Dogs are Family

While I was growing up, we always had a dog or two. The first two dogs I remember were Tippee and Twinkle. Neither one was very well trained; they didn’t know any tricks and neither one was a fan of strangers. Twinkle was an old fat lab that enjoyed lying in front of the register. My best recollection is that Tepee would charge the front door every time the mail was delivered, slamming her body into the storm door until it made a violent sound as she barked and growled. Fortunately for the mail carrier, she never made it through that door.

Our next dog was a miniature poodle mix named Brutus, who was hit by a car and died. I remember my mom bawling. My family never showed any emotion, and this was the first time I saw my Mother cry. I was 15.

Next, we had an Alaskan Malamute puppy. My Dad, who drove a school bus, found the pup on the side of the road during a thunderstorm. It must have been quite the traumatic experience for that pup because it was terrified of thunder, fireworks, and gunfire all its life.

The dog we named Dallas would seek refuge in the bathtub. Dallas was not a fan of people coming to the door or passing by the house. All our dogs had to be tied out or they might have bitten someone, or get hit by a car, or both.

Doesn’t sound like much of a professional background for a dog trainer, does it? At least I learned what not to do.

Fast forward to 1989 when I was hired to be a police officer. One of my field training officers was a K-9 cop. He had a big German Shepherd named Black. During my training, we went to an apartment where the woman that lived there thought her estranged boyfriend was hiding. We checked the apartment and reported all clear ma’am.

Apparently, we did not do a good enough job because he was hiding in the closet, buried under some dirty clothes. As we were getting into our cruiser the woman ran out of her apartment building screaming her head off with her “boyfriend” running after her. I open the door and let Black out, who snapped into action running after the woman and barking at the bad man.

My training officer called his dog off and handcuffed the suspect. Once the dust settled, my training officer looked at me and said, “Never do that again.” You see, the handler is the only one that can send the dog after a suspect due to liability reasons.

That incident was the beginning of a long, successful career in police canine services. I found my calling, and the department sent me to advanced trainer’s courses. I was a sponge – reading, training, and learning from some of the best.

People often asked me, what happens to police dogs when they retire? Do they find a retirement home? There is a unique bond the handler has with his dog. Any dog handler who sends his dog off to a retirement home family is a schmuck. That’s like telling your 15-year-old kid to go live somewhere else because you no longer want him to be part of your life.

Dogs are family, whether they are mixes that are aggressive and lack training, or they are a highly trained police service dog. Police service dogs live with the families of their handlers. They take them on vacation and on camping trips. No matter what kind of a dog – mutt or police – they are family.

When I was growing up, hiring a dog trainer was unheard of. Dog trainers trained Lassie, seeing eye dogs, and Police service dogs. Nowadays, there are several dog trainers in our area alone. I think part of the reason is, liability. People do get sued for dog bites and homeowner’s insurance will be canceled for owning a dog with a bite under his/her belt.

Maybe people just have the means to pay a professional dog trainer. I know how much nicer it is to own a dog that listens and has manners. My dogs are a joy to be around. They both have their little quirks. Titus plays fetch with himself by rolling the ball down the steps and retrieving it, going back up the steps and rolling it down again. Bracha very gently bumps me with her nose when she wants something. That is also how she wakes me if she needs to go outdoors.

Bracha is Daddy’s little girl.

Dogs are family. They love to be with us, to go on trips, walks, and to play. They are perfectly content to lay at our feet as we read a book. They are always up for whatever we are; if you need to take a nap, they are game. A walk? Let’s go!

Dogs also make wonderful family members because they follow the rules. Do we eat once or twice a day? You get to make the rules. My dogs eat once a day at 5:00 pm. They never ask to eat in the morning because that isn’t our routine. Did I just say routine? Yes, dogs love routine. Give a dog a routine and they will be all in.

We love our dogs like family. Just like raising children, they need routine, structure, and rules. Add in a little love and you will have a happy, wonderful part of the family.

To find out how Admas K9 Dog Training and Kennel help your dog with their routine or manners, please contact our team or stop in today and visit our facility. Adams K-9 – Love your dog, love your dog’s behavior.

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Legislating the Tools

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I would like a quarter every time someone came in my training facility dragged by their dog in a harness or gentle leader. If they work for your dog, then great! However, we see a fair amount of people asking for help because their dog still leash pulls or is reactive on lead.

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