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Wolfman K9 Obedience - References

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10 December 2010 - Featured Dog - Guiness

Guiness

Yesterday I had the most amazing day, and it’s all because of Guinness, and what we have accomplished! As I look at the calendar I realize that in 3 days it will be a year since I brought him home, he was 6 weeks and 1 day. What an exiting year it’s been. . . so much has happened that I decided I would recall guinness’s story and write it down.

Guinness wasn’t home 48 hours and I knew something was wrong, terribly wrong. I had him at my vets by 5 pm and after doing X-rays, all the other stuff they could do, I was advised to take him to the emergency clinic on Bristol Street. By 8 pm he was not only in serious pain, he was anemic and on intravenous. Needless to say I was a mess. I was allowed to go in and see him about midnight before I went home and he knew my voice, wagged his little tail and tried to crawl towards me. I was absolutely smitten, he was my little puppy and he was going to come home with me again, no matter what.

After a night of no sleep, I was able to bring him home the next day. He had been full of worms! Go figure . .

And so Guinness’s story with me begins . .

I absolutely coddled him, I took him everywhere I went, even into stores and the bank. I am self employed and work out of my house so I could be with him 24-7. When he was 3 months old I took him to the local puppy school for a 6 week course. I primarily wanted to socialize him with other dogs.

He’s now about 5 months old. He was generally well behaved with me and did listen to me – mostly – but he was very pushy and dominant with every one else. Everyone let him get his way because they thought it was easier, and hey, he was still a cute little puppy, until he started “attacking” with his razor sharp puppy teeth and there was some bloodshed. Then no one wanted any thing to do with him. I was always coming to the rescue of my human friends, but with that being said I wasn’t going to let people “smack” him around. I knew that was not right. It’s unbelievable how many people there are that think they are “dog trainers”, especially when it’s not their dog. It wasn’t really a big issue but I knew that if I didn’t start doing something about it now it could easily escalate into something dangerous as he grew older. I had owned another German Shepherd, Sage for close to 14 years but I don’t recall any thing like that ever happening. I couldn’t even remember a flipping thing I did to train her. All I remember is the wonderful dog she became.

I had heard “The Wolfman” mentioned through conversation in the past but it wasn’t until my vet spoke very highly of him that I picked up the phone and called. Mike made an appointment with me the next day and I was greeted by Mike’s “kids”. Here I was sitting at a table in his house with a huge rotweiller head resting on my one lap and an even huger bull mastiff head resting on the other lap, and there were even other dogs in the room! I was so impressed with the candid conversation and advice that Mike had so willing shared with me that I signed up right away. We started training the next day.

Mike doesn’t train your dog, Mike trains you. He explains the why’s, the do’s and don’t’s, and teaches you the correct application of the reward and the correction. Guinness was a quick learner but I was a little harder to train. When I make mistakes the dog becomes confused and Mike, or one of his team always has the time to come over and explain the why of what I am doing wrong. They correct me and my reward is having Guinness respond to me correctly. It still amazes me that on a field with 8 or 9 handlers and their dogs, Mike doesn’t miss a thing. All of Mike’s students do really well, I see it time and time again. I came out to an apparatus demonstration that Mike did one evening and Guinness and I signed up immediately. It looked like so much fun. Talk about a duck taking to water, Guinness was going over the whole damn course all by him self after about the 4th or 5th time we went. I just ran along beside him and rewarded him at the end. Then he wants to do it all over again. He is such a natural athlete. But more importantly, I noticed right away that he was so much more “in tune” with me in every thing we did on a daily basis. It seemed that over night he became much more mature in the daily decisions he was making. Our relationship became even stronger and that is such a rewarding experience. He continues to make remarkable progress in all aspects of Mikes program, especially in the off leash training. Last weekend I had him laying down and staying, with 5 other dogs from Mike’s program, all of them right beside each other in a row for at least 6 or 7 minutes before we all asked them to sit. Guinness was the youngest and I think this is awesome behaviour for a dog of his age.

Because I started Guinness, or more importantly, I started me, in Mike’s training program so early, I have a wonderful, well adjusted dog who is respectful of me and what I want him to do. Mike has taught me to understand my dog’s world. Knowledge, coupled with absolute consistency is the key to prevention.

I believe training your dog as well as yourself should be started at the very beginning of any new human/dog relationship, not after problems start to arise. Guinness and I will be in The Wolfman’s program for many years to come because there is always so much more for us to learn, and, Guinness loves going to “work”. We are both looking forward to doing tracking and protection in the future.

Guinness is my constant companion and my best friend. Thanks to you Mike, and to your amazing team, Carol and Josh, you have given us a strong foundation as Guinness and I celebrate our first anniversary together. We look forward to many more anniversaries, with The Wolfman’s team as our life coach.

Thanks again Mike

Guinness & Caroline