Posts Tagged ‘san francisco’

If you have been wondering where we have been, well it got cold a and rainy and we started to hibernate.  After an extremely productive year we fell into a deep sleep. Now we are stretching and yawning and waking up to prepare for a new year filled with new classes. We had such a great 2012 thanks to a lovely article about us that ran on the first page of the sunday SF Chronicle early edition and the front page of the home and garden section.

The exposure from the article introduced us to lots of great people, many of them as freaky as us. Some of our most dedicated students were worried that the little Canine Circus School hidden in the heart of the East Bay would cease to be the underground cool thing for those in the know.  They thought because of the article the secret was out.  We had a good run but instead of selling out we went into hibernation thereby ensuring the secret coolness of the Canine Circus School for generations to come.   Or so the legend goes.  Even though the circus is hibernating we are still doing private lessons.  If you want to arrange a time to sit down and learn some new tricks or work on a behavior problem, let us know we are never too sleepy to help.  Call us at 415- 779-6550.

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New Classes starting in 2013 stay tuned for the schedule. Until then here are a few tricks for you to work on when the weather is cold.

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Check out this fun video we made after finishing a set of 8 private lessons with Leslie and her Pit Bull Levi. What an awesome team, I am lucky to have such great students.

Levi the Pit Bull relaxing between takes

If dog training was high school then we are the art room set.  Other trainers can be the jocks, honor students, or the popular clique.  I’m always happiest in creative mode, and I love working with people who are interested in exploring the creative side of dog training.  If you are interested in this sort of thing come join the fun by attending our Canine Circus School, or doing some private lessons.

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Intuition in training on a street corner in Oakland with a blind Akita

If you have lived in California for a while, you might have forgotten about the California glow.  The best place to see it is after a trip, at the airport, waiting by your gate.  I know the SF bound gate immediately, everyone is a shade hipper from the babies to the grandparents.  I usually balance a ball on my head, and when asked, I simply whisper “I worship the Orb” and everyone is quietly respectful.  The people of California have a glow, it twinkles when they adjust their posture, do breathing exercises or peer out from hip eyewear.  Even the cops in California are hipper.  Recently, Hayward Police K9 Handler, Loring Cox had this to say about us:

“Francis is one of the most dog intuitive people we know. If you need dog training, are interested in protection sports, or just want to have more to do with your dog give him a call. Check out his blog and see what they have going down in Emeryville!”

Dutch Police Dog, Albert was the forefather of modern Police k9

Only in the Bay Area would your local Police k9 unit appreciate your intuition!  Thanks Hayward!  And I appreciate the personal dedication of the Bay Area Police K9 handlers that take it upon themselves to study dog training. Officers like Loring Cox of Hayward who has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things k9, or Colin Jones of Alameda PD who recently certified as a French Ring Decoy.  These are just two of the many Bay Area Police K9 Handlers that go to great lengths to learn their craft.

Here is a video demonstration of my Intuitive abilities & hard work!  The Decoy is Andrew Ramsey, the dog is Balzac of the infamous Contes d’Hoffmann Kennel.  He is 1 year and 7 months old.

Note to Balzac Fans:  I will be continuing my series on his training shortly.  I got bogged down in the details of describing some difficult to express concepts.  Instead of writing a novel, I wanted to get back in the swing by posting Balzac’s latest training video, he is now a year and seven months.  I will fill you in on his prior development and current training as we go.

Balzac Des Contes d'Hoffmann


Intuitive as hell

As for intuition, if it means competency gained by years of practice, then sure I’m intuitive.  I would be very skeptical of anybody who claimed to have intuition not derived from years of practice, but rather by some outside force.

Bad Energy

Many people in California are into “energy”.  Like good energy and bad energy. Often I hear people talking about their dog reading peoples energy and responding by acting a certain way.  It doesn’t work that way.  If you blind yourself with superstition you will just use it as crutch to support your own bias.  If you are talking about the energy created by perception, then we might agree.

Chomsky demonstrates energy generated from perception. Stare at the quarter. Do you feel the energy?

Dogs respond differently to different people based on how we move, where we look and how we respond to them. As a decoy, this becomes very clear. Decoy’s manipulate the dogs behavior by responding with actions that trigger drive states brought on by movement patterns. Tools in the decoys bag are: Eye Line, Menace, Flinch, Startle, Flee, and Charge, all stereotypical movements that can trigger the dog to respond in certain predictable ways.  These same decoy techniques can be triggered by people who have no idea they are triggering them.  These very people may be pure of heart and deed, or not, they just act in a way that triggers the dog.  I have seen many dogs with a hypersensitivity in their temperament be labeled as “Intuitive” or able to “read energy”  It’s not true they are responding to body language.

Fake magic banished/ true magic found

I hope this doesn’t take the magic out of it for anybody.  For me, it adds magic. Knowing that I can make a dog feel more confident by how I respond to his actions. Knowing that  with just the right movement I can tap into ancient predatory instincts.  Watching how my eye-line informs of my intentions.  With this in mind,  I accept the title of Dog Intuitive, bestowed on me by the Hayward K9 Unit.  I am honored and if nothing else it will stoke my California glow!

Nothing creates intuition like the school of hard knocks.  This is a glimpse into a training session with the Hayward PD.

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We had tons of fun Trick dogging at Saint Roch’s this Easter Sunday.  Norma put out bowls of candy and mint water to appease the forest nymphs, and I drilled our canine recruits on the finer points of barrel racing.  The class was both a rite of spring and a rite of passage for our fledgling circus stars.  Spit flew, and tempers flared as our pack of canine misfits vied for top pedestal.  Thanks to our level-headed handlers, the show went on.

When a minor snag leads to a major breakthrough, you are on the right path.  By the end of class every handler had developed more trust in their dog and every dog more confidence in their handler.  It was just in time because we had a visit from a San Francisco writer and impressario team looking to book a troupe of educated hellhounds for an event at Mint Plaza in SF.

Check out this slide show of Circus Class Session Two with special guest Bubba The Eyeless Akita on Piano!

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Tim & Winnie Jo go toe-to-toe at Canine Circus School.

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Thanks to all who participated, your dogs are amazing!  I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish in the next five weeks.

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Check us out in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. I can’t believe they managed to squeeze so much into one article, but I’m very thankful they did!  The closing line, to me, is the most important. I’m super glad it got in there.

the goal is to reawaken people’s ability to dream, and to imagine what animals may be capable of.

Bubba the Eyeless Akita learns to stay in Place

Folks have commented that the writer, Emily Appelbaum, got the look and feel of Saint Roch’s exactly right.  Thank you very much to Emily and the San Francisco Bay Guardian for spending the time to get to know us and our extended family.

the goal is to reawaken people’s ability to dream, and to imagine what animals may be capable of.

The Circus Ring is a chaotic and distracting place for a dog, please come prepared by fulfilling the basic requirements listed below.

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