1969 Phu Cat Re-Visited
In thirty-three days,
I will be relieved of duty, relieved of responsibility to and for my Noble friend, Junior (AF-X480). His military handle was Smoky X-480. How he come by the Handle of Junior, I don't know or forgotten. Lost to the rainy-nights at Phu Cat. I was being relieved of Phu Cat, all things Phu Cat. The village at our front door and 10,000' runway at our backdoor.. You can land anything on nearly 2 miles of runway. Beside this 10,000 foot runway, run our kilo post after kilo, our domain, our post, our small piece of land that we would clear the enemy every night and all night. Totally my job. Sometime sI thought about how easy it would to get hurt or even die on the runway berm. It was a graded slant, in some places it was a steep walk down. Roots, rocks made walking hard. It took time to learn to feel the landscape with the bottoms of your feet. You're in the dark, with a dog in tow, carrying your CAR-15 on a comfortable sling, freed up hands for carrying your bucket and the other to control the beast at the end of a six-foot leash. Talk about being connected, that's what the 3600 hours represents. Total time spent connected. That's a lot of time learning to speak 'dog'!?
I knew I would not be working dogs again. There are no dog teams at McGuire AFB, NJ.
What did I learn from working a German Shepherd, a highly trained Sentry Dogs who where trained to attack on command and release on command, you hoped. I've observed extensively German Shepherd Organizations on Facebook. Mostly I see lack when it comes to training large breeds of working dogs. When training, commands become intrinsic, they are simple commands. One syllable commands have always been the simplest way to train and it applies to any animal, even teaching babies humans is easier using one syllables commands. Number one on my short list of commands is? 'NO'!! The most underused word in all of training. No means means 'NO'.
Your puppy, pees on your new carpet. You see the puppy squat, or lift a leg, you know whats coming, just say 'NO'. Raise the volume in your voice, but only slightly. The dog makes eye-contact, again, just say 'NO'. Put your hand up and push your hand towards the dogs face. A well-placed 'NO' along with hand commands are an unforgettable combination that seeps into the mind of any baby. Early on, using a 'NO' command, also re-enforced with hand commands, meaning 'NO', makes learning easier and with consistency, faster. From day one, be loving using the 'NO' command, speak-softly. Don't get excited when the puppy doesn't pay you any attention. 'NO' is the simplest of commands. For the rest of this puppy life, understanding what 'NO' means, can be a life-saver. Never waver, don't try new words, stick to single syllables for best results.
If your dogs eats his food and washes it down with lots of water, it's all got to come out. Watch your dog, when they are being potty-trained, 'NO' is the most important command. If you are lucky and pay attention to their behavior, they will tell you, I need to go. So your headed for the door, be praising the puppy. You've got the dog outside, ready to dump, now you must decide a location where you don't mind the relieving and dumping to happen. I have a small storage shed in a corner of the back yard. Behind the small building is enough ground to buy a little time between clean-up. This is where consistency comes into play.
'NO' is such a powerful command word, that it can save a dogs life. Even while this puppy is learning to hear and respond to a simple commands, like!?, 'to not dump in the house', go outside and do your business behind the shed,,, instead he is running as fast as new legs can go, straight for a busy highway,,,'NO' is shouted, Not another word is needed. When the puppy stops and turns and makes eye-contact, then you hit with another single-syllable word . 'COME'. Go down on one knee, and joyfully call your dog to you. Now the puppy has returned to where it is safe, mission accomplished. No sooner is the puppy safe in his own yard, he starts running after the neighbors cat.
Calling the dog by name, gets the dogs attention , for a split second. Next, say 'NO'. If there is time, always praise good behavior. Praise the behavior desired. Say 'NO' to any and all bad behavior. It's going to be hard to get our puppy to return on command while chasing a cat, as long as you the handler trains using few commands, with consistent repetitiveness, your dog will learn. The most important new puppy word to add to your new vocabulary is patients. Every training regiment is to be accomplish with love and praise. You don't get mad at babies, so puppies and kittens, even a baby Giraffe needs all the loving and praise you can muster, which in turns creates confidence in the youngsters.
After 3600 hour leashed to a Sentry Dog, it's important to acknowledge your lifetime commitment to your dogs training. An Air Force saying, 'What goes down the leash, goes up the leash. Your dog is a reflection of you, good or bad. Bad training is not the fault or the responsibility of an animal. Do the training right at the beginning of life, when they are babies, and your life as a animal handler will be one of joy. Peace. From the dogs 'point of view', stupid is as stupid does.
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