Friday, October 26, 2007

Dog Trainers, Man’s Best Friend, Tonto and Our Run Amuck, Throw Away Society

A day does not go by without an email from a lost soul, not like in wayward lost to damnation or those other places where fire and brimstone are the order of the day, rather misguided or ill-informed about dog ownership, especially the training part of the oft “bargain deal” dog.

Oh, don’t get me wrong about fielding these inquiries about “what’s wrong with my dog”, for most of the time it leads to an economic windfall for my way of living. If purchasing a dog where an automatic utopia where the owners and the dogs lived happily ever after, then dog trainers such as yours truly would be certainly out of business.

So, though answering the same questions over and over again does indeed become very repetitive and mundane to say the least, there is that welcomed pot of gold at the end of the rainbow when whatever I reply hits a well-sounding chord and the recipient feels that there finally will be a respite from all the negatives that they have been going through with their supposedly “best friend”.

We live in an “instant gratification” society. If something ails, then take a pill or go see the doctor and magically feel much better that someone wearing a white coat, a certificate on their wall and some shiny, cold instrument dangling around their neck comes into a room that you have been sitting patiently for over half an hour, asks you a couple of questions, listens to the beat of that conga-sounding heart of yours and walks out in two minutes flat and you leave the place feeling much better, of course with a bill to suit!

Even if nothings ails us, we hop in our car and indulge in major money exchanging by going “shopping”, even if nothing is needed, but we need to satisfy our selves by splurging as if that will make things much better. Yes, doling out the dough has a way of making us feel good, even if it only last a minute or two and then we are back with that “empty feeling” again.

Fortunately for me as a dog trainer, the same peculiarities of our out-of-control wasteful society applies to those that buy a dog. Within weeks of welcoming in their new companion, they are out buying every book and video tape on the subject of dog ownership. Not much time passes that they will eventually seek a “guru” to personally attend to their problems at hand. In my case, “seek a dog trainer” comes into focus for the new dog owners as they navigate through the uncertainties of dealing with a member of another species.

That last part of the last sentence is the whole ball of wax! People expect dogs to act like people! The new owner and old owner alike, insist on treating their four-legged companion as if it were a little human. They expect this very human-bonded entity to behave and conform to laws, rules and regulations that not many people adhere to in the first place. They expect dogs to act responsible, determine what is right from wrong, good from bad, new from old, throw away from newly purchased, cheap from expense and all those other decision making processes that even humans have a hard time getting right themselves!

Oh, the complexities of the great “throw away society”, where new is old as soon as you drive it around the block and where bigger is always better even if it doesn’t fit in your garage! Where shiny only last with the glimmer of a better looking car driving by and where that newly smell of “new” becomes old hat when the next door neighbor pulls into their driveway with a newer smelling model.

Yes, I too revel in this great world of “quick fixes” and “new is always better” to make us feel “good”. So when that call comes in for a quick fix for the run amuck canine, I take delight in being part of the “feel good movement”, providing my 3-decade plus of dog earned expertise to “good” use and of course the compensation that follows allows me to splurge in a newer smelling car every once in while.

So when the inevitable call comes in, to the rescue comes the dog trainer, wearing an official looking shirt or logo-emblazed hat, carrying credentials, certificates or the like to pronounce their qualifications on the subject; from a carrying case or bag out comes a shiny, official-looking collar and within minutes the dog is marching to the tune of the new drummer! The dog owner is impressed that there is hope for their beloved “Fido” and that finally there are happy dog days to come!

In my case as a sought after dog trainer, most seemingly wayward dogs are reigned in within minutes, with the dog owner amazed at how quick their dog learns! Yes, 99% of the time, the dog is brought under “control” in a jiffy, not pulling any longer at the leash, not jumping up, walking alongside me when ordered to and generally a well-behaved dog in a matter of minutes.

So, there is a magic pill, a cure all that ails for dogs, find a dog trainer and you have dog utopia!

Well, yes and no! Yes, there is hope for optimism and no there is no magic cure, no pop-in-the-mouth pills for Rover; only the stark realization that will soon be unveiled that there is much work to do by Rover’s owner.

The dog reacts to my authority, my sense of control, my leadership as the leader of their pack. That is how dogs see the world, either lead, follow or get out of the way. Leadership to them is very black and white with no shades of gray! You are either the leader 100% of the time or you are not the leader at all. If you don’t lead, they will!

That would not be a problem with most dog and owner situations, because there are some people that have no leadership capabilities what’s so ever, the huge problem that does exist is that dogs make terrible leaders in a human world, full of rules and regulations that most humans can not even follow themselves!

Most of my clients envision a perfect “man’s best friend” world, where the dog automatically assumes the role of Tonto and they become Kemasabe, the Lone Ranger. In case you don’t know your trivia (according to yours truly), tonto means “idiot” in Spanish, while quien mas sabe (pronounced almost the same as Kemasabe), means “he who knows most”. So, in essence the white guy ruled supreme will the Indian was a bumbling fool, as most dog owners would love to have it between themselves and their “faithful sidekick” Fido, Rover or Tonto!

Well, Tonto doesn’t do windows anymore in our 2007ish world! Rover isn’t going to do rollovers on cue without Clayton Moore doing some training! You need to buy yourself a pair of golf gloves, a nice choke collar, a 6 foot leash, and of course most importantly a qualified dog trainer that will bring back that ‘new car smell” to the dog/owner relationship and at the same time aid the dog guru’s economic status so that he/she may indulge in self gratification and go out and perpetuating our throw a way society by buying a brand new smelling car.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Chicken Noodle Soup Formula

My secret is out of the closet! Yes, I too have succumbed to the "chicken noodle soup" for all that ails!

Well, okay, in this case nothing really ails, however the chicken noodle soup comes to the rescue, not that anything really needed rescuing to begin with.

For years, I have been weaning my litters, like in Labrador puppies, with as the Colonel would tease "A secret formula of herbs and spices", of course it's not so secret when it comes in an envelope inside a box of Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup!

So, let's let the cat out of the box or is it a rabbit out of a hat, whatever your choice of critters out of containers maybe, chicken noodle soup has been a mainstay in raising my little chickadees into fat rolly-polly, cute as pig's ear Lab puppies.

So gather close by the fireside, ears close to the radio and I will give you a down home chat on how I get my puppies to forget about momma and come a running when I bring them their meals.

You take an envelop of chicken noodle soup and add it to a cup of boiling water.
Stir real good and don't be eating any of it for yourself, because as the Campbell commercial always says, "It's mmmmm good!"

I then add a cup of Max Large Breed Puppy dry dog food and let it stand for a while until the dry food has soaked in the chicken noodle broth.

To this scrumptious looking gruel, actually it does smell very inviting, I then add 3/4 cup of goat milk and 1/4 cup of rich, butterfat milk.

Talk about puppies devouring their food and for me it is such a welcome reprieve not having to bottle feed each puppy one at a time!

Puppies will suckle from their moms for up to the age of 4 weeks. Usually at that time, the old law of economics will appear, only in reverse mode, demand will far outstrip supply! The ever-fast growing pups will suckle the mom dry in minutes.

Me, the surrogate mom, then jumps in and hand feeds the pups with a mixture of goat milk, butterfat milk and Enfamil baby formula. Up to three times a day for a whole week each pup will be hand fed until they are old enough for the chicken noodle soup adventure.

So, here we are at the Yeehaw Junction in the road, as I stop momentarily to read my emails before I take my newest crop of puppies their first-ever meal that will certainly taste like chicken!

So, until the next blog writing mood strikes, with my favorite cowboy in mind, happy trails to you!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Welcoming Myself Back

WOW! it's been three years since the last time that I updated the blogspot at Chambray Blog News! That is supposed to be a real big NO NO in the realm of blogging................ suicide by layers of inactivity!

Time indeed does fly by, although I have been told by those with more grey matter that time doesn't really exist, that it really is a figment of our imagination, something conjured by man to extend their sense of longevity. Okay, I guess I am not the rebel that I have always dreamed I was and will accept this rather nebulous, higher being intellectual premise.

So much has happened as the non-existent time does not wait for anyone in my three-year blogdom absence, too much to really document in the preferred short version story telling of blog scripting.

Obviously, I am still alive and kicking, so the saga continues or as Sonny and Cher would sing way back when "and the beat goes on".

My kids are 3 years older, Jessie, now 18, graduated high school in May ranked very high in her class and was awarded a full ride scholarship for 2 years at Miami Dade Honors College. I graduated from the regular version of Miami Dade back in 1970 with my Associated In Arts degree. I guess maybe she can explain this 'no time thing" to me.

My son Ryan, at 13 is the super athlete and is now in the last year of middle school. Last year he was voted Most Valuable Player in 2 sports, Volleyball and Softball. Now, what makes all this exceptional is that he is not yet 5 foot tall and the rest of the Volleyball players were well over a foot taller than he was!

Great things come in small packages and when you meet Jessie and Ryan you will know what I am talking about!

Shaune is my first born from my first foray into the married world is now 33 year's old and lives in Georgia close by with her mother. She now has 3 kids of her own, thus has bestowed the great honor upon me of GRANDFATHER. I capitalize that word because it is like a clock on a tells time!!!!!!! Forget what the worldly thinkers think, we are getting older and that is a test of time no matter what they say it isn't.

Well, I guess you know what my gripe is all about after all this absence of TIME from the blog scene.

Time, damn time........................even if there is the possibility that it doesn't exist, the clock is ticking and we are getting older by the minute.

Oh, excuse me, the higher brainiacs will tell us that there are no minutes, no hours and days just don't exist, years don't leap and centuries are just an illusion created by giant mirrors that we can't comprehend.

Ok, so I am back and will post my mind's ramblings from time to time, even if that time doesn't exist, however I know I exist because I have a terrible pain in the rear and that is real for sure!

Sandy Herzon
10:59 AM September 20th 2007

Saturday, July 17, 2004

The Westminster Dog Show, Is That All There Is?

The Westminster Dog Show, held each year at Madison Square Gardens in New York is the great neon sign in the sky for the dog show world, it is the great banner trailing behind the little airplane over the crowded beaches on the 4th of July, it is the one symbol-event that almost everyone recognizes that defines showing dogs.
There isn't a person that I meet, that doesn't pose the great statement/question, "Oh, I have probably seen you there on TV, right?" 
Well, the answer to the above is "No, but I attend over 60 other dogs shows a year elsewhere!" 
As sure as the sun will rise each morning, or so we hope, nine out of ten inquisitionist will retort with something along these lines, "There are that many dog shows!" 
Well again, the answer is yes; multiply that by 100's and you might be near the correct answer. There are dozens of dog shows almost every weekend of the year throughout the country, at fairgrounds, public parks, convention centers, motel/hotel grounds, privately owned grounds, old southern plantations and just about anywhere else that hundreds, sometimes 1000's of dogs, their owners, the owner's cars, buses, trailers and whatever else they used to arrive at the sometimes distance places can accommodate.
The next popular question from the enthralled participant, with well-chosen verbiage so as to not offend me, usually goes like this, "Who are these people that are into showing dogs?" Of course there is a pat answer to that question, one that I have recited way too many times to keep count of, remember I have been "into" dogs for over 30 years now.  For this essay, I will modify my "pat" answer and make it more informative. 
There seems to be a great misconception of who actually is into dog shows. First of all let's define the 2 distinct groups of people in the world. There is the real large group of people known as the None-Show Dog People; they obviously are not "into" dog shows- show dogs or the like. They may or may not own a dog, but they definitely are not into dog shows. Simple enough, that just leaves the other smaller subset of people in the world, the Dog Show People or the Show Dog People (DSP-SDP), either way it's the same group.
So now we will expose the denizens of the deep that seem to emerge from below, these nefarious folk that skulk about by the light of the full moon. For sure these "canine exhibitors" must be from some other planet, for the questions from the None-Show Dog People always seem to be with amazement that there are people that actually traipse around the country side on weekends to run around a ring and have their dogs "do tricks".
Let's take a stroll down Dog Patch Drive and see whom we run into at the most recent dog show. Of course you won't recognize any of the names, since they are indigenous to a particular locale, but in reality they could very well be your next-door neighbor, your attorney, your school principal or the person that extracts your next tooth.
As we make our way through the large convention center in some city 200 hundreds miles away from home, we navigate between isles and isles of kennel cabs, crates and X-pens (portable fencing that can be set up to contain a dog). There are small dogs, hairy dogs, large dogs and very large dogs, dogs, dogs and more dogs! There are just as many people as dogs, Dog Show People to be precise. Once in a very rare while, you will encounter a None-Show Dog Person (NSDP). They a very easily distinguished from the other variety of people, they are the ones in total awe of the commotions at hand, they rush from dog setup to dog setup, wide-eyed and full of surprise at all the funny looking dogs before them. They ask incessant questions of those holding, walking, grooming or just sitting by their dogs, so these NSDP have now been identified, now let's reveal the identities of the SDP/DSP!
Walking towards us is a jovial fellow and his very gregarious wife, they own German Shepherd Dogs and they travel to about every dog show that I do. They have professional dog handlers train and exhibit their dogs in the ring for them, as they root their dogs on from ringside.
So who are these people? Well, the gentleman, Peter is an attorney and his wife; Lourdes is the office manager at his law firm.
Next we meet up with Grace, always talking, networking, big smile on her face, she's the contagious type, always doing something good, especially for Rottie rescue, she's big into Rottweilers, so who is she and what does she do besides this dog stuff? Well, Grace is an Assistant Principal at a large, prestigious, private high school in my area. In fact, my nephew graduated from that very same high school and Grace is now campaigning for my 10-year old son, Ryan to attend her stomping grounds.
Having emerged from Grace's grasp without signing up for some do-good project, we next encounter Mike, tall, very athletic type. Mike owns a Golden Retriever that I happen to exhibit for him (I also happen to be one of those professional dog handlers, as in, I get paid to run around the ring with your dog type). Mike is a network cameraman, NBC, CBS or one of those other multi-lettered companies.
Exchanging pleasantries with Mike, we move on to Ray, he owns Doberman Pinchers, real nice guy, very cordial, always glad to see me and my kids, maybe because I contribute greatly to Ray's financial status. Besides being into dogs, Ray is also a dentist, an Orthodontist to be exact, my kid's Orthodontist to be even more exacting. We actually met Ray and his wife (also a dentist) way before he had dogs and ever thought about getting into dog shows.
Well, I guess that maybe by now you are starting to get the picture, DSP/SDP are really everyday-type people, the kind you meet up with at any given spot of our planet.
These dog show-types may be the lady next door, the guy behind the cameras, the guy in front of the judge or heaven forbid, the guy extracting your next tooth! 

Friday, July 16, 2004

A New Blogger On The Scene

I have just emerged from the Dark Ages, as I am now an official Blogger!
Having just authored my first-ever blog, coaxed by those who evolved first into blogdom, I am in a total state of amazement thinking of all that blogging promises.
Of course, I understand that all neophytes experience this euphoria upon discovering the Promised Land, much like Columbus did in 1492.
To be honest with you, when I first heard the term “blogging”, I cringed a little, for it brought memories of when I first heard of  “clogging”. My then-wife wanted to try it and it turned out a total fiasco for me, as I couldn’t get my two feet coordinated enough to scuff up the floor like all the other country-folk were doing.
After receiving over a dozen invitations from Site Pro News and other email-based information conduits, I finally succumbed and clicked on the enticing hyperlinks that lead you to the Website for cloggers, whoops, did I say cloggers? Heavens forbid, the foot stomping and the noise, I meant “website for bloggers”!

Of course it was very easy to select what my subject would be for my first-ever blog, none else than dogs! As a dog trainer, dog handler, dog breeder and dog supplement business owner, what else would I have to write about? So the subject matter was easy to choose and since I am very involved in DOG SHOWS, well put the two together and presto, we have a blog about my adventures at a dog show with one of my dogs.
It sort of is a catchall, sharing my love for what I do, that I happen to do very good and also promoting my business. A win-win situation this blog stuff, I think I will do more of it. Stay tuned!

Best In Show Visit

Best In Show Visit
The culmination of a dog show is the grand finale at day's end, the Best In Show competition. The hardly souls, if dog's do indeed have souls, enter this most prestigious arena as the last standing from each of the 7 designated groups of dogs. They have been deemed the best of each group with a Group 1 placement; in essence a Group 1 is the winner of their respective group and by that bestowment, earn the right to compete for the highest placement at a dog show, in BEST IN SHOW.  
Newly crowned champion, Chambrays Mad About Madeline CGC, beats out all the other Sporting Group dogs for the Group 1 award. What makes this major Headline News is that "Maddie" is a Labrador Retriever and Labrador Retrievers seldom, if ever get this top placement when competing against all the fancy looking sporting breeds, such as Golden Retrievers, Irish Setters and the endless array of Cocker Spaniels, not to mention all the other fluffed up, coiffured, combed out, combed up, hair sprayed, dyed-job, so-called sporting dogs that the Labs must content with in the Sporting Dog ring. 
It then becomes a big-to-do, when a Labrador struts into the Best In Show competition and making this a bigger event, almost a one-of-a-kind for Chambray Labradors, is that there has only been one other dog from our kennel in 20 years of dog show competition, that has trekked into this extremely thin air congregation. Although the last nod of the judge's head was not to favor our newest star on the marquee on this given day, it does serve notice that a supernova is bursting forward in the celestial canine sky.