures” has suddenly been branded  as SPAM by the FB people is beyond my understanding.  I can no longer depend on them as a conduit to spread information that helps people and their dogs.  It’s apparently okay to spread other “unsavory” sites featuring puking, drunkenness, violence, and foul language, but not stories and information about German Shepherds.  So be it.

That’s why I’d like to invite as many of you as would like to Subscribe to “German Shepherd Adventures” by hitting the “Follow” button at the top of the page.  If you don’t like my posts, you don’t have to do anything.  I suspect that perhaps someone on FB has labeled “GSA” as Spam enough times to make some computer somewhere take this action.  If you don’t want to read something you disagree with, I’ve never forced you to do so.  I’ve survived other attacks on FB over training methods, and perhaps one of those knuckle-draggers has something to do with this.  I don’t know…

So, please, if you enjoy my blog, come on over and subscribe.  I promise you it will be free, and I’ll continue to do my best to entertain, enthuse, inspire, and help you out with every post!   Thanks for your support!!   Robert Vaughan

Not all of my writing is about Dogs…My interests range into other fields where the readership is specialized, and limited.   Rarely do those subjects intertwine with German Shepherds, dogs, or things that bark. As a Research Rewrite Specialist, I turn “science-speak” into something palatable to everyday people like myself.  As a practicing “simpleton”, I make sense of the complicated, and present it to others. I’ve been working on a project that has inextricably wound itself into German Shepherd Adventures.  It has made me reconsider my methods with the dogs, and for myself.

The premise of the research is Stress and its causative agents in living organisms.  That’s right.  Humans, animals, plants, and even lower forms of life.  What I’ve personally learned has been extraordinary, if only to myself.  The Researchers, Doctors, and Scientists have long suspected the conclusions that I am writing about, and are proving the research scientifically.  In order to more fully understand what I was writing, I underwent some testing of my own…Now, I am helping to prove that the results are applicable to other species, most notably, canines.  Forgive me for being temporarily off topic, (Dog-centric that is) but I KNOW that you’ll find the conclusions more than applicable to your relationship with your dog!

I have proven to be a fairly successful test-subject, making my own stressors easy to identify and quantify.  Physically, I am in as good of shape as an active 50-year-old Man can be. (Except that I just broke a tooth.AAAARRRGGGG!!)  My life is such that I am able to “go with the flow” most days, and not get too crazy.  Without boring you with all the testing parameters, we did manage to find something that stresses me much more than I ever knew or suspected.  It has been suspected that this particular causative agent is widespread and can even be deadly.  I found it by keeping a log of times that I felt stressed, and what was going on at the time.

We live on a busy street in a residential neighborhood in central Ohio.  (Living in Ohio is one of my secondary stressors) 

Within two miles of our home, there are three separate Fire/Emergency stations.  Ambulances, ladder trucks, heavy rescue vehicles etc.  They run out approximately 12 times daily, sirens blaring.  We live close to two separate elementary and middle schools.  There are no fewer than four separate football/soccer fields that are frequently used by hundreds of people.  Our street is a heavily traveled connector route, with literally non-stop traffic 24/7.  Oh, and just as icing on the cake, we live only one mile from Port Columbus International airport, not far of the northern 28/10 runway.  There’s a stoplight nearly in front of our house…This causes people with loud car stereo’s to decide that EVERYONE needs to hear their idea of “Music”.  The audio levels here regularly reach 80 decibel and above, often hitting 125 db in spikes.

They all have one thing in common.  They all produce the same poison.  They all make my blood pressure spike…They all produce NOISE which never subsides…I have personally logged my responses to this cacophony of audio-hell much more than is necessary to prove what really bothers me.  This world is entirely too noisy, and the human brain just is not designed to deal with it all on a daily basis.  As I have now identified this problem in myself, I asked the question, “what about the effects on my dogs?”

Using the same type of protocols and audio level decimal meter, I decided to test and document the noise pollution on and near our normal practice fields.  What I found was fascinating.  And a bit more empathetic to my dogs.

First, understand this:  Training our dogs against “Distractions” is a normal procedure.  Toys, food, other animals, strange people, gunshots, you name it.  They learn to ignore them all when working.  But what I’m discussing here is decidedly more than a distraction.  It’s Biomedical, and could even harm your dog, as well as yourself.  Noted, a dogs hearing is exponentially better than a humans.  But volume alone isn’t always the main culprit.  Sometimes it seems to involve the sound waves and frequency.

Field #1 is located on the property of the airport itself.  There are small lots of hardwoods, a river, open prairie, and a Flight Path cuts directly over it.  At one point, aircraft are as close as 100 feet above the ground, at about 125 miles per hour.  The dogs have worked in this area since they began training.  They ignore the sounds, the wind, and it doesn’t seem to affect them.  At least externally…

“If it’s too LOUD, you’re too…NORMAL!

It was noted that every time we worked in this field, no matter how close the traffic was, the same results occurred.  The dogs would fairly race to get into the car, where they would immediately lie down and attempt to sleep.  We assumed it had to do with being tired-out from working.  We now believe that the actions are produced by Stress, produced by being exposed to excessive audio levels.  And it’s not just audio…It seems that such sound levels can even shake internal organs, including the brain.  Damaging levels are not as extreme as you might imagine them to be either.

In another test, we closely watched the dog’s ability to perform at peak under these circumstances.  There were notable negative influences on each and every dog.  While no external signs of stress or fear were present, ability to focus and concentrate were apparent.  Something, noise, vibration, or something else undetected added literally minutes to the work, and made the dogs seem Stressed…

Moving to another area, far from the airport, we used  Field #2 that is frequently occupied by a practicing High school band. The sound levels are not high, and can easily be tolerated from 100 yards away at approximately 35 decibels.  That is until the large bass drums begin their ministrations.  The echoing “boom boom boom” sends waves of low frequency sound waves across the field, and even though not loud, cause Hans’ ears to quiver.  The faster the beat becomes, the more I spy him glancing at the source of the sound.  He continues to do his search, or return his ball, but his hackles are raised, and he perceptibly will not squarely face the sound.  Hmmmmm…

Another test that was included, was standing and performing a downstay at a stoplight.  It doesn’t take long for a vehicle with extreme levels of sound blasting out of it to appear.  Hans performs a perfect, long-term, down-stay in this area, but I observe his anxiety as never before.  I’m stressing him without being hitherto aware of it.  It makes him antsy and anxious…

These are the places we REGULARLY practice.  Could it be that I’m harming his ability to work?  If this Audio Induced Stress affects humans so very negatively, what about him?  I log this into my book, and begin to examine my own behavior.

I always have a radio on during the day.  Often, it’s Talk-Radio.  I measure the days that I listen continually, and compare them to days that I consciously turn the noise OFF.  The theta-waves and blood pressure are undeniably different.  Noise is something that harms without our being aware of it.  I try listening to music instead.  No matter what the music style, the results are the same.  Long-term and continuous sound affects me.  Negatively.  Same for the dogs…Hmmmm.

We keep close track of the dogs behavior when different noises are present at various volume levels.  Many Schutzhund competitions will include loud stadium style speakers blasting out Rock and Rap music almost continuously.  I have observed that when music is blaring, Tracking scores take a down turn, sometimes precipitously.  Some dog shows are seen to have Classical style music playing in the arena.  Maybe it’s me, but that doesn’t seem to be any different.  When the sound goes away, the focus returns to everyone in attendance.  How curious…

I recently invested in a small device that has digital recordings of various natural sounds.  Waterfalls, rainstorms, waves, birds etc.  We installed it in the dogs crate room (otherwise known as the Master Bedroom in our house) where they sleep alongside us each night.  For a week, we listened to “Coast to Coast AM” all night long as we’ve done for quite a while.  We noticed that the dogs would regularly wake up to be let out at 2A.M. and 5:30 A.M. each night.  The next week, we switched to music each night, (Soft, adult contemporary).  No difference in schedule, and the dogs just never settled for more than a couple of hours.  After this two-week experiment, we activated the natural sounds of a soft rainstorm and waves each night for a week.  The dogs slept soundly thru the night, 10:00 pm to 6:30 am.  Every night.  We even felt more rested.

Is it possible that being aware of the sounds around us will make the dogs learn more readily?  Will they sleep more soundly?  Will they be less stressed?  I know, at this point, that being aware of ambient sound is helping my stress level and focus.  As for the dogs, no more AC/DC when we train, even in the more aggressive activities such as bitework .  We will find areas with less noise to train in.  The research and conclusions of this study are nowhere near completed.  I post this as “externalized” research, asking you for your help.  Do you find that you are affected by the “Noisy” world we live in daily?  Have you ever considered that your dog and his training are affected by it?  Your observations are welcome and desired!  Do you play music while training?  A thousand questions could be asked, but I want your observations. 

Noise pollution is something we cannot escape.  Some of it we create ourselves in our own environment.  Loud music, television, locale…Other sources are just a byproduct of everyday life.  Sirens, heavy machines, rude people with loud car-audio systems…

Dog trainers and behaviorist, I am especially interested to hear what you may have observed working with dogs in noisy, and quiet environments.  I’ll post as much information here as will help the research!  Thanks for reading!!!

Thanks to my good friend and Photoshop genius, Chance Lozzio, Hans and I can best express our support for the greatest NFL team in the world!  (You can find Chance on Facebook!)

Image

I heard a gong from the far end of the house, and immediately thought, “Uh oh…the delusion is starting over!”   I walked the hallway toward the master bedroom, and opened the door slowly.  It was dark, and the unmistakable scent of jasmine filled the room. ” Why didn’t the smoke alarm go off?”, I wondered.  Sure enough, there sat my four-legged best friend, on our bed wrapped in the comforter he knows is forbidden. 

HANS Ahhhhh…Robert-san.  You have returned to learn more of the ways of the German Shepherd.  Very good…

GSA: First I have several questionsWhere did you get the gong? How did you light that incense?  And are you at all aware that the comforter is forbidden for canine-use?

HANS:  All of those things are easily answerable. But our time is short, so allow me to address the use of this lovely comforter first.  I am using it to demonstrate the next quality of Barkido.  It is known as POLITENESS, being represented by benevolence to all living things.  It should always border on the quality of LOVE.

GSA: And wrapping your furry behind in Mom’s comforter shows politeness?  She’s gonna kick your polite behind…And by the way, I recognize your “gong” as one of Mom’s expensive skillets!  The handle is all chewed!

HANS: I have need of surfaces for chewing.   Follow now, the reasoning that forms POLITENESS.  You know it to be true that the night air will be both chill and damp from rain.  In service of POLITENESS, I warm the comforter for Mommy to use, so that she is warm and comfortable.  Leaving bits of my own hair will comfort her with the familiar, soothing, odors that emanate from my person.  These same attributes will invite the young puppy I am training to also share this vital work with me.  Does this not make sense to you?

GSA:  Sounds like the same reason that I ate the last cupcake.  I wouldn’t want Mom to feel guilty for eating it…alright, I’ll give you a pass on this one.  What’s next?

HANS:  It is SINCERITY.  Every dog has opportunity each day to display sincerity and with it, it’s boon companion honesty.  I do not want to trumpet my own accomplishments in this regard, but you may observe it between young Holly-chan and I daily.  You will often see her with a highly desirable chew toy or ball.  I will approach her, and relieve her of the possession.  This teaches her that belongings are of no value, and that she should be prepared to surrender them to her sensei at any given time.  My sincerity is proven in the self-sacrifice to teach the young one.  Honesty is demonstrated by acknowledgement that the older dog is more worthy of the toy.  Holly-Chan has had much difficulty in learning this concept, as she often bites me for taking things from her.  I bear the scars on my legs from her deprivation.

GSA:  I’m  not so sure about that one Mister…You seem to have stolen and stashed every toy and chewy in the house and stashed them in your crate.  Including three different shoes, (mine) 7 socks, (2 mine,5 Moms) and at least one hairbrush.  How do you explain that?

HANS:  To explain that, I can only say that I am a victim of circumstance and adherence to the Code.  I am dog, and shall always be such…And that brings us to the next quality of Barkido…LOYALTY.

GSA:    How did you light that incense?  You could have burned the house down…

HANS:  And yet, it still stands.  Pay attention now, I am about to teach you of Loyalty.  The Dog  IS  Loyalty personified.  Always will the dog stand by the human it owns.  I will always be there to share your food, Always will I be there to flatten the bedclothes as you attempt to make the bed, always will I attempt to open the bathroom door when you have closed it behind you.  When you clean out the refrigerator, always will I have my nose close at hand to assist you, when you go out the door, always will I be of the mind that I MUST go with you.  Always will I sort thru the garbage cans so as to insure that you have not thrown away something important.  I will loyally eat any food that you seemingly abandon, so as to prevent you from suffering from cold food.  There are many ways to display LOYALTY for the dedicated canine.

GSA:  Well, I can’t argue with you there…you certainly demonstrate those traits.  Mommy has created the “German Shepherd Diet” because of you.  She makes something to eat, and you look for ways to eat half of it.

HANS:  Yes, I must be ever vigilant to watch what she is eating, and always maintain a plan to relieve her of any excess food she may attempt to eat.  As for you Robert-san, I’ve seen you eat…I wouldn’t come between you and food for any price.

GSA:  You show Wisdom as well.  And Prudence…

HANS:  And that leads us to the final quality of Barkido.  “SELF-CONTROL”. 

GSA:  Oh, this should be good…

HANS:  Self-Control is the quality that sets the German Shepherd apart from all other canines.  We do not give in to the impulses that others surrender to without hesitation.  Where the Doberman will bark at every small noise, and carry on like an idiot, the German Shepherd will patiently wait until the noise is clearly a threat to bark.  Where the Malinois will attempt to chew thru dry wall to leave a room or subdue a subject, the German Shepherd will wait patiently for the surprise factor.  Where the Poodle will pine for a bath and fluff, the German Shepherd is content to smell like something he has rolled in, or swam thru.   Patiently will the German Shepherd wait for the perfect moment to abscond with yummy food morsels from the kitchen counters.  Such is the Way of the German Shepherd.

GSA:  This has been a very interesting delusion Hans…Hopefully everybody has learned alot about their German Shepherds behavior.  Make sure you put Mom’s skillet back where you got it, douse that incense, and put the comforter back on the bed.  And for the love of goodness, drop the Mr. Miyagi accent.

HANS:  I seek only to teach the bipedals under my care.  Next time, May I introduce the world to the  “Dogga-Sutra”?

GSA:   NO YOU MAY NOT!!!  This is a family blog!!

Editors Note:  I’ve been closely observing our new  Omorrow German Shepherd puppy Holly with her big brother (2-year old Hans) for several weeks.  They wrestle, play, fight, and snuggle until they are completely exhausted.  Location makes no difference.  In the yard, in the house (“THIS IS NOT ROMPER ROOM YOU TWO CHIMPS!!!!”) or in the great outdoors.  I have begun to notice that the older dog, Hans, has been forced to implement “technique” into his self-defense with this energetic little puppy…flips, holds, mis-direction, and mind games.   Meanwhile, he is also instructing her in the behaviors of the Proper German Shepherd.  She is a gifted and enthusiastic student, always willing to follow her big brother into whatever shenanigans they can dream up.   It finally hit me this morning, Hans is using  “Dog-Jitsu, or Barkido, The Way of the German Shepherd!!!  I have decided to talk to him, and find out where he learned this ancient art…

I decided to go straight to the source, and ask my beloved Omorrow German Shepherd what exactly was going on.  I found him on our living room sofa, either sleeping (as I suspect) or meditating as he claimed.  I noticed he was wearing a banzai bandana, and that was enough evidence for me to conclude that my dog is crazy, and pepperoni pizza just before bed time is a bad idea for me.

GSA:  Okay Hans.  Am I mistaken, or have I noticed that you’ve adopted some sort of program to train your new sister, Holly?

HANS:  Well, you are mistaken if you think it’s new.  It’s certainly been a secret for a long time among canines though.  It’s called “Barkido”, or The Way of The Dog.  It’s much more than a technique for fighting or disciplining…We dogs live by this code, and train young puppies when we have the opportunity.  Recently, the responsibility of Teaching this young puppy has been thrust upon me, and I’m taking it very seriously.  Holly is a bit of a Wild Child, at this point, so I’m working overtime.

GSA: Can you tell GSA readers a little bit about this “Barkido” code?  Oh, and what’s with the Mr. Miyagi impression?

HANS:Who is this Miyagi-san of whom you speak?  Pay attention now, this is important.   Normally I would say no…But it seems that the time may be right to reveal these secrets to the Bipedal World.  Humans seem to be getting farther and farther away from common sense and reasonableness.  Understanding the Way of your Dog, might help.

First of all,  “Barkido” is defined into different qualities.  These qualities define all proper and justified behaviors that dogs practice.  The first quality is known as JUSTICE:  When a dog lives with his humans, everything he or she does, is controlled by Justice.  If your human walks away from an egg mcmuffin, Justice dictates that the dog must consume that McMuffin before it goes bad and makes his human sick.  Justice also takes note of activities that the human enjoys, and providing opportunity to enjoy that activity.  Humans enjoy cleaning floors, so it is within Justice that we will spill water and food for them to clean up.  We will also track thru as much mud as possible, and leave a long trail thru the home for the human to enjoy cleaning up.  Other areas where humans enjoy this act of cleaning may include crates, automobiles, and digging holes in the yard.  Justice demands that each dog is responsible to make these and many other messes daily so as to satisfy Justice.  Other creative practitioners of Barkido, have included chewing the legs on wooden furniture, eating leather sofa’s, jumping onto kitchen tables, and many other very fine messes that give the human opportunity to clean.

GSA:  Really?  So that’s why you and others do that stuff…For the Good of Your human..Yeah, that’s it.  By the way, when did you learn Japanese?.What’s next?

HANS: Dogs speak ALL languages.  Now pay attention.   The Second is COURAGE.  This quality assures that each dog will always protect his home, his food, and the bi-pedals under his care.  The dog will unfailingly bark at would be intruders to his Masters home as they deliver mail, small annoying bipedals, and our dreaded enemy, the squirrel.  Noises in the dark will always be responded to as though the entire Pack is threatened.  Courage also gives the canine the fortitude to peer over the highest kitchen counters to remove food that the masters leave unattended, so that it may not spoil in vain, and be thusly wasted.  Courage also dictates that dogs will stare unafraid and without distraction at things that fly in the sky and make noise.  My master calls them “aircraft”, but dogs refer to them as “Things that fly in the sky, and make noise.”

On Occasion, to answer the call to Courage, you may notice that your canid will bark at things unseen by the bipedal persons.  This is to insure that all things are in orderliness, and that nothing deserving to be barked at, is neglected.

GSA:  Really?  I just thought you were crazy…Amazing what we’re learning here…Some of this really explains what you dogs are thinking.  What’s next?

  (a small Japanese Chin dog walks in with head bowed and offers us tea in small bowls.  I refuse it politely because it smells of kibble, but Hans laps his up with gratitude.  The Chin leaves the room with me wondering when this delusion will end)

HANS:  Next is MERCY, coupled with BENEVOLENCE.  Canines must realize that the bi-pedals are dependant wholly on our ability to provide comfort and mental well-being.  We must daily practice the art of allowing them to pet us, scratch our bellies, and find our itchy spots.  We practice MERCY by sleeping on the human beds, warming them and making the bipedals comfortable as they sleep and stare at the confusing, but entertaining images projected on their walls.

GSA:  Well, I must say that you certainly care for that ‘sleeping on the bed’ stuff…

HANS: I must take time now to entertain my master by retrieving the floaty toy that he enjoys throwing so much.  His interest in this activity is great indeed, and I must therefore assist him.  When I return, we will discuss the final four attributes of Barkido:  Politeness, Sincerity, Loyalty, and Sels-Control…

As our food arrived, Hans began to relax and open up to us…To my distinct surprise, Hans ordered a Cobb Salad with walnut vinagrette dressing.

GSA:  Hans, you seem to dabble in a lot of different training and K-9 disciplines.  Don’t most K-9’s specialize in one or two of them?  Are you overloading yourself?

HANS:  That’s a bit of a myth…many Patrol dogs are trained in multiple disciplines.  Understand that we ARE specializing…in Scent work.  I’m not cross-trained in attack work for patrol use, and we’re not pursuing explosives work either.  Training for bomb detection is really limited in it’s availability…

GSA:  I see…so you’re concentrating on Tracking/Trailing, and taking on cadaver and narcotic scentwork…

HANS:  That’s right.  Dad and I do Personal Protection work, but it’s because it’s fun to do a beatdown on the sleeve, or some chucklehead in a bitesuit…Oh, something else we completed recently, detection of spent ammunition for evidence work!  We spent some time with Ken Westpy at AimHi shooting gathering a bunch of different calibers of spent ammo.  Each caliber has a different scent signature…If you are near New Albany, AIMHI is a great shooting facility.

GSA:  Lets back up Hansie…Tell me about your puppyhood on the Omorrow farm…Do you hear from your littermates much?

HANS:  Not as much as I’d like, but everybody is so busy!  My sisters are all real beauty queens, Sydney is around Facebook some, (He got the Long-hair that the babes love so much).  For the first 3 or 4 months we were very close.  But then, you spend a couple of months swimming around in amniotic fluid with 6 other puppies, and you’re bound to get close!!!

GSA:  Thanks for sharing that…How about life in the whelping pen?

HANS:  My Mom, Cinder, was great!  We were her first litter, and she did a great job!  Of course she wasn’t alone, Grandma Rhonda and Aunt Tara, and Grandpa Brian and the whole family at Omorrow helped us thru those first 8 weeks of life.  We were socialized from the very beginning, with kids, adults, and other Omorrow dogs!  We even went in the house to play!  Grandma Rhonda had our veterinarian out to visit us, and we had the best care!

GSA:  That’s important!  What other  memories do you have of that time?

HANS:  Lots of warm puppy piles!  Later on, my littermates and I would wrestle around with each other, run amuck in the barn, and just explore our world.  We were kept safe, somebody was always watching us…Then, people we didn’t know started showing up to visit us!  I remember meeting my human Dad when I was less than a week old!  He picked up each of us in turn, and took pictures.  This went on with a bunch of people for 5 or 6 weeks!  Then, one day, my Dad showed up to meet with Grandma Rhonda and played special games with me and my littermates.  We played chase the ball, Follow the Leader, and Daddy made alot of noise with pots and pans.  I guess he was testing us…Well, it was 2 weeks until we could leave Mom for our new homes, but when Dad left that day, he gave me my name!  And he left me a big warm fuzzy towel to cuddle in!

GSA:  And how was your first day in your new home?

HANS:  The first couple of weeks at home were very special…I met my new people-Mommy that I love to pieces!  She takes such good care of me!  At first, I treated her like a littermate, and I kind of used her as a chew toy…They trained me from that pretty quick.  Mom was greatly relieved.  She also taught me where to go potty, and I only had ONE accident the whole time.  Mommy is very good with puppy lessons…They gave me 2 weeks of “Just Be a Puppy” time, while I got used to my new home.  Daddy made a special “Wolf cave” out of my crate, and it’s still pretty cool!  I still curl up in there to sleep at night, it’s got a cool fan for summer time, and it’s warm in the winter!  After two weeks, Daddy gave me a real collar, and a new leash.  He let me wear around for 3 days, and then we learned how to walk together out in the park!  We went to ball games and other places where we met a lot of different people!  Daddy always told people about Omorrow puppies, and how good our temperament was!

GSA:  Let’s look ahead now Hansie…What do you plan for the future?

HANS:  I’m really excited about the third annual Omorrow Reunion coming up in September!  I hope my brothers and sisters can be there!  Also, Daddy is teaching me different stuff for the Competitive Tracking Association!!  We will have an introductory seminar on May 13th…That will be fun!

GSA:  How about long-term plans?

HANS:  Well, that’s a guess right now.  Mom and Dad want to relocate back to Northern Michigan…Daddy has a plan!  We’ll continue to train and work, and Dad is becoming a pretty good Handler.  He’s thinking about a another puppy from Omorrow as well.  In a few months, after I have my OFA certification, Dad and Mom want me to start a family too!   I also have a “Bucket List” of personal things I’d like to do…

GSA:  Really? Like what for instance?

HANS:  I’d really like an opportunity to put a bite on Al Gore and Michael Moore, even though I imagine that Moore tastes like old sweat sox and rancid cabbage.

GSA:  Whoa big fella’!  This is an apolitical website…even if that WAS funny.  Well, Hans…Thank you so much for taking time to talk with us all!!

HANS:  Can I have my orange floaty toy now?