The gift goes rehab!

November 4th, 2014

The middle of October stormed into Phoenix with rain propelled by near hurricane gales that had sprinted north from Baja, Mexico. A rarity in Phoenix to be saturated with moisture and significant drops in temperature at this time of year. Since we had the day off my muse, lover, partner, and I decided to take Romeo, our beautiful lab, pitbull mix to Papago park for a mid-afternoon hike. We entered the park south of the national guard compound which keeps enveloping ground off the 52nd street entrance like lava reclaiming territory in Hawaii. After we parked as we strode in on the access road we let Romeo off leash to check the pee-mail and stalk some wascally wabbits. Before you get freaky about the inhumanity of it all keep in mind these are jackrabbits that run like the wind and no animal could catch them even if they had “The Enterprise’s warp drive”. I keep hoping that Romeo will have an epiphany about this and stop chasing them but I’m affraid his prey drive is too overwhelming because he’ll chase them until his paws are bloody. I generally leash him prior to this occurrence.
The sky was Robin’s egg blue, the flora and fauna were glistening with the recent rains, and the scent of every living thing about was overwhelming as his nose led him all over the harsh terrain. Lana and I laughed, held hands, and strolled together behind him watching him revel in this unplanned adventure.
Within a half mile of our journey we decided to leash him to his dismay because we were afraid for his well being and after about an hour’s travel we arrived back at the Baddog’s mobile, saddled up, and drove home. Keep in mind this was a thursday afternoon in October and we hadn’t done anything like this since May. So upon arrival home we all succumbed to a catnap(not Romeo’s choice of verbiage), awoke refreshed, and rejoiced at having made it through another Arizona desert summer.
Fast forward to saturday around 1 p.m. when I went to take a nap with Romeo again because Lana was working when I noticed he was licking his right rear fore paw. As I scrutinized this irritating section of his right rear leg I noticed a gash maybe 3 inches long and one and a half inches wide. Immediately alarm bells began clamoring in my head that our muse would not be amused by this when she got home so I called my vet, Dr. Bill Bracken, who immediately returned my call after his service alerted him of our plight and after a short discussion I agreed to bring Romeo in on Monday because he was out of the office until then.
Once Lana arrived home I notified her of this development and she decided we’d take him to the emergency vet clinic on Shea boulevard and Hayden to get him stitched. When we arrived around 4:30 p.m. and began the process we knew it would be pricey when they took him back for the vet to look at him and the vet came back with several estimates. They were very professional and competent but we decided on anasthesia, stitch him up, and we’d take him home to rehab him rather than leave him there over the weekend. They said they would call us when they were done which they estimated would be about an hour. We went out and grabbed a bite to eat at Eli’s.
When we arrived back after their phone call we paid. Lana being a surgical technician grilled the doctor who was professional, pleasant, and congenial. She answered all Lana’s questions and shortly thereafter they led a doped up Romeo out to us and we in turn led him to the car. I squatted around his 82 pound frame scooped him up in my arms and proceeded to lift him into the backseat to the musical soundtrack of my creaking, groaning, knees and back. My aging carcass endured and I silently thanked my rigorous workout regime. When we arrived home we extricated him from the car and led him into his bed on the floor in our bedroom and momma took over his care so he could sleep off the drugs comfortably. Lana and I both slept with one eye open that night but he made it through the night easily, ate his breakfast, took his medications, and even managed a short stroll around the block so he could relieve himself. He peed here, he peed there, he peed everywhere but no #2. Between the anasthesia, and the pain meds he was bound up tighter than new bongo skins. For five days we kept him on Tramadol(pain meds), Acepromazine(tranquilizers), and Keflex(antibiotics) Once we ran out of these prescriptions we had to place the cone from hell around his neck and head to quash his innate desire to lick the itching, healing wound. He growled at our neighbor, Uncle Mikey and his mom during the withdrawal process so I started giving Benadryl to drowse him up. He still managed to get to the wound from time to time so we didn’t have to worry about taking the stitches out because he’d already performed that task. Who knew he was medically inclined? For two weeks we kept him as quiet and calm as possible yet I still took him for his daily walks. he couldn’t run and play with his buddies but eventually he seemed to stop fighting the system once we had him weaned from the pain meds. The third week was the worst because he scraped the cone against every door, wall, table, chair, and any inanimate object he thought would help him get rid of that infernal contraption.
We had to cancel social engagements because when we got home he’d have the cone split open and his bandage ripped apart and his wound reopened partially. We just passed three weeks since he’d been cleaned up and stitched, and the remaining wound is approximately 4 centimeters. When Lana pointed that out I asked what the hell is 4 centimeters? She replied one quarter inch so maybe if we get lucky, the creeks don’t rise, snows don’t come, winds don’t bedevil us he’ll be fit as a fiddle by the end of the week. the healing process is always difficult but I suppose the sun will shine a little brighter, the wind will caress our shoulders, necks, and faces a little more soothingly, and we’ll be more receptive to smiles, laughter, and short frolics outdoors once he’s 100% COMPLETELY HEALED. The bottom line is we love him dearly and no matter how long it takes he is still “the gift that keeps on giving”.

Husky Thanksgiving!

November 9th, 2013

Every year I eat too much, feel bloated, and later shamed at my holiday overindulgences so I decided to train dogs inexpensively to raise funds for Arizona Siberian husky rescue and adoption(A.S.H.R.A.). I do it on the first saturday following Thanksgiving. This year’s event will take place just north of the V.A. hospital and south of the dog park. It is by reservation only so to book a spot please call-602-955-1615 (bad dogs). I’m only one trainer so don’t wait until the last minute because I work with each dog and owner individually and a half hour session costs $30.00. If you are a veteran like myself I’ll do it for $25.00. I guarantee I’ll teach you and your dog heel, sit, stay, and come in the allotted time. I’ll work with any breed, young or old but you need a booked appointment. I’ll also answer any questions about behavioral problems during the session as well and offer suggestions to alleviate these behaviors. Half the funds collected go to A.S.H.R.A., the rest go to me and my chiropractor. I work for cash only and last year I was busier than a pair of jumper cables at a Puerto Rican wedding so call 602-955-1615 and book a spot because I plan on carbo-loading on Thanksgiving so I can work through the day raising funds for my favorite rescue. I will start as early as anyone wants (within reason) and I’ll work until I run out of booked appointments. I love Thanksgiving. I love Huskies. And now I no longer need to feel shame about overeating so please join me it’s a lot of fun.

Spoiled untrained alpha bitches

September 17th, 2013

I recently went to Vail, Colorado for a friend’s daughter’s wedding and if you peruse the post, “Vail venture” on you’ll get the lowdown. While Lana, my lovely better half and I enjoyed lunches and breakfasts at tables outdoors we were amazed at how many untrained confrontational dogs disturbed the peace while their owners attempted to enjoy meals in our proximity. The dogs postured, strutted, and vocalized with puffed out chests at the end of leashes tied to chairs or tables attempting to claim territory while their owners cooed at them unsuccessfully. Whatever happened to the simple command “down-stay”?
The problem as I see it is all the dogs were alpha males or alpha bitches who had minimal or no training at all during “puppyhood” and now they were adult dogs in foreign territory with no leadership. Most dogs today when walked are out in front of their owners on extend-a-leashes, thus in the alpha position in charge of their pack’s security. Because of inept, poor, or no training the owners are unaware of this. In addition the owners often use devices such as “halties” that prevent the dog from pulling but they don’t practice commands such as heel where the dog must choose to walk at your heel rather than in front of these owners thus giving the alpha position to their owners. This relieves a lot of stress on a burgeoning adult dog thus making way for more harmonious travels. And lastly a lot of these pampered pooches are not socialized enough or at all when they’re puppies which would allow older, bigger dogs to school them in proper behavior. All the owners acted chagrined, ashamed, and apologetic after the fact but none of them seemed to know where to turn for help. It’s unfortunate I was only passing through and I had no time to work with them. The end result is that all these fine, intelligent, beautiful dogs will be left home the next time these owners travel or they will be given up as untrainable.
I personally have had as many as 10 to 15 dogs under my care while their owners traveled and since I trained them, I could hike off-leash with all of them. If I ran into bikers or hikers I could issue the command “stay” and they would all “sit-stay” wherever they were until I released them with the command you’re “free” which I would do once the bikers or hikers cleared our vicinity. Most of these dogs were started in my verbal and physical training at age sixteen weeks and I would board them when their owners traveled. They learned to mirror my pack’s behavior while I practiced the basics daily with them so they would respond off leash as well as on. When they performed correctly they earned praise when incorrectly they earned minimal correction and we would repeat the process over and over until it became ingrained. It was hard work but worth it. Today everyone buys devices and trains under minimum wage trainers that steer clients to devices sold by their corporations;ie extend-a-leashes, halties, and other sundries. After the recession/depression hit owners either stopped training or went for cheaper courses offered by Petsmart or Petco where rather than hire professionals with knowledge and expertise they hired kids and taught them how to train with treats and refer the owners to store products and devices to resolve issues rather than training dogs to perform positively to commands in order to earn praise. Thus creating a relationship where the humans are the alphas and the survival of the pack depends on these social pack animals performing properly.
I had a dog named Bella I trained for a couple who traveled almost six months out of the year. When they were traveling she boarded with me and my pack at my house. Bella was a gorgeous Wheaton terrier with Tammy fay Baker eyelashes that had a strong prey drive yet I could call her off a rabbit chase, she would turn on a dime and run back to my side in an instant if commanded. My dogs Midnight and Aiko have startled small children when we left restaurant patios after a meal because they would “down-stay” under our table until commanded to “heel” when we were finished. Several famous people whose dogs I’ve trained also had this ability if they practiced what I told and showed them. Some did some didn’t but when these dogs stayed with me they all learned to act as a solidified unit. The bottom line is if your dog hits twelve months of age and won’t come when called please hire a professional to come to your house and work with you, don’t take the dog to cheap group training.
One of the problems is that owners fall in love with their puppies but eventually these puppies evolve into adult dogs and what worked with puppies doesn’t necessarily work with adult dogs. Dogs are descended from wolves not cute teddy bears manufactured at Disneyland. There is nothing wrong with cuddling, loving, and treating your puppy like a special child at home but you must train this dog to obey you implicitly everywhere else. Actually it is easier to start at home with fewer distractions and work your way out to unfamiliar territory. You have a responsibility to be the alpha and relieve the stress of unknowingly placing your pup in the alpha position in unfamiliar territory. If you need help call a professional
I intend to travel more often and if you keep up with my websites; and maybe I can do a crash course in your area. I also do fund raising for worthy rescues so don’t hesitate to call me personally at 602-955-1615. Your puppy can evolve into the best adult dog you’ve ever had like a third arm but it takes a solid foundation and some work. Ben Hogan, a revered professional golfer once said “the more I practice the luckier I get”. I implore you all to hire a professional particularly if you discover that you have an alpha puppy morphing into an adult dog. Just watch the tail if it sticks straight up you’ve got an alpha. I guarantee you will rewarded over and over again with a great dog that receives compliments everywhere you go. Lets stop producing spoiled, untrained, alpha bitches that ruin vacations and instead create more Benjis, Lassies, and Rintintins(Old T.V. star dogs). Make advances not excuses.

A wee alpha bitch

June 30th, 2013

I picked her up last Thursday evening after finishing my shift on the phones. When I arrived at this prior client’s abode I petted and reaffirmed my bond with their 10 year old alpha male mini-Dachshund, “the mouse”, we humans chatted about this and that and I was reintroduced to their girls now 7 and 10 years old that were just infants on our last encounter. The dad is an accomplished second generation author, the wife is a devoted wife and mother and like Fernando Llamas would say “they both look marvelous”. Anyway after being introduced to Maus’s new sibling, I loaded her in my car with her gear, food and assorted toys, drove back to her temporary headquarters for the next “longest weekend” of my life which consisted of five days of adjustments and shorter sleep periods for all.
Once I got her home, unleashed her, and cradled her in my arms her beauty was almost overwhelming. She is the most beautiful miniature Dachshund I’ve ever encountered. Her coat was shiny black all over broken up by masterful brushstrokes of brown in all the right places while her eyes were deep blue black that glistened with life, love, and a hint of devilish mischief. Her body vibrated with the energy of a twelve week old puppy inflicted with teething problems caused by razor sharp baby teeth being pushed out by adult teeth trying to find their place in her muzzle. As I brought her closer to my face for better scrutiny her pink tongue reached out to lick me as her survival skills kicked in telling her to exhibit submission to all alpha predators since she couldn’t rollover and show me her belly. My immediate goals were to crate train her, adapt her sleep and play times to human cycles, and create a bond where she listened to humans rather than her inner alpha ” I’m number one” voice. These were arduous tasks at best but I’ve been determined and dogged, please excuse the pun, since I started training dogs in 1969.
The first night she woke me and my muse at 11:30 p.m., 2:30 a.m., and 4:30 a.m. at which time me or my mate released her from the crate, took her outside to our backyard, and tried to coax her to relieve herself. Sometimes she did, sometimes she didn’t but we had to try to discern what sounds emanated from her being inferred she needed to go the bathroom and what ones meant she wanted attention. My goals were simply to develop her muscles, teach her to hold it longer, and most importantly teach her that she could not manipulate us vocally to give her attention and release her from the crate. A fine tightrope of design must be walked to accomplish this momentous task but like I said I was dogged in my determination.
Everyday was a new day at stopping her from chewing our clothes, shoes, and fine furniture while substituting stuffed animals, faux bones, and rope toys. keeping her in view when out of the crate because she was quick and small with overwhelming bursts of energy. When she wanted out of the crate she whined like a smoke alarm with a low or dying battery, one of the most annoying sounds in the world and she would perform this task right after we finally fell asleep. We were gaining ground by minutes and on Sunday night I was awakened at 1:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. when I arose early with her because her behavior told me she was hungry so I arose, fed her, and cracked the living room door open giving her egress to the backyard while my muse got two and half more hours of sound sleep. She performed number 2 elimination at this time outside and as a reward I put her on my lap and stroked her lovingly which is when she chose to nip me on my shorts enshrouded penis in thanks. I then placed her on a little dog bed to my side to avoid her thanks in the future. So we’d gained ground because she woke us up three times the first night and only twice on the fourth night. Dogtraining especially housebreaking puppies is a tumultuous time consuming onerous task so any victories and ground gained must be recognized and celebrated. As I pen this missile she is crated and not making eeping noises. Hallelujah! Housebreaking is about burning out the puppy’s energy so they sleep in a crate when you want them to and establishing a sleep, play, eat, elimination cycle that best mirrors your own. Sometimes it takes 7 to 10 days, sometimes it takes weeks, and other dogs take months. My goal is to create a base, enlighten the owners to my activities schedule, and pursue this in their own home with daily scheduled appointments until nirvana is achieved. Most habits take 21 to 30 days to break or create so I’m looking at a solid month.
Now the mistakes on my preparation were numerous. Since the dog was small she darted under the coffee table where she gnawed on a signed copy of a famed artist’s best work. In hindsight remove all items from reach of tenaciously teething four legged tornadoes prior to their visit. After feeding keep close to open egress point so dog has easy and instant access to the outside for elimination. I failed to close the bedroom door on the third morning in the process and in the blink of an eye she left us some fresh cigars at the foot of the bed. So plan, prepare, and execute.
You can’t take anything personally with alphas because they believe the universe revolves around them until you prove it doesn’t. Ah, there’s the rub! This beautiful wee alpha bitch, who shall remain anonymous for now goes home tomorrow morning but the work will continue and as soon as everyone involved gets on board, the sooner this dog will morph into a perfect little addition to their beautiful family but all the alphas must be convinced that for now the universe does revolve around this beautiful wee alpha bitch. So stay tuned because the saga has just begun.

Fern in a box

May 5th, 2013

January 2013 I was called to help a couple with a small dog that the girlfriend/wife inherited from her aging parents after they failed miserably in it’s early puppyhood. The end result was when this couple got it they began perpetuating the same behavior as the woman’s parents, once again entrenching this dog in stunted growth and development. I don’t get it maybe it’s a genetic thing that if you come from self-centered failure oriented households you’re doomed to produce failures.
When I arrived at the condominium and met the mouthy, cynical, blaming male and his timid, overeating, passive/aggressive female partner I should’ve tazed them, taken the dog to my home, trained it, and found a good home for it but instead the eternal optimist personality I carry around inside me took charge and within twenty minutes I had this cute miniature poodle/lhasa apso mix, weighing 9 lbs. performing heel, sit, stay, and come for me like a trained professional on the circus circuit. I assumed the couple was paying attention and would follow my lead but when I arrived the following week their kvetching, blaming, and chronic negativity began wearing me down. Speaking of which on the second session I added down and downstay to the mix and once again Fern performed admirably while the couple failed like they were deaf and spoke a different language than myself. Maybe their vision was impaired as well because they did everything bass-ackward to what I was doing and when mildly chastised, they quit and sulked. Once again a fun time was had by all. When I drive away from sessions like this I used to agonize over what I could’ve done differently with my show and tell routines but now I get angry and I begrudge these folks the air I share with them.
To make a long story short her parents kept this dog in a tiny crate actually more like a box(shoebox) from day one in the garage by itself for 2 months then shuffled it to the daughter. Then my students, this middle-aged couple kept it in the same box downstairs in the kitchen or outside on the patio in the same shoebox. The patio yard was covered in feces which they gave some lame excuse for not piking up and disposing of on a daily basis. When I told them they needed a larger crate, also they needed to stop free-feeding the dog and feed her twice daily, immediately followed by walks and training in their gated enclave they looked at me like I was insane and began spouting lame excuses why that would not be possible. Being a professional I bit my tongue and scheduled another session. They called later in the week to cancel and the pissant of a man told me they were going to sell her on Craig’s list and that’s why I don’t go to craig’s list.
Puppies need consistency not compartmentalization. They only learn when they’re with the pack, when separated their growth, maturation, and development is frozen in time thus stunting them. The dog these people need is a stuffed animal on the shelf at Toys-r-us and quite frankly they’d probably set that on fire with their E-cigarettes. All I could do about this situation is pray which I do daily for most dogs that end up with half-assed couples that couldn’t raise weeds in a backyard filled with fertilizer.
Recently I worked with a beautiful female Doberman Pinscher named Julia. A 55 to 65 year old transplant from New Jersey called me saying it was her son’s dog and they needed help. I met the 30 to 40 year old gentleman briefly, worked with his mom who was attentive and adept but once again when the session was over the dog went into a crate in the cabana. I assume the sweet dog will become an outside or compartmentalized dog as was Fern and as I drive away I wonder why these self-centered idiots keep getting live social pack animals when they are quite the opposite. Once again I still pray for Julia, Fern, and all the other ignored, untended, and lonely dogs that belong to selfish, lazy, excuse riddled caricatures of humans.
All I can say is if you know of any please put a verbal boot in their ass for me. If you are not going to walk it, work it, and blend it into your home and lifestyle then get rid of it, take it to the pound, put an ad in the paper and get a stuffed animal.
Last year we adopted over 100 dogs a day in Arizona and for the first time our adoption rate surpassed the number of unwanted animals euthanized daily. We’ve come a long way baby but a lot of people haven’t so help me point them out and ostracize until they change or move somewhere else.
I firmly believe cats and dogs are put here on earth to love us blindly whether we have good days or bad. They’re angels dispatched from a higher power to show us how to love no matter what. Some of us are so damaged during childhood we need dispatched angels to show us how. If we spurn their attentions, don’t reciprocate, we deserve the hell we end up in. If you can’t feed it in a timely manner, walk it daily even if just around the house or yard, train it so it understands right from wrong, and lastly praise it when it’s right, then get rid of it and let someone else reap the dog’s love and affection. Lastly for those that can’t love dogs and only yell at them, trade them in for those fake parrots that have recording devices that repeat your muttered curses back to you because if that’s who you are that’s all you deserve. Dogs are love and we all grow and evolve into better people when in love but if you can’t grow and evolve then move back to whatever hell your from and stop sharing my oxygen.
I used to walk my earlier dogs, Aiko and Midnight in the summer at the crack of dawn in the early “90”s at Los Olivos park, 28th st. and Glenrosa. We were often joined by 10 to 20 other dog owners and their dogs and back then all the dogs would be off leash. It was beautiful watching puppies trying to emulate adult dogs while romping and playing as the sun peeked over the horizon, stretched and began it’s ascension. An older couple, John and Ina walked their German shorthair with us smiling at the beckoning sunrise. Six months ago on my daily constitutional with my dog, Romeo we met John now in his “80”s and when I asked how he was doing-he responded “we’re waitng to die”. His wife who had great wheels(legs) was bedridden and tended daily by a day nurse(caretaker). John expressed sorrow over the passing of their last dog, Misty and after I commiserated with him I asked him why they didn’t get a rescue dog to enliven, invigorate, and love them in the latter stages of their life since they were obviously dog lovers. Shortly afterward on my daily walk he stopped me and enthusiastically told me they had acquired a small female rescue and it was joined at the hip with his wife, Ina. Since then Ina has been inspired to walk around their pool 4 circuits daily with the dog by her side while she pushed her walker. John was beaming like the sunrise of yesteryear as he was regaling this story.
Everyday as we arise we have the choice to set our minds to a “half full glass or a half empty glass” mindset whether we are rich or poor. I choose the former mostly because my dog, Romeo lifts my spirits on daily walks to smile, laugh, and love via his leaps, bounds, and beaming smiles. It’s your choice but if you want to be miserable don’t get a dog and condemn it to hell because you’re entrenched in misery and if you have one and constantly yell at it please get rid of it because you’re wasting one of life’s precious riches.

Love for adoption

March 3rd, 2013

My better half and I picked up Luna, a beautiful white and cream colored female Husky at the Maricpopa shelter two weeks ago. When we acquired her she was scraggly, undernourished, and a little freaky but she’s morphed into a delightful, energetic, playmate for Romeo, our Lab-Pitbull mix. She was an outside dog when we got her and now she’s an inside- outside member of our pack. Previously she was free fed but now she dines twice daily at the appointed times. She power-walks once to twice a day at a heel with Romeo and aside from her curiosity and age- appropriate desire to mouth and chew undergarments her obedience skills grow daily. On leash she performs heel, sit, down, stay, and come but offleash she’s a husky with freedom and frivolity as her catch phrases. She’s grown in leaps and bounds since we got her and it’s time for her to graduate to a loving person or persons with a male dog or no dog for her to bond with permanently. I taught her obedience, right from wrong, and the house rules while my mate taught her kisses and quite frankly who doesn’t like kisses.
If you are interrested in adopting a beautiful, trained, loving husky to love, adore, and exercise for the next 13 to 15 years this is the one to jump on. You need to go to Arizona Siberian Husky Rescue and Adoption inc website to apply and if you pass muster I’ll show you how to train her at your residence for a mere $35.00 but it’s not necessary. She also was also crate trained by me and my spouse and sleeps in the kennel in our bedroom and retires to it when we’re not at home. Luna means “moon” in spanish and I assure you if you meet her and spend anytime with this affectionate girl you’ll be over the moon in love with her.
All this was made possible by my directors and old well respected friends from ashra, Penny Baker, and Ann Calano who have been whirling dervishes in the Husky rescue industry for most of their lives. I’ve learned much from them and I will continue to jump when they ask for help because no matter the question the answer is always love. Any questions by phone will be answered as expeditiously as possible and my number is 602-955-1615. I’ve worked with thousands of rescues and this one is the steal of the century.
Pierce H. Russell

The results are in…

February 17th, 2013

Yesterday we staged the second annual Husky hike and aside from tardiness everything went smoothly. The huskies were woo- wooing, their owners were smiling, chatting amiably amongst themselves admiring each others dogs, chomping at the bit to get started. The dogs mostly huskies but other american mixes, big and little were admiring each others humans telepathically wondering when we were going to get started. At 9:30 we headed out and a woman with 4 huskies attached to a charm bracelet around her waist blew by me like I was standing still. She must have had some serious core strength. Good for her! The weather was low 60’s, sky blue as Paul Newman’s eyes, not a cloud above us. The sun was beaming it’s countenance down on us like we were the blessed, which indeed we were. Once we got moving the endorphins kicked in and everyone was having a grand time. We arrived back at the remada we started from in record time and the pack was strung out all over Papago park but no dogs or people got injured and when they finished everyone was smiling. We raised a goodly sum for A.S.H.R.A., thanked everyone, and bid the pack adieu. I’m sure other fundraisers raise more money other ways but my problem has always been my emphasis is on the fun as opposed to the raise. We’ll do it again when we can and I guarrantee you’ll have fun. Once again THANKS to ALL!

Second annual Husky hike

January 21st, 2013

On February 16, 2013 at 9:00 A.M. and is sponsoring and leading the second annual husky hike. all those involved will meet at the parking lot(westside) at Galvin parkway and Papago park. We are asking for a minimum donation of $ 10.00 prepaid at the arizona siberian husky rescue and adoption ,Inc website or $ 20.00 the day of the hike.
We did this four years ago and we had 38 dogs and 40 humans and it was a blast. The hike is a moderate one and a half to two mile loop. It’s easy for all dogs and humans, young and old. Any questions about the hike please call Pierce at 602-955-1615. Remember the bigger the pack the more empowered the dogs feel when they’ve finished. I’ll look forward to seeing you there.
Pierce H. Russell

Charlie and Sassy

January 15th, 2013

I met Charlie, a little alpha male mix with an enormous voice at a fundraiser I hosted and trained dogs at next to the Phoenix V.A. hospital where 50% of the funds went to Arizona Siberian Husky rescue and adoption(ASHRA), my favorite rescue in the valley. Charlie when told to heel did the alligator roll, pulled, and tugged me every different direction but the one indicated but since I learned that lesson before I kept up my praise patter while steering him in the direction I wanted while reeling him in to a near heel. It’s like near beer , it won’t get you loopy but it’ll get you close. After the session his owner, Ellen, a fine determined woman took me up on further lessons for Charlie and Sassy, their beta female husky. One of her goals was to be able to walk both dogs together successfully.
When I arrived at their house Charlie alerted the entire neighborhood to my arrival by barking feverishly which is normal for little alphas who consider themselves to be the leader of the pack. Vocalizations are their primary defensive and offensive weapons. I worked both dogs individually in their living room and found Sassy not only compliant but eager to learn while Charlie resisted with every ounce of his 10 to 12 lb. body. Eventually I hypnortised him with my praise patter and repetition finally coercing him to respond to my commands. Ellen and her husband took over after I got them in the zone and were delighted with the progress.
When I arrived for my second session Charlie only notified his owners I was there with quieter more restrained vocalizations. Sassy smiled from ear to ear upon my arrival because she’d probably heard about me through the husky grapevine. I worked them in the house then suggested we go for a walk with both of them so off we scooted. After offering suggestions, trading dogs, and showing them new ways to approach this necessary daily constitutional we returned to the house and I bid them adieu.

Upon my arrival for the third and final session, Charlie welcomed me quietly, Sassy followed suit, while Ellen beamed with pride at the ground they’d gained. We leashed them and proceeded to power walk them 2 miles at a heel. They performed impeccably for me and when I gave them to Ellen after the first half mile they stayed in character for her as well.
Charlie was overstressed from being the alpha all the time and by seizing the alpha position via training, showing Ellen how to do it, Charlie became a more relaxed, loving, less vocal pack member. Don’t misunderstand me, he still led Sassy but now when strangers or danger lurked they both looked to Ellen for direction. Charlie was a much happier dog ergo so was Sassy. Sassy was happier because she was a husky walking two miles a day rather than the quarter mile they used to walk. Ellen and her husband were much happier because together we’d laid a solid foundation they could build on and they finally saw the light of hope at the end of the tunnel of life.
This kind loving couple tipped me at the end of the session which is rare in this industry but I did give them a hell of a deal on the three session package and I also worked overtime because they paid attention. I accepted the tip graciously, thanked them profusely, and skedaddled before I bumped into a lamp or something and had to give the tip back. On the drive home I was in a quandary over which meant more to me; the tip from the owners or Charlie and Sassy’s beaming faces and relaxed postures after the 2 mile walk where they earned praise all the way.

Fear aggression, separation anxiety, and food deprivation

January 4th, 2013

Kona was a beautiful powerful Husky/Malmute mix with two different colored eyes, one blue and one brown packed into a solid 22 month old rescue that had just recently been adopted by a smart mature young lady that lived with her parents, a lovely couple in Tempe, Az. When I arrived and put a collar and leash on him in the living room he laid down rolled over and showed me submission. As I proceeded to work him in basic obedience he resisted whenever I took him away from his new owner and her mom. He was bonded with them ergo separation anxiety. I used posturing to lessen his resistance and aggression and diffuse the situation. This dog definitely had deep seated issues from his previous packs.
Once a pup is weaned from the litter they need a dominant demonstrative leader to show and tell them right from wrong. A great leader praises good behavior and warns them when they’re perpetuating bad behavior. For example mouthing pack members whether human or canine too hard can cause injury and excuse the pun must instantly be nipped in the bud. Kona had this problem and since I diagnosed he’d been hit by a male owner and possibly severely abused I had to be careful not to brush up against these triggers created by a previous owner. Raised voices and gesticulating arms seemed to back him into the abused corner from which to interact with a rescue is very difficult and dangerous. Plus Arizona has a two bite law where if a dog bites a human and it’s on record they must quarrantine said dog for 14 days until the rabies test comes back negative and if he/she bites again they’re automatically put down. I wanted to avoid this with this dog. Although I believe it’s a very good law because once a dog bites a human with no repercussions they become “blooded” which essentially means they’re more apt to do it again. For the most part if you don’t scream and holler and chase dogs into a corner and hit them, you’ll never get bit by a dog. If a dog gets aggressive and approaches you I’ve found if you stand still they won’t bite you. They might pee on your leg, growl, and maybe even prod you with their snout but if you stand still they’ll generally get bored and leave you alone.
Anyway back to Kona and his first session where he mostly vocalized his objections towards me which is natural because Huskies are big talkers. The second session we power walked him for a mile or two and then worked him outside in the driveway and when we came back in the house the owner gave him a rawhide chew about which he became incredibly aggressive vocally. She asked me if I could get it back from him and admitted she nor anyone else in the house could retrieve it. So I made a loop at the end of my leash and slipped it over his head while he growled at me then snugged it up, closed off his carotid artery with my hand until he spit it out. I held him fast, flipped the bone to the owner and shortly therafter took the leash off him where he proceeded to vocalize a stream of Husky invectives at me until I eventually left.
The third session when I tried to corrall him by grabbing his collar he bit my left wrist which thank the lord was protected by my stout stainless steel Invicta watch so he didn’t draw blood so I didn’t have to report him. I diagnosed that because he was older he’d gotten very territorial besides being abused so we took him outside to work him in neutral territory. Quite frankly his deep distrust of male humans made the exercises dangerous for me and this woman would be better served with someone of the opposite sex. I sold them a nice slip(choke) collar and a leash, wished them luck and headed out hoping that they could work through this and gain some control while earning his trust with daily walks and exercises.
If this dog was youger and less abused I might have been more successful. I also would like to point out that most rescues are submissive at first but as they get more comfortable in their current setting their true nature comes out and they become who they truly are. In Kona’s case his lack of bonding with a pack by age 22 months was creating severe separation anxiety, his previous abuse, and possibly food deprivation made bones, treats, and food dangerous zones for his immature fragile growth. Physically this dog was 22 months of age but mentally and psychologically he was more like 8 to 12 months of age if that. It was going to take a lot of powerwalking, training, love, and consistency to bring him back. I firmly believe the young lady, Gabriela with her dogged detirmination had as good a chance at redeeming this fine animal as anyone. As I drove off from my last session I prayed for their success.