In the Beginning

"You're a dog trainer?"

I hear this question every day. Folks see the logo on my shirt or someone mentions they are former or current students and they ask.

Second question: "How in the world (or some variant thereof) did you get to be a dog trainer?! Who does that?"

I will do my best to address that question forthwith.

In the beginning I was a kid that really, really wanted a dog. When I was about nine or ten years old, we got a dog for the family. We were not a dog oriented group of people. My parents thought it would be a good idea and, knowing little or nothing about dog ownership, they jumped in.

Poor little Lucy. She was a small mix of some kind and lived outside confined in her kennel for what I remember of her stay with us. After a couple of years she “went somewhere else”. As children we were less than responsible for her care and my parents realized that she needed a new home. These memories were to significantly influence my character as a dog trainer later in my life.

Got older. Read every book on dogs I could find and there were a lot! At sixteen I really, really wanted a dog for myself, primarily as a hunting dog. My grandpa told marvelous tales of hunting ducks and upland game. He was a hero of mine and I desired the dream of training and hunting with my own dog as only a teenager can. My parents, however, remembered the Lucy experience all too well and my begging was benevolently ignored. That is until they purchased a half a pig to put in the freezer and I made some snarky comment (teenager) about it “not being a dog but at least it’s something”.

Kids can be mean.

Apparently my parents hadn’t realized the depth of my feelings on the whole dog thing. It was an obsession really. It just wasn’t their obsession. Anyhoo, about three months later my dad, while purchasing supplies at a lumber store, came across a family selling black Labrador puppies and purchased the pup that would change my life. I still remember with an almost painful vividness my dad walking toward me with a strange (loving, anticipatory, anxious) look on his face. When I saw what he was holding my mind went still. That’s the only word to describe it. Still. Life changed for the better.

I was the sole companion of the pup who I named “Bo”. I trained out of books and endless questions asked of my grandpa and others who hunted and trained dogs. It was glorious and I learned a lot. I was not, however, a professional dog trainer. That would come later. It would be the combined experiences of my years with Bo and my memories of Lucy that would have my life change in an hour’s time.

Seeds of joy are planted in those around us every minute of every day. My dear parents planted a seed in me that amazing day when Bo came into my life little knowing or even suspecting it would greatly influence their son’s life.

Next time join me for: A Life Changer

Perfect Partnership

Most people that bring a dog into their life have “The Dream”. I’m sure you are familiar with what we are talking about here. The dog will come with us everywhere! We will take her for long walks…everywhere! He will be my very best friend and everyone else’s best friend too! Oh, and she won’t ever jump on people…ever!

Yeah, “The Dream”.

It is a fact that the companionship of a dog can work miracles in a person’s life just as it is true that we can work wonders in a dog’s life as well. This is not, however, a foregone conclusion. Perfect partnership between a dog and its human requires that respect exist between both parties. The dog will, in the presence of recognized order do its very best to fit into the world of the human. We believe that dogs are inherently mannerly when pack structure is correctly organized and administered. In the dog’s world this is always the case.

So, what is to be done? This is the question all dog folk should ask. Screaming, swearing, hitting, sulking, lecturing and all the other “human” responses don’t work so well. If, however, we look at the dog’s fundamental drives and character and plot a course towards mutual respect and order, the love we have for these wonderful creatures will be refined into something quite extraordinary.

You will probably need some help. It is an honor and a pleasure to have served so many good people and their dogs over 32 years. There is no reason whatsoever that you cannot enjoy a remarkable relationship with your dog without those behaviors that distract us from the affection we have for our canine companions.

We promise!

Please ponder the following: Order creates Obedience. Obedience creates Confidence. Confidence creates Trust. TRUST creates JOY.

We wish you a truly Perfect Partnership with your canine friend and companion!

Scott Minson
Dog 2 Dog
Perfect Partnership

My Favorite Time of Day

One of my Favorite times of the day is in the morning when I get the dogs up and tell them breakfast, they are so excited. They are happy to see me but most of all they are happy and ready to snarf down the food I am going to prepare for them.

This is when my feeding ritual starts, they all scamper in to the kitchen, sitquietly, and all stare at me while I am getting there food in there dishes. Joe always makes this funny noise because he has to do something since the law ishe must sit and wait, he also has this drool that just drips down the sides of his jowls and there is always a puddle on the floor by the time his food is ready. Maggie sits and just stares at me and Nena is always the furthest away shaking, she shakes when she is cool or happy I guess that is because that is what she does or Chihuahuas do.

The best part of the feeding ritual is how I have there undivided attention, I love how they look at me and they know that I am the one who gives the food. If they are not sitting or if they are making to much noise they know I will just wait till they are all calm.

I Put each bowl on the floor and tell each of them to wait. They look at me they look at the food and then back to me and we wait about 30 seconds. Maggie, Nena, and Joe’s eyes are so intense, watching me to give the command. Finally it is time I say OK and they all start to eat and then before I know it all the food is has been eaten.

It is a simple thing that brings me joy when I connect with them in a way that they totally understand. I look forward to tomorrow when we can have this experience again.

Darcy Phillipps
Dog 2 Dog
Perfect Partnership

No Dog Tags?

How many of you have updated information on your dogs tags and have had your dogs micro chipped? I know I did not have current phone numbers on my dog’s tags even though they do have micro chips. I have noticed over time how many dogs I run into who have gotten out and I go to see if they have a tag and they do not.

Over the 4th of July weekend, these two dogs were roaming around and I thought that it was unsafe to let them continue because it was getting dark out and fireworks were starting in a couple of hours.

I brought them into my house and assessed the situation, I checked for ID tags and only one of the dogs had a rabies tag from the Humane Society, I knew they were closed for the weekend and on Mondays. They stayed the night… On Saturday morning I got up and went to PetSmart to have them scan both dogs for micro chips, neither dog had been chipped. I knew I then had to wait till Tuesday morning to see if the humane society had any info. My Daughter and I took pictures and made posters of the dogs and hung many around where we live. No luck, no one called us.

Joe, my pit, was very happy to have a guest (we called Goldie) that was big enough to play with him so they played and drooled all over each other all weekend. Maggie my Cairn terrier played a little with the black and white dog that we called Blackie. They both were such great dogs and easy to have around. They joined my pack with no problems so we were up to six for the weekend, my three dogs, my parent’s dog and the two strays.

Tuesday morning arrived and I called the Humane Society, I gave them the number on the rabies tag, and it took them a few minutes, but they had a phone number for me. I called the number and I asked them if they had a Golden Retriever and a black and white dog, He said yes and was ecstatic to know they were ok and came right over to get them.

When he got to my house he told me that he had taken his wife to a movie and left the dogs in his fenced back yard. When they got home the gate was open and the dogs were no where to be found, so they looked all weekend for them. The dogs had traveled a mile from their house. It was a happy reunion and such a relief for them, but I have to say the problem and worry would have be solved much quicker if they had current information and had been wearing dogs tags and then also micro chipped.

So I bought updated tags with the correct phone number for my dogs, now I am asking you to do the same and update or get your dog tags with your current phone number and get your dogs micro chipped. It is a simple step and it gives your dog the best chance to be reunited with you if they do get out and are lost.

Darcy Phillipps
Dog 2 Dog
Perfect Partnership

Dogs in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a very breath taking country. I was most impressed at how the country has been rebuilt after the tsunami. It was interesting how the people would refer to events as before or after the tsunami.

Since I am an animal lover, I was fascinated with all the animals; I had a blast taking pictures of the cows, monkeys, snakes and birds, I even tried to catch this mongoose but he was always to fast for me. I did not take that many pictures of the dogs. I made that choice, I really did not want to have too many pictures to remind me of a situation that I felt I could do little about. It was interesting seeing all the packs of stray dogs with not enough food to eat. Many of them we afraid of people, yet many of them would still come up to you. The people were not really concerned with how the dogs were hanging out on the road, you would see dogs with missing legs or lame; they would refer to these dogs as one two or three legers. Once they lost one leg by being hit by a car there chances would decreases in how long they would live. I noticed a sense of callousness and how they treated them as a nuisance.

As we traveled around to the different cities and villages our guide did not understand why I would save some of my lunch and go out side and feed the dogs. My friend and I would go to the beach and feed the dogs, there was a little pack that consisted of the mom, two pups and two other dogs, the one pup would follow us home sometimes, I had bought eggs at the market and would feed them to him.

I was so bothered by a young pup at the market, he had been stepped on so many times his little leg did not work so well, yet he was still so full of life, I was buying some food and this old man started to hit this pup because he had gotten to close to his stuff. I went over and touched the man’s hand looked in to his eyes, and said stop be nice. I am sure he had no idea what I was saying, but I am sure he knew what I meant as I picked up the pup and moved him to a better place. This is one of the times that I could not hold back my tears.

The most heart wrenching moment for me was at Buddest temple. People go and dump puppies there with the hopes of the monks taking care of them. As we got out of the car there were three little puppies; they were starving and we gave them food and water. One of the girl puppies, would not eat or drink so I just held her, as she died in my arms, I noticed she was full of bugs and it seemed like it must of been a most long and tortuous death. As we left I knew that the other two puppies would have the same fate. I did what I could and left. If I had known where a vet was or even if there was a vet, I sure would have taken them there to have them put down as a way to put them out of their misery of the slow death that they were heading toward. I cried as we left, again I felt helpless to a big problem in this country. I am sure some would say that this is not as big as a problem as some of the people who do not have enough to eat. Even most our animals here in the United States are so well taken care of in comparison.

All I know is it was a great reminder as to how much abundance I have and the opportunities we all have in this country. When I complain or I hear others complain it is many times so trivial. I have so much, who am I to complain?

Darcy Phillipps
Dog 2 Dog
Perfect Partnership