Tuesday, April 29, 2008

drop it 2

Drop it

Drop it has always seemed to be a useful command, and yet, for some reason not one I have ever bothered to teach in a way that would make it a part of our everyday vocabulary. Strange, since I'm not usually so lax about such things. It has actually got me to wondering just how many other truly useful words or word phrases we teach in a causal manner and so never do manage to have them be truly useful for us or the dog.

Anyway, back to drop it. Sanity already knew how to fetch just about anything on command. She knew how to give on command and it just suddenly occurred to me she really needed to learn how to drop stuff as a way of rounding out the entire idea of having a dog move stuff from one place to another for you.

The first way that both using and teaching drop it occurred to me was when it comes to picking up her toys and bones. She is the worst dog I have ever owned when it comes to her toys and bones. She seems to take great pleasure in getting every single toy and bone out of the toy basket and scattering said items all around the house. Walking can be down right dangerous if you don't pay very close attention to where you are stepping. The toys are bad enough, but to step on one of the bones in the middle of the night can be a real killer.

I though that if I started making her pick all the stuff up and put it back in the toy basket at least I wouldn't trip in the middle of the night. And who knows? It just might slow down the spread of trip-ables around the house. Bingo! Darn, if it isn't actually working. I don't have nearly as many bones or toys on the floor all the time.

So, okay it is time to move this drop it command on to other things. The dirty dog food pans seemed like the next place to practice the command. Here's the thing; I hate doing what I think of as mindless repetitions. You know, the discipline drills we all must do when we are learning a new activity that is going to require muscle memory as well as mental agility. Can't learn to play the piano without doing the boring scales drills. Can't become a truly good singer without singing scales for hours on end. Can't become a good dog trainer without drilling for hours and days on how, when and where to put your hands and feet so they make sense to the dog.

And the dog. The dog can't learn to sit without hundreds of drill style repetitions at doing just that one thing. She won't learn to come, to down, to fetch, well you get the picture, unless we make the discipline drills possible. The rebellious little girl that still lives in me whines, "does it have to be so boring?" I notice that all the dogs say the very same thing. Some times it does have to be boring, just not always.

The drop it command is managing to fall into the "just not always" sort of drill work. This brings me back to fetching the dirty dog food pans. That job entails going down a very steep set of stairs, turning the corner and going into the kennel room. It then means going from kennel to kennel looking for a dirty pan. The pan then has to be picked up and carried out of the room, back upstairs, and then to the kitchen where a place rug on the floor marks the spot the pan must be delivered to and where I stand to receive it. All that has already been taught, first as individual pieces and then as a complete "go downstairs and get the pan" job. Why not use it to teach "drop it"? Why not, indeed. And so I am.

The most difficult part so far has been to teach her that taking the pan from the kennel to the bottom of the stairs and putting it down was a good thing rather than a bad thing. She was so sure at first that I was telling her to drop it because she was doing something wrong. When she did drop the pan, it took literally weeks of repetitions to convince her that she could then come to me WITHOUT said pan and be making the correct choice. Finally we got over that hump.

The next step was to have her collect all the pans and leave them at the bottom of the steps. I would then make my way back upstairs and to the kitchen. Once there I started sending her to "go downstairs and fetch the pans". She was happy, since this was what we were supposed to do with the pans. Last week I added the second step. Now its fetch the pan from the kennel and drop it at the bottom of the steps. Once all the pans are at the bottom of the steps, she gets to carry each one of them up the stairs and drop it at the top of the stairs. After she has finished carrying all the pans to the top of the steps I then make my way upstairs and to the kitchen to be ready for her when she brings each pan to the kitchen.

I have this wild idea that I am going to teach her to go downstairs, get the pans and bring them up to the kitchen and put them in the sink. Now that seems like it will be a truly useful thing for her to do.

It has also got me thinking about the way we pick up the trash that blows into the yard every single blasted night. Until or unless you actually live near a highway or sidewalk that is heavily traveled, you will never know just how dirty people in this country are. Shame on all the litterbugs! Meanwhile, it does mean my dogs have yet another useful task most days. I carry the trash bag and they pick up the trash. So now I'm thinking about the advisability of buying a little red wagon I could pull along and just have Sanity pick up the trash and put it in the wagon. We'll see how that idea percolates along as the weather gets warmer.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Tribute

Pam Green has left the building.

This morning when I opened my email there was a message telling me we have lost Pam Green. Even thought I knew it was going to happen, knew the cancer would eventually win, still there was a part of me that kept on cheering for Pam and the mighty battle she raged against an awful foe.

I consider myself lucky to have known Pam and gotten to work with her on three different occasions when we joined forces and taught seminars based on the Koehler Method of Dog Training. It sure is hard to realize she is gone. Gone are her great jokes. Gone are her truly funny little pranks. Gone is her wonderful sense of humor. Gone her good hand with a dog. Gone. Gone. Gone. The world is a sadder, greyer place for this lost to the entire dog training world. Pam, I sure hope there is a class just waiting for you to start teaching where ever you may be.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Today in spite of the grey, overcast sky, the threat of rain and the temperature that never even made it to 60 degrees we still managed to have a good time. It is always great to connect with old friends and get to put names we know in print together with faces.

Today was no exception in that department. Candy Ware flew in to visit with Linda Kaim and, of course, we simply HAD to have a Gather in her honor. Here are a few pictures of the afternoon. As I'm sure you will notice, this Gather was no different in one respect from all previous MADt Gathers held at The Little Green House. The dogs far outnumbered the humans and most of the time they floated around just hoping someone would drop something or a hand would hover within head touching distance.

In studying the pictures closely, I just realized that of the three Border Collies present, only June shows up in a single picture and you have to look very closely in order to find her. It just seemed to me that every single time I brought my camera up to take a picture the Border Collies would melt away. Wonder if they were worried about the camera stealing their soul?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Partners in the Fight for Dog Owner Rights


Partners in the Fight for Dog Owner Rights
These groups will help you get educated and get active.
Join the fight today

U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance National Headquarters
801 Kingsmill Parkway
Columbus OH 43229
Phone (614) 888-4868
Fax (614) 888-0326
E-Mail info@ussportsmen.org

National Animal Interest Alliance
PO Box 66579
Portland OR 97290-6579
Phone (503) 761-1139

American Dog Owners Association
PO Box 186
Castleton NY 12033
Phone (518) 732-7600
Phone (888) 714-7220
Fax (518) 732-7611
E-Mail adoamail@yahoo.com

My Dog Votes
Phone (973) 509-5283
Phone (800) 758-0759
Fax (973) 509-5219
E-Mail info@mydogvotes.com

Dog Politics
Phone (973) 509-5283
Phone (800) 758-0759
Fax (973) 509-5219
E-Mail info@mydogvotes.com

Animal Legal & Historical Web Center
Michigan State University College of Law
Shaw Lane
East Lansing, MI 48824
E-Mail: Editor@animallaw.info

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Animal Research Quiz

Do we need animals?

Do we need close involvement with animals in order to remain human? Now that is both a broad and rather tricky question, to say the least.

Until the end of the 1950's a great many people in this country still had some ties to the land. Granted, in some cases it was only in the form of visits to the Grandparents on a farm, but it was still a tie. I fall into that very category. Summers, school holidays and some long weekends during the school year were spent on my Grandparent's farm.

During those times I was expected to help feed the chickens, help catch any that managed to find a way out and who would then head at once for the river bottom land. I helped feed the calves, weed the garden, walk the 1/2 mile to the mailbox and back every day on a gravel road.

I collected eggs every day and once a week was the one sent into the chicken yard to catch the chicken that would be dinner later in the day. Every three years there would be a mass slaughter of all the chickens and the hen house would be totally cleaned, scrubbed out, new nesting boxes installed and then the entire place laid fallow over a winter. In the spring an entirely new crop of Rhode Island Red chicks would appear and need tending. One year I got so tired of listening to all the adults wondering when the new chickens were going to finally start laying that I did the unthinkable. I snuck a couple of eggs out to the icebox and carefully carried them around with me until they were warm. Then when I was sure no one was watching, I snuck down to the hen house and put them in two different nests.

What an uproar when my Grandfather came back to the house later carrying the two eggs. Seems they were way larger than any young laying hen should ever produce and live to tell the tale. It was a couple of days before anyone figured out what had happened and who the culprit was. Then they couldn't figure out whether I should be spanked for my prank or laughed at because I had managed to pull it off. The laughter won out.

There were barn cats to feed every day and a couple of "yard dogs" that also got fed, talked to and who were my companions when I headed for the woods or the river bottom on pursuits of my own.

My point in the above reminisces is that from childhood on I learned about the circle of life, the importance of taking good care of the animals you are responsible for and that each species has different needs that must be met in order for them to remain healthy. I learned that if you were rough and/or impatient the animals at best wouldn't cooperate and a worst just might harm you. In a word, I learned respect for other living things which in turn taught me to respect human life.

Currently we are seeing and hearing about more and more teens, some as young as 13 and 14 who have zero respect for human life. They have been allowed to grow to adult size with no guidance or training in the very things that make a human a kind, caring, thoughtful and considerate person. They are barbarians. They are brutal, cruel, insensitive individuals and I am willing to bet there is one thing each and and every single one of them have in common.

No animals in their cold, dreary, lifeless lives. Go on YouTube and take a good look at the eyes of this next generation. So many of them have dead eyes. Eyes that only see a two dimensional world. They have no animals in their lives to be responsible for, to feed, clean-up after, nurture when young and harvest when needed. That is what HSUS has stolen from all of us.

We must come together as a civilized, caring people and stop HSUS/PETA in their tracks. Give them not one penny more in the way of money. Help your family, friends and neighbors understand that HSUS/PETA is made up of barbarians who hate humans. Who is using our very legal system against us to steal away all our humanity.

"Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me."
This statement was written by the Rev. Martin Niemoeller. Friends don't let friends give money, time or help to HSUS/PETA.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

It will never happen here

Just like my title line says, I'm saying it again.All most all of you have been insisting this would never happen here. Not in this country. No way, not possible. HA! Will you continue to argue about which dog treat is the best to use for teaching a dog to come while the AR movement under the new guise of animal protection is more and more rapidly passing laws to forbid your interaction with any and ALL animals?

Better start learning to just LOVE tofu. Me? I'm thinking I'll just have to learn the best ways to trap and kill squirrelsNote how fat and sassy this one is and understand I took this picture in late February. My walnut trees keep them (seems like thousands)all very well. Just think I could have a bunch of dinners and make a coat.
Sammie, the tree hound is about 30 feet off the ground in this picture. She is quite the squirrel dog.

I do have a couple of recipes for squirrel that, while I have never tried them, I was told were quite tasty.

Before you read the material that was sent to me, I think you should read the following quotes and have them fresh in your mind as you continue your reading.

"In a perfect world, we would not keep animals for our benefit, including pets," Tom Regan, emeritus professor of philosophy at North Carolina State University and author of "Empty Cages" - speaking at University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, March 3, 2004

"It is time we demand an end to the misguided and abusive concept of animal ownership. The first step on this long, but just, road would be ending the concept of pet ownership." Elliot Katz, President "In Defense of Animals," Spring 1997

"We have no ethical obligation to preserve the different breeds of livestock produced through selective breeding. . One generation and out. We have no problem with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding." Wayne Pacelle, Senior VP of Humane Society of the US, formerly of Friends of Animals and Fund for Animals, Animal People, May, 1993

"Our goal is to make [the public think of] breeding [dogs and cats] like drunk driving and smoking." Kim Sturla, former director of the Peninsula Humane Society and Western Director of Fund for Animals, stated during Kill the Crisis, not the Animals campaign and workshops, 1991

"My goal is the abolition of all animal agriculture." JP Goodwin, employed at the Humane Society of the US, formerly at Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade, as quoted on AR-Views, an animal rights Internet discussion group in 1996

Now I think, if you are still reading, that you are in the proper frame of mind to read what I am sharing with you. Please pass the below information on to as many people as you can possibly reach.


Very few people seem to be worried about their dogs and livelihood, perhaps because these laws haven't hit close to their home area as yet. My town borders the town of Union, IL.

These were farm areas experiencing extreme growth in the past few years. New sub division home owners complained about the farm smell and animals. Now in the paper I read the words....Union will have no more farm or other dangerous animals.

Since when are farm animals dangerous? I guess they are. Now I see empty spaces where once there were cows, chickens, pigs, etc. A farmer had his ducks taken away because of noise. They died in the care of animal control. Farms up for sale.

Will my town be next? It's scary, very scary. What is our world coming to? I shudder to think.

Carol Nielsen Huntley, IL.

Permission given to cross post.
This article is written by Joyce Miller of Dallas, Texas.

Be sure to read the last line a second time.

Right now, animal rights people have fanned out across the country to make what got tabled in California happen city by city, town by town, state by state. The approach is to local animal services organization; the agenda is new animal laws that will have a startling effect on our ability to enjoy our dogs.

The AR volunteers work within the animal services in city after city, town after town, to get a proposed law put together that is extreme to say the least, and they can do all of this within animal services without worrying about open meeting laws. After all, the AR people are simply volunteers helping the staff. By the time a community gets any inkling that these laws are about to hit the stage, it's just about too late to stop them.

At the most, people try to get some of the most severe terms relaxed. Right now, there is a law proposed in Florida to make collecting animal semen illegal.

Now that I have your attention, let me share with you what is currently being recommended in Dallas, what Animal Services and the City Council are assuming will be law by the end of the month, and to date, nothing in the local newspapers, the local news programs, or even a copy of the actual proposed law.

Unlike San Antonio, the previous last city to fall to these tactics, the AKC kennel club registered in Dallas, the Texas Kennel Club, has hired an animal lawyer to help them fight this legislation. But to date, without any news coverage, very few residents know what is about to happen and how it will affect their enjoyment of their dogs.

1. Pet limits. Dallas has never had limits on the number of pets a resident may own. As with most communities, there are plenty of laws on the books that can handle households that have too many pets that are creating a neighborhood nuisance or constituting cruelty to animals. Under the proposed new laws, the limit will be either five or six pets (no one seems able to get a consistent reading on the number). That is dogs, cats or combination in a single family home.

2. Mandatory spay neuter by four months of age. Owner of unspayed or unneutered dogs and cats over 4 months of age commits an offense if the owner does not have a Breeder Permit issued annually for each individual animal. (Only dog and cat show breeders qualify for this permit). Owner cannot have a say in their dog being put under anesthesia, being made a perennial puppy by losing the hormones needed for balanced growth of body and mind, etc.

3. Breeder permits/licenses (and the only article that has mentioned anything about this law was a quote by the acting director of animal services, a man who has won an award of some kind of merit from PeTA: in that article, this man stated that he would not allow any breeder permits in residential neighborhoods). So what will a breeder license look like in Dallas if the law is passed without changes. It appears that there will be:

A. Breeder permit/license to keep an intact dog or cat. Breeders can apply to Animal Services for a breeder permit/license. Such applications must be approved by the director of Animal Services.

B. Each dog or cat approved for a permit must be registered with a national registry (approved by the animal services director) AND whose owner is a member of a purebred dog or cat club (also approved by the animal services director). The club must have a code of ethics restricting breeding dogs and cats with genetic defects and life threatening health problems for approval.

C.The breeder permit will be $500 annually for EACH intact animal; the animal's license will be an additional fee.

D. This permit will not be available to any other pet owner. And as mentioned above, it is unlikely that the current Animal Services administration will allow any of these permits/licenses in residential neighborhoods. This means that sports people, performance people, SAR people, hunting people will have to have their animals neutered.

E. Anyone who gets a breeder permit agrees that Animal Services has the right to send in someone to make unannounced inspections of their premises at any time and the breeders must admit them.

F.. No one else can legally breed animals in Dallas.

4. No tethering of any dogs if the owner is not present.

5. Confined dogs must have crates or runs or pens that meet confinement requirements of 150 feet pen size per dog

6. Foster Care Providers must obtain a form from the director to apply for a permit (notarized by the legal owner and one occupant of the dwelling unit) to keep up to 10 dogs, cats or any combination which authorizes unannounced inspections of premises and this permit must be approved by the director.

When I first read these proposed ideas, I thought that they were making them so outrageous so they would have wiggle room in order to reduce things like the permit fee for breeders etc. But given the fact that hearings are going into their second week (only on Wednesdays), there has been no media coverage, and proponents are saying that they expect these to be law by the end of the month, I suspect that the final law could be quite close to what is outlined above.

The first that I heard about it was in March, and I heard about it from two people who are very involved with the kennel club and with getting people to attend hearings. No cost assessments/analyses have been done. Animal Services is currently underfunded, and the mayor has made it clear that there will be no increase in their funding for these laws.

So, here we are discussing different ways of training, recognizing the work that goes into having an obedience or agility champion, knowing what the dogs need maturity to participate in any serious sport or work, and all the while, across the country, more and more of these laws are becoming law with little or no fanfare.

Here in Dallas, the proponents are saying that this will solve the problem of loose dogs breeding randomly, but the only people that will be caught up are the residential breeders whose dogs never run loose and never breed randomly. With the requirement that a breeder belong to a breed club approved by animal services, this is also meant to do away with mixed breeds.

Do, please, check out what may be happening in your city or town, and be ready to fight for your right to decide when and if your dog will be neutered, the right of careful breeders to breed to their breed standards, etc. Dallas breeders and animal lovers are making a valiant effort, and they are grateful for the help of the Texas Kennel Club, but this is very, very serious. And it sounds like it will come to a city or town near you.

Joyce Miller of Dallas, Texas

My next post will be about my thoughts on just where all this is going to take us and how we are already feeling and seeing the effects of no animals in our lives.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The following pictures were actually taken on March 18, 2008 which was pretty much in the middle of spring break around here. The two Newfies belong to Paul Katinas who is a student of mine. The three helpers are Martino and Kim. Both were trying to decide whether or not they want to do their required volunteer hours here or not and Syndey, the best and most fun helper I have had in a very long time.

Paul has been working to get his two ready for the next level of water rescue dog titles offered by the Newfoundland Club of America. Both dogs already have the first two titles and now our collective sights have been sent for the next and somewhat more serious and yes, difficult test.

As always, we do as much of the training on dry land as possible while at the same time Paul makes sure both dogs get enough swimming time to ensure their overall swimming fitness.

What we decided to do in this series of pictures is to give both dogs extra practice in doing the save of a drowning victim from under a capsized boat. We worked on just the actual retrieve part. The problem of soft mouth was resolved a couple of years ago and the actual reason for using the towel around the arm in the dog's mouth had everything to do with slobber/slingers and nothing at all to do with strength of bite.

As you can clearly see everyone was having a grand time. Since Sydney has been involved in this sort of training in the past, we let Martino and then Kim both "drown" first.

The final count? Three victims successfully saved, five happy people and two happy dogs.

For those of you who are wondering about why I didn't try to do anything about my treatment on the return flight from Chicago to BWI, well I have. I was just way more interested and getting home and to bed at the time of the incident that I was in risking not being allowed to stay on the plane.

Below is a copy of the email I sent to United Airlines about my experience. Considering just how hard all but the Captain worked to my my flight as comfortable as possible I sure hope I hear from them about this "no dogs in first class rule". We shall see. I realize United doesn't have a very good track record the higher up you go in the origanization. Too bad for the lower level employees, that's a fact.

I travel by air enough to understand that the many flight delays and outright cancellations are in almost all cases not the fault of the individual airlines. In this case, the employees representing your airlines on the ground were as helpful and caring as time and the crowds would reasonably allow.

I am disabled and walking is a slow, painful process. I travel with a Service Dog who assists me in both walking and carrying things as well as in other ways. This particular Service Dog had at this point one international and 9 long distance domestic flights to her credit. She is calm, quiet and very much focused on her tasks.

On this date (March 31, 2008) the airport at O'Hare was in total chaos, packed with passengers hoping to finally get on a flight or find a place to stay until a flight came available. The boarding agents were wonderful, kind and caring. They apologized over and over again for what happened to me. The flight attendants were equally kind and carrying and actually went out of their way to be helpful.

After many delays and gate changes the flight was nearing the boarding point and I was both extremely tired and in a great amount of pain. All I wanted to do was to PAY to upgrade to first class so I could have a seat that was just a little more comfortable. I don't know if there were any seats available or not because an angel of a man offered to exchange his ticket with mine and allow me to have his first class seat. I was so grateful for this kindness.

Imagine if you can, my shock and dismay when I was told the Captain of this flight stated no dogs were allowed in first class on this type of plane. What on earth is that all about? I have searched your web site in vain and can not find where it states that Service Dogs are not allowed in first class.

When we boarded the plane this captain showed up and while being very stiff and correct in his choice of wording, his questions left me feeling both dismay and worry about the advisability of using United in the future.

I understand that it is very necessary to insure any dog being presented as a Service Dog be a mannerly and task trained dog. My dog wears a shoulder pack that clearly states her position. Her behavior clearly shows her understanding of her duties. I try to go out of my way to keep her as unobtrusive and invisible as possible.

So why rather than a welcome to the flight did I receive a hostile grilling on why I needed a dog, what she did for me? Why did he feel the need to poke her? Yes, he did ask if he could touch her, but that was after he had already poked her the first time. Why did he all but order me to announce her presence to all the passengers on the plane once the plane was loaded? I have never been told such a thing was necessary in the past and I demurred from doing so on this flight. Why did he demand to know how long she would be barking during take-off and landing? The response is never, ever have any of my Service Dogs barked while on a plane. Why did he want to know just how many times she was going to have to use the aisle for “exercise” during the flight? Service Dogs are not supposed to be in the aisles other than for boarding or deplaning or when owner is moving to or from the restroom.

I keep telling myself it was because of the lateness of the hour, the crowds, the pressure or maybe because of some prior bad experience with a passenger attempting to pass a pet dog off as a service dog. Still the entire experience has left me with a very bad memory of what flying United has sunk to these days. It makes me so sad. I have flown United many, many times over the years and while there have been some bumps in the flight, so to speak, this business with the Captain has made me start to rethink my willingness to consider United as my carrier in the future.

Will you please let me know just which of your planes allow me to travel in first class with my Service Dog? That way I can at least take some steps to protect myself from any further occurrences, should I decide to fly with United again.

Margot Woods
Laurel, MD

And now it's up to United to respond. Wonder if they will?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Trip to Iowa

This trip was pretty much like all the others in that space was at a real premium.

Here Sanity comes up for some air and then once again vanishes into the tiny, black hole that represents the space where my feet and a carry on bag would normally go.

Here is a patient Sanity waiting for us to finish our dinner and get back to the motel so she can finally have her dinner.

It is a joke, and was fun to do.
Sanity had been complaining that I didn't move anyway near fast enough when we would get back to the motel at night. She wanted her dinner and she wanted it NOW!
No, she really isn't able to use the key card to unlock the door, but I suspect she would sure have given it a good try if only her nose wasn't so long it kept getting in the way of her seeing the key card slot.

This is a pretty good shot of most everyone working on "close order" drill. Close order drill work is one of the best ways I know of to help people clean up their act when it comes to walking. Pity the poor dog who is expected to maintain something approximating heel position when the person they are supposed to be heeling beside can't walk a straight line, much less avoid stepping on them, bumping into them and never, but never maintaining anything that even comes close to a reasonable cadence.

An impromptu demonstration on just what a working or force fetch will get you at one point had Curtis Johnson's Ruby and Sanity out in the middle of the class area doing their fetch of Edgar the obnoxious chicken. We sort of ended up using Edgar because it(he?) was something neither dog had ever seen before and it was important to make a clear distinction between a play retrieve and a working retrieve. Good old Edgar was just the ticket. Sure wish I could find an Edgar to play with.

I love these next two pictures just because dogs and handlers are pretty much airborne in both of them.

Even though Seeker is lagging behind Lauren Whittemore, he is staying with her and not showing any interest in wandering off to check out other things. Besides between the two of them they have 6 legs and only 2 legs are actually touching the floor.

Here is Susan Franck and Lilly doing a very nice figure 8 and again, it actually looks as if they are floating.

Here are a few of the things being said after the Iowa Bedrock Training Method School:

What a great weekend!! I want to thank Margot Woods for the wonderful training school she taught here in Iowa. There was a neat group of people here and it was interesting to hear the different view points in training. I have come away more focused, energized, and renewed in my determination to be a better trainer and make my clients better pet owners. Margot has a unique method of teaching that makes you think about what you are doing. She doesn't "spoon feed" you the info she challenges you to work it out and truly understand why you are doing the things your doing. I hope that she will consider coming back to Iowa some time soon to do this again. I also hope to see you there.

Don't miss a chance to learn from Margot.

Thanks to all that came and made this a great weekend!! And Thanks again Margot and Sanity.

P.S. Edgar says "Hi"

Kathy Evans
IACP #2908
North Liberty Iowa

I enjoyed the opportunity to learn from Margot and make some new friends in the process. Everyone was a joy to work with. I implemented some of the things we learned last night in my group classes. Big thanks to Kathy and Tim for having me and to Margot for making it a fun experience.

Sarah Burger
Dayton, OH

I returned on Monday from the Bedrock Training class in Iowa. What a great experience.
Margot is an outstanding teacher and helped everyone understand the whys behind the lessons. She is also a great advocate of structured training which has a proven history of producing results. She is a wealth of information and a generous instructor.
Kathy, the event host was fantastic as well. We were well taken care of and had an unbelievable facility to use.
If you have an opportunity to take in a Bedrock training class you will not regret the investment (the critters you work with will thank you as well).

Curtis Johnson
Minneapolis MN

I had the opportunity to attend one of Margot Woods Bedrock Basics Training
Seminar last weekend. Some of you should remember Margot from her posts to
this list. She is so knowledgeable about dog behavior and has such wonderful
training methods. If you ever have a chance to attend one of her seminars,
jump at the chance. You will not be disappointed. I'm still trying to digest
everything I learned.

Suzanne Franck

I can't leave this report without saying something about the trip home. Seems the last few trips Sanity and I have done have started out with a reasonable trip going, a great school and then the trip from h*ll on the way home.

At least this time we didn't end up stranded in a strange city far, far from home over night. Instead, this time our flight was several hours late leaving Cedar Rapids. First we waited and waited and waited in the Cedar Rapids airport. Then we were allowed to board the plane. Said plane was PACKED full. Said plane taxied to the end of a runway and waited. And waited. And waited. For an hour and a half we sat on the end of the runway. Finally we were allowed to take off. By this time I had already missed my connecting flight from Chicago to BWI.

Landing at O'Hare the entire airport was in a turmoil and packed. Our little commuter plane had to taxi up to the terminal and we had to deplane using those dreaded steps instead of the easy skyway because there was no room for us to get close enough to the actual terminal.

So I figure, okay we have had to do this more than a few times, no problem. Took Sanity's shoulder pack off her and then left her on a sit/stay. Hanging tightly to the two hand rails I slowly made my way down the ladder/stairs and plopped into the waiting wheelchair, I then called Sanity. Her flying down the stairs gravity assisted, meant she had to be very nimble on her feet to not fall face first into the pavement.

Totally ignoring everyone and everything around her she made a beeline straight to me. I was vaguely aware there was a scream behind me, but was busy putting her shoulder pack back on her and hooking up her leash and so didn't really pay that much attention. Guess I should have, because as it turned out the scream was from the person who was to take us to our departure gate. Believe me, should something like this ever happen again I will insist on a different escort. This fool simply refused to walk like a normal person. She would push for a few yards then turn the wheelchair into Sanity and letting go of the handles would jump back. When we finally made it to the departure gate she all but flipped me out of the wheelchair in her rush to get rid of us and get away. Did I tip her? Not on your life.

After waiting at this first gate for an hour plus, the announcement board starts flashing the departure gate had been changed. Well, there is nothing for it, the chance of my finding another escort in an airport gone mad was slim or none and slim was already on a plane out of town. I did the only thing I could think of to do. I took Sanity's leash off and clipped it to the carry-on and then carrying her bed, pulling the carry-on behind me and with her in heel position we made a very slow and painful, shuffle-step way many gates further down the concourse and to the new gate. Stood in line and got checked in again. Found a seat. Two hours passed.

The announcement sign begins to flash. The flight has been cancelled and we are to go to yet another gate and will be put on a plane there. Get up and repeat the above routine once again. Make it to the new gate and this time I beg for an upgrade thinking the added comfort of a first class seat would be well worth the extra money.

A very kind man who already had a first class ticket offered to trade tickets with me and I just wanted to kiss him. And the the unbelievable happened! I was told that on the United plane we would be flying service dogs weren't allowed in first class! No, I didn't complain or make a fuss then, because it was getting on towards 11 p.m. and we had been in transit for 12 hours already and still had the longest part of the flight still ahead of us. All I could think about at that point was how much I wanted to get home and into my very own bed.

Finally we were allowed to board the plane. As I am trying to get Sanity and myself seated and out of the way along comes the plane's captain. Silly me. I think he is going to say something nice about our being on board, or sorry about the long delays or something else nice. Instead he begins to quiz me. Why do I have the dog? What does the dog do? How much barking is the dog going to do during take off and landing? How many times is the dog going to have to get up and use the aisle to exercise?

I tried to answer all his questions as politely and you had better believe as briefly as I possibly could. Then the, to me at least, unbelievable happens. This hostile captain leans down and proceeds to poke Sanity three different times in three different locations. No warning. No request to touch her before the first poke. Nothing. Just poke! Poke! Poke! He then straightens up and informs me I will have to tell all the people around me that I have a dog at my feet.

That was the last straw and I said, "Why on earth would I do something like that? This dog already has thousands of air miles on her and has been traveling by air for more than a year. In all the years I have traveled with a service dog I have never had to do something so foolish. The point here is that the dog gets on the plane and vanishes, not to be seen nor heard from until we get off the plane at our destination."

He just gave me a dirty look, a grunt and stalked off.

We took off, flew, landed and waited our turn to get off the plane. There was a wheelchair waiting, but no one to man it. So one of the attendants was sweet enough to get us to the baggage area. At that point an escort was located, I got my luggage and it was off to find my ground transportation. At this point it was 1 a.m. We have been in transit for about 14 hours. I was praying I would get one of the good drivers. But that was not to be.

First the driver insists I am not to get in the van with a dog. Then she, yes I said she, isn't able to put my suitcase in the back by herself. Next she decides she is going to take on a second fare. Finally we leave the airport and thank goodness she takes me home first. I have to give her directions because she doesn't have a clue as to where she is going and then drives passed the driveway. I complained. She backed up and then drove passed the driveway again. She backed up a second time and when I realized she was about to drive passed the driveway yet a third time I sort of lost it and started yelling at her to turn.

"I can't turn in there", she tells me. "That's a park and I can't leave you in a park at this time of night."

"I don't care what you think it is, just turn in that driveway, stop and let us out", again I am all put screaming. So she turns in. A second van pulls up right behind us. Seems she wasn't supposed to have picked me up and she also wasn't supposed to have picked up the other fare. The two drivers plus dispatch get into this big argument. All I want to do is pay my fare and go in the house and to bed.

By the time I finally got her paid, the other passenger was transferred to the other van, my stuff was unloaded and Sanity and I got through the gates and started up the ramp to the house it was 2:30 a.m.

Thus ended another adventure. I realize other people just go on uninteresting trips. Seems I all most always manage to have my trips turn into an adventure.

Gee, I wonder why both Sanity and I were so tired?