OK, so a rescued Pit Bull walks into a bar…

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.

SF Guardian Article, A Vivid Description of What We Do

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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Idle Hands are the Devil’s Workshop: A Day in the Life of a Bay Area Dog Trainer

A full day of dog training starts with a hardy breakfast. There is nothing like fresh eggs and La Farine bread. On this day my father was visiting. He played fiddle at Saint Roch’s while I danced around a blind Akita named Bubba. Earlier this year my Dad recorded  harmonica tracks for former Velvet Underground member Doug Yule. Check it out here.  To watch our Rooster do a card trick click here

Last post I talked about healing behavior problems from the inside out.  Yesterday I received an email from clients in Berkeley who were feeling the rewards of this approach to training.

We are so grateful that we found Francis Metcalf, the incredible dog trainer at Friends of the Family.  Since we have been working with him, our magnificent Giant Schnauzer has made amazing progress.  We only wish we had not waited until HH was almost five years old.  Since we got him, from a top breeder, at seven months of age, HH has tended to lunge at people (never other dogs) and intimidate them, although he has never bitten anyone.  We therefore have, over all these years, severely limited HH’s contact with other people, which has had a big impact on our lives.

Congratulations to Tiffany and Ryot 2011 Mondioring 1 National Champions

I met Tiffany when she came to California to prepare for the MR1 National Championship trial put on by the United States Mondio Ring Association at the Triple Crown Dog Training Academy in Hutto,Texas.

Tiffany came to CA to work with mutual friends Lisa Maze of Muttamorphosis Dog training, and Andrew Ramsey of Ramsey’s K9 Services, both Bay Area Dog Trainers of the highest caliber.   It wasn’t long before Andrew told me that Tiffany was dying to see our training club, Saint Roch’s.

Andrew and I prepped Tiffany and Ryot for their upcoming competition.  Our work paid off, because Tiffany and her Belgian Malinois Ryot du Ciel Rouge came home with a first place trophy.  Since I only did an hour decoying for Tifanny I’m not anxious to claim any credit.  Furthermore, the knowledge I did provide Tifanny and Ryot was a technique I learned from the brilliant Swiss trainer Joaquim Dovat.  A technique designed to use the rules of perception to lessen the conflict felt by the dog when defending the handler from two decoys.

Ryot Du Ciel Rouge 2011 Mondioring 1 Champion

Good Sportsmen Honor Their Equipe

In Ringsport we have term called Equipe, this is just the French word for team.  Every team has its own ecosytem of team members.  In Ringsport the team consists of the Training Decoy, the Dog and the Handler.  These are the main players in the Equipe, but the team ecosystem goes deeper.  The team also needs a Training Director who plays the role of Judge, a Field Assistant who helps place rewards and adjusts jump heights, finally we have the other club members who give moral support and friendly competition.  The stronger the Equipe the stonger the training.  When your dog wins, your entire Equipe wins.   Just like when a wolf finds his prey the entire ecosystem surges with life, from the Cariboo herds to the Ptarimigan.

Unfortunately, many people don’t realize the power of a good team and instead act like they can do it all themselves.  I have done this and can tell you from personal experience, it is a dead-end street.  I have seen good training partnerships ripped apart over the absence of a simple “thank you”.

In closing, I would like to thank Tiffany for her willingness to share her moment of glory with us no matter how undeserving of praise we are!

To all those interested in great dog training I would like leave you with this slogan.

Your Equipe is an ecosystem NOT an EGOSYSTEM.

Your team  shares your blood sweat and tears, in return all they ask is that you work hard and say thank you.  There is only one way to learn Sportsmanship and that is by example.  Thank you to Tiffany for setting a fine expample!

Ryot pays his respects to the Sphinx who guards the entrance of our training field.