Meet the Dogs
Kylee, Trick, Tori and Khana the puppy - February 2005
a dog trainer is an interesting occupation. I've been doing this
professionally for some 13 years now, and I still enjoy it as
much as I did when I first started. While I compete with my dogs,
they are first and foremost my companions and live in my house
the years I've trained and taught in a number of different venues.
Obedience has always been the mainstay of what I do with the dogs
(and the classes I teach) but I've ventured out into tracking,
herding, schutzhund and most recently agility. The dogs have performed
in schools, fairs, talent shows and youth clubs across the state.
My first German Shepherd was my partner in Search and Rescue when
I was an EMT with the local emergency services, and I've had German
Shepherds ever since.
have five furkids currently: two German Shepherds (Trick and Tori)
and three Chows (Kylee, Dora and Khana). I've also included Dawson
and Lady, who have both passed on but who had such an impact on
settle back, prepare to have your face licked thoroughly, and
I hope you don't mind the dog hair!
to right courtesy of Roy Mullins Photography
Dawson, Lady and Kylee - 1994
one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish
world, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is their
dog. A man's dog stands by him in prosperity, health and sickness. He
will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, he will lick the wounds
that come with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his
pauper master as if he were a prince. When all others desert him he
alone remains. He is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey
through the heavens. And when the last scene of all comes and death
takes his master and his body is laid in the cold ground and all other
friends leave, there by the graveside will be found the noble dog, his
head between his paws and eyes sad, but open in alert watchfulness,
faithful and true, even in death." George Graham
pictures of Kylee, go HERE.
an amazing dog, this Kylee Cub. While she holds some 11 titles
and certifications and has twice been the top Chow in obedience
in the U.S., her true talent lies in her sweetness and ability
to make people smile. She's the oldest of my little gang, but
she will always be my "baby". I love her dearly.
came into my life as an 8 week old pup. I was working at a vet
clinic, and she was brought in with a treble fish hook caught
in her mouth. She had eyes matted due to entropian (eyelids
rolling in) and overall was just a sickly looking pup. The owners
had no money and, rather than let them take her home and shoot
her (which is what they were going to do), the vet allowed them
to sign her over to the clinic. We removed the hook, surgically
corrected the entropian, and I took her with me to doctor her
eyes until we found a home for her.
was in 1991.
then Kylee has been the most wonderful companion. Her intelligence,
incredible attitude and intense bond with me has taken us through
many tribulations. Along the way she's acquired 3 Companion
Dog titles (AKC, UKC, ASCA); a Companion Dog Excellent title
(AKC); four novice agility titles - NA and NAJ (AKC), NAC and
NJC (NADAC); a herding certification (HIC); and a schutzhund
BH degree. She also has a magnificent repetoire of tricks. She
plays the piano, bows, waves, and rolls herself up in a blanket,
to name a few.
is next on the list for this wonderful old gal.
pictures of Trick, go HERE.
is the first dog I actually purchased. And I have to say - every
cent of that purchase was absolutely worth it! This German Shepherd
is my most constant companion, whether I am traveling, fishing,
or just heading to work. She helps with the training classes,
as the official "greeter" of all dogs. She's my buddy.
in 1996, Trick grew up during my major switch into positive
training. She was the first dog I trained from puppyhood with
positive reinforcement instead of compulsion - and the results
have been incredible. She's such an alert, responsive and trusting
girl who would do anything she could for me. I haven't shown
her as much as I wanted to, but she does have her AKC, ASCA
and Canadian Companion Dog titles. We also went into agility
and she has novice jumpers and standard (NA and NAJ) AKC titles.
She's quite a dog.
has a great set of tricks. She fetches a beer from the fridge
(men LOVE this); retrieves my keys; puts her paw over her nose
when asked "what stinks?"; waves goodbye; and is part
of a cute act where she takes garbage out of a trash can when
I'm not looking. It's definitely a crowd-pleaser. She also can
toss me a toy - this is really amazing to watch. She flips her
nose and the toy flies up into my hands. Then if I tell her
"you're too close" she backs quickly away and waits
for me to throw it. I swear this dog is half human!
I'm at the fishing lodge, Trick is always with me. She is crazy
about water, and generally runs down to the pond or the river
for a splash or two. If she can convince me that I need to go
too, she will fetch a stick from the swift current of the Kenai
River for as long as I'm willing to throw it. Crazy dog - that
water is COLD!
pictures of Dora, go HERE.
came to me in 1998 at the age of 14 months. Her strong mind
and independence caused an occasional problem - both with me
and with the other furkids - but we have worked this out and
she has become a fantastic companion and competitor. She's also
of the things that is so endearing about Dora is that she is
definitely "my" dog. While I never make an attempt
to have my dogs be only interested in me, that's how it worked
out with Dora. She tolerates the attention of others, but I'm
the one that makes her tail wag.
are not known for their athleticism, but this little girl showed
her stuff in the agility ring, running mostly against shelties
and taking her share of the ribbons. She has completed her AKC
NA and NAJ titles. .
addition to her agility abilities, she is trained for her Companion
Dog title and should accomplish that. She's got the first leg
completed, but due to some difficulties on my part we just haven't
also has some mighty cute tricks, such as a great wave good-bye
and rubbing her nose when asked "does your nose tickle?"
.. she is sweet, loving and intelligent. What a great dog!
pictures of Tori, go HERE.
trainer should have a dog like Tori once in their training careers.
She's my neurotic "child". She came to me when she
was 4 1/2 months old, flying from Ohio to Alaska (12 hours in
transit). During that flight, something happened to this little
alpha bitch puppy. She arrived in Alaska as the most frightened,
mentally traumatized animal I have ever seen. The kennel was
brought out, and there was Tori huddled at the very back of
it with her face turned away, shaking.
couldn't get her to come out of the kennel, at the airport,
so a gentleman helped me carry it out to the van. Back at the
hotel, I finally reached in and pulled her out. I put a leash
on her and started petting her head - she looked up at me as
if I was her angel and ever since then she has been absolutely
bonded to me.
has never recovered from her trauma of flying, and I'll never
know what happened to her on the flights to cause such deep
neurosis. It took her literally years before she would venture
away from me to visit other people. To me, she's extremely loving
and cuddly, but she gets nervous easily. I tried agility training
with her, and it has really helped her confidence. I doubt I'll
ever trial her though.
learned a lot about dealing with neurotic dogs and how they
react to separation and stress. It's been good for me, as a
trainer. By using positive reinforcement for all "non-fearful"
times, this beautiful dog is able to handle being in public
and around strange people and dogs. Compulsive training would
have shut her down. But instead, she is a hit at the nursing
home because she is so loving.
pictures of Khana, go HERE.
is the baby of the group. She was born November 3, 2004 and
arrived in Alaska at the end of December.
has brought a new energy into the house. She has an enthusiasm
for life that is just wonderful and fun to watch. In a short
amount of time she wrapped everyone (the other dogs AND me)
around her little paw!
plays with Trick extensively and is learning some great behaviors
from Trick too. It's neat to see how this little Chow has been
so mentored by the German Shepherd. If the girls are outside,
you can almost bet that Trick will have a furry little shadow.
really hope to be able to do some great things with this girl.
If I can get past my limitations (I was diagnosed with an auto-immune
disease shortly after Khana got here) I'd really like to see
her earn obedience, agility, tracking and conformation titles.
know she can do it all!
pics of Dawson, go HERE.
1988 - 1999
- my first German Shepherd, my first true obedience dog and
the most wonderful guy you'd ever meet. A giant of a dog (100#),
he was gentle and loving and intelligent. Dawson helped me through
the early years of developing my training techniques, and although
I made many mistakes with him, he always forgave me and continued
with that unconditional love you only seem to find in animal
his "career" Dawson accomplished a number of titles.
He had both the AKC and ASCA Companion Dog titles, and he went
on in AKC obedience to finish the Companion Dog Excellent and
the difficult Utility Dog title. Along the way, he picked up
several High-Scoring German Shepherd awards and also had two
High in Trial awards. He certified in tracking and herding too.
was my Search and Rescue tracking dog. I was a volunteer EMT
II with a local EMS unit at the time, and Dawson went out on
a couple of search calls. However, due to time commitments (I
had to make a living!) I left my volunteer position with the
department and Dawson went on into obedience competition instead.
along with his sidekick Lady, made it onto two episodes of "America's
Funniest Home Videos". They did a variety of tricks together.
I developed into teaching obedience classes, I came to realize
what an asset Dawson was. He greeted the puppies and had a knack
for letting them know when they overstepped the boundaries of
good behavior - and yet, for all his size, never hurt another
dog. He helped me work with the aggressive dogs by showing vast
indifference to them. When a wolf came to me for training, he
was there to help keep it in line.
is still missed very much.
more pictures of Lady, go HERE.
was another rescue. She came to me at a year old, and was an untrained
dominant bitch. We had our share of disagreements! And looking
back - if I'd known then what I know now, I think I could have
brought some pretty magnificent things out of this dog.
it was, Lady acquired the AKC and ASCA Companion Dog titles, garnering
the #6 Australian Shepherd in ASCA Novice (U.S.) one year. She
went on to finish the AKC Companion Dog Excellent and Utility
Dog titles, and was the first Aussie in Alaska to earn the UD.
She also was a very nice little herding dog, and earned her Started
Trial Dog title on sheep in three straight trials. She always
worked with a certain flare, but often added in something unexpected.
athletic and energetic, Lady was a natural frisbee dog. She also
learned to ride my horse, Fireweed, and was seen in parades and
at rodeos throughout the area. Her tricks included leaping up
onto my back as I bent over (or anyone's back I directed her to)
.. tugging on pant legs on command .. and leaping over Dawson's
unfortunately had epilepsy. While the meds controlled it to a
certain extent, in her tenth year she began having worse seizures
and sudden rage episodes. We tried different medications, and
I went through behavior modification techniques but the problem
increased. With much reluctance I made the difficult decision
to have her euthanized before her unexpected rages caused someone
to get bit.
| The Facts | The Pack
| The Arts | The Great
North | The Journeys | The
Thoughts | Email