Clean Run - March 2011 - (Page 5)

Editorializing… Go Get the Dog By Fred Brattain A large amount of what I know about raising dogs I learned on my Grandfather’s ranch, and sitting around campfires at night when he, my Dad, and I would go trout fishing in the mountains of Idaho and Eastern Washington. I learned a lot from my Dad, too, but he would be the first to point out that it came from my Grandfather. One of my Granddad’s expressions that I just love is “If you teach a dog or a child to be mean, don’t be surprised when they learn the lesson.” My Grandfather always had at least one Border Collie on the ranch to help with the stock. He also said, “I never met a dog with no manners who didn’t have a worthless owner.” He taught me to be gentle, firm, and consistent. I vividly remember one night sitting around a campfire on the upper reaches of the Salmon River above Riggins, Idaho, when he and my Dad were reminiscing about my Dad’s upbringing on that same ranch. I was, for once, sitting quietly, totally enthralled, when my Granddad told the following story. “When I was a young lad of about 12, I went to spend the summer with Bill Reynolds, a friend of my Grandfather’s who had come across the plains with my Grandfather’s wagon train, and had built himself a cabin in the Selway country of Idaho. Bill had a medium size dog of indeterminate breed. One day, while I was visiting, Bill and I and the dog started down a trail to go do some fishing. The dog, who normally knew better, got too far out ahead of us going down the trail and disappeared around a bend. He ran into a she grizzly. We heard the commotion and came charging around the bend in the trail to see the bear, with the dog held in its paws. A lot of people don’t know that a bear will pick a smaller animal up in its front paws. Anyway, the fur was flying, the dog was screaming, the bear was growling and snarling, and we stood there stock still for just a second. Bill assessed the situation and realized that he couldn’t shoot the bear without risking hitting his dog. He handed me his rifle and said “Here, boy, hold the rifle, I’ll go get the dog.” He reached into his boot and pulled out a long, slender homemade knife and walked in and brought the dog back out alive.” “The bear had retreated by the time I reached Bill and the dog. They were both pretty badly cut up. I wrapped Bill’s cuts in strips from my shirt, wrapped the dog in my jacket and built a travois and dragged them back to the cabin. It took me about an hour to get them back. Having grown up on a ranch, I knew a fair amount about first aid. After all, the nearest doctor was about 30 miles away from our home. We tended our own wounds and breaks and scrapes. I put 35 stitches in the dog and about 75 in Bill.” “I spent the next month nursing them both back to health. When they were both up and around, and it was time for me to go back home, I asked Bill why he had risked his life in such a manner. He pinned me to the cabin wall with a stare and said simply, “Ross, that dog’s the best friend I have.” I will never forget that story, if, for no other reason, that knife is now a letter opener on my own desk. What does this have to do with agility? Nothing and everything. Our agility dogs are our teammates. Teammates don’t quit on each other. Teammates don’t let each other down; teammates give everything they have every second of every run, every practice, every day of every year. If you are unwilling to “go get the dog,” don’t expect your dog to give you 100%. And don’t be critical of your dog, or upset or angry with your dog when you don’t get 100% from your teammate unless you can look in the mirror and say in complete truth that you give 100% every time you step out there. Fred Brattain Fred Brattain lives in Corona, California, where his two Border Collies Nutmeg and Brighid continue to rule his life. Rustler crossed the Rainbow Bridge on November 7, 2010, and Kelsey crossed the bridge on August 7, 2008. She still holds the title “Best Dog Ever Was.” Fred still does occasional agility seminars and can be reached at (530) 400-4675. March 11 | Clean Run 5

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run - March 2011

Clean Run - March 2011
Editorializing: Go Get the Dog
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
Who Needs a Training Partner?
Difficult Students, Difficult Dogs, Happy Endings
Ready, Set, Trial! Volunteering at Agility Trials
The Breeders Behind the Dogs
Working on Stimulus Control
Teaching FOCUS and Impulse-Control Classes: Introduction
Power Paws Drills: Long Way, Short Way
Help for Heel Pain: The Facts About Plantar Fasciitis, Part 1
Hydrotherapy for the Canine Athlete
Getting the Biggest Bang for Your Seminar Dollar
When Pigs Fly: You Can Do It
You Know Your Dog Is Aggressive If... Part 5
Want the Best Training Results? Then Play!
Challenges for Rising Stars

Clean Run - March 2011